Chessa was on her scooter. Making her way to Andrik's house. The thud, thud of wheels hitting the creases of the pavement slightly shaking her handle bars as she went along at a steady pace.
She was late for the club meeting again. She was always late. She had asthma and allergies and summer and spring made her want to stay home. She didn't like the heat or the sun much either. They made fun of her at school for all these things.
"Ginger Essa Snaps" or "Gessa" for short. She hated the name. Just because she had red hair, freckles and glasses. But at least she wasn't picked on beyond that.
Nicholai (Oly) and Vasilisa (Lisa) had it worse. They looked different from everyone else. Oly was from Africa and Vasilisa was Mongolian. They were probably already at Andrik's tree house.
Pushing up her glasses, she picked up her pace. Push, push, coast.
When she noticed a familiar figure ahead of her. It was Oly with his black shorts and blue sweater with a white shirt beneath. His hair as wild as ever. Sticking out in all sorts of directions.
"OLY!" She yelled out to him.
The boy stopped and kicked up his skateboard into his hand.
"Chessa?" He replied bringing up his hand to block out the summer sun.
"Ya, you late too?"
"Mom, wouldn't let me go until I ate lunch."
"Oh," Chessa smiled at him, blushing a bit. She secretly had a crush on him but he didn't know or cared as far as she knew. Boy's were really dense. She had left, in her journal, a wish to Lada to make him notice.
"Well lets get going Chess."
The two of them skated along side by side turning at Mika Street. They stepped off their scooter and board respectively to make their way to the backyard of Andrik's house. A wooden door with a pull string opened it to a large yard.
"Zait!" Yelled out Oly as he grabbed a long wooden stick beneath the treehouse
"Sev" Came a reply from above.
Oly helped whoever was inside lift the secret entry way at the center of the treehouse. Poking the trap door with the long stick, and it was opened the rest of the way by Andrik.
"What took you guys so long?"
"I had to eat lunch and Chess is Chess." Oly said with a smirk in my direction.
I just shrugged up at them. Andrik dropped down a rope ladder. Oly climbed up first with his skateboard strapped to his back. He loved that thing. There was a wolf and a lamb painted on the deck. It was from his favorite video game.
Next was her. She grabbed onto the rope ladder. This was the only thing she hated about the tree house. She had a fear of heights and as she climbed the rope ladder would sway and she could feel the flutter of butterflies in her stomach as she neared the top. The two boys helped her in knowing how uncomfortable she was with the climb.
She looked around with admiration. Their tree house was decorated with nick knacks, paintings, posters and camping gear. Everything you'd need to stay the night. If their parents let them. Which was only a handful of the times since it was built four years ago. It was large. They had two desks. One was a workshop were they messed with wood carving and painting. The other was a study desk. Rarely used and had stacks of textbooks and notes on it. Beside that there a tin garbage. The size of Andrik which he sat upon every now and again.
Oly reached into the wooden storage cupboard and pulled out some pirozhki. He handed one to each of them. Vasilisa was there too acting all cool as usual hanging out one of the windows with one leg over the very edge swinging it mildly. She was the black sheep in her family and became friends with Andrik because he had defended her. Just the same as how Chessa became friends with Andrik. The four of them were outcasts.
"Well I guess means the meeting can begin. Glad everyone is here for today's societal meeting of the misfits. Everyone brought their offerings for today?"
Vasilisa was the first to step forward and reached into her purse and pulled out a hanger mount. And placed it in a wok in the center of their tree house near the trap door. She then sat on a bean cushion nearby with a small smile on her face.
"Here's mine," Chessa offered. A brick came out of her back backpack. "To keep the door shut when we wanna lock it."
"And mine." Offered Oly. Four mini bagel bags were placed in the center.
Finally Andrik added his. A red bat.
"Any wishes before we honour Mokosh for good fates upon these offerings today?"
"To safe guard this tree house, I guess." Chessa said timidly about her brick.
"Strength from my bagels!" Announced Oly.
"And you Lisa?" Andrik
"There just hangers, I'm just following your stupid rules, Ok." She said flustered and embarrassed.
"That's fine. Well, I hope for a winning hit at my games."
Andrik bowed his head as the others did in silent prayer. Andrik was a odd person, he loved learning about mythology. He thought they were still as strong as they were in the past and that people didn't notice them.
Chess wasn't sure if she believed. Oly liked it though, so she followed along.
"Now that, that's done what you guys wanna do?" Andrik asked.
"We could go to the school playground." Vasilisa offered.
