Witching Hour

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Come to a Head

Since she had no plans on Friday, what with the witches actually working (like the plebeians they were) and Mahna forced to take his sister’s shift as she hoed herself around (or picking fights... same thing at that point) as well as having no friends to speak in the Black Halls, Samantha decided to look over her teaching plan for December. On Thursday. It at least pushed off Ginger that much longer, but she wondered why she was bothering to check when there was nobody who gave a single fuck left. If anybody showed up on Monday it was a miracle, but, even then, she hoped and prayed. That they wouldn’t.

What does that say about me as a teacher when I just want them all to fuck off and die? She thought, grimacing at the nonsense before her. There were only two weeks left to teach, in truth. The last two were gone to the holidays, and even then it was mostly review... Another thought did cross her mind, though. I’m almost done with our little deal. I survived! Suck it, Lilith!

The thought brought a tear to her eye, and filled the room with soft laughter, prioritizing the schedule. After all, there was no need to review science before the holidays, or Maths. In fact, the only thing they needed to do was arts and music... Why not a touch of soft torture with Christmas music and creating the-

There was a knock at her door.

“Wow. That’s starting to get fucking annoying,” she grumbled- but laughed again. “‘Starting’...” She stood from her desk, looking so empty without her laptop, and opened the door.

To find Junmei on the other side.

Samantha rolled her eyes. Why not complete the hat trick? However, his face was not graced with anger this day, nor was it touched by ire nor loathing nor even distress.

He was smiling.

“May I come in?” He said.

“Didn’t you do that earlier?” She sighed, knowing all too well that went over all three of his heads, and stood back. Though he had already started to slither in before she moved. “Do you want me to shut the door?”

“Only if you desire. I do not care who hears anymore, who tries to interfere. I love Marcy. I truly love her.” He sighed as he coiled before the bed, still smiling like a fool. “I now understand why Americans love their monogamy. Once you find that right person, they can surprise you and make every day far more interesting than a slew of people ever could.”

“It’s good you feel that w-” She began, but was cut off as he gripped her hands, squeezing them (INCREDIBLY) tight.

“You know what she had me do the other day? Well, you do- you do, don’t you? You yelled at me through the door –which I, also, must apologize for. You were right all along.”

“You don’t say!”

“But I do. Which she was a bit miffed at me for confirming your tale.”

“I bet she was.”

“She, also, regretted that she couldn’t bear to face you, to apologize.”

“La-di-da... I don’t know, though. I sort of left after spitting the truth. Considering you were kneeling before her, though... you ate her out?”

“Exactly that, or cunnilingus as it is called proper. Or going down, another popular colloquial. Muff diving, fur burger, hair pie, dine at the Y, clam shucking- in any case, it was something I never thought I would do. I found the act rather repugnant. After all, women menstruate; it can’t be hygienic at all.”

“Men pee from their penis.”

“Yes, but urine is mostly sterile and we clean it on the regular.”

“And you believe women don’t?”

“I know of douching, but I highly doubt women put hot, soapy water up in their vaginal canal every time they bathe. It would lead to other complications, after all. So it’s often assumed, for sound reason, that the vagina is not a clean place to put one’s tongue... but I did. And she tasted incredibly sweet, sweeter than what I actually expected.”

She must have used an extract of some kind, Samantha thought, but groaned as she shook her head. “That’s a bit too much information.”

“I know, and I apologize for it, but... it’s... astounding. I never thought once of performing such an act with a woman –you are a woman and have been with a woman, so you understand the hesitation one has for such.”

“I guess?”

“On which part? After all, I assumed you are a woman, given your daily garb in class. Was I, perhaps, mistaken? Your overall physique, after all-”

“I am a woman!”

“Ah, then what part were you-”

“Just continue, Junmei!”

“Right... and yet, I was almost more than happy to do so for Marcy. I thought she was going to be chaste until her wedding night -I mean, I suppose she still is. There was no vaginal intercourse, so I guess she is still being true to her word- but here she pulled me against her and had me show her my love... Actual, honest-to-goodness love.”

