"Here's the spell," Velma said handing the open book to the fair-skinned girl with ravenette hair."It's up to you now Thorn!"
"But I…" Thorn stuttered as she stared bewildered at the yellowed pages and strange inscriptions.
Everything was happening so fast—the ghost of Sarah Ravencroft, an actual witch with real magic, was released from her spell book by her descendant Ben and had incapacitated the rest of the Scooby gang—and Thorn felt overwhelmed by all of it. How could all of this be happening, witches and magic weren't supposed to be real. And with Velma telling Thorn that she was the only one who could stop Sarah, she was under pressure.
"…can't do it," Thorn whimpered under her breath, only audible to herself.
Before she could do anything, five massive tree roots erupted from the earth and surrounded the two girls, the ends of the roots curling up and ready to strike at their horrified victims.
The two women gasped in terror.
"Ah ha ha ha ha," the ghost of Sarah Ravencroft laughed in the distance, her arms raised to the sky in excitement; it was almost as if the undead witch derived pleasure from watching the hapless victims.
"The book is useless to a mere mortal like you," the witch taunted as she pointed her gnarly hand at Thorn.
Thorn trembled upon hearing the ghost's mockery. She's right I can't do this, the scared girl thought; I don't know what I'm doing.
A sixth root emerged from ground, this time shaped like a human arm, and tried to grab the book from Thorn, causing her gasp. But to her surprise, the book suddenly began to glow and a beam of light blue energy struck the branch causing it to disintegrate.
What the hell was that Thorn thought, her eyes widening in shock as she was taken back by sight.
"But not to a Wiccan," Velma noted in an attempt to reassure Thorn of her ability.
Velma had a point, that the spell book could only be used by a Wiccan, which Thorn was.
"Nay," Sarah Ravencroft shouted, clawing the air. "I'll stop thee myself."
The ghost flew straight at the two girls with an expression of anger and hate on her face.
Thorn froze as she watched the enraged phantom close the distance between each other. Her heart was pounding, her breathing quickened as her body shook. She could feel the sweat dripping down her face and she could barely hold the spell book with her trembling hands.
Thorn suddenly felt an arm grab her shoulder, breaking her out of her shock.
"Hurry Thorn! Read!" Velma pleaded with the black-haired girl, pointing to the spell that could seal away the undead witch.
Thorn looked back at the spell book and managed to catch her breath. She could feel Velma trembling as she clung to her arm and shoulders.
"Ancient evil get thee hence, only good can recompense for the misdeeds that you have done," Thorn nervously recited.
Both girls reeled back in surprise as the book emitted blue sparks when Thorn read. Thorn quickly glanced up to see Sarah even closer, her outreached arms ready to grab the book. The Wiccan looked back at the book with a sense of urgency.
"Witch return from whence you come!" Thorn shouted the final part of the spell with newfound confidence.
The book sparkled even brighter as it violently shook on its own and blue energy radiated from it. There was a brief flash of blue light and then…nothing.
"What!" Thorn cried in shock, losing the confidence she had just gained. "I-it didn't work," she weakly muttered.
Tears welled up in her eyes and her posture slouched in defeat. Thorn couldn't move as she started crying. This was the end. She couldn't do anything as the spell book was removed from her hands.
"Aha ha ha ha ha," Sarah Ravencroft cackled as she raised the spell book into the air. "You're a weak, pathetic excuse of a Wiccan. Tis not surprising that I could defeat thee with ease!"
The witch's words repeated in Thorn's head. Weak. Pathetic. Failure. Thorn fell to her knees.
The ghost hovered above Thorn and Velma as dark green energy swirled around her, signifying her power.
"To start my revenge, I shall bring upon thee which thine family hast put me through. Thou shall know what true pain feels like!" the witch shouted.
Sarah flipped a few pages and recited a spell:
"Darkness hear my plea, bring my vengeance upon those who imprisoned me. Seal away this Wiccan of light, so she may feel an endless plight!"
The book vibrated and black energy radiated from it. The witch pointed the open book at the terrified Wiccan. A dark vortex formed in the center of the pages. Sarah released the book, which slowly descended to the ground. The vortex grew in size as the book landed on the ground.
Too scared and defeated to move, Thorn could do nothing as a beam of black energy shot out from the vortex and grabbed ahold of her legs.
"Agh!" Thorn shrieked, her legs burning in pain.
There was a sudden tug and the black energy pulled her closer to the vortex. Thorn panicked and turned to the bespectacled woman in desperation.
"Velma, help me!" the Wiccan cried as she reached out her arm in an attempt to find help.
Velma tried to grab the poor girl's hand but another tree root quickly ensnared her and pinned her to the ground.
"NO!" Thorn shouted more desperate than ever.
The black beam continued dragging Thorn through the dirt and closer to the vortex. She flailed her arms in a vain attempt to grab hold of something, but the only thing she found were fistfuls of cold earth. All of her attempts to wiggle free from beam failed. Tears were streaming down her eyes, muddying her makeup.
"Please! Somebody help me!" Thorn screamed with her last bit of hope, but nobody was going to save her.
Thorn's screaming and flailing only increased as her legs disappeared into the vortex. Thorn heard the ghost of Sarah Ravencroft laughing with evil hysteria as the Wiccan's body further disappeared into the vortex; first her waist, then her stomach followed shortly by her chest , her left arm and finally her shoulders. Soon only her head, neck and a single flailing arm remained outside the vortex. But that wouldn't last for long.
"No, please no," she cried one last time as her neck disappeared into the vortex. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see what happened next.
