Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 15

                    The conjurer of wicked little minds

“You see, back in those days, my greatest fear was to wake up and find my candle had burned
itself out. That was my foremost concern as a child, whose room overlooked a giant wheat field
where every monster known to man was waiting, waiting so patiently for that light to go out.

Most of the time, it was too dark to see anything after the sun went down, but that didn't stop my
mind from burning the midnight oil. No siree. I would even have dreams of that field coming alive
and growing under trains and on beaches. Even around the highway, where I thought we were
perfectly safe. All of a sudden, our car became stuck in the mud. The highway is long gone, and
we're sinking deeper into this black sludge. What are we going to do? I cried frantically.

Just then, I noticed two decaying corpses in the front seat, and I screamed myself awake.

Then I woke up shivering, and it was the dead of winter with a hint of snow in the air.

The summertime was especially bad 'cos the windows had to be left open, or we'd suffocate to
from the heat. I had no clock in my room back then. Didn't need one. My mother would

rouse me come mornin' when it was time for class. All's I had was a candle that was lit every
night by my father before bedtime. If I was asleep, then it didn't matter, but if I awoke, mind you.

Some of the darkest nights I can remember were having to go to the bathroom in the middle of
night. Inching my way down that pitch-black corridor was more than my mind could handle.

No lights, we didn't have 'em yet; picture that. Do you know that every time
I walked down that hallway, I was trembling with fear? Barely high enough
to reach the doorknob, I'd open it and step inside. Then came the scary part.

My mother liked mirrors, so there were a few in the bathroom. One was tall and slender, my
height. A
nother was very ornate. By ornate, I mean fancy, and the other was a hand-held mirror.

I had to cover my eyes as I walked in. Shaking like a leaf on a tree, I knew
I wasn’t alone in there. Now I couldn't close the door, or what was behind the
shower curtain might spring out and get me, and God forbid no one should hear
my scream and save me. And I was just as terrified to leave the door open 'cos the
seemed to creak most right in that hallway. It was then, at that moment, that
could see somebody or something leaning over to catch a glimpse of me as I sat
there stirring. I could almost hear a presence breathing ominously in the shadows
of that corridor. Then above the window where I sat, which led outside. I would
always sense something was gonna come crashing through the window and rip
me out of my seat. That never happened to me, of course, thank heavens.

No child should ever be filled with such gut-wrenching terror and trepidation, but
those were the woes of my youth. Then come mornin,' father would lift up the box
and carry out the waste. It was sure better than creeping around in an outhouse."

                                                                 Pg 74

“Why did you cover your eyes?” I asked, engrossed in the conversation.

“Excuse me,” she said, taken aback.

“You said when you went into the bathroom, you would cover your
eyes from the mirror. Why?”

“Because those mirrors came from my great-grandmother.


“My great-grandmother was a high priestess in a coven of witches, and people took her very
seriously. She knew how to cast spells and make magic potions. Why she could concoct a brew
for anything at all. Either to cure or to make one ail mattered none to her, so long as she got paid.”

“How do you know so much about her?”

“Because my grandmother kept a diary of all her affairs. Kind of like a spy, was she
in a way to her mother. Whenever she could, she'd secretly document everything her
mother knew about the occult. Had it not been for her, we may never have known.

All this was handed down to my mother, who in turn gave it to me.”

“Do you still have it?”

“No, my granddaughter has it now. Getting back to the mirrors, now let's not lose ourselves
The way I saw it, those mirrors were used in black magic for all kinds of evil things,
and sometimes, depending on the day, mind you, they would reflect more than just fact.

The way my mother saw it, it was merely a family heirloom that had been
handed down from generation to generation as it should be.”

“Did she ever read it?”

“No, she just kept everything neatly sorted out in boxes.”

“Do you
know how to cast spells?”

She began acting very uncomfortable, almost like
a young girl,
when she hears something displeasing.

“Yes, I know how to cast

“Do they work?”

“Yes, let me start from the very beginning. This
is sure to
answer any questions you may have about the dark side.

A long time ago my friends and I had this game we would play. We would make up all
these horrible stories as we went along. Well, one day, I told them a story that
was told
to me by my grandmother. She had me swear to her that I would not tell
another living
soul about it, especially my mother, and to that moment, I had not.
Anyway, we were
sitting around on a bunch of old milk crates where we would
tell our stories.”

Her voice was beginning to change, and I started to feel uneasy.