“And I had to know this... because?”

“Because of your help, Samantha. If you hadn’t helped me, hadn’t pressed Marcy or even Buffy to make me see how much I care, I would never have known this feeling... So... I was wondering. I don’t want to coerce you or force you into it, b-”

“If you have to start like that, it’s probably not wise to ask at all.”

“It’s... Let me put it plain: Will you be my best man?”

“Your best... are you getting married?”

“Yes. On Christmas.”

“Isn’t it a bit too soon?”

He sighed, and a shimmer of sadness flickered across his eyes.

“Samantha... You’ve seen how it is down here. You must understand by now that time has no true meaning. It’s only been the span of a few months, but how long has it felt? Years? Decades? Aren’t those walks of yours and those weekends you’re out fleeting in comparison? Meanwhile, Marcy and I both have been down here for years... I have aged since my ‘youth’.” He chuckled, and cleared his throat, letting go of Samantha’s hands. “I would truly appreciate if you were.”

“I... I’ll think about it.”

“Wonderful! Then I must be off. I am going to have Monica forge a few wedding bands.”

He raced out of the room, as giddy and giggly as a schoolgirl; Samantha gave chase a moment, stopping by the door.

“Make sure she makes it for your fingers!” She called out after, and huffed as she closed the door again, returning to her desk... waiting... watching the door, daring it to rumble with another series of raps. However, she couldn’t wait, thundering it open to find... nobody on the other side. There wasn’t even anybody coming up the steps, nor the hall... She closed it again-

Flinging it open. Nobody... She huffed, returning to her desk, looking over the lesson plan once more... her eyes darting to the door.

“One could go crazy down here,” she grumbled.

“You can say that again.”

“I don’t think I have to, bed. If I can give you that thick of a French... Acc...ent...”

She stopped herself, heart sinking when she realized that was not her voice. At all. She spun on her seat, as if whipped by that voice, pulled around to the bed it had rolled from... but found it empty. The hair on her nape stood, already drenched in a cold sweat, doused even more as she slowly continued to wheel around to the door, finding it open. Again.

Samantha sat there, looking at it, wondering if she really wanted to stand and shut it, if it had meaning... if it was worth risking her life for. The papers on her desk crinkled a little, making her yip and spin. On top of the lesson plan was a dutch chocolate cupcake on a silver platter, coated in thick, pink buttercream icing. To the right of it was a posh envelope, inscribed in gold. It was a little hard to make the name on the front, the handwriting as elegant as it was ancient, but Samantha discerned it as her own. She turned it over, finding it was sealed in thick, red wax, an extravagant L surrounded by branches of thorns pressed in its center, but it gave ease enough with a simple flick. Inside was a card, embossed with golden leaves and a solid sapphire set in its middle.

She opened it... shaking as she glanced at the cupcake, wondering if she should throw it away right now.

I have decided it was finally time for us to meet. I am Lucille Fletcher-Hooker, and you are Samantha Coffey. I have met many of the Coffey line over my life; all of them have left me wanting. I made this cupcake for you, in hopes of being friends rather than another unneeded casualty due to my love’s refusal to see sense. It is perfectly safe, I assure you. In fact, I am quite proud of a baker I have become over the years.

I have grown tired of killing, and simply request one thing from you... well, several, but the top priority is rather the most egregious. The hardest one to comply to: LEAVE PETER ALONE.

Now you see why it is the hardest to ask? You are his teacher, his mentor. It goes against your very being to deny someone of knowledge, but... let us simply state your services are not needed. Peter is wise, brilliant, smarter than he lets on. Smarter than I, even, and he does not need help from a mortal. Besides, it’s for your own safety –not because of me. I’m not threatening you; quite the opposite. You, and all down there, are in mortal danger because of his... fancies.

I am running out of card space, so I shall prepare another in time. For now, simply try to work towards the first request.

With love,

Lucille

She closed the card- and almost didn’t scream seeing a sticky note beside the plate. Almost.

