A/N: My apologies to Deserted Distractions readers, but I needed to take a break from that story for a while. Enjoy this little Halloween treat instead. With any luck, DD will be back strong in November.
The full harvest moon shone yellow gold onto the empty cemetery, the only light in the inky sky. Far off in the distance, the sounds of trick-or-treaters could be heard, but they grew fainter and less frequent. The night had grown black and chill. The time for children to laugh at the darkness was almost over. Now it was time for the darkness to laugh at them.
Tea shivered, wishing she had brought a thicker jacket. The flimsy black cardigan that she wore now barely took the edge off the night air. But a warm jacket would have looked odd with her costume—a fairly generic witch's outfit, with a short tulle skirt and garish purple accents—and she hadn't wanted any awkward questions. If any of her friends had the least idea of what she was doing out here tonight…
She got to her feet and let out a breath. For the briefest of instants, it hung frosty in the air, and then dissipated. It was time. It wasn't witching hour—midnight was still hours away—but it was as late as she could safely leave it.
The cemetery was deserted. She had been afraid that it would draw rowdy teenagers looking for dumb pranks or cheap scares, but no one had come near it all night. The place was as silent as the dead.
An owl hooted from some far-off tree and a chill ran down Tea's spine. She ignored it. She wasn't going to be frightened of spooky sounds in the dark or of a couple old headstones—even if more than one of them did seem to glow eerily in the moonlight. She swallowed hard. What was there to be afraid of? She'd let sleeping dead lie. And if they didn't sleep—so much the better. After all, that was what she was here for, wasn't it? To wake the dead.
Sucking in one last deep breath, she walked to the center of the cemetery. There was something of a clearing there—an open space with no graves for several yards in all directions. Tea stood in the middle of it now. She unhooked the little pouch from where she'd concealed it under her skirt. She took out the long white taper and the cigarette lighter. She lit the candle and held it aloft.
"Spirits in the ground, hear my voice.
Sleepers in the earth, awake and listen."
Her voice trembled and the candle flame quavered.
"I come to call forth one of your number.
I summon your kin-spirit from the earth."
Of course, he wasn't buried here or anywhere remotely near here. There wasn't the smallest chance that, in life, he'd ever so much as breathed the same air as any of the people buried here, in the Domino Cemetery. But the woman at the shop had told her that performing the ritual in a cemetery was sure to improve its efficacy. "Dead call to dead," she had told her.
Keeping the candle steady as best she could with one hand, she reached into the pouch and pulled out the dried angelica. She crumbled a few of the leaves over the candle.
"Let this light be sacred.
Let the calling be pure."
She repeated the process with the salt, the lavender, and the crust of bread. By this point, the wax was dripping dangerously towards her fingers. Carefully, the way the woman had shown her, she tilted the candle to allow the wax to drip onto the ground, while keeping the flame from going out. She formed a circle around herself, and then took out a strip of white linen and wrapped it around the taper's base to protect her hands.
"My call is not for knowledge," she whispered aloud to the darkness. "My call is not for might. My call is not for riches, nor for blood, nor spite."
As she said the words, she fed the candle flame from her pouch of ingredients—a scrap of paper from a book for knowledge, an oak splinter for power, a corner of a dollar bill for wealth, a thorn for spite. For blood, she pricked her finger with the thorn and let the resulting red drop splash into the flame. The flame guttered and for an awful second, she thought it would go out. But then it flared back up, bright as ever, and she went on with the ritual.
"Restless spirit, hear my voice.
Sojourner from beyond the grave, come to me."
She plucked a hair from her head and fed it to the candle flame.
"With this token and with my name, I bind myself to you." She whispered her full name to the darkness. "Now, come as I call, come from the distant past, come from the shades of Egypt that was, as with this token and with your name, I bind you to myself."
With trembling fingers, she plucked the last item from her pouch. It was a scrap of a leather strap, one she had taken from the tomb that the Ishtars guarded, back last year. As she fed it to the fire, she felt a shift in the air, a sudden energy. The night was as silent as ever, yet she felt it humming with energy, Excitement pooled in her stomach. It was working!
At last, she thought. They would be together again, if only for one night. She squeezed her eyes shut. Atem, I'll see you soon. All that remained was for her to speak his name, his true name, aloud, and the spell would be sealed.
She opened her eyes. She sucked in her breath. A shape was taking form just outside the circle. Though it was still shadowy and hazy, it was definitely a man's shape, and growing clearer by the second. She smiled and extended her hand in welcome. "Come," she whispered. "I call you…" The words died on her tongue as suddenly the dark figure grew clear. "Bakura?"
The candle flame flickered out.