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What Happens Now?
We stand there not really looking at one another, none of us looking in the direction at the front of the room either. Where a casket lies open. There are flowers around the room, and the smell of lilies and daisies in the air… Jessica’s favorite. Leah is the first to talk, “Shouldn’t we at least say something to her parents?” We all look up, no one says a word.
“Maybe we should.” I say. No one moves. Leah walks toward the front first, then Sarah on her crutches, I follow last.
“I’m so sorry for your loss.” says Leah, we all follow her example.
Mr. Williams stops me, “Tasha, Its not just our loss you know, we all have lost.” He wraps me in a warm hug. We all carry on, but come to stop short. Jessica lays there. Its the first time we have seen her since…
“C’mon Guys! We only have till Noon!” Jessica yells from the front of the trail. She talked us all into going on a hike, even though we had a meeting at our local teen spot at one o’clock, (Its an organization to keep girls, like us in this small town, to stay out of trouble.) With Jessica, that hardly ever happened, she always had a way to get us to try something new and exciting, and against the rules. We were walking about a mile from the road it was a two mile hiking trail. Every one in town says its haunted. But Jessica didn’t believe in ghost, vampires and goblins and witches. At that time neither did we.
“Hold on Jess,” Sarah panted from the end of the line, “Ya trying to kill us?” She came to a stop so did me and Leah.
“Oh Sarah, its not that far!” teased Leah.
“Well excuse me for not joining the track team, AND cross country team Leah! Your in shape, and now,” Sarah said squirting a little bit of water onto Leah from her water bottle, “You’re all wet!”
“Hey! This is a new top!” Leah yelled, grabbing her water bottle out of her bag. Jessica and I jumped back to save ourselves from the water brawl. Jessica started giggling, and I had to join in on the laughter. Suddenly Jessica stopped in mid laugh and turned around, I stopped too and listened.
“Guys! Cut it out,” I said alarmed, “I think some ones coming.” Sarah and Leah, both stopped abruptly, and walked slowly closer to my side, sensing the tone in my voice. The warm Summer air whipped our hair around.
It was silent for along time. Not even the birds were chirping, the squirrels weren’t moving around in the tree tops, no small creatures in the bushes rustling about, it was dead silent. There was a sudden shadow over head. We all gasped, and looked above. There was a sudden coolness about the Forrest, even though it was a rather warm summer day. The second felt like minutes.
“Well, I vote we leave.” I whispered, no one else was able to speak just yet. Jessica was the first to move, it was a slow walk. She was careful not to move so much as a twig. I was about to follow, but a sound that was like a screech and laughter, came from behind us. When we turned, nothing was there. The cold feeling seemed to intensify, and goose bumps began to rise on my arms and legs. No one seemed to move, or breath.
“What was that?” Leah asked, hardly more than a whisper. There was a sound behind us.
“LET GO OF ME!” Jessica screeched from behind us. Leah, Sarah, and I turned to see something we never would have imagined possible.
There was a cloaked creature that seemed to be floating five feet above the ground, Its face was covered by the dark, black, ripped cloak. It was four or five yards away, with its hand wrapped around Jessica’s torso. It was a Witch. Jessica was kicking and screaming all the while fighting the witch. Sarah who I had forgotten was here, she’d been so quiet, ran toward Jessica, with balled fist.
”You let her go!” Sarah commanded, I ran after her, I couldn’t stand to see her out there all alone.
“Sarah! Be caref-!” I stopped short, in movement and in words, when there was a light purplish flash of light, and Jessica’s body went limp, the witch dropped her. Her body landed with a hard thud, in that moment, Sarah ran toward Jessica’s lifeless body. Before she could reach her, the witch snatched Sarah up, one hand knotted in her hair, the other clinched her shirt, and rose about twenty or thirty feet high. Sarah began thrashing and trying to beat herself free. I ran to Jessica, there was no pulse.
“Let our friend go! Please!” Leah said in a loud, confident voice. The which slowly looks in Leah direction, and we finally see the face of the murder. It was not ugly like you would have imagined. It was more of the most beautiful face ever seen. She had this sarcastic smile on her face, my stomach lurched.
“What ever you wish for dear Leah.” The which responded as if they were old friends, and let go of Sarah. Her fall was short, but just far enough to when she landed, I could hear the crunch as her ankle shattered. She sat up hastily, and grabbed her left leg. I looked back to Jessica, “What happens now?” I said. I couldn’t leave her to check on Sarah, who was crying and yelling a few yards away, Leah ran to Sarah, and took out her phone. “I don’t know.” there was a long pause, “I just don’t know.”
Jessica looks so peaceful. This is not the way I expected her to look like. The torture on her face the last time I saw her was haunting. I had to stop my self in mid thought. I promised myself that I would forget that awful day. The expression on her face was too peaceful, it was fake. I walked past the casket, without another glance.
