Missy has tried a new spell, unleashing zombies on Midnight Hollow…
After rapidly explaining to Missy what the palantìr had revealed, they decide there is no other option – they will have to fight evil with evil. Thanks to the curfew, they don’t risk being seen, so a half hour later they are on their brooms, heading for the graveyard.
Missy is right behind Granny, struggling to keep up.
Once in the graveyard, they get started immediately with a cleansing ritual. They can’t be bothered with ghosts or evil spirits as they will have their hands full with a demon…
They work their way through every area of the graveyard, and they are both a little out of breath when they meet up under the statue of the Old Magus.
‘Are you ready, Missy?’
‘I suppose I am…’ But Missy is a little taken aback. Her magic isn’t as strong as her sister’s, and doing this thorough cleansing ritual has severely drawn upon her reserves. Even Granny’s features seem a little drawn.
With a nod to her sister, Granny begins the summon and is soon in a trance like state.
Missy joins her, and shortly both witches’ forces are united.
The earth trembles and shakes, giving way to a blinding light. Hecate rises to the surreal sound of howling dogs…
She stands stock still for a moment, then she stretches lasciviously.
Fast as a cobra she spins around, asking with a hiss, ‘Ssss… Who are zzzzzzzzzzzzze mortals who dared call on me? Ssss…’
Granny tears away her gaze from the hypnotic yellow eyes. ‘We are the Grey witches… Ahem, Your Highness…’ She bows humbly before the Queen of Witches. ‘We’re in great need of your assistance… Your Highness.’
Only silence follows her request. Granny swallows, fighting the urge to raise her head. Suddenly a cackle of mad laughter tears the silence apart, stopping as abruptly as it started. A scale covered hand reaches out right under Granny’s nose, palm up.
‘Give it to meeee!’
Granny ventures looking up.
‘GIVE IT TO ME!’ Hecate bellows only a few inches from Granny’s face. She recoils from the outburst of hot air emanating from the demon’s mouth, gasping for breath.
‘Gi-give you what?’ Granny fights the urge to run.
‘Medussssa’ssss tear. Ssssss’ Hecate hisses, yellow eyes glowing in the dark.
‘But…’ Granny stares at the pendant glowing on Hecate’s chest. As she stares it disappears and then it appears again. Granny knows it’s only a vision, appearing when the demon is close to the real necklace. OMG… I hope she hasn’t noticed…
‘Give. It. To. Me… NOW!’
Granny tears her gaze away and closes her eyes. ‘Er… I’m not sure I can do that right now.’ She gulps, amazed at her own temerity.
‘You see, I have…’ She throws herself into one of the most fantastic lies she’s ever told anyone. Hecate stares at Granny, but at least she’s listening.
‘… and that’s why!’ Granny finishes her monologue with a vague gesture of her hand. Hecate shakes her head and seems to be considering.
‘What?’ Missy has been listening to, more and more awed and concerned. ‘You’ve lost Mother’s necklace!?!’
Granny tries to stop Missy blundering, but it’s too late. Her sister is looking at her, a bewildered expression on her face, ‘But you never take it off?’
Hecate’s eyes are but mere slits and she bares her poisonous teeth. Her voice is a scarcely audible low whisper. ‘You ssssinccccerely zzzzink I believed you? Ssssssstupid witchesssssss…’
‘Oh, no!’ Missy tries to save the situation. ‘Not at all! Of course Granny didn’t want to trick you! Um… Her story is not finished.’
‘Issss it not?’
Missy nods vigorously at Granny. ‘No, it’s not. Go on, sister… Tell her!’
‘Uh-oh…’ Granny wishes the earth could just open up and swallow her there and then.
‘Ahem… well, so I had to try to find a… a mermaid to pick it up from the sea bottom…’
‘… and an enormous fish, a shark it was… or a whale. Yes, a big whale…’
‘… “Go and get it!” he said. “Dive!” But the little mermaid was now a real girl, so she couldn’t and…’ Granny rambles nervously on. Her pendant is burning like fire against her bare skin. Hecate must surely notice I’m lying!
‘… and don’t forget the Dragon!’ Missy adds.
‘What!?! A Dragon? Just shut up, Missy!’ Granny whispers to her sister, nudging her with her elbow. She can’t believe her sister is doing this to her. She draws her breath and continues. ‘Err… Yes, the dragon…’
‘… end of story.’ Please, please, please, Missy. Don’t say anything…
Hecate hisses a laugh. ‘You’re sssssmart…. And entertaining… Zziisss isss to incredible to be a lie!’ She scrutinizes Granny’s eyes. ‘You wouldn’t try to lie to me… ssssss. Would you?’