"I'd like to play cards first." Replied Oly.
Chessa thought for a moment. What game did she want to play.
"One of your board games?"
Andrik's ears perked up as he heard it.
"Oh, which one Chessa?"
"I don't know, you have so many."
They all made their way to the book shelf. Filled with board games. Their father was an avid collector. There were all sorts of them. But one caught Chess' eye. Ouija board. She'd seen it in movies and was curious.
"Hmmm, never tried that one." Admitted Andrik.
"I don't know..." Warned Oly.
"What is a Ouija Board?" Asked Lisa curiously.
"Well if you guys, don't wanna play it, that's Ok too." Chess replied dishearteningly at Oly's reaction.
Lisa rolled her eyes at being ignored, she was getting annoyed by it. Noticing her discomfort, Andrik picked up the board.
"I think I know how it works, lets give it a shot."
Chess placed he board on a half table they had were the usually communally ate. Here the board was place and the glass eye brought down upon it's center.
"So how I seen it work is every one puts two fingers on the eye. And it's supposed to move on it's own I think? I'm not sure..." Chessa explained.
"Well, let's see what happens." Andrik placed his two fingers first on the board.
The four of them gathered around the table during a beautiful Summer Day. An odd day, yet it didn't seem that way. As they followed suit placing fingers upon the planchette.
It began to slide. They looked at one another in awe.
"Who's moving it?"
"No I meant, not me too." Lisa said sticking out her tongue at Andrik.
The eye stopped at B.
The began to move again swiftly to A.
It returned then from A to go all the way back to B.
And finally it went to the same pattern of repetition which was A.
"Is this like a rhyming board?" Joked Chessa. But it fell flat as no one really knew what she was talking about.
But before they could take their fingers off the planchette it zoomed around.
"Baba Yaga?" Oly and Lisa said simultaneously. Unsure of what it meant.
But Andrik and Chessa were white with fear. Both of them familiar with Slavik folk lore.
"Wait what is going on?" Oly asked.
"Baba Yaga is an old ogress who steals, cooks and eats children." Andrik replied slowly.
Lisa laughed at them.
"Nice try guys you can't scare me. Who was it, Chessa. You spelled that out right. It's why you picked out this game?"
"No, I swear I didn't spell it out. I didn't know it would spell out anything, I just saw it in horror movies. I've always thought it was fake." Chess replied, trying to defend herself.
"Hey, Lisa leave her alone..." Oly said stepping in front of her.
Chessa's heart skipped a beat as Oly actually made to protect her.
"Guys, guys we don't fight in the Misfits Society. Especially not among ourselves."
His reasoning disarmed both of them. Chessa breathed a sigh of relief.
"Besides nothing has happened, so we should be fine. Right?" He looked to Chessa for support. Unfortunately, Chess was preoccupied with trying to scream...
Another kid was climbing through window where Lisa had been hanging her leg out off. But this wasn't any normal kid. His face was disfigured and it look like he was rotting.
"Zz.--Zzz.---ZomBees!" Screamed Chessa.
The trap door began to bang up and down.
Lisa ran to the wok, while Andrik jumped onto the trapped door. Oly unstrapped his board from his back. His blood pumping so loud he could hear his own heart as he race forward.
Crackkkkk. He swung his board with all his strength, connecting with the boy zombie's head, launching him out the window.
"Help!!!!!" Yelled Andrik as he tried to keep the trap door shut. But another two zombies were climbing into the treehouse through the other two windows.
"Oh my god," Chessa said as she watched in horror as events unfolded in slow motion around her. Oly was holding his board against a zombie biting down on it, trying to shove it back. Lisa was picking up the wok with all the offerings using the mounting hooks to hold either end of the heavy metal. She tried to move it over to Andrik. But behind her a girl zombie was dragging her feet to Lisa.
Without a second thought, something just clicked in Chessa. She went from scared to determined. Lisa was in trouble. She never particularly liked Lisa but something in her wouldn't ever allow her to get hurt. She was part of the Misfits. She picked up her brick from the wok.
The sound of flesh and stone was disgusting but she downed the zombie. Chess wanted to drop the brick and close her eyes, hoping to open them and return back to the normal world.
"Chess!" Yelled Oly.
She opened her eyes. Everything was the same. Hands were and arms were poking out of the trap door Lisa was sitting on the wok on top of it with a slingshot pulled out of her purse. She was known to fire it at school and gotten in trouble many a time.