“We should find some where to sit,” Sarah said, “My leg is killing me.” Sarah sat in the closest seat available. Leah and I followed her, we sat in the middle, on the isle, so Sarah could set her foot partially in the middle isle. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jack. Jessica and Jack had a really good bond, besides us, she was his best friend. He came home early from his vacation to Florida to come to the funeral. Me and Jack have had this on, off, on again relation ship for years now. We always managed to stay friends even if we were broken up. Right now we were together. I waved at him, he gave me a small smile from across the room. I wanted to go over to him, but the sermon started.
It was short and sweet. We sang her favorite songs, and talked about her favorite activity’s.
“Is there any one who would like to say a few words about Jessica Brie Williams?” The priest said. Her parents said their parts. Her little brother Adam, who was six, said how much he missed her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw tears stream down Leah, and Sarah’s face. Jack had tears in his eyes too. Why hadn’t I cried for my lost best friend? Why didn’t I burst in to tears when I saw… I stopped in the middle of that thought. I knew if I thought about that day again, I would hate myself more. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt a tear trickle down my face. I knew I shouldn’t have thought about it. That’s when I truly let go, and thought about what had happened. I remembered the witches face, the scene played out in my head. What if I found the witch? What if I killed it? I tried to forget those thoughts till the priest was finished talking. I didn’t want to burst just yet, so I listened to the priest words, with out really hearing him.
The sermon ended fifteen minutes or so later, so I started to walked home.
“Tasha, do you want a ride home? My mom can take you.” Sarah offered.
“Nah, I think I would rather walk, thanks though.” It was only eleven fifteen in the morning. So I could walk the two mile trip home. I need to think. Walking always helped me think.
“OK, well we are having a dinner at six at my house, come on over. Leah will be there too.” She offered again.
“Alright, ill see you there.” I smiled as she drove away.
I texted my dad that I was walking home. I didn’t have to run, I didn’t have to catch up to someone, I didn’t have to be home any certain time. I could just take my time, it was a hectic week. I started reviewing what I had done this week, only to feel that sick feeling in my gut. I thought about my previous thoughts I had during the sermon. Maybe the three of us could find her. We could invite Jack too. We might need him. The legends do say that there needs to be a man present. I decided right then I would talk to the girls, and Jack about it later tonight.
When I finally got home, I walked into the kitchen, the clock on the stove said 12:12. This made me feel sick for about the millionth time today. Jessica always said 12:12 was a special time of the day. She always made some sort of wish at this time, so I made mine. Please let this all be a dream. Let me wake up at Jessica’s house, in her basement. Where we always have slumber party’s, and afternoon pick nicks when it rained. Where we have food fights and do our hair special to impress boys, and watch scary movies in the middle of the night. Please, please let me wake up. I knew how much I wanted this to be true. I also knew how those memories would never happen again. Nothing would be the same with out her.
Four Months Later.
The December air filled my lungs, as I stepped out on to the slippery sidewalk.
“Hey, your early for once.” I said as Leah Stepped out of her car to give me a hug.
“Are you ready? You didn’t forget any thing? This is the second trip in a week. You must be really feeling it.” She responded.
“Yes, I have all the things we need, water, the candles and last but not least the boy.” I told her in a smug voice. She will never let go the time I forgot to tell Jack what when the proper time we were leaving. Leah believes that I did this on porpoise, Jack and i were on a break.
“Alright, when did you tell him to meet us at the trail?” She asked accusingly.
“Geez, I told him two thirty, that’s in a half an hour. I swear it was an accident! This time we’re back together anyways. So there wont be any complications” When I finished my sentence, I noticed it was quiet in Leah’s car.
“By the way, where is Sarah?” I questioned. Leah was unusually quiet, she didn’t interrupt me when I was making my excuse.
“She’s sick. Her leg is still bothering her. I know you really wanted us all to be there this time. Its really bad. She has the flue. Jack said he would stop by her house and check on Sarah on his way.” she said in a rush. Leah knew we needed four people to complete the calling, (a calling is when you light four candles to represent the fore elements, earth air wind and fire. It attracts the witch.) there was something she wasn’t telling me.
“Alright, out with it, who did you invite to come help?” I spat out, I already knew who it was. It had to be Jacks best friend, Josh, who thought this whole thing was a joke. Which is defiantly a lie! We have had three witch sightings, its a little harder to tell these days its been so cold. It always to seems to get colder when a witch is near.
“Josh.” Leah whispered.
“Ugh! You know how he is, and I really think we could be close! He wont even try, and you know it. He thinks this whole thing is a hoax. The witch probably won’t even show. You remember what happened last time, we had a witch show up out of no where ad we almost had her, and she got away. That was the worst trip yet!” when I was finished with my rant she stayed quiet. Leah knew me well enough to let me calm down before talking about the subject again.
“I’m sorry. Really I am, but what other choice did we have?” Leah argued. I knew there was no other choice. The five of us were the only ones who knew what we really did on Saturdays, and the rare snow day, like today.
“I know. Josh is the only other person we let in on the secret. I think its time we tell some one else.” I said
“We can talk about it later, we’re here, and there’s Jack’s car.” She ended the conversation We stepped out of the car, Jack and Josh were waiting for us.
“Hey Jack.” I said very enthusiastic. “Hi Josh.” all my happiness gone. It was quiet, and started to get a little awkward.
