I raced down the street, yelling apologies over my shoulder as I bumped into human trick-or-treaters. I was late as all hell and knew that Miria would lose it.
Regrettably, this wasn't even a simple coven meeting I was late for, this was the big one. The-once-a-millenia all witches of North America meeting that had life or death consequences.
I finally reached the park, hideously out of breath and gasping. The security guard at the perimeter stared at me suspiciously, taking in my red and black lace and spider adorned dress.
He took less than a minute to decide that I was some strange interloper. "Sorry ma'am, the park's closed."
"Oh for the love of magic!" I swept my hand over his face, chanting magic words to confuse him. "Little mortal, little sheep, I'm late so feckin' go to sleep!"
It worked even better than I thought and the guard tumbled roughly into the bushes lining the gates.
"Ah, shit!" I started running, leaping over the park gate. Miria was going to skin me alive!
I could hear chanting and I sprinted faster, murmuring incantations to make the trees, bushes, and park benches bend and contort out of my way.
"I'm here, I'm here!" I panted, skidding into the clearing.
Mutters broke out instantly, some snide and some disgusted. Clearly, I was in the nick of time, having only interrupted the prayers for the moon, the stars, and the sun.
Why we had to pray for things that had existed for millions of years without us was beyond me, but I meekly joined my coven, avoiding Miria's death glare.
Griselda the Great continued the chant, and all of us echoed it, safe due to the hearing curse we had placed on the boundary of the park. Any poor mortal who stumbled in would get the earache of their lives, but at least he wouldn't hear the crazed chanting of over a hundred witches praising the moon.
The tied-up human next to Griselda writhed as she poured goats blood over her, and I turned to Mandi. "Who's this, then?"
"-praise is to the glory of the moon, give us life. Oh, one of Miria's human offspring." Mandi replied, shrinking ashamedly when someone hushed her.
I picked up the chant again as well, secretly delighted. If it was one of Miria's, our coven would get more power. We were the coven of the moon, and on Halloween night there was a full moon and a mortal member of Miria's blood.
My blood pounded as we finished the moon chant and moved on the stars and sun. On the final chant for the Earth, we would spill the mortal's blood. Of course, it all had to be 'humane' now with all the ridiculous restrictions. Once the girl was close to death we would have a werewolf curse placed on her, to placate the growing idiots among our clans who worried about humans.
It was like being worried about candles, or matches. This girl's death would help sustain the earth, and boy did the humans need it! We were really doing them a favour, protecting the earth as much as we could from global warming and what else.
Griselda poured aether onto the girl, whose white dress was soaked with red, and now gleamed with an ethereal purple light. I now understood why we all had to wear red for the occasion and I shuddered, briefly imagining the horrors if I had shown up in any other colour.
Finally, we moved onto the earth, and I felt my fangs sharpen in anticipation, the gleaming claws, whispers of magic, and the lost ones told me the other withes felt it too. The growing thrum, the beats of each double heart synchronized. The only one that stood out was the girl's, who had started thrashing wildly.
As the chant progressed, the plants of the garden grew steadily more beautiful, larger, healthier. Even in the night, the flora around us began to swell with power. This ceremony, that we had put off for so long pumped magic into the very air again.
We reached a fever pitch of chants, male and female voices blending seamlessly, the flowers all blossoming in the middle of the night, the animal folk appearing to watch as well...
Griselda raised the knife, letting the moon's light dip it in silver. Suddenly a dark cloud passed over and everyone began screaming.
"Oh no, no no!" I hissed, and Brandon turned around, eyes wide with horror. Instantly, the plants shrank down a little and the animals began retreating.
Miria charged forward and plunged the knife into the girl's chest, and the mortal's chest burst or something, eliciting gasps of awe from the crowd. Purple light seeped out and coated everything, sinking into the crowd.
The girl's corpse hung lifelessly, no werewolf incantation chanted in time for her. The werewolves would be pissed, but we had other problems. The spell had to be perfect, perfect, meaning that plants and ecosystems in the human plane would recover, but nowhere near the extent possible.
Griselda and Miria were urgently talking in front of the disturbed covens. I caught a few snippets, mostly along the lines of "we can't wait that long" and "that's not possible".
I kneeled down and pulled up some of the magic from the earth, feeling intoxicated despite Miria's gloomy expression and Griselda's angry frown.
I mean, it was truly a pity that the humans wouldn't be saved this millennium, but at least we got some magic back. The humans would just have to help themselves until the next time because none of our smaller sacrifices could do much other than making storms calmer and droughts marginally shorter.
Flowers had cocooned the girl's lifeless body, their roots slowly digesting her. Normally we would have eaten the plants nourished with her flesh, but we were in a state of emergency and I didn't think the usual banquet would be happening.
Anyways, just another fun witches' Halloween.