Author's Note: 31st December 2012
Another year has come and gone, I am another year older and I hope I am a little wiser. This year has been hard for me on a professional and personal level, but somehow I've muddled through and survived another year. Now is the time to toast old friends and make new resolutions, (wether I keep them or not is another story...) and hopefully 2013 will be a little better than 2012.
Happy New Year!
For all his earthly faults, Billy had been a devout man his entire life and he had never missed a church service even when he was ill. Even though he was courting a witch, Billy never wavered from his devotion to the Lord. He was often asked to read from the Bible, speaking with such passion and energy that he lifted the souls of all who heard him speak. So when he failed to turn up on the day he was to read from the Gospel, everyone knew that Winifred had finally killed him.
Only death would keep Billy from the church that he loved.
The men had set out immediately after church, and Elizabeth had watched along with the other women and children as the men and the older boys went into the woods to look for Billy. Thackery went with them that morning, and the day after when the search was called off later that night. It was mid-afternoon on the second day that they came back carrying a body hidden under their coats, which they did only to spare the women the sight of Billy's corpse.
But being the Parson's niece, Elizabeth was often the one to help tend the bodies before they were buried. So she saw what Winifred did to his mouth, along with the rest of his body. They had done the best they could with his remains, before sealing him in his wooden coffin and burying him in the burial grounds.
So it was strangely fitting in a way that as the last living soul to see him before he entered the ground, that she was one of the first to see him as he was raised from the dead by Winifred.
The children had been running for their lives around the graveyard, as the witches flew overhead trying to grab them and the spell book. Mary completely missed her target when she swooped down to grab the girls, while Sarah true to her man-eating nature went straight for Max and the book.
"Brave little virgin, who lit the candle. I'll be thy friend…"
"Hey, take a hike!"
It was amusing to see Allison swat Sarah away with a tree branch like she was nothing more than an annoying fly, while Max stood there gaping like a fish at the sight. The blonde took the hint after the branch scratched her face, and she flew away to escape further harm. Thackery and Elizabeth both went for Winifred, who kept trying to summon her book from Max's arms. While she pecked at the evil crone's hands to make her slip off her broom, he went for the head and began clawing at her eyes.
"Wretched beasts! Away with thee!"
The pair were sent flying by magic, Thackery was able to land on his feet but Elizabeth was unable to save herself in time. She crashed into Billy Butcherson's grave marker with some force, which dazed her and caused her vision to blur for several minutes. She was picked up by someone and held for dear life against their chest, and Elizabeth could feel their heart beating rapidly against their ribs. While her vision was somewhat impaired, her hearing was still second to none thanks to her current form.
Unfaithful lover long since dead,
Deep asleep on thy wormy bed,
Wiggle thy toes, open thine eyes
Twist thy fingers toward the sky!
Life is sweet, be not shy
On thy feet, so sayeth I!
At first nothing happened, and Elizabeth allowed herself to briefly think that perhaps Winifred had made a mistake. But common sense and the ground shaking both prevailed over her wishful thinking, as a blurry shape rose from the ground near Billy's grave. It wasn't until the lid of the casket flew off into the air with a terrific bang, that Elizabeth realised what was happening. If she had thought that her contempt for Winifred Sanderson could not get any deeper, then she was sorely mistaken.
God's Death…Thou art a demon, Winifred Sanderson!
Her vision cleared enough just in time to see the shape of Billy Butcherson rise from his grave, and turn to look at the five of them sitting dumbly next to his grave. Elizabeth sorely wished God had thought to give Owls eyelids, since she desired nothing more than to blink away the blurry sight of the un-dead man staring back at her. The five looked at each other in horror before returning their attention to the zombie in front of them, and as one let out a terrified cry that rang though the air before running away from Billy.
Elizabeth was glad someone was carrying her, since her tiny body had paralysed itself in fear.
Dear Father who art in Heaven, why did it have to be a Zombie?!
Max could not remember a time when he had run for his life three times in the space of an hour, but as he ran between the headstones while dragging Danni behind him he found he didn't really care. The only thing that mattered to him was getting his sister away from the freakin' zombie Winifred was screeching at to get them, while Alison carried the dazed Elizabeth just behind him. A loud moaning noise made him look back, and it took every bit of his self-control not to scream as the zombie of Billy Butcherson came stumbling after them at some speed.
"Quick, in here!"
Binx jumped down a dark hole in a wall just in front of them, and Max sent the girls in after him as he looked around in a panic for a way to slow Billy down. Just as the zombie was about to come down on him, his eyes landed on a tree branch. Max grabbed it and pulled it back, and Billy suddenly found himself without a head as the branch knocked it clean off. The head rolled down the hill away from the body, and Max let out a sigh of relief as he watched it disappear into the darkness. The sigh soon became lodged in his throat as Billy's body continued to move around in search of his head, which was the complete opposite of what Max had expected to happen.
Yet another thing Hollywood's gotten wrong!
The teen wasted no time in throwing the book down the hole Binx and the girls had disappeared into, before following it down into the darkness. The girls were brushing themselves down as he landed on the floor, the book thankfully breaking his fall somewhat. He quickly scrambled to his feet and began fishing around in his pockets for his lighter.
"Watch thy head, Max."
