Joaquin lay upon the wood-planked floor in the center of it all. The center…of the pentagram chalked in white, of candles blood red tipping each point, and of the circle of poured salt pulled directly from the sea.
Moonbeams filtered through the circular window, filling his circle and himself, with power. The time was near, the circle would be fully lit, and he would pull a demon from the underworld, trapping it in the sea-salt circle. A pet demon, just what he needed.
Scott strutted around the kitchen, head swinging to and fro, red curls swaying in time to the music. “Oh yeah, that’s it,” he declared, throwing out something between a Michael Jackson thrust and a Travolta finger pointing thing.
The toaster popped, and he set to slathering the perfectly browned bread with jelly found in the fridge. His backside kept the beat. Finished, he licked the knife clean and popped it back into the jar.
“Hey, that’s my jam!” came a distressed cry from the kitchen doorway.
Jack sipped his namesake, then turned up the cheap hotel glassware, draining the contents in a gulp before resting the glass atop his tupperware.
He chuckled at the little stack of plastic bowls. He had meal prepped for this trip with all the good intentions of a habitual dieter. Then the business went bad, and the diet with it. The healthy habits landed in the trash can, while he landed in all the local dives eating slop and drinking worse.
He poured another drink as he packed. There’s always next week, he thought. I’ll do better then.
Rose pressed in the last bit of stuffing, stitched the final seam, and began to focus on the details.
Cute buttons for eyes, black thread stitched just right for mouth and nose, and most important, the hair. Long, luxurious curls of black that tumbled from head to waste completed the work.
Everything was just right. Perfect.
She lay the doll atop a pillow and turned her full attention to the pin cushion. She selected a long silver prick with delicate fingers, and pressed it through the doll’s chest and into the pillow below.
“It’s you! I’m your biggest fan. I’ve read all your thesis’s and theories. Brilliant! If you wouldn’t mind…”
“Sorry son, didn’t see you there.” Professor Land removed his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes, before looking the lad, a ball of barely contained energy, up and down. “I was quite lost in an enchanted forest when you found me, and want very much to return.”
The boy stood stunned and wide-eyed, not knowing how to react. At once, pleased to be acknowledged and miffed at being dismissed.
“Take a card and see me tomorrow. Office hours are on there. Goodnight.”
“Sure did. Got inside just in time too,” Pinkey said peeking out the window. “Hate to think what would have happened…” She shook her head.
Gray stepped out amid the destruction unafraid, spotting the wolf laid by the street recovering from all the huffing and puffing. “Yep, you’d think they’d learn after all these years. This old brick held up for my Great Grandhog, and it’s still strong as anything.” He patted an appreciative hoof on the brick and squealed laughter.
“One day little piggies,” croaked the wolf. “I’ll get you one day.”
Thin wisps of smoke climb from the trembling tip of Henry’s cigarette, up and up through fading shafts of evening light. He watches them go and dreams of joining them, lazily curling up, wafting away, free on the constant breeze that flows through the old building, making it the perfect place to fix.
Henry watched it go, visualized his own journey, drifting free among the clouds and picked up his belt. His hand steadied the moment he bit down on leather, the vein stood out, and he plucked up the needle. It was time to make his dreams come true.