The Sect of the Witch

The church was fucking freezing. This was a fucking stupid idea.

Chloe’s eyes sought out the shapes of her friends, shadowy figures on a background of blackness. Maddie was fumbling with the matches as Lucas stood loyally beside her, holding out the candles. Finally after three failed attempts she managed to light them and a little of the darkness fell away.

Sure, black fishnets and corsets seem glamorous when you’re drawing them in your math’s textbook, but the reality, she was discovering, is very different. Chloe hadn’t expected the boning to dig so far into the soft flesh under her breasts. And she certainly hadn’t expected it to be this cold. Goosebumps and corned-beef skin are not tragically alluring, she thought, staring wistfully down at her quivering, unhappy flesh.

Overhead the church rood flickered and wavered in the candlelight like a sinister mirage. The whole place had a damp, abandoned smell.

Since Maddie had watched The Sect of the Witch she had been very taken with this idea of nailing her colours to the Satanic mast by conducting a black mass ‘somewhere Jesusy’ as she put it. This would, she claimed, put them all so far beyond redemption that they’d be summoning demons in no time.

“No more having your head flushed down the toilet. No more having to pay for Harriet Pengelly’s second pudding every day - with demons on our side, they’ll have to leave us alone.”

Maddie was determined. Chloe just liked the clothes.

They clustered near the stone sarcophagi at the back, arms outstretched and bravely pretending not to shiver. Lucas, acting as High Priest, began to intone the words that Maddie had copied from The Sect of the Witch, his voice fleshing out the darkness.

Slowly, Chloe felt the trace of ridiculousness begin to trickle away. As Lucas continued to chant a sense of calmness, of power began to steal over her. The darkness wasn’t impenetrable now; she wore it like a cape, draped over her pale bare arms. The church began to thrum with a kind of wild energy.

Chloe looked over. Maddie could feel it too. Her friend’s face was upturned with a rapturous smile plastered across it.

Then, something on one of the sarcophagi began, unmistakably, to move.

A figure, vaguely human but, hunched and broken with horrible, ragged wings began to rise from the shadow of the grave, a high-pitched, maniacal cackle reverberating around the space. Maddie wasn’t smiling now; the three of them fell over one another in their hurry to escape from whatever it was they had summoned.

“Fucks sake I didn’t think it’d fucking work” bellowed Lucas, shoving Chloe aside in his rush to leave.

Chloe was the last to reach the door. She flung a glance behind her; the candles still flickered around the graves and she saw, standing in the centre a very dirty, naked old man, holding open his trenchcoat and absolutely pissing himself with laughter.

Chloe opened her mouth to call to the others, to reassure them that they hadn’t summoned hellspawn, just woken an old tramp. But then, thinking better of it, she closed it again, saying nothing, just watching her friends flailing, panicked through the cemetery. She was fairly sure they wouldn’t be going back to the church any time soon...