P.S. I hope I didn’t scare you, but I am much too busy to do a true face-to-face. Perhaps someday we’ll meet. For now, enjoy! Please hurry, though. It’s best before it gets too cold.

Samantha... put the card on top of the sticky note, and picked up the silver platter. Far heavier than she expected. It was made of true metal... She took the cupcake off, and hit the platter against the wall, making the room clang and ring with its brilliance. Thrice, even, yet there was not a nick nor imperfection. On the plate. The wall, meanwhile, had a lovely new dent in it, deepened as she struck it once more, the room ringing even louder.

“Huh... guess it’s true. Old is gold,” she said, and took a bite into the muffin- devouring it. Tears welled in her eyes as she engorged on the semi-sweet chocolate, on the rich yet light buttercream, not wasting a single crumb. Not even on the wrapper. She moaned as she sucked it clean, panting hard, grimacing at its absence, hating herself for eating it so quick. “But godsdamn that was amazing!”

She put the plate back down on the table... and half expected another note saying thank you or being modest and humble. However, no such note came, so she took the silver platter into the kitchen, rinsed it off, and set it on the counter-

Gone before she even turned.

No noise, no wind; just simply nothing... Samantha returned to the bedroom and eased herself onto its namesake, a little shaken by the ordeal. She slipped into another bout of unsettled rest, waking up to her alarm... only to turn it off and try to turn away from it, knowing all too well she couldn’t escape her fate. Her alarm sounded again, turned off just as quick, but she couldn’t simply lay there. It was only a matter of time before somebody knocked on her door. She needed to drown it out somehow- and the alarm just wasn’t doing it.

Samantha turned off her phone, and decided that a shower was the best option. A shower, with the fan on, singing in it. Oh, but she needed to work her hair. It had gotten rather nappy- but it couldn’t be done with any scissors. She took her time creating a pair, the dragon aiding in sculpting them, giving them soft, silver leaves on their loops, golden embosses near their tips, and made sure the edges were fine as sin. Which meant she had to wait for her hands to get free of the metal before she could clip. Even if the dragon offered; but they all make sacrifices. She would love to hurry, to meet Ginger, but it was simply not in the cards.

Sad- er, thankfully, her hands were freed. Thanks to the dragon; it might not be allowed to clip her hair, but it can help take the load –even though she insisted otherwise. She wanted to be independent again, to have her own power, not to constantly use and abuse it, an inanimate object with no soul or real consciousness. But it wouldn’t have any of it... She cut some of the worse strands off, all two of them, and got dressed. She turned back on her phone- and decided to bug Mahna. He should still be up at, like, three, right? I mean, he did have to work today, but he always has time for her, right? Right.

Heyyy, baby, she sent... and spammed it four more times, only slowing seeing them as finally read.

Do you have any idea what time it is?

I do... ;3 Whatcha doing?

Sleeping. I had to work, remember?

Oh. Yeah... So... how was your day? Did you work hard? ;) I hope you did.

It was okay. Would have been better with you, of course. Sorry about my sis.

How did her date go, anyways?

Horribly. She was home before I even closed the store.

>:( Say what?!

Yeah. I was PO’d, too... Anyways, I would love to chat more, but my eyes can barely stay open.

;) What if I gave them something to gawk at?

Night. Love you.

Love you, too, but that didn’t answer my question~~~ <3

He didn’t even read it.

“Well, fuck you, too,” she grumbled, and pocketed her phone. She took a deep breath... and left the room, heading for Min- No! No... HELL NO... But what about Monica- “Quit procrastinating, bitch. You might as well just... do it.”

It was time to go see Ginger... Samantha stood outside her door. Her hand was raised, ready to knock... only to slide open the shield. The darkness inside seemed to want to flee through the slit, wanting away from the putrescence that became the room... again. Even the air inside had a tinge of green and brown to it. Samantha held her breath, pushed aside her heart thumping against her ears... and heard snoring emanating from inside.

