Screw Abigail. It’s such a stereotype, having the coven meet on Halloween. It’s just a whole fake holiday for candy companies and dental income. It’s so insulting! Just because we are witches does not mean we should act like our stereotype sisters. Alas, Abigail is a stickler for tradition, meeting on the last night of winter. And before you ask, yes, she is ancient, but young. No voodoo or blood sacrifice required. Just 1843 years of the correct herb combinations and incantations. The rest of us are young though. Me, Carlie, Dakota, Elise, and Francis. I’m the youngest Grace. We gather up often, but this year is different. Because of something called ‘COVID 19’ we have not been allowed to meet up, secluded. Now that restrictions have eased (courtesy of the strange governmental thing you humans have going on) we are catching up. Though I hate the stereotype, I can’t wait to see my coven. But as I approach the hall we are gathering in, I can’t help but grimace.
It is the town hall of a small town, very generic with pale yellow plaster boards and a weathered tile roof. But the decorations are what bother me. Abigail thinks she’s funny, but the fake black cat tinsel statue in the front and the cheap cobwebs beg to differ. The least she could have done was conjure up some real cobwebs. It’s not that hard, one of the first potions I learnt. But cheap plastic décor from down the road is what we have. Inside, at least is mildly bearable. At least there is some authentic components, herbs and a real cauldron filled with punch. Otherwise there is obnoxious bright lights and more décor. The first person I see is Dakota.
“Dako,” I yell. “I haven’t seen you since the plague!”
“Ha, Grace. Very fun,” Dakota says with an unimpressed expression. Dako can’t fool me though, I can see the smile curling at the lips. Dako is Non-Binary and prefers no pronoun. But an abundance of nicknames takes the place of ‘he and she’. Dako, Daky, Daxter, Squirrel (it’s a long story. Long, but funny.)
“How you been Gracie,” Dakota asks.
“Same ol’, same ol’. How about you? Do you approve the décor?”
“Haha, sure. Abigail thinks she’s funny, doesn’t she?”
“Hilarious.” Just then, another familiar face appears behind Dax’s shoulder. The little mousy face of Elise appears with her thin blonde hair and pale lips.
“Elise! My little sister!” I yell, knowing full well the response I’m going to get.
“Grace, you nuisance. I’m older than you and Francis! Just because I’m short doesn’t mean I’m your little sister. It doesn’t make me your little anything!”
“Chill, Elise, I’m just teasing,” I defend. Both Dakota and I are holding back sniggers.
“Yeah, Elise. But you know, you are MY little sister!” Dakota says and mockingly scruffs her hair.
“You guys are sooooooooooo irritating,” she grumbles but we can see her smiling.
“Besides, haven’t seen you since the plague!” Daxter exclaims, stealing my joke.
“Squirrel, that’s my line! Thief, thief!” I yell, pointing my finger accusingly in his face.
“Is not, you’re lying,” Dako says, barely containing sniggers. Elise doesn’t even try to hide it.
“Ha, it’s not nice being teased is it! Is it!” she exclaims mockingly. We all burst out laughing.
“Right, well I’m going to get some punch. I wonder what Abigail’s put in it. Hope it’s good. It’s nice to see you guys and I will talk to you guys later,” I say, taking my leave to the cauldron of punch. It’s an actual cauldron that Abigail has charmed with a spell of bottomlessness, giving us never-ending punch. I take some hesitantly, not forgetting the time she made it with strawberries, water, grass and newts. I shudder at the memory and take a very hesitant sip. Tangy, tropical and…
“Mmmm…. Mango…” I groan. I love mango and it tastes sooooo good.
“I see you’ve found to punch already?” I hear from behind me. I nearly spill my drink (heaven forbid) as the owner snuck up ever so quietly. It’s not from the voice necessarily that I recognise the speaker, moreover the quiet demeanour she snuck up on me with.
“Bonnie! You really need to stop doing that! I almost spilt my drink!” I grumble to my oldest sister.
“Poor Gracie, did you almost spill your drink?” she says in a baby voice, then proceeding to steal my cup and take a sip.
“Ah, it’s mango. Can’t steal little Gracie’s mango, now can we?” she mocks, returning my drink.
“Ugh, your so annoying.” I mumble
“It’s good to see you too, little sis.” I grudgingly give my oldest sibling a hug, being careful to not spill my drink.
“How’s your girl?” I ask Bonnie. Her girlfriend, Hannah is really nice, and I like her. She is, however not at the meeting (no human is allowed anyway).
“Oh, she’s good. I’ll tell her you asked if she was well. Sometimes I think you like her more than your own sister,” she says with a mocking sad expression.
“Well, maybe I do?” I say, smiling cockily. “Where did you tell her you were?”
“Family reunion. Not technically a lie. Just avoided certain truths.”
“Always the devious one, aren’t you? Have you caught up with Squirrel and Elise? They’re over there, near the door.” I say, knowing that she would want to see them.
“I’m wounded. Trying to get rid of me are you?” she says, feigning a sad expression.
“Yeah, yeah you big baby. You know they want to see you.”
“Right you are little sis. Will talk to you later, Grace”
I see her walk over to Dax and Elise and begin laughing. I go off to reunite with the rest of my friends. Knowing Carlie, she’ll be outside, always the day dreamer and wanderer. I head out the door, passing my trio of siblings.
