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I stand at the table staring at our meal with my stomach growling because I haven't eaten since the donuts I had at church this morning. It takes everything out of me not to just dive head-first into the dinner table swallowing the meal whole, but we have to wait for Cassandra, like always. Her being added to our polygamist family was the worst decision my dad ever made. There’s something about her that I just don't trust. The woman never wears normal Bath and Body perfumes because she says that they have harmful chemicals, so she smells like eucalyptus all the time. She finally arrives, hair matted with a stick through it. “Honey, are you okay?” my dad mutters to her. She nods. “Lord help me” I pray. We pray as a family and sit down. We are forced to eat in silence because my mom, my dad's first wife, always says “God doesn’t allow talking during dinners”. I understand that though, I don't want to be rude, especially in front of the creator
Dinner is finished and I head up to my room to read The Book of Mormon. My friends think I go overboard reading it, but I love it. The knowledge the Lord has brought me makes me feel empowered. All the sudden, Cassandra screams “Where do you think you’re going, young lady”
“Uh, my room?”
“Oh my word, you are always in that room of yours” her words make my blood boil, but God says to respect your parents. “What could you possibly be doing up there all the time?”
“Reading the word of God,”
“Sure,” Cassandra says, rolling her eyes. “God doesn’t like liars who use his word to talk to boys and be an outright wh*re,”
I storm off to my room angry that Cassandra even exists. I don’t trust her. I question why she called me a wh*re. I sit in my room pondering that conversation. I start to cry wondering if I’m really a wh*re. I mean I did kiss that boy at camp one time, but I prayed for forgiveness and repented. I even vowed to never do it again. As I’m sitting in my room in tears, I see a bright orange light coming from the woods. Dad always warns me and my siblings to not go out there, but honestly, I need some adventure sometimes. I slip on my New Balance shoes from last year and go to walk out the door when I’m stopped by Joseph, my brother, named after the prophet Joseph Smith. He looks at me with worry in his eyes. “Where are you going?”
“Just going for a walk,” I say. “Just want to get out of this house for a minute”
“Well can I come too? Cassandra has been on me too,”
“Yes, just hurry,” I say, throwing his coat to him. “Let's go to the woods tonight,”. Joseph and I have always wanted to sneak out there and tonight was our chance. Joseph looks at me with a grin and slips his shoes on. It’s cold and moist out because of the wet Utah autumn in season. The wet ground makes me gag since it's practically saturating my socks with every step. I can feel my feet start to wrinkle and it makes me want to vomit. “Squish, Squash” my shoes moan.
I hold Joseph back as we approach the flaming embers. We both look at each other in shock as we see people dancing around the fire. Joseph visibly went from confused to starting to have a panic attack. He gives me the look of “let's the heck out of here,”, but I want to investigate further. “Go back” I whisper. “I’m going in further, but don’t tell a soul I’m out here”. Surprisingly, he agrees and slowly, but hastily goes home.
I approach the people dancing around the fire quietly when suddenly I step on a stick. The people whip their heads around with a menacing grins. “Oh ladies,” One of them call out. “We seem to have a visitor,” They proceed towards me. I am mortified about what may happen.
“What’s your name sweetheart?” says a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed lady.
“Kacie? What are-”
“Nice to meet you, Kacie, I’m Beneatha” She is so calm in her words. She is joined by three other women and while I approached them earlier, I noticed a man with glasses with them. When she introduces herself, I find myself feeling relaxed for the first time since I stepped out the door with Joseph. Something about their presence makes me feel safe and loved, something I don’t feel at home. That feeling quickly fades as I look past them. Behind them I see the fire they were dancing around when I saw them for the first time, but I definitely didn’t notice the large blood-red pentagram around it.
“I better head home”
“No, no it’s okay,” Benetha says. “We’re not going to hurt you and it’s probably not what you think”
I am back to trusting her. Maybe everything I’ve been told about people like her is completely wrong. With a nod, I agree. Beneatha smiles and we start walking towards their camp. I have so many questions, but the last thing I want to do is offend them. I have no idea what their next move is, but I feel confident that they wouldn’t lie to me. God wouldn’t let me fall for their tricks.
As we continue forward, I see more stuff that leads to the idea that these people are witches. Inside their camp behind our house, there was a cat brain and eye, potions, and a cauldron. I should be repenting from these people, but I don’t want to leave. I’m intrigued. I have so many questions but fear that I’m going to ask the wrong ones. “So, are you guys like- witches?” I ask hesitantly.
“Oh sweetie,” The tall girl with a pixie cut says. “We are Wiccans, we practice witchcraft, but we don’t sacrifice babies as everyone else thinks”
“Witchcraft- I need to go,” I say, grabbing my phone off of the tree stump I was sitting on.