I mean, it would be rude for me to simply wake her, she thought, trying so hard to complete her mental gymnastics with a gold... but never even reached bronze. She heaved a heavy sigh, closed the shield, and prepared to knock once more... checking her phone. It was getting rather late; maybe she could do it after class Monday –or maybe before break! That would be perfec- after the wedding. Oh, but then it would be inopportune for the new honeymooners. Perhaps it should be indeterminable; maybe after she was done in the Black Halls. Per-

“Hiya, Sam!” Norman said. He hugged her from behind, making her squeal and yelp and even curse a little –a lot? A lot... He chuckled, looking at her hand, still raised. “Is it Ginger’s day?”

No shit, Sherl- “Er. Yes. It’s just... I’m a bit... anxious.”

“Eh? Why? Ginger’s a sweet girl. She wouldn’t harm you. Well, unless you are in the way of her and a guy, but she has no interest in anyone down here, so you’re pretty much safe! Here. I’ll knock for you.” He actually did, his soft knuckles barely pattering against the metal. The snoring was cut, much to Samantha’s displeasure, and Norman slid aside the shield. “Gingy! Honey! Sorry to interrupt your nap, but Sam is here to see you.”

“It’s okay, Norman baby,” Ginger mumbled, yawning, and the bed inside creaked. He slid the shield shut, and both waited for her to lumber to the door, throwing it open, the light washing inside and over her. Her dark breasts jiggled so much, their chocolate nips perking in the light, only paled by her black curls but were unable to touch those green eyes, shining so through loose lids. She cooed as she hugged and kissed Norman on the forehead, ruffling his hair before looking at Samantha, crossing her arms under her magnanimous mammaries... smirking at her. “I was already up.”

“Y-you were?” Sam said, glowering at her. “Then why didn’t y-”

“Because it was fun. Want to come in? Just cleaned up the place. You too, Norman.”

“‘Just’ cleaned up?” Samantha blurted, her mind broken as that statement and the scents that wafted in were in complete contrast.

“I would love to,” Norman said, though, and took Samantha by the arm, guiding her in. Ginger clapped, two, quick taps, but each made Samantha jerk her head. She could have flown as the lights blipped on, finally shining that dark place in Sam’s mind. The walls were bland, pale, no cover to be seen but cleaned nonetheless, kept smooth and pure. A projector hung over the bed, the “TV” from her memory in front of it on the wall across, above a chest of drawers. A keyboard was Velcro’d to a bit of smooth wood, covered in soft silk, put on an “arm”, folded up to the wall. It was barely seen against it, locked in place with a single, curled nail. A mouse sat on the nightstand, a blue trackball, but the rest of the room was... mundane, drab. None of the rot or flies were to be seen since the last time Samantha had seen into this little fetid corner of her nightmares. There were three sitting chairs, each wide enough to be a loveseat, and the kitchen was simple, where the three ended their “tour”. Norman hummed, frying some bacon, leaving the girls to sit at the table with the test between them. He peeked at i-

“Wow!” He exclaimed. “A 75! That’s a major improvement, Gingy.”

“It is,” Sam said, feeling a bit smug as she turned to the science portion, all of it covered in red. “This is the only part you failed utterly. Why... Ginger... Ging?”

Samantha snapped her fingers before the girl’s eyes. She was gazing off into space, lost to the white wall behind Sam’s head, a cosmic anomaly that snared all that were fortunate, or unfortunate, to even catch a glimpse of it and its swirling horrors and awesome beauty, all spiraling, melding into a force no one man could e-

“Oh. Sorry.” Ginger said, shaking her head, escaping the siren’s call at last, and looked down at the test, glowering. “Junmei...”

“I take it you don’t like him?”

“I don’t like how he teaches. He’s too straight-forward, no examples, no practical use... Not like you.”

Maybe because he’s a real teacher. “I just do my best-”

“I know. He does, too, but... I can’t learn how he teaches. I need hands-on. I need actual use. I need-”

“For me to teach it?”