“Going out to find Carlie, I presume?” Dakota yells out.
“No, I thought I’d just enjoy the fresh air surrounded by little trick or treaters. Of course, I’m going to find Carlie,” I snap playfully. I leave the laughter of my siblings behind me to search for the wanderer. I find her looking at the moon around the back. With the moonlight illuminating her pale platinum blonde locks and reflecting her pale skin, she looks otherworldly, unnaturally beautiful. She is more than beautiful, she is gorgeous.
“Hello Grace,” she says without looking at me or shifting.
“Hey Carl. Do I get a hug?” I ask. When she doesn’t move, I grin. “Don’t make me do it, Carlie.” Yet she remains as still as the trees, only her hair moving in the gentle breeze. Then, without warning, I pounce and tackle her from behind, pinning her to the ground and hugging her.
“Okay, okay stop, stop,” she screams rather childlike compared to the goddess complexion she had a minute ago. Amazing what some tickling can do.
“It’s good to see you Grace. How are you?”
“Oh, I’m just peachy in this town hall with fake Halloween decorations surrounded by my least favourite people,” I say jokingly, receiving a laugh from her.
“Come. Let’s go inside, to all those ‘least favourite’ people of yours.” We both grin and head inside, leaving the cool still night for the stuffy, bright hall. Now, music begins to play, and it no longer seems like a sad event and an actual party, no matter how small the guest list is. Inside, we head to the punch table where Francis is. I fill up another cup for myself as my older siblings catch up briefly.
“Another cup, Grace?” Francis looks at me incredulously.
“Yes Francis, another cup. Might I ask what boyfriend you’re on?” She flushes red.
“I see the plague has not changed your cheeky attitude, sister?” she asks jabbing at me playfully.
“Nope, you either I see.” We briefly catch up and then Dakota, Elise and Bonnie come to join us. We all laugh and talk, recounting anecdotes and adventured through the lockdown. Francis broke up with her boyfriend (no surprise there. This one was probably one of my least favourites). Dax beat the level of a game that was really hard. Carlie planted some roses and sat and watched the bees for a whole day (she has a knack with flora and fauna). In hindsight, my lockdown was pretty boring. The only thing interesting is a raven chose me as it’s owner. When I bring it up, they all look at me and laugh.
“Of all the animals that could have chosen you, a raven. I can’t say I’m surprised,” Dako teases.
“Yeah, the whole stereotype. Little black-haired girl with the pale skin and her pet raven,” Bonnie mocks.
“Oh, be quiet. Raelio is really sweet,” I pout. Elise nearly chokes on her drink upon hearing his name. I’m about to insult Elise and her little mouse named Mary, but I don’t get a chance. The lights dull to blacks and greys, still moving though. A smoke machine goes off, creating a really fake earie effect. Then, a figure in a black cloak emerges from the shadows. Not very mysterious or subtle, we all know it’s Abigail. We all look at each other then almost break down laughing.
“Abigail, the effects are really fake. You could do loads better with the flick of your wrist,” Bonnie shouts. We all mutter agreements and Dako even snorts. They start to go to Abigail, but I feel a bony hand on my shoulder and scream. The cloak falls to a sheet on the ground and I whip around to see Abigail (the real Abigail), standing behind me, grinning.
“How’s that for cheap stereotypes?” We all clamber around her to hug her and laugh.
“All right my children, that’s enough. Yes, I am well as I trust you are. Now, for the annual spell!” she exclaims. I can feel the excitement bubbling up in me. Last year, a blinding light filled the room and when it dulled, the walls, floor and roof were covered in vines and white flowers. I’m not sure how happy the workmen were but it was amazing. The year before that we had a spell that filled summoned all the spiders within a 3-block radius. Truly terrifying. I wonder what it will be this year. The catch is we only do spells that require 7 do complete, led by Abigail. They are very complex and creative. We all gather in a circle and Abigail throughs a bound bunch of herbs into the centre.
“My lord Abigail, those are some rare and powerful herbs! What have you got planned?” Francis asks. I’m intrigued and we begin the chant, following Abigail’s lead. It’s a very elaborate chant, difficult and half the words I’ve never heard. I share a look with my siblings, and we all looked nervous and excited. Then at the end, she lights the herbs on fire. It is a small burn, nothing extraordinary. BANG! A big cloud of glitter and confetti appears from the air and rains down across the room.
“Confetti? Really? All those extravagant herbs and chanting and 7 PEOPLE for confetti?” Dakota asks, incredulous.
“Not just confetti,” Abigail says, and we lean in, excited for the catch. “There’s glitter too!” she exclaims like it’s the best present in the world. Needless to say, we are mildly put out but it’s still kind of neat. After some quick goodbyes, we head our separate ways.
I’m excited to get home and into bed. I love my family so much, but it has been a long night. I can’t wait to wash out the glitter. Knowing it was no use to try and rid of it before a shower, I am impatient to be rid of the sparkly plastic pieces. But it’s not washing out. I know glitter sticks, but this is some tough, determined glitter. Then, it dawns on me.
“Curse you Abigail!” I yell, knowing the glitter will be permanent for a long time. I swear I can hear her laughing miles and miles away.