by Andrea Cahill © 2002

“Damn kids.”

He watched the little goblins, ghosts, witches, and superheroes scavenge the town, hunting for their treats. Every year they came, demanding, whining; cavorting about like little demons. Every year they became louder, more obnoxious, it was time that some one taught them a lesson.

“Damn kids,” he said again as he stepped away from the fractured window, letting the ragged drape fall back into place. There had been a time when that window had been smooth and unbroken, but it was now only a dim memory in the depths of his soul. He cringed as a high pitched squeal broke through the night. Maybe one of the little monsters had fallen and broken something; he could only hope. None of them remember the old ways, the old customs. Samhain, Halloween they called it now, had once been a holy day, now it was commercialize and perverted beyond recognition. He had tried to stop it, to preserve the old ways, to remind them, but they had just laughed at him. He was only an old man, a crazy old man; what did he know about the ways of the world?

The adults were just as bad as the children. Comfortable and safe in their lives, they saw little need to keep the old ways. The worst of them were out with their spawn, committing sacrilege on this holy day.

He alone kept the old ways, prayed and sacrificed to protect the town, and what thanks did he get? A band of so-called “concerned citizens” threatening to lock him up in the loony bin if he continued to practice his craft. Idiots. He had sacrificed too much to loose this town to the Dark.

Shuffling into the living room, he lit the fat black candle on his altar. It guttered and flickered in the stillness of the room, casting shadows that danced wickedly upon the bare walls. Once pictures had filled those walls, but they were gone now, along with the people in them.

He cast his circle, calling upon the four points.

“Watchtowers of the North, the East, the South, and the West. Elements of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water. I beseech thee on this night of darkness. I offer myself to your service in exchange for protection. In this place and in this hour, give me strength and wisdom to protect and guard. As I will, so mote it be.”

Air stirred around him, the earth trembled under his feet, the flame from the candle flickered, and rain burst from the heavens. He could hear the little beasts squealing now, running for cover. Smiling grimly, he closed his circle, exhausted. The town would be safe for another year.

Fools. They were all fools. If he didn’t keep up the practices and the rituals, the entire town would fall to darkness. What would they do then? Comfortable in their suburban lives, none of them would have the faintest idea of how to fight back. They would come running to him then, pleading, begging for his help.

Then trick was on them.

x x x

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