A FREE short story by Colin Devonshire. This time set in England.
I Said No!
“And no, you cannot go out tonight!”
“Because tonight is Halloween.”
“That’s why I want to go out.”
Young George, known as Bestie to his many mates, and his mum, Petra Best, had this argument annually. This year George, was a teenager. Today, 31 St of October, he had turned the grand old age of thirteen. Thirteen years ago a heavily pregnant Petra, was attending a ‘service’, deep into the woods. George decided the time was right to pop into the world. He was not due for another month.
The forest surrounded the small, and if you believe the tourists, a quaint village in Bucks. It had a long and dark history. Odd things occurred on All Hallows’ Eve, some planned, some not. Not every year, but too often not to create rumours amongst ‘non-believers’ in Petra’s faith.
“Mum, you do your thing, I want to have fun with my mates.”
“You know, today is important for me. I don’t want to worry about what you are getting up to.” She studied the ceiling for aid from above. “You are staying in your bedroom, reading or watching TikTok or whatever it is you are glued to. Okay? No arguments.”
Petra knew her only child too well.
George stamped up to his room, with the door firmly closed he called his mate on his mobile.
“I’ll see you all later, outside the pub at nine as promised.”
He lobbed his Android to the unmade bundle of the quilt. Bouncing next to it, he grabbed his phone once more.
“They won’t serve us in the boozer, we’ll have to get something to drink in the off-licence earlier.”
He smiled and lay back, thinking and hoping for some fun with the boys and one very special girl.
Petra had spent hours getting ready, why it took so long, only Petra knew. She had long flowing cream robes, a face covering and hat, also cream, it all made her appear to be a Ku Klux Klan supporter. She wasn’t. Her group, far older than the American Civil War wore the outfit on special days. Halloween was one such date.
George flicked from rubbish on TicTok to some more visual junk on YouTube. He decided it was time. Opening his bedroom door he listened, she had not come back for something forgotten, or to check on him.
He raced back and opened the bottom drawer on his wardrobe. There, his pride and joy, a hideous zombie costume staring at him. He needed to raid his mum’s make-up to touch up around his eyes. His dripping blood looked real. He was happy.
He was the first to arrive at the ‘offie’, he bought a small bottle of vodka, and waited for the gang.
The lads all soon arrived. A pair of his dream girl’s female friends also turned up.
“Where is Sally?” he asked.
The girls looked sheepishly at each other.
“Come on then, is she coming?” George bleated.
“Eh, no,” said one.
“She can’t,” said the other.
“What do you mean?”
“Her mum told us, she had something else planned,” the female zombie said.
“She promised, she would partner me tonight,” said George, pleased his made-up face hid any dampness.
“You know us girls, we do things on the spur of the moment. Especially if mums order it,” said the witch.
“What do you mean? Her mum won’t let her out?” asked George.
“Oh, I think she is going with her mum.”
“I don’t know. Come on, let’s start our fun.” The young zombie joined the other’s arms outstretched, taking a sneaky look at George as she turned.
The gang grabbed pails of blood, broomsticks and empty sweet containers, and marched off in the hunt of their first victim. Flicking fake blood at vehicles, shop windows, and anyone unlucky enough to be passing them.
George ducked into an alleyway, no one noticed.
“Where did she go?” he wondered. “What is she doing?”
He went to the playground and sat alone, swinging gently back and forth. “I’m not allowed out tonight, so I can’t ask mum if she knows. What shall I do?”
He was deep in thought. Dreamily he strolled away, not sure where to go, but walking was better than sitting. “Something may come to me.”
Rap music was blaring, he hated it. Tonight at least. He went in the opposite direction, away from the village’s shops and into the woods. He began puffing as the walk inclined.
“What’s that?” he asked himself.
He spotted a glow above the trees. He edged nearer. Without knowing why, he crept, frightened to crack a twig. The glow brightened, he could now hear something.
The noise became louder, a mumbled groan, it was unclear but the smell of wood-burning was masked by the fragrance of something he recognised.
Perfume, of flowers, or pine needles mixed with citrus, confused George’s nose. It was like his mum’s scent.
The glow was a fire, he could hear crackling and pops. Not one fire, many more, as he edged nearer he saw a trestle, no it was a large table, surrounded by smaller fires. And people, all dressed like his mum.
“Who are they, what are they doing?”
It was impossible to see who they were, masks, facial coverings and tall peaked hats, like his mum’s covered their heads.
George got as close as he dare, he crouched behind a boulder with a tree overhang. He could now hear clearly. They were chanting, chanting in a funny language.
“Is that someone asleep up there?” He mumbled.
People all joined hands and circled the table. The chanting stopped, two people released their hold of each other’s hands and opened as if welcoming a new member. A small person flanked by two larger people were led through. The bigger pair lifted the small person to the table.
The headwear was thrown to one side as a sword was drawn and presented to the once more circled gathering.
“My God, that’s Sally.”
A raucous cheer joined the raised arms.
“Sister Petra, have you anything to say to your folk, your worshippers, the devout lovers?” screamed Sally. The sword was pointed at the motionless body below.
“Mum?” whispered George.
He stood and ran at the crowd.
“Let me through,” he screamed.
In a strong voice, Petra said, “You are now thirteen, as is my son. He will arrive soon. You can marry in our faith as it orders, and continue in love and belief for the future of our coven. I willingly pass aside the chiefdom to your leadership.”
George fought the locked hands and bigger, stronger people held him back.
“George, my son,” Petra called. “Fear not, you and your new bride will be great leaders. Goodbye, my son.”
The sword fell and pierced Petra’s heart. Cheers rang out.
He awoke, dressed in cream robes. As he came to, he discovered he was now a husband and a leader of an aged faith.