Disclaimer: We do not own The Outsiders, nor do we own "Hocus Pocus." We just play :-)
Halloween Night 1965
At the end of the narrow paved road, far off from where little kids were dressed up and running from house-to-house ringing door bells for candy, stood a house they had no business standing outside of. It was abandoned. It was locked.
"Let's go in," Dally said. His "costume" consisted of a pair of blue jeans and a jeans jacket. He said he was dressed as a teenager. Real original. Pony tried to talk him into saying he was Marlon Brando, but Dally only sneered at the suggestion. He kind of thought that if Dally had seen the way Cherry Valance looked at him after that he might have agreed to it.
Pony gave him a look that Johnny gave as well. They had been in situations with his brothers and the others as well. They were always pushing them to do things that were on the other side of legal, just to see how far how they were willing to go. Being younger and always needing to prove themselves, they usually did. There was way more fear on Johnny's face, though. They all knew about this house and the witches that lived there 300 years ago, and even if those were just local lore and elementary school stories, there was something very real about it on Halloween.
Cherry Valance on the other hand, put a hand on her hip and said, "It's closed down for a reason, Dally. We don't have any business going in there."
"It's breaking and entering, ain't it?" Pony asked.
"Uh, that's exactly what it is if you get caught, dumbass."
Johnny, also wearing nothing but blue jeans and a white shirt, but with a little bit of fake blood smeared across it, tapped his plastic machete on the ground and said quietly, "I don't think we should. All them stories can't all be made up."
"You believe in all that hocus pocus bullshit? Come on, Johnnycakes," Dally said. Pony felt himself stiffen when he looked at him. "What about you, Pone? You ain't gonna wimp out on me, are you?"
Focused on the house, Pony remembered all the stories about the Sanderson sisters and shuddered, but he was more scared about getting caught breaking into the house and what Darry would do it him if he got caught. Even if Dally put him up to it, Darry would kill him.
Pony kept his mouth shut, the fake raven attached to his coat starting to give him the creeps.
"Pussies," Dally said, as he moved by them all and walked up the short gravel path that led to the dark house. Cherry stamped her foot and took off after him. Johnny gave Pony one look and followed suit. Standing alone on the dark road, Pony gave in and ran after them.
It didn't take Dally long to jimmy open the lock, but once inside they all moved slowly. It was pitch black inside and it was damn and smelled like mold. Pony gagged on the smell and hovered near the door until someone flicked on a lighter offering a little light in the cabin.
"There's gotta be a fuse box or something," Dally said, fumbling around behind the cash counter that had been set up when this place used to be an operational museum. Souvenirs in this place must have been real cool.
"Hurry up, Dal," Cherry whined.
"Ta da," Dally said.
With the flick of a switch the whole room filled with a soft, orange light. Everywhere thick cobwebs hung from the electrified chandeliers and candelabras. Dust sat a half inch thick in places and particles were caught in the light as they moved through the air where they had disturbed it. Cherry coughed and looked at the giant black cauldron beside her. She pushed it with her fingers and it creaked as it swayed a bit.
"It's big enough to cook you in," Dally said, smirking.
Cherry rolled her eyes and walked by him with a cold shoulder. She wasn't falling for any of his charms.
"Real suave, Dally," Pony told him.
Dally only winked and followed Cherry.
It had been a long time since Pony last came to the Sanderson house. Once with a school field trip in the second grade and one other time Soda brought him. Not long after that they shut the whole thing down. Apparently the place was haunted. Or cursed. Pony wasn't sure what the difference was, or what had happened to make people believe that.
Johnny was looking down into a glass case and Pony joined him. With his hand, Johnny cleaned away just enough of the dust to get a peek of what was beneath the glass. All Pony could make out was something brown, so he swiped his hand across the glass and cleared even more dust. He let it fall to the floor.
"What is that?" Johnny asked.
It was brown and leathery. In the dim light Pony thought it was a book. Looking around Pony found a stand with a typed description.
"It's a spell book," Pony said, summarizing what he was reading. He looked up a second to see Dally whisper into Cherry's ear. She pushed him away. "It says that it was given to Winifred Sanderson by the devil himself. It's made out of human skin."
"Man, that's gross. You think that's true?" Johnny asked.
"Well, it sure looks … real."
"It's creepy," Johnny said. "I wonder what kind of spells are in it."
"Pone, John, get over here!"
Dally and Cherry were across the room and they headed their way. There was a sallow looking candle on a simple pedestal they were looking at, and then Dally flashed him a look that made Pony nervous all over again.
"This is the Black Flame Candle. Says if you light it on Halloween night," he made a gesture pointing out that it was Halloween, "it brings the old broads back from the dead."
Cherry crossed her arms again and leaned back on her heels. Haughtily, she said, "He wants to light it."
"Yeah, but it says here that you gotta be a virgin to light it, so I can't," Dally informed them.
