Supernatural Fiction posted September 22, 2015

This work has reached the exceptional level
Short Story

The Chantress of Williamsburg

by michaelcahill

POPULARITY CAN BE SO CAPRICIOUS The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

"The problem with you bitches is you take nuthin' seriously. This book is ancient. It's no joke."
"Oh crapola, Nikki. You buy some dusty prop from an old theater house and now you're like whooooooo the ghosts are cooooommmming. Heeee he he. I'm like mad terrified. Oh my God! I think Brad farted. See, you're scarin' the shinola outta him."

Linda had some interest in the book though she didn't believe it had any magical powers. Brad had been tagging along with the two of them since the days at Jamestown Elementary. The rest of the school considered him a catch. To the two girls he would always be dorky Brad from across the street. Brad's interests were food and football.
"Shut the hell up. You're just coverin' yourself. That book is old. Look at the date, 1732. It's gotta be worth some bucks, man. It's getting' dark and cold. This is a waste of time. Let's go eat. I'm starvin'." Once Brad began to think of food, it was difficult to interest him in anything else.
"Look, you both agreed to do this. Let's give it a shot, unless you gutless bitches are too scared." Nikki knew that would challenge Brad.
"Scared. Ha! Of some words in a book? I doubt the book is even real. You're tellin' me that book is three hundred years old? Bullshit. It's hardly worn. What say you, Linda? I'm down for this bullshit."
"Yeah, whatever. Chant your ass off, Nikki. Then we feed poor Brad, right? Get it over with. If that book's real though, we sell it and split the cash. I didn't come out here for nuthin'. We're all in on it, right?"

Nikki pulled out the brittle paper that marked the spot in the book that drew her interest.

         The Williamsburg Theater Presents:

   The Merchant of Venice

The playbill held little interest to Brad or Linda. Indeed, none of Nikki's plans for the evening did. It fascinated Nikki though to hold something that old. Her imagination swept her back and her thoughts swirled with visions of actors and actresses, crowds of cultured Virginians flocking to the theater for an evening of culture. She was a Virginian herself and proud of her heritage. None of the Puritan views of the day for her or them all those years ago.
The playbill was folded inside the book and marked the page with the incantation that provided the impetus for tonight's adventure. The book itself seemed plain, but that was only due to its great age. It was easy to see it had been ornately appointed at one time. The faded gold letters spelled out:

