#6 – A story I wished I never pursued
Day 6 – Topic: Wicked Women
My name is Melissa. I was a journalist from a medium newspaper in a small city and as the spooky day of October 31st approaches, the demand for scary news stories is on the rise. Because of that the editor in chief sends some of the columnists and certain other journalists every year on a mission to find something terrifying for the readers to enjoy. Certain news stories raise the sales dramatically and if some of us found something gripping, something captivating, it would help a great deal.
Most people had no imagination. They went for the most basic of things like haunted houses and reports from an overnight visit in a graveyard. Boring. Sure, it requires little to no effort from the writer, which is useful, if you are busy with other news stories and don’t want to get distracted with a temporary season, but it’s lazy.
I wanted to do something different, something challenging. That’s why I started my mission a little sooner than I was actually assigned to it. I got some ahead time I needed thanks to that.
When you live in a small community of people, you get to hear most of the stories that others tell. Some are exaggerated, some are just a hearsay stories, but some are real. Six months ago, I first heard about some possible cult of women doing something strange. I wasn’t sure about the story first, but the more I heard, the more I believed it. Apparently, there was a group of women somewhere in the neighbourhood, who devoted themselves to some sort of dark magic.
Naturally, I didn’t believe it for a second, but it would make for a great story. Even if it was exaggerated and they just did some weird things, the atmosphere of something forbidden would make the article tense and exciting. I decided to carefully look around and figure out what people are involved. It took me several weeks of careful listening, thorough investigation of leads, but I finally figured out which women were probably the ones of whom the rumours circled around.
I decided I can’t tell them I am a journalist at first. I didn’t want to deceive them, but these sort of groups usually have problem with people like me hanging around. I thought the best way to approach this was to try and make friends with at least one of the women and figure out if there is something true about these claims. Thanks to the modern world, a few minutes of googling brought me to the profile of my first target.
Middle aged woman, generic features, likeable and from my quick look around here public profile, interested in mythical things. Looked like a jackpot. I remembered her face so I would know who to approach. There are only so many places in our small town to gather and the photos on her profile let on a pretty good idea where she could appear. Few days of observation and a lot of coffee later, I finally noticed her. She walked into a cafe and ordered. She sat down at the window and began drinking.
That was my queue. I walked towards her and began to chat with her. Being an extrovert makes my job much easier. I complimented her on a scarf, asked her where to buy it, talked a bit more and suddenly we were acquaintances. I didn’t push my luck. I had time so I played it slowly. We talked, friended each other on Facebook, met a couple of times and she began to trust me. I have to admit, I liked her too. I didn’t pretend anything I didn’t feel. I tried to be as genuine as possible. She was a human being after all.
It didn’t take long and she introduced me to her other friends. They held something like a party in her house and I was cordially invited to attend. I was sure that she talked about me with them and I guess they wanted to check me out. I gave them what they wanted. I turned up in a crimson red dress and tried to look as devilish as possible to appeal to their darker side. We talked a lot, drank some wine and I had a genuinely good time! I got to know them as people, not as rumours. I completely forgot what I was trying to achieve. I didn’t want that anymore. I decided I wouldn’t write the article about them. When they asked me what I was doing for a living I told them the truth. They didn’t mind at all. I guess they liked me too.
Now you might be wondering, what is the point of this story, if I didn’t want to write about them. It’s true I scratched the article, but I can’t stay silent about what happened later.
They believed me and they liked me. Because of that, they invited me into their secret society. I lost the urge of getting in I had when I thought about the article, but I liked them and didn’t want to disappoint. Also, truth be told, I was a bit curious. It’s in my nature.
I agreed to their offer, swore the oath of secrecy they asked of me and met them at a certain location in the middle of nowhere. When I arrived, I was given a warm welcome, a beautiful silk robe and a mask. I personally think it was pointless, because all of us knew each other, but I didn’t fight it. I was brought onto a field, where the women gathered in a circle. As the night fell on the country, the bonfires and torches were lit. The group began chanting and humming and one of the women stood in the middle of the circle. She took out a bowl of liquid and drew a symbol on the ground I have never seen. I guess I expected a pentagram and a sacrificial lamb, but that didn’t happen. The symbol was complete and another woman joined the middle. She laid on the ground and the other was walking around her, chanting something I didn’t her. The rest of the women hummed and made ominous sounds, the fire was burning bright and tall and moon was shining directly on the symbol.
Suddenly, the lying woman began to toss and it looked like she had a fit. I wanted to help her, but others held me back. They told me it was fine. I didn’t believe them, but I couldn’t do anything. The tossing continued for a while and then it stopped just as suddenly as it began. The chanting stopped with it. Total silence and nobody moved. I sensed something was wrong. It was like something was watching me. I couldn’t shake that feeling.
My heart was beating loudly. I wondered what we were waiting for and just as I began to feel impatient, it happened. The fire dimmed, some torches blew out. The lying woman made on loud scream towards the sky and went silent again. Another chant began. Different this time. More urgent. More excited. The circle closed in more tightly around the symbol that now seemed to glow. The woman started to toss again, but this time it was more rapid, more inhumane. She screamed again. The woman who stood above her took out a knife and cut her palm. The droplets of blood landed on the tossing woman and she screamed again and again as they landed. Each more painful than the first. With the fourth droplet, everything froze. It was only a couple of seconds, but it was petrifying.
Then she opened her eyes and without any movement, with deep voice, she recited a few lines in a language I didn’t understand and yelled the final word so loud, my head began to hurt. Everything went silent, others knelt down, closed their eyes and looked into the ground. I couldn’t bear it anymore. I used this opportunity to run away. I jumped into my car and drove away. I don’t know if they didn’t notice or didn’t care. I took what I got and disappeared.
I knew these women knew who I was and I knew they would come looking for me. I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. I stopped home, took out some essentials and drove to the house of my parents that night. I stayed there for a long time and decided I need to move out, because I would never feel safe in that place again. I moved across the country, became a writer instead and tried to avoid anything even remotely mystical. I still look over my shoulder all the time and I am terrified they will find me at some point. I wrote this because I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore. I am not sure you’ll believe me, but I don’t give a damn. I got this finally of my chest. That’s what matters to me most.