“No, no. It's not what you think”
“Well, God doesn’t like witchcraft and what God doesn’t like, I don't like”
“Just sit down and listen, we will explain everything” Beneatha chimes in.
I am extremely afraid to hear them out, but I think I am even more afraid of what may happen if I reject them. Before I can even decide, I get a text message from Joseph that reads, “Kacie are you okay???”. I quickly reply, assuring him that they’re harmless, even if I am unsure. Before I realize it, all four people that are at the camp are staring at me waiting for my reply. Hesitantly, I agree, even though God doesn’t reason with sinners, but I am not God.
“For thousands of years, our ancestors have been persecuted for their beliefs, for their way of living, but they can’t get rid of us,” Beneatha explains. My eyes can’t seem to stop wandering off to the man walking around. He stands about 6 feet tall, has black hair, and has these round glasses that shape his face in such a manner of perfection.
“I’m so sorry to interrupt,” I say “But who is he?” I continue, pointing at the man.
“Oh, I am so sorry for not introducing myself,” He says. “I’m Willhelm, Beneatha is my sister” He finishes.
“With that out of the way, I will continue” Beneatha states, with an annoyed tone. “My- Our mother was killed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but they covered it up perfectly. They even blamed some man in Nevada for it and now he’s rotting away in prison for something he didn’t do. The same thing happened to every single one of my female ancestors, as far as I know, for the past 100 years. They were all burnt at the stake as well, brutal and disgusting if you ask me.”
“Oh, my word. I’m so sorry” I say, extremely uncomfortable that the people of my faith did something this heinous. I feel absolute disgust, but surely they had their reasons such as sacrifices or murder. “I hate to ask this, but did they do something that made it somewhat reasonable, or not at all?”
“They were innocent. All they did was refuse to go to church and told them time and time again that ‘the earth is their church’ and the Mormons didn’t like it” Beneatha seems offended by my question, but surely she can understand where I am coming from. Before I can even process that she could be offended, my phone vibrates in my pocket. Joseph is still worrying sick about me, even though I told him everything was okay. As I’m typing my message back saying that I will be back soon, Wilhelm sits next to me and tells me I need to stay for a while longer. I delete my message and tell him once again that I am fine and I will need him to cover for me for a couple of hours. I agree to stay a bit and Wilhelm pulls me to the side. I can’t help, but feel an attraction to him. He didn’t have a lick of gel, but every single hair was in place. He had tribal tattoos covering his right arm and stubble covering his face. While examining his face, I he has panic in his face.
“What’s going on? Is everything okay?” I ask
“No, you have to listen to me. Your family is in danger”
“What do you-”
“I mean that your family is a part of their next ritual. You see, the family that supposedly ‘killed our ancestors’ are your ancestors. They think your ancestors killed our mother, grandmother, and so on.”
“You are kidding me. Is this some sort of sick joke? Is that why you sickos are in the woods BEHIND MY HOUSE?” I question him with a rise in my voice
“Keep your voice down!” He exclaims quietly, pressing his finger against my lips. I feel butterflies in my stomach when he does that, but I don't have time to wallow on my feelings for him. The last thing I expected was for Wilhelm to tell me that they’re out to sacrifice my family.
“So what's their plan and how am I supposed to stop them?”
“Their plan is to break into your house in the morning at about 2:30, threaten your family, yes all 12 of them, with knives, and bring them out here to the pentagram. At which point, they’re going to burn your family, except you, at the stake at exactly 3 A.M.. This is all a part of a ritual to bring back our ancestors.”
“Why not me?”
“In order to complete the ritual, they need the tears of a mourning girl. Its all in their spell book. I’ll steal it so you can study it before it happens and you can help me stop them”
“Pardon my French, but how the hell am I supposed to stop them”
“You’re going to have to slit their throats”
“I'm going to have to what-”
“You heard me. It’s all in the book, just take it and save yourself and your family.” I look at Wilhelm as he says this to me. I have no reason, but to believe him. Without speaking, I grab their book, stuff it in my sling bag, and say my goodbyes to everyone, even though they are about to betray me worse than Judas betrayed Jesus. The goodbyes are short, but feel like hours since all I can imagine is them finding their book of rituals in my sling bag; however, my fears never become reality and I immediately run as fast as I can straight home.
I rip open the glass sliding door banging it against the frame. Cassandra looks at me with disgust as I walk in. “Slam the door harder next time, hussy.” She says ignorantly. Little does she know I have her life in the palm of my hands at the moment and one wrong move, she along with the rest of my family is dead. I roll my eyes going to my room, where Joseph is waiting for me.