“Well, uh, lets get started. Before it gets too late.” Jack said, breaking the silence.
“Good idea!” Leah started to walk toward the trail. She blushed as she passed Josh. It dawned on me. Leah had a crush on Josh. Duh, I had to restrain my self from hitting my palm to my forehead. I trotted up next to her.
“Leah, why don’t we go in pairs. Me and Jack, You and Josh.” I whispered, emphasizing his name.
“Alright!” Leah knew she answered to quickly, “I mean, OK. If you think that will help us find the witch faster.” Her blush deepened to a red.
“Ladies, slow down, whats the rush?” Josh said in his i-think-I’m-so-hot voice.
“Say something” I mouthed to Leah. The boys were catching up.
“Uh, Tasha and Jack are going to take a different route. M-me and you are going to stay on the trail.” Leah finished, barley stuttering. I could tell she was nervous.
“Well, if its OK with you Josh? I think it will help us find the witch faster.” I said, Leah gave me a grateful smile. I took Jacks hand, so that Josh really wouldn’t have a choice.
“Yeah, that’s cool. Lets get our witch hunt on!” Josh replied, he was a little flushed too. There was a relationship brewing.
“Text me when you think your close. Me and Jack have a map, do you have yours?” I asked
“Yeah, ill keep you posted.” Leah said as she and josh walked down the trail.
“What was that about Tay?” Jack asked as soon as they were out of sight.
“Oh, nothing, lets head west. I have a good feeling about today.” I blushed a little at the use of my little nick name from Jack. We headed west off the trail.
It was a good half an hour when I got a text back from Leah. Find anything? There’s nothing on the trails, should we just head back? My heart sank, I really wanted to find this witch. Nah, lets keep going, lets meet up at the crossing between the check point B and C. We’re close to there. See you soon. I texted back quickly.
“Lets go, we are meeting them up at a check point.” I said discouraged.
“Alright, don’t worry. We will find her.” I knew Jack was talking about the witch. He didn’t like to say the word aloud. I didn’t really either.
We made it to the Check point B, and started toward C. I was surprised to see we had made it all the way to Check point C. Jack and I didn’t see them, so we turned around and walked back the way we came. I gasped when I saw the sign for Check point B again.
“What? Did you hear them walking? I didn’t. Ill call Leah” I said worried. It rang fore times, and went to voice mail. I tried again. As I was about to try the third time, I heard a scream. It was Leah.
“What do you want from us!” Leah yelled. That was her line to keep the witch occupied, so I knew she was OK. We came around the bend, and there was the which, only this time her cloak was almost white. It took me a few moments to find the witch in the sudden heavily fallen snow. Josh had his candle hidden on his side away from the witch, Leah had hers held be hind her back. The fore of us got on each side of the witch, candles lit.
The witch couldn’t move. She was hovering about six inches off the ground.
“We need to say the spell!” Leah yelled to us. “Together OK. Ill count to three!” Leah ordered. “One! Two! Three!”
Together we spoke, “What once was free, can now be captured. Never again be, free to rapture.” In perfect sync we said our spell. The witches eyes grew wide with terror, and burst into light, and dust. We vanquished the witch. She was really gone, but that wasn’t the same one as before. I herd Leah and Josh yell and scream for joy. Jack ran over and grabbed me up in a hug. They hadn’t thought about the way the witch looked. The one we saw had a black cloak, the one a few weeks ago had a blue one.
“Jack!” I said panicked. He took one look at my face, and grabbed a hold of me. I must have looked pale, I felt as though I would pass out. I remember everything going sideways.
“Leah, bring me my bag please! Now!” said Jack. I felt something cushion my head. “Tay, are you OK? Wake up Tay. Josh hand me my water” Jack said.
“What happened!” I herd Leah yell. At that I had to open my eyes, I didn’t really remember closing them.
“Oh I’m fine Leah! Take it down an octave.” I said feeling groggy.
“Tay, what happened? You said my name and almost took a dive into the snow bank.” Jack said. I guess I should let them know now.
“That wasn’t the one who killed Jessica.” I saw Leah jump at my words. She was having difficulty saying her name still.
“W-what do you mean? What are you saying?” Leah said.
“The one who, we saw fore months ago, had a black cloak, the one a few weeks ago had a blue on. This one had a white one.” I said straight to the point. I saw horror come over Leah’s face.
“There’s more than one.” I herd Leah whisper. She was mortified, I could see tears come down her face. I stood up, and walked over to her, and put my arms around her.
“Hey now. Don’t you start crying. Just because we didn’t get the one who, we saw months ago, doesn’t mean we stop looking. I saw we stay on schedule.” Leah was looking at me with wonder.” Every Saturday we hunt. What you say boys? Five people are better than four! Sarah will be up and around in a few weeks. We can do this.” after my speech, I saw a light in every one of my friends, and Josh.
“OK. Lets do this. Tay has brought a grate idea to our lives. I think it could really be good for us.” said Jack.
“Can we really keep doing this?” Leah asked.
“I believe we can.” I said. As we started to walk toward the trails, I felt what I had been searching for, for the last four months. Peace.