“Before I tell you this,” I said to them, “you must promise never to do it.” Emma stood
up and said, “how can we promise you something if we don't know what it is we are
promising?” “Because this story comes with a rule book, that's why!” They were
a bit startled by my tone, and rightfully I would
have been too. “Does everyone here
understand me?” She sat there looking white-
eyed while pointing her finger at me
as though I'd done something reprehensible.

                                                                 Pg 75

They all agreed, and so I told them... “I then recited every word of that awful spell from
an actual page in my great-grandmother's book, which I had copied down word for
word. It took me twenty minutes to write it all down. Now you must remember, in
those days, we had inkwells in school, and at home, it wasn't much easier either.”

“Wait, what?”

“Inkwells. You really do have a lot to learn, young man.
When I was a girl, we wrote
with a quill, or better still, a feather.”

“Aw, come on.”

“I am quite serious; why would
you think I'm lying to you? This was the way it was,
child. So anyway, after writing
it all down, I put the paper in my pocket and headed
off to school. After school, as we
sat on our milk crates, I recited for my friends the
page I copied down word for word.

Do you know that if you wake up at a certain time of the night,
you can summon a
spirit beside your bedpost?”

There was a terrible strain on her voice as she relayed
the information from another time and place.

“And did you know it can only be done when the moon is full? If you were to get
up at exactly three o'clock in the morning and cut the palm of your hand like so,
without flinching. Then chant the following words into a mirror in the dark with
eyes closed and two black candles lit side by side. You would be closer
than you
could ever imagine to Hell beyond your understanding.

After this, should you follow precisely a certain incantation, someone will
appear beside you in a cloak and steal you away forever into that mirror.

*The words to the invocation, she would not agree to speak of*

“You mean he'd pull you inside the mirror?”

“No, no child, you would
open your eyes to find you are no longer standing on the same side of it.

             Once that happens... (((BAM)))”

She slammed her old, withered hand down hard upon the table.

“You and your spirit are gone. You can scream, but no one will ever hear
you. Not in that wicked place. A place of no reflection and no sun.

A place so dark and dreary nothing human can survive.
A plain of time that lies between our world and the next.
A terrible place of immense suffering.”

“How do they come back?”

“Once a spirit touches that darkness, it can never come back.”

“You mean they lose their soul?”

“Yes and no.”

As my face became etched in confusion, Miss Drucella Wade went on to explain it.

“I found out many years later that the only way to release a soul from that misery
would be to take the mirror and smash it, but I didn't know it at that time.”

“Then everything gets normal again?”

“No, no, the body dies 'cos the heart stops beating. The brain is already dead.
Now, do you want to hear this story, or do you want to ask questions? All right then.

The following week, we gathered round the milk crates to tell more stories, but Millie hadn't
come out yet. Emma then said, did you see the moon last night? It was huge. Dear God, I
thought. She performed the spell on the only day of the month when there was a full moon.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that all this hocus-pocus from my great-grandmother's crazy book
could very well prove to be real. Then I shrugged it
off as I did almost everything back then.
I mean, really, there had to be a logical explanation.

The next day came, and Millie still hadn't been to school, and she wasn't hanging around with us
either, so we figured maybe she's been taken ill. So, me, Katlyn, Mary, and Emma walked
down to
Millie's house to see if everything was okay. Not even an inkling did we have of
anything really
being wrong in the least, but in the back of my mind, I knew something was amiss.

                                                                 Pg 76

When we got to the door, her mother opened it and let us in. Gracie looked like
she had been crying as she escorted us into the parlor where Millicent was sitting,
her back facing us. Now I believed in witchcraft the same way people believed in
magic. When you see the magician cutting the woman in half, why is it there's
no blood, and how does he put her back together again?”

“He can't because he really isn't cutting her in half.”

“Exactly, it's all an act. That is the same way I felt about witchcraft, but
I blundered. Even so, how was I to know at that time a person could be
endowed with photographic memory? Her mom whispered something in
her ear and then motioned for us to come closer. Anna just stood there as we
moved up. When I saw her sitting in that chair, I knew what I had done to her.

She had a red mark running across her forehead, and it looked like her skull had been cracked.

That explains the page next to the spell with no writing in it. The first was a plain forehead next
to the palm of a hand with a red mark running diagonally across it. The second was the forehead
with a red mark running diagonally across it next to the hand, now forming the sign of the horns.