… She nodded, blushing a bit. “Yes, or that man of yours.”

“Who? Minos?”

“What? No! That other man you brought home- how did you get away with that, by the way? Lilith has, or had, a strict rule of no one other than those authorized are allowed in the Black Halls. Is he that much of a hunk to get away with it?”

“N-no. No... She has a rule like that?”

“She did when Mr. Smith was teaching.”

“Wait... There was a teacher before me?”

“For, like, a week. He brought his girlfriend down- and was then terminated. Shame, too; he had such a lovely ass. His girlfriend didn’t look too bad, either. Mmm... The possibility if I grabbed her skin.”

She licked her lips, eyes twinkling brighter, and made the skin on the back of Sam’s neck crawl. The sound she made reminded him of a certain villain with a “protagonist” from this state... Thing is, just like him, Samantha could imagine her actually lusting for it. In that meaning.

Samantha settled a touch as Norman placed a couple slivers of bacon in front of her. He set a plate of his own beside, and washed the skillet, still humming away- and pulled Ginger’s gaze to him, smiling sadly. However, another emotion flitted across her face; it was only a moment, but it had stayed in her eyes the longest, burning as she reached out... but pulled back, rubbing her arm. How she grimaced, hiding it behind a smile again as he sat, munching on his bacon.

He looked upon the test, cocked his brow, and pointed to the first question.

“Wait. This one is right.” He stated.

“What?” The girls said, overlooking it... and Samantha slapped her forehead. “Whoops. My bad.”

Ginger groaned, clicking her tongue, and shook her head as her score jumped from 75 to 77.5%.

“You see? I did even better than I thought. I at least got ONE science question.” She said, giggling. “So Norman, how are you?”


We’re outside, Bridget sent. Samantha nodded, and pocketed her phone, those tight shorts ruffling a bit at their edges. Her thighs cursed her, quivering against the blast of cold that awaited above. Her lower legs were nice and toasty, though, hidden under heavy stockings and boots, matching her faux fur coat. And hiding her tasty candy coating underneath. Her bright tube top squeaked a touch as she inhaled the night, letting it go before she climbed into the car with the other witches. Her family.

Bridget was driving this night, her phone resting on the dashboard, while Tanya and Lola waited in the back. Lola’s arms were cuffed behind her, her mouth gagged, exclaiming as she squirmed. Sam slid in, making the screams rise more against that ballgag, joining Tanya in tickling her with a long, black feather. One had been set in Samantha’s seat, just waiting to be used for Lola’s doom.

“It’s her birthday.” Tanya said. She aimed the feather just under Lola’s white tank top, at the purple gem glistening on her naval, while Lola continued to spit curses through her giggling rage. Her cackling was untouched by it, though, rocking the car so as it hummed on the highway. “We’re going someplace different.”

“Where?” Samantha said, brushing Lola’s thighs with the feather, avoiding her kicks, tittering just as much.

“It’s a drive-in.” Bridget said. “They’re doing a quadruple feature tonight.”

“Whoa. A quad? I don’t think I can stay for all of them.”

“It’s okay. There’s an hour in between both the second and third. We’ll get you back home and be out there again in no time.”

“Why can’t you stay?” Tanya said. “Expecting a hot date?”

“No... no... It’s... I can’t talk about it.”

Tomorrow was, after all, the day Bella was supposed to be executed. UNLESS Samantha gave word otherwise... It would probably be in her favor to not look like the dead when she’s arguing her point. She wasn’t really certain she could talk with them about it either, so, no matter how much they pried and asked, she kept silent, continuing to tickle Lola.

Samantha ripped open her top, tickling her nips with the feather, perking quick underneath. Much to Lola’s distress. She screamed ever louder, panting as the pair tugged and flicked them until they were at the drive-in and the first movie rolled. There were only four other cars there, and one was already rocking harder than theirs.