Incantations and Spells

      Secrets To Life's Extension and Empowerment


The book had endless detail about treating ailments considered minor in this day and age; almost amusing in their inclusion in what was otherwise a serious document. On the other hand, without antibiotics, an infection must have been a serious concern in those days.
Nikki had invoked an incantation over a wound on her knee. Sure enough, it healed perfectly and quickly. However, did it just heal or was it indeed the incantation and its power at play? Tonight the book would be put to a bigger and more spectacular test.
"What's supposed to happen here anyway? You raisin' the dead?" Brad looked at his watch.
"Don't be stupid. Put a muzzle on your boy, jeesh. According to the book, I'm releasing any trapped spirit that may be nearby and allowing it to share my body. That's what the book says: A joining of two to let the one live again. I don't really believe it; I just want to see what happens. I mean, why print this fancy book and keep it safe all these years if it's all a bunch of bullshit?"
"Okay. Let's just do it. I'm seriously hungry."
"What do we do?" Linda showed some signs of growing interest.
"Well, I lay on the ground. This is where the cemetery used to be at one time … at least as best as I can figure. Linda, you read the incantation and Brad … well, you just be quiet and don't interfere."
"Okay, but let's get it done. Hunger. Right? Hunger."
"Okay, hand me the book. These words? Okay, nod when you're ready. Shut up, Brad! The sooner you shut up, the sooner you eat, get it?"
Nikki laid down on the wildflowers. If this had once been a cemetery, it no longer held any semblance of one. There were only endless wildflowers like a giant purple blanket covering the ground.
Linda began, "In field of witches' thimbles lonely spirits sleep. Pull back the purple blanket, a breath that I may keep. Hear these words in solemn whispers, none dare raise a screech. Oh, make a space for me to sing, of thee I do beseech".
Brad snickered, "Sounds like old lady Garston's poetry class".
Linda's eyes flashed red at Brad, but before she could admonish him, the still air began to shimmer. Nikki remained still on the ground.
The shimmering took shape. Brad's snickering turned into a gasp and then to a held breath. Linda's eyes grew larger and she ceased to breathe as well. In moments, the shimmering air took form. A woman hovered over Nikki appearing to contemplate the prone girl. The figure could only be called a ghost as she was translucent and the moon could clearly be seen behind her and through her flowing garments. Her arms were stretched out and raised upwards.
Linda looked at Brad who returned her inquisitive glance. There was nothing in Brad's eyes except fear and ignorance. Linda's gaze shifted to the unmoving Nikki on the ground. She whispered, "Nikki".
The ghost looked at her sharply as if discovering her presence for the first time. A moment later the ghost disappeared and Nikki stirred.
Nikki spoke, but it wasn't the voice that Linda was familiar with. "Your friend resides with me. She sleeps and is in no danger. I am Eleanor. You have freed my trapped spirit. For this I am grateful."
"What the hell? You don't sound like yourself, Nikki. Is this your idea of a joke? Not, funny. Brad's probably crapped his pants. Now, let's end this game and …."
Nikki raised her hand, or rather Eleanor, who now possessed her body did. "Take me home now please. I've much to do."
"Home? Home hell? We're goin' to eat. Your folks don't even know you're out here. Home? What are you, nuts? Your pops'll ground you for life. Get a grip …."
"Perhaps, I haven't made myself clear" Eleanor gazed deeply into Linda's eyes and whispered, "take me home now. I don't wish to be unpleasant considering your service to me, but unpleasantness is certainly within the scope of my abilities. Do we understand each other?" She paused, then raising her voice said, "HOME!"
Linda seemed to get a sense of the seriousness of her request and turned towards town. Eleanor followed. Brad stood motionless as though he had become one of the purple wildflowers making up the carpet of color adorning the meadow. Finally, he lumbered after them unsure of the wisdom of such action. However, lacking wisdom, he could think of no alternative.
As they approached town Eleanor began to greet people along the way. Folks that Linda knew by other names began answering to new names, she remained silent, to her a wise response. Somehow these people all knew Eleanor and she knew them.

Linda whispered to Eleanor, "How many ghosts ... er ... spirits did I release?"

"I don't know. A great many it seems. Time will tell."
Brad hurried his pace and caught up to them. "Eleanor, is this the Chantress?"
"Yes, Johnathon, it is."
Brad had an air of calm and confidence that Linda had never seen in him before. He was clearly Brad no longer. He bowed to Linda. "My humble thanks, Chantress. I am Johnathon. Your friend sleeps peacefully within unharmed."
Linda nodded her head and allowed him to take and kiss her hand. "My pleasure" she said, and truth be told, it was. She looked to Eleanor. "What do you suggest I tell my parents? Are they still my parents?"
Eleanor smiled. "Yes, we've no interest in the old. We've been old and prefer to be young of course. I imagine you could tell them you have incanted a spell and awoke the spirits of ancient souls. They have come to life and inhabited the youth of Williamsburg, yourself excepted naturally. Tell them that you are the Chantress and thus revered by the ghosts of the meadow."
"What? They'll think I'm ready for the nut house."
"Hmmm. I see your dilemma. Well then, I suggest you tell them nothing. They will be most willing to accept that, won't they?"
Linda smiled as the sun set on Williamsburg. Lights began to come on all over the city. It was Friday evening, date night.

                                                                THE END


Ghost contest entry


There's a centering problem between the new site and the classic site, so I can't center the things I wish to ... sorry.
I had a more "speak the obvious" ending. Is it okay as is? Thanks for reading. Feel free to critique. My tears will dry. :)

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