Her mother was crying hard now, holding a handkerchief up to her nose, saying,
I don't know what to do. I just don't know what to do. Mary bolted from the scene
pulling Emma's lifeless arm, and together they ran off like two frightened rabbits. Gracie
then rushed into the kitchen, leaving me and Katlyn alone with Millie. As we stood there
looking into her eyes, Millicent grabbed hold of my hand, and my heart stopped beating.

Katlyn gasped loudly and was taken by such surprise she tumbled backward, knocking
over the coffee table and shattering the vase that was on top of it. Right then, Millicent
looked at me with an intense scowl. It was a look so terrifying my skin crawled. As her
grip began to tighten, I could feel every bone in my hand pop like twigs in a fire. She
snarled like a vicious animal trapped in human clothing, such bitter hatred. She then
clamped down on her lower lip so hard she bit clean through it.

Blood flowed from her mouth like a river, and that lip, dangling down.”

Miss Wade's complexion had now grown pale, and she looked like she was about to be sickened.
“I then
noticed her eyes were no longer her own but those of my great-grandmother in Hell.

My knees gave out, and I fell into her lap. As I started to pass out, Gracie
came running into the parlor and her grip released. Millie was now just
vacant shell, and there was clearly no blood anywhere at all.

My mind must have created the whole scene out of pure horror.

As I opened and closed my hand, every bone popped into place again.
I thought my mind had snapped, as did the rest of the girls when I told them,
I'm sure. Whatever Katlyn saw that day must have been so frightening
she didn't speak for almost a week, and we never told stories again.”

                                                                 Pg 77

“What happened to Millicent,” I asked?

“Millicent was taken away to a sanitorium.”

Miss Drucella now sounded very distracted, almost to the point of worry.
“I so wanted to visit her
one last time, and when I saw her, I wanted to set
things right. Tell her how sorry I was for opening up
this can of worms,
even though I knew she was no longer in there. In her right mind, that is.”

“A month later, her mom told me she died. The year after that,
her mother passed away, and soon new people were living there.”

            “Do you still keep in contact with Katlyn?”

 “Katlyn married a wealthy man and
moved to North Dakota
   in the fall of 1916. Never did I see or hear
from her again.”

                     “What about your other friend?”

      “Emma still lives in the house she grew up in; she never
       married, though. We talk on the phone from
time to time,
      but I haven't seen her in over fifty years.”

                                    “And Mary?”

            “Mary died during the pneumonia epidemic,
of 1918, to be exact.

When the moon is full, I see Millie in that place.

I watch as they torture her with hot irons. Then they start to remove her toes and fingers with
cutting shears. Sometimes, they just start sawing. After they kill her, it starts all over again.

I have watched her die in every conceivable way you can imagine.

          It still seems so real, but I'm powerless to stop them.”

                                “Can't they get you?”

                             “No, I'm just a watcher.”

                               “Don't you wake up?”

“Not until the sun is even with the horizon. E
very time the moon is full.
               Oh, Millicent, why couldn't you just let it go?”

             (Her eyes began to fill with tears as she spoke)

“You think we're just little old ladies who tell tall tales as we sip
 our tea and smile, but ask yourself something, where do you think
your horror movies come from? They come from usssssss.”

   Two years later, Miss Drucella Wade passed away quietly in her sleep.

I, along with my parents, arrived at her wake on Friday, April 8th, 1977.

Mom and Ray were by my side as I listened to people talking.
One of the voices I heard was her granddaughter May.

“I was knocking on her door the other day, but she didn't answer.
The coroner told me she was already dead. Already dead, and I just left.”

“Calm down, honey, you didn't know. There-there now.”

I heard another voice as I appeared to be praying by her casket with my eyes closed.
“The coroner said she went peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday. She lived a good life.”

“Hey, wait a minute,” I thought, “didn't we have that power outage on Tuesday?
No that was Monday. Actually, Monday morning is, in fact, Tuesday, isn't it?
Technically, anything after 11:59 pm automatically becomes am; therefore,
Monday had already turned into Tuesday.

I woke up to go to the bathroom, and all the lights popped off.
That was creepy.

The service finally concluded, and I was getting into the car with my parents
when two kids passed by. I overheard one of them say to the other,

“Did you happen to catch that moon on Monday?”

“No, I was studying for an essay.”

“Woah, dude, I mean, it was huge!”

                                                                 Pg 78


Reviews for chapter 15

Jane Bryce  - who is emma?

Norman Vasserman  - Cool, the way your story unfolds

Ira Goldberg  - Ooh, now that's scary! You write good horror!



                                               This review was posted on July/18/22

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