Andrik had his bat and was making his way to the garbage can. He lifted the lid and held it in a makeshift shield. Three more kid zombies made it into the tree house.
Oly was keeping two at bay swing wildly with his now broken board. There was something so sad about it that Chessa almost didn't break out of her revelry. She ran to the corner of the tree house. Thanking the gods, that she was so familiar where everything was that she knew what to do. She grabbed a walking stick that Oly used from time to help wedge open the trap door.
"Oly, heads up." She threw the stick to him. He turned to her just in time to catch the staff. Then she ran to join him. Behind her Andrik was bashing heads with wild swipes while shoving the other zombies away.
A rock pierced through the socket of one of the zombies beside her. It fell over with a loud thump. Chessa silently thanked Lisa. The remaining zombie, Oly swept its legs. Chessa followed up with dropping the brick down on its head. Goo splattered over the both of them.
They turned in unison to the remaining zombies. But Andrik and Chess had made short work of them.
"Uh, a little help here guys..." Lisa politely asked as she was bouncing up and down with the force of many zombies trying to get in.
"Let's move the desk on it." Oly suggested. The three of them began to drag it moved it over the cover.
"At the count of three... Um we shove it, 'Kay."
"1.. 2.. 3.." With grunting and great effort the three kids moved the big workshop desk over the man cover, pushing aside the Wok.
Everyone rested their backs against the desk, except Lisa who was silently looking outside.
"What do we do now?" Oly asked.
"I don't know but I think I need a mini bagel." Chessa passed it to Andrik and Oly.
"Here..." Chess had walked over to Lisa and offered her a few mini bagels.
Lisa looked down and up. Their were tears in her eyes. She accepted them and pointed outside. Afraid, Chess tentatively made to look outside and then she realized why Lisa was crying. They had moved from Andrik's house to hers.
"I'm sure your family is fine Lisa."
She hugged her suddenly wrapping her arms around her neck. Chess returned the hug and began to cry. Both of them falling to their knees.
The boys were silently sniffling and wiping tears too afraid to look out at what had gotten them to wail so readily.
Andrik brushed his wrist under his nose and stood up.
"We can't just stay here. We have to do something."
Lisa wiped away at her tears but remained silent.
"How'd you all stay so brave from the start?" Asked Chessa. "I was panicking so much." She was trying to change the subject. She didn't want to leave.
Oly placed a hand on her shoulder.
"We were scared to Chess. But like what you did for Lisa. We staid by each other, I guess."
"I thought you all said Baba Yaga, goes for children?" Lisa piped up. Her eyes no longer as teary-eyed.
"Yah, that's right." Andrik replied.
"Why would they go to my house then. I'm the only child in my family."
"No one knows what's going on..." Chessa admitted.
"One legend says she leads children in to her hut. It may be a trick to get you out of the tree house. Her hut moves on demon legs as far as I know." Andrik replied.
"So do we have any more smart ideas to deal with this witch hut lady legs?" Asked Oly.
"Well, it started with the Ouija Board. Right. What if we destroy it?"
The thudding began to get louder beneath the trap door.
Everyone looked to one another for confirmation and they in unison shrugged.
"Worth a try I guess," Andrik said as he put his bat to the back of his shoulder. "I think I'll need your help Chess."
They brought the board and placed it in the Wok so that it'd break apart properly. Chessa brought her brick down on the board while Andrik took a few swings down on the planchette. They continued until it was smashed into pieces.
In wonder, they watched as the zombie bodies seeped away into the air in a green mist. Outside everything look back to the way it was. Even the board had disappeared.
"We were all fighting zombies right?" Oly asked, wanting reassurance.
"Yes, you dummy." Lisa replied although secretly curious as well.
Chessa sighed. Glad it was all over.
"So same time tomorrow?" Andrik asked half-smiling.
Everyone shook their head. Oly shoved Andrik into the desk.
"Come on, help us move this thing."
All four of them readily slid the table along.
"Ladies first." Oly offered with hand outstretched to Lisa and Chessa.
Lisa used the hook to lift lid while Oly waited with staff at hand to pry it open the rest of the way. But Lisa couldn't seem to lift it.
"Hey, Andrik?" She looked over to their leader but something was different about him. His face pale and ... greenish.
The trap door sprung open suddenly and long scraggly fingers dug into the wood and lifted the old witch from beneath the hut.
"Welcome my pretties," She said licking her lips in anticipation. "To my humble abode. May your stay be excruciatingly painful and absolutely delicious."
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Wow! What an exciting story. I love how you brought this story to live. Such a fun story.