The owl twittered in laughter as he hit his head on the said stone from her perch on the wall, and Max grumbled under his breath at her as he lit his lighter and looked around.
"What is this place, Binx?"
"It's the old Salem Crypt. It connects to the sewer and up to the street."
The lighter quickly confirmed that they were in fact inside an old crypt, especially when Max looked at the ceiling and saw a skeleton half in and out of its coffin.
"Urgh, don't look up Danni."
"Don't worry, I won't!"
Max ruffled her hair as she clung to him for comfort, she had never been one for scary movies and now she was practically staring in one. Only this time they couldn't turn off the VCR when it got too scary for her.
"Relax, I've hunted mice down here for years."
"Thou should not turn thy nose up until thou have tried them, young Danni. Though I will admit, I was not keen on them myself at first…"
The own trailed off as she followed something on the floor with her eyes, before swooping down from her perch and grabbing something in her talons. She flew ahead into the darkness to eat whatever it was she had caught, leaving the three children to turn green at the sound of breaking bones.
"C'mon, we've got to go. Winifred may not be able to follow us, but Billy can."
It was the last three words that did it for Max, and he lead the girls into the darkness with his lighter.
Oh great, more running…
Elizabeth felt much better after her little snack, since she could hardly call a baby mouse a meal. She spent most of the journey perched on Danni's shoulder, since the roots from the trees above made it too dangerous for her to fly in the tunnels. One wrong move could have cost her a broken wing, which would take up far too much precious time to heal properly. And with Billy hot on their heels, wasting time was a luxury they could ill afford.
The tunnels it seemed went on forever, and Danni was not having a good time of it. The bones were scaring her, and the roots kept tangling themselves in her hair and pulling as she tried to move away. Elizabeth used her beak to break the roots and whispered encouragement to the child as she struggled on the uneven floor, while her brother led the way with his lighter.
This child should be having fun this night, not running for her life from a witch…
Eventually they came to a ladder, and Max volunteered to go first with Thackery while they waited below. Max handed Alison the book and began to climb, leaving the three of them to hold their breath as they waited.
"Binx! Look out!"
Three pairs of eyes watched as Max fell back down into the tunnel, and they all felt their stomachs drop with him when they failed to see Thackery with him. They waited until the bus had passed over them before climbing the ladder, with Elizabeth now perched on Max's shoulder as he climbed the ladder again. The owl waited until Max had opened the manhole before taking flight, rising out of the ground to hover over the sickening sight that awaited her.
I swear motorised vehicles were the invention of Satan…
She landed next to him and gently prodded him with one of her wings, while trying to ignore the broken bones sticking out of his flesh. Elizabeth herself had fallen victim to cars and buses, more often than not while trying to escape from a human with a shotgun. The sensation was like being hit with a sledgehammer, with her tiny body bending to fit the contours of the vehicle before being shot forward and landing with some speed on the ground. More often than not it was the landing that did the most damage, relieving her of most of her skin and feathers as she skidded along the ground.
But tyres were in a whole other league of pain.
Broken bones, crushed organs…this resurrection is not going to be pretty…
The children reacted badly to the sight of him lying there on the road, with Danni crying into Alison's jumper while the older ones just looked away. Elizabeth perched herself on Max's shoulder and kept her eyes on him, waiting for Winifred's curse to revive him.
Light came back into his eyes as his bones began to knit themselves back together, disappearing back beneath his flesh. Elizabeth flicked Max's ear with a feather to make him turn around, which he did just in time to see Thackery sit up and crack his neck.
"Jesu, I hate it when that happens…"
The sight of him moving around again made the tiny owl glad, but that feeling was soon replaced by anger. Elizabeth wasted no time in swooping down and pecking him sharply with her beak, which made him yelp in pain.
"Don't thou ever scare me like that again! You hear me, Thackery Binx?"
"Ow! Yes, I hear thee!"
The three children were as pale as a sheet of paper, and if truth be told they looked just as solid as they stared at the reanimated Thackery rubbing his sore head with a paw. Elizabeth chuckled darkly to herself, if they had any doubts before about Winifred's curse they surely did not have them now after witnessing that.
"H-How did he-"
"Magic, Alison. Winifred's curse won't let us die, remember?"
"Indeed, now come. Thou must get off the road, since thou do not have a curse to bring ye back if a car hits thee."
Thackery stayed behind as the three got off the road, and waited until their eyes were elsewhere before he licked her softly on the cheek.
Elizabeth had never been so glad to have feathers until that point; otherwise her face would have been bright red.
"Y-You're forgiven, this time…"
Danni could hardly believe her eyes. She had turned around to call for Thackery and Elizabeth, and instead of seeing an owl and a cat she saw something else entirely.
Two teens were stood in the middle of the road, both dressed in old fashioned clothes. The boy kissed the girl on the cheek and whispered something into her ear, which made the girl blush as she mumbled something back to him. Her reply made the boy smile at her, which only made the girl blush harder as she hid her face behind her hair.
A firework went off in the distance, which made Danni jump out of her skin and blink.
Max was looking worriedly at her, obviously worried after her jump. She shook her head and looked back at the road, only to find that the image of the teens had gone and in their place was the familiar sight of a black cat and a snowy white owl.
W-What was that?