Cindy and Stacy
“Light as a feather, stiff as a board.”
“Light as a feather, stiff as a board.”
Scene: three candles, three children, all perhaps 15, all curious about the worlds beyond their charcoaled eyes.
“This is sooo boring Cindy. Why can’t we ever do anything fun?” Words ringed with the whine of the self-satisfied. Cindy leads this junior coven, her symbol of office the cheap, plastic Ankh hanging round her neck. Stacy, the bored girl, is Cindy’s first Lieutenant. She sits sullenly, her voice pitched to the edge of mutiny.
“I don’t want to hear it Stacy, this is way more fun than anyone you’d be doing right now.” Her lips the color of fresh blood and laced with venom.
“You mean David?” Rachel said, whispered. She was quiet, mousy, a body designed to be ignored. As she drew out the name David, Cindy nearly choked on her laughter, a rare bit of validation.
“Rachel!” Stacy bleated.
“She’s right Stac. If not for us, you’d be sitting around complaining about your ‘baby daddy’ by now.” Southern drawl serviceable for a girl who had never gone further south than Newark, and whose experience of its culture didn’t extend beyond sweet tea and Georgia peaches.
“Would not!” Stacy rebutted, stupidly.
“You’d be fat, with your hair all in a bun, waddling around that apartment of yours wishing you had friends like us to tell you to buy a rubber.” Stacy scowled, Rachel nodded and Cindy smiled a smile that said she wouldn’t mind seeing that happen.
“You’re full of it Cin…” For once, Stacy was right. Despite David’s many, many protests, Stacy was as chaste as driven snow. It was a little sickening, but I’m biased.
“Don’t believe me? How about we find out?” Her fangs were dripping. Last summer, Cindy lost her virginity to an older counselor at a summer camp. Since then, she had made it her life’s mission to prove everyone was as corrupted as she felt. Not coincidentally, this was the same time she started wearing black eye liner, calling her cat “Shadow,” and holding these bimonthly meetings of disaffected suburbanites who fashioned themselves witches.
“And how do you plan on doing that Cin?” Stacy’s voice an eye-roll.
“I plan on summoning a daemon to tell us where you’d be if we weren’t here holding your hand.” Cindy’s attempt at gravitas failed. Rachel was rolling, Stacy was seething.
“Do whatever you want Cin. I don’t know even why I hang out with you, you’re so full of crap I’d be surprised if you still float! Explains why Troy won’t give you the time of day.” That and Troy was quite happily “seeing” Rachel behind Cindy’s back. I have to give her credit, she didn’t flinch.
“Fine then,” Cindy snapped, “get the candles!” She wielded an authority that neither of the other girls could resist. They scrambled to their feet, finding five votive candles they had liberated from the Mall the weekend before, placing them in a circle nearby.
With the mien of a stage magician, Cindy pushed herself to her feet and arranged the candles in a partially symmetric pattern, picking up a piece of chalk stolen from the school and using it to draw a circle of complex looking runes. Next, she walked to her laptop, its background overgrown with black roses, and pecked away at the keys. In five minutes she had a small stack of papers and was shuffling towards the other girls, handing each a copy.
“Tonight, we’re summoning Q’ural, daemon of the Seven Handed Clock. He speaks of futures that have failed to be and futures that still may come…” Cindy began.
Why is it that every clutch of humans who try this always manage to make up some new and more embarrassing name for us? I’d rather be called Bob or Ryan than some unpronounceable mess of accents and apostrophes.
“…unless,” a pointed pause, “unless you’re scared.” Cindy concluded.
Rachel was, all she wanted was to look cool in front of the other girls and have an excuse to wear black cloths, she hadn’t expected to have to do anything. Stacy looked angry, angrier than when they were children, and she found out that Cindy lied about her bike being stolen because she had borrowed and wrecked it.
“Just get on with it Cin!”
Cindy blew Stacy a kiss and finished moving her votives, lighting them in an unnecessarily meaningful order. Afterward, she took a seat in the circle and motioned for the girls to form a triangle with her as its apex. A moment of silence, then Cindy read from the sheets of paper. A few sentences in, she sputtered, “We really need four people to do this right.” A trace of petulance creeping into her voice and working its way across her brow, “Where is Kerry anyway?”
“Visiting her dad.” Stacy smirked, “Does that mean you’re giving up Cin?” Cindy snarled in response.
The first and only rule of demon summoning is to follow directions. As ridiculous as her little Internet cookbook was, it was right about the fact that Circles of Protection should be made of melted wax and not school-house chalk. It might sound like a little thing, but the Devil, as they say, is in the details.
“Powers of the Sky and Sea. Powers of the Beasts and the Fields. Powers of the Stars and the Moon, hear me and call forth Q’ural, Lord of Fate!”
I have to give them credit, they didn’t all pass out at once. Rachel did but after saw her disappear into the circle, Stacy and Cindy managed to stay surprisingly poised.
What happened next?
Situations like this all follow a pretty classic pattern.
First, fear –
“Wh…who the Hell are you?” Stacy stammered.
“Are you Q’ural?” Cindy followed.
“Sure, why not? By the way, Protection Circles are made of wax, not chalk. It’s a rookie mistake.” They started crying.
Then, negotiation –
“What do you want? Our bodies? Our souls? Where did you send Rachel? Please! If you promise not to hurt us we’ll do anything you want!” Cindy was screaming more than talking at this point, then it happened, I couldn’t help myself, I started laughing.
Finally, we come to acceptance –
“Rachel isn’t coming back, is she?” Cindy whispered, her voice raw from screaming.
“You aren’t going to let us go, are you?” Stacy was keeping it together better than her friend, respectable.
“Could I have a final request?” Cindy was holding onto consciousness by a thread.
“Why the Hell not?” I paused, “Wait. Is this that stupid question about Stacy?”
“No…I mean yes. Yes. Sorry. Is that OK?” Cindy’s voice caught in her throat.
“She would have been fine, lived a long, happy life, eventually spawned a couple of really lovely kids.” They went pale, paler than their caked on makeup.
“Are you lying?” Stacy was losing it now.
“Does it even matter?” I wasn’t, “Now, if we’re all done here, I have places to be…”
“So..sorry Stac.” Cindy mewled, pushing herself from the floor.
“It’s OK Cin.” Stacy dipped her head a fraction, gripping her best friends hand as they sunk into the darkening circle.
Three for the price of one, this was turning out to be a good night.