"Aiiiiiiiyeeeee!" Thorn screamed at the top of her lungs.
"Thorn! Thorn! You're safe," a voice said.
Thorn opened her eyes and found herself in her bed on the Hex Girls tour bus, still in her black sleepwear, though she was gasping for breath and was covered in sweat.
Thorn turned to see Dusk and Luna standing at the side of her bunk with concerned expressions on their faces.
"Yeah, you can relax now, you were just having a bad dream," Dusk said.
"More like a nightmare," Thorn began as she collected herself. "I guess it must be from all the stress from all touring we've done recently."
It was a reasonable explanation. This was the first major tour for the Hex Girls: a nine month US-Canadian tour consisting of numerous live performances and the release of several new songs. The Hex Girls had primarily stayed within central and eastern Massachusetts around their hometown of Oakhaven, with only the occasional performance in a neighboring New England state (though they did get a chance to perform in Australia, though that wasn't a fun experience). With so much traveling, performing, and songwriting, it was no surprise that up-and-coming band would experience some stress.
But both Dusk and Luna shot glances at each, neither one of them seemingly buying Thorn's explanation.
"Umm, we've only been touring for a month and we've been busier before," Dusk stated. "And you were completely fine."
"Dusk has a point," Luna agreed. "Something else is bothering you. What was your dream about?"
Thorn paused to gather her thoughts. She didn't want to recount the terrifying experience, but she knew her friends would help her sort everything out.
"Well…" Thorn hesitated. "It was about the night… Sarah Ravencroft was released."
"Oh…" Luna said.
"Yeah, it started out like how it actually happened; everyone was captured and Velma handed me the spell book," Thorn explained. "But when I recited the spell to seal her away….nothing happened."
"Hmm. Anything else," Luna asked, moving her hand to chin.
Thorn paused for a moment, sighing in the process.
"Sarah got the book," Thorn said, almost choking on the words. "And she… was sealing me away in the book."
"That's dark," Dusk commented.
Luna smiled and put her hand on Thorn's shoulder. "But that's not what happened in reality, now was it?"
"Yeah, you kicked that dead hag's ass!" Dusk remarked causing Thorn to smile a bit.
"Exactly," Thorn said feigning cheerfulness and sounding more like her regular self.
The black-haired girl jumped out of bed and stretched her arms.
"I'm not going to let one bad dream ruin this tour," Thorn said to conclude the subject.
"Now that's the Thorn I know," Luna said with a smile.
"Alright, then. I'm going to hit the bathroom and finally get my day started," Thorn said, the other two girls nodding in agreement.
Despite seemingly cheering her friend up, Luna couldn't shake an uneasy feeling she had about Thorn's dream.
"It doesn't make sense," Luna wondered aloud. "After all this time, why would Thorn suddenly have dreams about the Ravencrofts?"
Dusk, who had made her way over to the band's fridge in search of breakfast, merely shrugged.
"Who knows," Dusk stated as she grabbed a cup of yogurt and a spoon. "Sometimes this stuff just happens."
Luna shook her head and placed her hand on her chin. 'Just because' was not an acceptable answer for the red-haired girl. It had been several years since the witch's ghost incident in Oakhaven, and while the first few months afterwards had been difficult for all three of them, they managed to overcome the trauma through many group therapy sessions and—perhaps more importantly—success of their first album and the start of their musical career after they were picked up by SD Records (an affiliated record company of Warner Bros. Records based in Boston). The newfound success of The Hex Girls kept the three musicians quite busy and helped them move on from the supernatural incident. In fact, the girls released an album about that night in Oakhaven, which included the popular song "The Witch's Ghost", as a way to show that they had overcome the trauma and fears of the ghost.
But now Thorn was having a nightmare and this deeply concerned Luna.
"If she was regularly having nightmares, she would've told us long before now," Luna commented, glancing at Thorn's desk. Scattered amongst several music sheets and half-written lyrics were books on magic, herbalism, Wicca practices, psychics, the occult and other various paranormal phenomena. One title caught Luna's attention: Dreams and Omens: How to Interpret Yourself and Your Future Through Dreaming.
Ridiculous, Luna thought, chuckling at the notion that the piece-of-crap book could be right.
"So let's not worry about it then," Dusk nonchalantly replied to Luna while carelessly twirling the spoon around in her hand.
Dusk's comment broke Luna's focus on the book and she quickly turned to the blond-haired girl. Luna gave her friend a disapproving stare.
"Hey, I'm trying to make sure Thorn is okay," Luna snapped back. "Are you really not concerned about her?"
Dusk put down her breakfast and got up from her seat.
"I was," Dusk explained, with a hint of annoyance her in voice. "But we cheered Thorn up and now she's fine. If she isn't bothered by it anymore, then I'm not going to get worked up about one bad dream."
Dusk paused for a moment.
'But…" Luna began before she was cut off.
"But it was just a bad dream. Everyone has them," Dusk exclaimed. "Luna, you're just overthinking things again. Chill out."
Luna was getting irritated with Dusk, but the drummer did bring up some good points. Maybe I am just overthinking this, she thought. Luna closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Calm. Down. The pianist opened her eyes.
"Alright, but can we at least keep a close eye on Thorn, just in case anything else happens," Luna responded as she regained her usual calm and collected tone.
"Fine," Dusk said rolling her eyes before tossing the empty yogurt cup into the trash can.
"Thank you," Luna replied, though she was still a bit annoyed at Dusk.
A few moments later, Thorn emerged from the small bathroom.
"Finally! I didn't think she'd ever get out of there," Dusk joked as she went to grab her toothbrush from her desk.