It took Pony a minute to realize that Dally was not just staring right at him, but holding his shiny Zippo out to him as well. Without a second's hesitation, Pony shook his head and pushed the lighter away.
"Don't be such a pussy. It's just a bunch of hocus pocus to scare kids like you. It's a fucking candle. It's not going to bring some 300 year old hags back from the dead."
"I know," Pony said, but he still didn't want to light it.
Dally tried to pass the lighter to Johnny, but he shook his head, too.
"I don't think we ought to mess with it, Dal. Fake or not, we shouldn't."
When Dally looked at Cherry, he didn't try to hand her the lighter. Instead he licked his lips, looked her up and down and asked, "Honey, you're not still a virgin, are you?"
"Dallas Winston, just knock it off. No one is going to light that candle," she told him, her cheeks as red as her hair. She glanced at the door and said, "We really need to go anyway. We'll get in trouble."
"Calm down, sweets, it's fine," Dally said. He held the lighter out again and forced it into Pony's hand. "Light the sucker."
Now that the lighter was in his hand, Pony felt like he had to do it. It was an open admission that he was a virgin, and he knew Dally would give him hell over it, but he wanted to see if it would actually work. It was only a candle after all.
"Pony, maybe you shouldn't," Johnny said.
"It's just a candle, Pony. Light it."
"What's it gonna hurt? Dally's right, it's just a bunch of hocus pocus," Pony said, flicking the lighter open. A little flame danced out and he touched it to the wick. The flame caught and lit up orange just like fire should, but when Pony flicked the lighter shut and handed it to Dally it changed. The flame flickered and turned black.
"Holy fucking shit, it did turn black. You are a virgin," Dally said, laughing.
All around the room light bulbs started exploding, raining down sparks and making Cherry scream. Flickering flames replaced the incandescent lights, dimming the room and throwing strange, exaggerated shadows across the walls. A cold wind kicked up, inside, blowing the fake bird right off of his waist coat. The floorboards started to rattle, light shining up through them a fluorescent green.
"What's going on!" Cherry screamed.
The logs beneath the cauldron burst into flames so large he felt the heat on his face. The shaking continued and Cherry continued to scream, until everything just stopped. Dally, although visibly shaken, had a shit-eating grin on his face.
"What the hell was that?" Cherry asked. She was gripping Dally's jacket with white knuckles.
"A virgin lit the candle."
Pony was about to tell him to go to hell when they all heard a laugh, or maybe more of a cackle accompanied by two other voices outside the door. Dally was the first to dive behind a shelf, and the rest of them followed, diving behind whatever they could. Pony hopped over the cash counter and sunk to the floor just as the front door crashed open.
He couldn't see what was going on, all he could do was listen. There were three voices, three sets of unfamiliar shoes moving around the room. He still had no idea what was going on, but something told him the people weren't cops here to bust them for breaking and entering.
"We're home. Oh, sweet revenge. Do you see, sisters, my curse worked perfectly."
"Oh, that's because thou art perfect, Winnie. Oh, I knew I left this cauldron on, didn't I tell you? Oh, I knew it."
"My lucky rat tail! Right where I left it."
There were three distinct female voices and Pony felt his mouth fall open a little. There was no way these were the witches. Virgins lighting cursed candles on Halloween night and bringing witches back from the dead belonged in movies, not in real life. Yet, light bulbs exploded and the floor shook and now they were all hiding from ... something. Even Dally was laying low on this one.
He could hear heels on the wooden floor, moving around, inspecting the place.
"But who lit the black flame candle?"
Pony half expected Dally to start snickering and say it was the dumb virgin behind the register, but only the women continued on. One of them was talking to the book, telling it to wake up when one of the others interrupted.
"Yes?" she replied.
"I smell children."
Ice flowed through his veins and he buried his nose in his clothes to see if it was him they smelled. Kids didn't have a smell that he was aware of.
Her voice was low and gravely. They were all moving together in his direction.
"It's a boy. Maybe thirteen, maybe thirteen and a half."
The ice in his veins hit his heart and he froze in terror. They were so close.
"Come on out, dear! We will not harm thee!"
They were right on top of him when one of them started to sing, but she was silenced. One of them smacked the counter and Pony popped out of his hiding spot, knowing he was found out. Right in front of him were three women. They were dressed in bright, old timey looking dresses that looked crazy even for witches. The one with red hair was looking at him like he was a meal. The other two stared, wide eyed and he swore the one in red was drooling.
"What a handsome ... young man," the red head said. Her lips were puckered and she tapped her claws on the counter.
The one in red came around the counter and Pony tried to duck away, but she started poking him in the sides, pushing him toward the other two.
"And so well fed, too!"
"Tell me handsome, what is the year?"
Pony looked at the woman and then around to see if he could spot the others, but they were hidden well. He still wasn't sure if this was real or not. Maybe it was the best laid Halloween prank he'd ever witnessed.