Samantha kept tickling, kept pulling, making up for Tanya’s sudden loss of interest. Not like she was missing much; she saw it with Mahna on their first date, and it wasn’t exactly the highlight of her night. The second rolled on, and Tanya tapped Samantha out, having her move to the front seat. She kept her eyes locked on the screen, no matter how tempting it was to turn to see what was causing those sparks, those flashes... those screeches. Though she did turn her head a little, Bridget shook hers, pointing back at the screen, at the best movie to come out in 2016: Barbie. The flask hidden in the door did wonders for it, making it into a giggling swirl of color even as the credits rolled, and Tanya hopped back into the front seat, onto Samantha’s lap. She was smiling evilly, devilishly, smelling a bit... well... burnt.

Bridget sighed as she turned on the car and returned to the kiosk, the man inside giving her a quizzical look. And the backseat. Samantha would have too, catching sight of a wisp of smoke here and there.

“We need to take her home, but the two of us will be back,” she said. He nodded, and waved them through, allowing them onto the street. The car hummed on the highway, staying in the right lane, the other side barely separated by a hill of grass, a blur of pale brown, white, and yellow streaking by. Lola gagged in the back, coughing, and tittered as her panting made it through.

“Got the ball gag off,” Lola said. “Really, Tanya? You had to do THAT to me?”

“You liked it and you know it,” Tanya mulled.

“Why can’t you girls be normal for a change?” Bridget said. “Why couldn’t we have had a cake, some booze, maybe a male stripper-”

“Like Mahna?” Lola said.

“Hey! Hands off. He’s mine,” Samantha said.

“Fine. Fine. Not Mahna but still Mahna.”

“But why not a normal celebration?” Bridget said. Paradise could just been seen on the horizon, the few soft lights of its streets speckling against the background of fog and soft snow. Tanya giggled as a pair of headlights grew from the other direction.

“You give this speech every year,” she said, smirking.

Bridget looked away from the road, only for a moment, still holding it straight, and pointed at Tanya.

“And still waiting for an a-”

Samantha groaned.

Her head rung, spun and shrieked against the faintest light spilling from the visor on her door. She was unable to turn from it. Her limbs were like lead, her head filled with it, being hammered away. She coughed, and her ribs ached. Her heart thumped at that bruised cage so much, pulsing through her entire body. She tried to move her fingers, able to at least move the thumb with the ring on it, and green energy spooled around those digits. It was warm, warmer than her at least, as it laced up the arm and to the other hand. She tried to keep it under and away from her eyes as much as she could, for as long as she could, tormented by more light as she, in time, manged to flip on the lamp on the nightstand.

And saw Lilith at the foot of the bed.

She was smiling so... sadly at her, finally able to see herself, covered in scrapes, bruises, cuts, bandages, and burns.

“W... what the-” Samantha croaked, and retched a little, tasting gasoline, and metal. A small fragment was still lodged in her throat, spat up. The black iron wound into a perfect knot, holding a bit of her flesh in it. “L... Lilith?”

“You were in an accident last night,” Lilith said, rubbing Samantha’s foot. “A drunk driver coming the other way slammed into your car.”

“T-the oth-”

“Are fine. A bit shaken, but, just like you, with a little applied magic they were back on their toes... Now, that you’re awake, you know today is Bella’s execution... unless you decide otherwise.”

“... No.”

“No? So execute her n-”

“No. Wait.”

… Lilith sighed, and stood. She patted Samantha’s leg, aching under each tamp.

“Alright. Her execution is stayed for an additional six months which, if by your word, she will be released to the public... or terminated then.”

Samantha managed a small nod, and gulped, sobbing a little as the green overtook every inch, igniting the pain that was hidden under by the sheer numbness. A blessing that was her broken spine, realigned. She rolled out of bed, and crawled to the bathroom, her legs finally working as she hugged Not-John. She didn’t offer that impostor any prayers... but wanted salvation all the same. It had been one helluva week.

And I have yet to actually find rock-bottom... She was forced to endure more laughter, echoing eerily in the room. Unwanted.

Don’t worry, Sam. It’s only a matter of time now. Everything will be okay. --Norman

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