Granny doesn’t dare breathe. ‘No. Of course not.’
Missy chirps in, ‘So now you can help us find the zombies I created last night!’
Hecate raises an eyebrow. ‘Are you ordering me around? Ssssstupid mortal…’
Granny tries to repair the damage done once again by her sister. ‘We really need your help to at least find out where they’re hiding.’
‘And how will you pay me, now you’ve losssst my necklace?’
Of course Missy has got an idea. ‘You can always tap her! Her blood is filled with magic!’
‘Yessss… witch’ssssss blood… How come I didn’t think of zzzat?’
Missy keeps blabbering anxiously about the power of a witch’s blood.
Granny is dumbstruck. ‘What now? “Tap” me? Oh my God…’ She shakes her head to Missy.
Hecate has some trouble understanding Missy’s logic. ‘Sssssso if I call back zzzzze walkerssss for you to kill, I can tap your ssssisssster for payment?’
‘Exactly! Err.. I mean – that’s the general idea, yes. Your Highness.’
‘You created zze zzombiesss.’
‘You created zze voodoo shimmer.’
Missy nods vigorously.
‘Sso why don’t I tap you?’
Missy looks a little taken aback, but answers immediately. ‘Because I’m only the second born and my magic isn’t flowing as freely in my veins as a first born Grey witch!’
‘I sssee…’ Hecate walks away a few steps.
Missy chirps, ‘But you should know that-’
‘-as you’re the queen of witches.’ Missy finishes in a low voice.
Hecate ponders Missy’s offer while there’s a lot of French shrugging going on behind her back.
Missy interrupts the demon by clapping her hands. ‘So it’s settled then?’
Granny tries to stare Missy down, but it doesn’t work. ‘Missy!’
Hecate smiles an evil smile. ‘But I ssstill want my necklaccccce…’
Missy rambles nervously on… ‘Err… Of course we’ll bring back the necklace… I mean… Granny will find it and bring it back to you!’
Hecate looks at the two sisters. Granny smiles nervously. I’ll throw a spell on her – transform her to something quiet, like a fish maybe…
‘When… ssssss… will you bring it to me?’
Missy hurries to answer before Granny even has a chance to think about something plausible to say.
‘Tomorrow! Err… next week? I mean next year! Maybe a little later. It takes time diving around to find it, you know… And we’ll probably-’
‘Ssssstop! Jusssst be quiet! I’ll do it. I’ll call back zzzze walking dead – asss ssssoon asssss I…’ She licks her lips, looking hungrily at Granny who shies away.
‘Are you sure you will know when to stop?’
‘Why, Grey witch? Are you sssssscared to die? Ssssssss…’
Hecate bares her fangs, ‘You might like thisssss, Grey witch…’
‘I sincerely doubt it… But go ahead. Let’s get this over with…’
Before sinking her teeth deep into Granny’s wrist, Hecate murmurs: ‘The curssssse cannot be ssssstopped… but the healing… liesss in the glow of the orbsssss…’
Missy watches Hecate drink. Even though it pleases her to see her sister in pain, she is a little worried after all. What if she doesn’t stop? What if she drains her completely?
Hecate drinks until Granny starts to see white dots swimming in front of her eyes. She sways a little. ‘God, this hurts…’ Hecate’s words are spinning in her head. … the healing lies in the glow of the orbs…
Finally Hecate is sated. She dries her mouth with the back of her hand and licks the last droplets, letting go of Granny who falls to the ground on her knees.
She seems satisfied, but Granny is feeling drained. She staggers to her feet but can hardly stand upright without something to hold on to.
Still with blood smeared around her mouth Hecate calls for the living dead…
Missy is ready with her wand, passing it from one hand to the other like some knife fighter ready to strike.
And with a masterful sway, accompanied by some secret mumbling, she undoes her evil work.
Hecate smiles evilly… ‘Byeeeee…’
In a flash of light and howling of dogs, she disappears.
‘Hey! Wait! We made a deal!’ Granny shouts feebly.
But Hecate’s gone… The two sisters look at each other.
‘Now that was one! Where’s the second walker?’
Missy shrugs her shoulders. ‘How should I know? I saved your life! You could at least say thank you…’
Granny rolls her eyes. ‘If it weren’t for you and your foot in your mouth… Never mind!’
‘I don’t believe it! You’re so unfair! And ungrateful!’ Missy stomps away.
‘Me? Ungrateful? I think you’ve got it all wrong here-’ Granny starts, but is distracted by a yellow flutter in the trees…
Part I – End of Chapter 22