The red head pushed him into a chair and exclaimed, "Sisters! We have been gone for 300 years!"
"Winnie, how time flies!"
"When you're dead!" the blonde answered. Two-Bit would have liked her. Crazy, dead witch or not.
Pony fake laughed at their joke, but they stopped laughing. Instead, they all stared at him like he was the last piece of meat on the planet. Suddenly, this was very real and he made a motion to get up.
"Oh, stay for supper."
"I'm not really all that hungry," he said, eyes on the door.
"But we are!"
The one in red got into his face close enough that the crazy horn her hair was done up in brushed his cheek. The blonde was on him as well, pinning him to the chair as the other, Winnie he thought, moved away. That was when Dally popped up from his hiding place.
"What do you old broads think you're doing?"
Everything stopped. Their grips loosened on his arms and Winnie looked at Dally with a smirk that had as much trouble behind it as one of his own.
"Roast him, Winnie!"
But the blonde let go of him completely and moved toward Dally with her arms outstretched, saying, "Let me play with him!"
Dally looked disgusted and he pointed a finger at Winnie. "If you know what's good for you, you'll back offa him right now."
The smirk on Winifred Sanderson's face widened as she pointed one very long fingernail at him and said simply, "You! There!" And a flash of lightening came from her nail and Dally was forced face first into the wall.
This was very real.
As she slowly forced Dally higher and higher with nothing but the lightening from her finger, Winifred said, "I haven't lost my touch, sisters!"
Pony was cornered by the one with pointy hair and he couldn't move to help Dally, but he saw Johnny and Cherry pop up from their hiding spots. Cherry was sneaking up behind the one cornering him holding a broom.
The witch turned around and Cherry whacked her with the broom, hitting her in the stomach. She doubled over and Pony shoved her to the floor.
"Don't mention it," she said. The smile on her face vanished as they both turned to the others. Johnny had the bag of trick-or-treat candy Dally had stolen off of some kids, and swung it and hit Winifred hard enough to knock her off balance. Dally crashed to the floor.
Winifred steadied herself and focused on Johnny. She walked toward him as he backed up slowly. Those horribly puckered lips of hers found their way into a smirk again.
"So noble a young man to try and save thy friend, but also foolish," she looked their way and put one manicured hand near her lips and called, "Book!"
The book, the same book he and Johnny had just looked at under the glass, rattled against its confines. The entire display shook until the glass shattered and the book levitated and floated across the room to Winifred's waiting hands. The book flipped itself open and she drugged her nail down the page until she smiled and closed the book. Johnny just stood there, backed into a corner. Dally lay useless on the floor, clutching his sides like he just got kicked in a fight. Mary and the blonde witch, Sarah he thought her name might be, joined Winifred.
Pony realized they were intending to use a spell in that book and he yelled, "Leave him alone!"
As he moved toward Johnny, Winifred unleashed her lightening again, and he hid behind the cauldron. Cherry was right beside him. She looked frightened.
"We have to do something!" she whispered.
But it was too late. Winifred started reading, the other two witches chanting at her side.
"Twist the bones and bend the back."
Pony watched Johnny's horror stricken face as it began to twist in his pain.
"Trim him of his baby fat."
His eyes widened and then closed tightly.
"Give him fur black as black."
He could see his whole body tense up, and the witches moved closer to him.
Sarah sounded like she was hissing, and Johnny's body began to contort. He shrank down, down, until he was completely out of Pony's view. The first sound that broke the silence was a cat's meow.
Cherry grabbed his arm and squeezed.
"Did they just ..."
But before he could figure anything out, he saw Dally pull himself up to the open loft and stand up. He looked down at all of them and he looked dangerously pissed.
"You old hags messed with the wrong bunch of greasers."
Pony slowly pulled Cherry to her feet, knowing their moment to escape was close.
"You think you can shoot that shit at me? I'm going to burn your fucking house down."
Dally flicked on his lighter and held it up. "How do you like the burning rain of death, bitches?"
"Look! He makes fire in his hands!" Winifred exclaimed. The witches actually seemed scared.
Pony immediately called Dally's bluff when he set the flame under the sprinkler system. In seconds it was raining inside and everyone started scrambling. The witches screamed and dove for cover. Cherry was pulling him toward the door, but he was trying to wait for Dally and find out what happened to Johnny. Dally worked his way down and ran toward them, but his foot slid out from under him and he fell flat on his back. Pony ran to help him, but a black cat pounced on him. It sat square on his chest and started talking. The cat was actually talking.
"Get the book! I don't wanna stay like this forever!"
Dally's blue eyes went wide and Pony stood there dumbfounded. The cat sounded just like Johnny. When on one moved, it hissed and swiped at Dally's face.
"Yeah, man. Come on! We gotta go!"
Dally scrambled to his feet and grabbed the book from where Winifred dropped it. She howled and screamed as they all ran out the door and into the night.