“I have no time to explain what I did, but you have to help me.”
“What?” Joseph questions. Quickly, I give him a SparkNotes version of what Wilhelm told me, explaining further that this isn’t a joke. Joseph looks at me concerningly, but all I can do is push him out of my room because, as Wilhelm said, I am practically the only one that can stop this. He knows better than to tell anybody because he knows the severity of this.
I quickly get to work on ways I can stop this. I have so many thoughts running through my head and before I know it, the clock strikes midnight. 2 hours before they start hatching their plan to kill us and bring back their wicked ancestors. I start a new document on my computer and get to work.
Mission: Save my Family
Let them escort my family out of the house, but leave them scrambling when they can’t find me, little do they know, I am already right where they need me.
When they go searching for their ritual book after my family is tied up, I emerge from the darkness slitting Benetha’s throat and injuring the girl with the pixie cut, meanwhile, Wilhelm is taking care of the silent witch.
I cut my family down, while Wilhelm prepares the reverse since the ritual has already started
All of us join hands and perform the reversal
Before I know it, it is time for me to sneakily leave my house, leaving enough time so I don’t cross paths with the witches.I take a longer route, but it's worth it because I won’t be spotted. Wilhelm is already at camp when I arrive and the others are gone.. He looks cuter than ever in his cloak and black soot smeared around his eyes, but I must stay focused, there's 12 lives at stake. Wilhelm leads me to a hollowed-out tree beside the pentagram with a perfect perspective so I can see everything going on. I slide him my planning sheet and he nods. We make eye contact for a very long time before he looks at his watch. He flashes his watch and we both realize we aren’t expecting to come back for another 15 minutes. Our eye contact comes back and joins back afterward. Without saying a word, Wilhelm leans in and kisses me. His stubble scratches my face as our lips join. I know this is an inappropriate time, but I can’t help enjoying every second. I lean back, blushing and grinning. I quickly snap back into reality and say “We will talk about this later.” Holding back my embarrassing giddiness.
My giddiness is quickly replaced by fear and anxiety as I see them carrying each of my family members. They’re all in their pajamas looking too fearful to scream or run. Wilhelm quickly runs over to them frantically. He grabs Cassandra hoisting her up onto the stake. Once all of them are done being tied up, they realize that they don't have their spell book.
“It's alright guys, I have this ritual memorized,” Beneatha says, cackling afterward.
“What about the girl?” Wilhelm asks.
“We shall get her later, we have who we need right now, exactly where we want them” With that, they begin their spell.
“Ancestors as far back as we go, lift the veil to seek revenge. These are the people who are responsible for your death. Now, please, unleash your wrath.” I didn’t expect to freeze in the moment, but before I could move, the quiet witch lit a fire under Cassandra. I bolt out of the hollowed-out tree. My family screaming as they watch one of their moms burn to death was not planned. I quickly slit Beneatha and the quiet witch's throats while Wilhelm takes care of the witch with the pixie cut. I start cutting down my family one by one. They're all screaming for Cassandra, but she is not responding. Suddenly, it starts raining, putting out the fire beneath her. However, before things get bad, we must reverse the damage that has already been done. All 3 of the witches' heads are in the perfect spot and we start repeating the words Benetha had spoken, but backward, but to our surprise, nothing happens. Suddenly the heads start shaking violently, including Cassandra’s.
“Oh my God!” Wilhelm screams. “Cassandra is one of them” Before I can even mutter anything out Wilhelm slashes Cassandra’s throat and her head comes tumbling off. My siblings are hysterical, but I assure them that she wasn’t their mom, she was the work of Satan and witchcraft.
We repeat the spell this time their heads descend into the ground, meaning the spell has is working. Everybody was crying hysterically because what we just witnessed was trauma-inducing. Wilhelm was comforting me. Assuring me that I did the right thing. We all headed back up to the house where we realize that they all had terrible rashes from the rope. I look at Joseph’s rope burn and its bleeding and oozing. I quickly call 911 and tell them everything that happened and they arrive minutes later.
I find myself sitting in the back of an ambulance with Wilhelm both cuddling up underneath a blanket and staring at my house.
“You know what you did back there was pretty badass, even if it didn’t go as planned.” He states.
“Thank you. I just wish there was a way to get my siblings their mom back, even if she was one of them the whole time.
“Yeah, but as somebody who's related to both Cassandra and Beneatha, there was no saving them. I thought Cassandra was a pure Morman woman until tonight.” He says with such sarcasm.
“I don’t know how I am going to stay here with what happened tonight,” I say with tears wallowing in my eyes. Wilhelm pulls me closer to him, kissing me on the forehead.
“There's nothing to worry about anymore, sweetheart. You’re safe now”