Sample – Trick and Treat 3: The Student Witch



“Ryan?  Ryan?!” Katie called into the open window.  They’d all heard him fall, the thick sound of his body striking the floor, then… nothing.  Caroline had been the first to peek over the lip of the window and, seeing nothing, reported back to Katie and Dana huddled around her.

“That’s impossible,” Dana said, staring at the red clay that comprised most of the lawn.  “I mean someone can’t just disappear.”

As soon as she’d said it, all of them thought of the rumors swirling around Wyrmwood House and the souls that had last been seen doing just what they were doing – milling about in a place that they did not belong.

“He’s probably just exploring, looking for an easier way to get us in,” Caroline suggested, though it sounded false to her ears, too.  Still, she pressed on.  “We should try the back door.  If it’s locked, we’ll… I dunno.  Call the police or something.”

“And tell them what?” Dana asked, eyes wide with panic.  “Our friend went missing when you tried to break into some old woman’s house?”

“Would you rather we just leave him?”

“No,” Katie joined in, her voice shaky, her demeanor less confident than either Dana or Caroline could recall.  “No, we have to get him.  We can’t leave without Ryan.  We can’t.”

“We’re not going to.  Come on.”

Caroline led the way, bending around the corner of the house until the back door was in sight.  She couldn’t possible describe what she was feeling, but something felt very right in a horribly wrong way.  She tried to tell her friends that they should run, that something had a grip on her, something dark and seductive and terrifyingly lovely, but she could not voice these thoughts.  Instead, she led them on, toward the back door and the interior of Wyrmwood House.  Dana and Katie followed close, allowing her to take charge, and all the while she was screaming inside her own mind for them to get away before she could do something to them they would regret.

Her hand reached out for the door, higher above them as they stood on either side of the handful of steps leading up to the door.  When her hand met the wood, she nearly buckled with an intense pleasure, like the first time a girl had found her spot and licked it just right, making her tremble with want.  This was even more intense, and she knew in that moment she would give away her friends’ safety to feel more of it.

The door swung open with only the lightest touch, the hinges quiet, very unlike the spooky creak she expected.  Instead, it glided open, revealing only darkness inside.

“Let’s go,” she said, taking Dana by the hand and leading her up the steps.  With Katie a few steps behind, Caroline turned and stopped, holding her hand out like a crossing guard halting traffic.

“Not you,” Caroline said.  “You’re supposed to be out here.”  And she shoved Katie back, sending her backward, arms pinwheeling as she sailed back onto the lawn.


“You bitch,” Katie spat as she scooted back on the grass, looking up at the house.  It took a moment to register the changes, besides the now-closed door staring her in the face.  The house looked new.  The paint was white and unfaded, without the cracks and chips that characterized it.  Even the stairs looked freshly painted and unbent.

Then, there was the grass.  Unlike the yard they had crossed into, the grass under her was lush and full and well-trimmed.  It was the same house, the same lawn, but it looked like it must have five decades ago.  Katie rose to her feet, the heels of her shoes sinking into the softer earth.  With a grumble, she bent each knee and collected both heels into a hand, where they dangled, her bare feet clinching the soft ground beneath her.

“What the fuck is going on?” she wondered aloud.  She raced up the steps and turned the handle, but it was locked.  She pounded on the door, hard enough to hear it shake in its frame and the glass to rattle, but nothing budged and no sound or light came from within.

Behind her, she heard another sound, low and deep and oddly content.  She turned to see the lawn stretching before her, only the leaning shed was now larger, newer, with a high fame and wide double doors.  It was, in fact, a barn, and too big to have been missed before.  She took a step toward it when the sound came again, definitely originating from behind the doors of the barn.  Even in the blue hue of the moonlight, she could see the red paint and white trim of the structure.

“Hello?” she asked, pointing her attention to the interior of the barn, hidden, but Katie could see the doors were ajar.  “Is anyone there?”

She moved with cautious deliberateness toward the inviting darkness, pausing only when the sound came again.  It sounded like an animal, but not of the threatening variety.  It had an odd quality to it, that didn’t quite match the sounds she associated with a domesticated beast, though.  Her curiosity piqued, her careful steps led her to the just-open door.

The smell that came from within was rich and musky, the smell of hay and fertilizer and earth.  It filled her nostrils and soothed her, and she moved inside without further concern.  She barely noticed as the heels slipped from her fingers and tumbled over one another on the wooden slats that covered the barn floor.

“Is someone here?” she called out, met by the oddly non-animal sound.  It wasn’t quite a moan, though one might mistake it for one.  “I’m trying to find my friends.”

She gasped when she saw the face.  It was behind one of the stalls lining the barn on either side, a pile of hay on the far end of the barn taller than her towering ahead.  The face was pale, with a wide spot like a birthmark covering one eye and most of the left cheek.  It was a girl, you could see that by the long hair and soft features, and the eyes were big and dark.

“Are you alright?” she asked, and the girl in the stall replied with the lowing sound she’d heard from outside.

The girl’s head tilted curiously toward her, those big eyes shining in the moonlight filtering in from the open door.  She shuffled close to the edge of the stall as Katie drew near.

“Oh god!” Katie called out, her hand clutching her chest, as another face appeared beside the odd girl’s.  They were both lowing now, vying for her attention with increasingly loud sounds that were neither human nor animal, but something in between.

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