|The Witch of Central
Author: Heather Grey PM
She’s beautiful. She’s seductive. She’s deadly. You do not want to tangle with the Witch of Central.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror - Words: 2,383 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Published: 10-30-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2269184
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rated: T (PG-13)
Summary: She's beautiful. She's seductive. She's deadly. You do not want to tangle with the Witch of Central.
A/N: Here's a little Halloween treat for you to enjoy. This is a tale I made up so guys have no fear there's no witch at CMU. Enjoy!
The Witch of Central
By: Heather Grey
The Witch of Crux
Is thy despair.
Do not fear
Tis thine soul
The Witch longs to share.
Flipping out his drawing pad, he proceeded to make a sketch of the autumn scene at Central Michigan University. The new sights were enough to send this freshman's artistry into a frenzy. There was so much to capture, to seize the moment and forever freeze the image of college life combined with the beauty of nature.
Feet spread shoulder width apart, his eyes never once looking down at his work as the charcoal pencil glided across the blank page, filling it with life before him. He blew a loose stray of chestnut hair that settled over one crystal blue eye, escaping the confines of his knitted wool cap. Such a quick and innocent maneuver that Thomas briefly looked down at his drawing, his hand halting as he realized what he drew.
First glance it was nothing, nothing seemed out of place. There was the sea of yellow-greenish and burnt red-orange leaves, a single picnic table in a veil of the mixed leaves, the showering fountain, and the University Center in the background. But the part he hadn't meant to include… no wasn't aware of was a dark figure behind the fountain.
It was a girl.
She wore a dress of ebony, the ends tattered and worn, and black boots lacing up her leg. Long, thick wavy curls of brown hung over her shoulders, barely kissing the small, white oval-shaped face. Though the distance was far, Thomas could make out the cold gray eyes staring at him.
His head snapped up and she was gone. Vanished. Almost as if she was never there.
Frowning, he gazed back to the pad and the image was still there.
Fighting the chills crawling up his spine, Thomas quickly shoved the drawing pad into his backpack and broke into a sprint down the turning path towards his dorm.
A week later…
A cup of beer was shoved into his hands by Greg Ackerman, a third year senior and all around party boy. He shot Thomas a lopsided grin as he gestured for him to drink up.
"There's plenty more where that came from," he said before walking over to a group of buddies.
"It's Thomas," he muttered and took a sip. The strong, bitter foam ran down his throat, clinching in response. He bit back a cough as he forced himself to take another swallow.
Thomas could think of far better things to do than being at a frat party. But his roommates dragged him down and had ditched him as soon as they walked through the door.
Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Thomas wandered into the next room. The rap music blared through the speakers, couples dirty dancing, and the bobbing of heads in time with the beat. Thomas bobbed his head just to blend in, but eventually gave up feeling out of place. Never a fan of the modern music, he was the stereotypical quiet, sensitive artist. He preferred the tranquil, serenity of classical, which he had his parents to blame.
If only they weren't musicians, he thought resentfully.
Standing near the back, Thomas observed the crazy, inhibited behavior of his peers. He never could understand the "fun" of drinking until you puke your guts out. Then again, he came from a strict upbringing and only wished he could relax and let loose like the others.
Sighing, Thomas forced another mouthful of the foul beer, crushed the cup before throwing it to the side. Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he leaned against the wall as the buzz was starting to slowly kick in. There was a slight pressure in his head, but not enough for Thomas to lose his senses.
He moved past the winding bodies and tumbling drunks to get into the kitchen. The stench of alcohol, sweat, and faint vomit was sickening but Thomas held in the grimace that he was fighting until he could grab another drink. Draining it in recorded time, his head was beginning to spin but that didn't stop him reaching out for another.
As he put the Styrofoam cup to his lips, he heard Greg yelling in the distance. Suddenly, a hand slapped on his shoulders and Thomas was whipped around to face an upper classmate, his smile crooked and mischievous.
"Come on frrreshie," he slurred, leading Thomas to the main living space where there seemed to be a gathering of freshmen. Greg stood in the center, beer in hand, but his expression took on a more somber look than his earlier enthusiasm. Dread started piling in Thomas's stomach, the putrid taste of beer touching the tip of his tongue.
"For the vets here, it's that time of the year again," Greg began his eyes hardening. "You know what it is boys."
"Halloween!" yelled someone in the room.
Greg's laugh was anything but humorous. "Yes but something else too. Something worse than any serial rapist or killer out there."
The solemnity of his tone had the rest of the crowd sober up, except for a couple giggling freshmen. Greg glared at them, silencing them immediately. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't a joking matter to the senior.
"Everyone knows but the newbies, so listen carefully—this is your first and only warning. Then from now on it's up to you how you live your life." He sent each male a look, his eyes resting on Thomas last.
"We have a legend here at Central. It may sound like any typical ghost story but I swear to God this is real. Way before the school was built in the 1890s there was a witch living in town, the Witch of Crux. She's one vixen that no man wants to mess with. She killed many young guys, draining their life source so she can continue living. There's even a rhyme."
Taking a deep breath, his deep voice recited:
The Witch of Crux
Is thy despair.
Do not fear
Tis thine soul
The Witch longs to share."
"She is real," Greg repeated. "The Witch of Crux or Central, to be exact, comes every year to feed. Her victims usually are guys, specifically first-years, since they're the easiest targets. Her appearance changes all the time but take advice from us—don't mess with any girls until after Halloween. One of my best buddies thought this was a campus prank and he ended up meeting a girl, fooled around, and the next night was found dead. But he was unrecognizable… he had aged fifty years."
His pitch became soft, lost in reflection as the horror of that night replayed on his features. "I know how it sounds. Crazy, right? But it was Dave. Even though no one else believed, I did."
He took a drink. "I don't care how hot or how fine you find a girl on campus; she could be the last thing you see alive. Listen to me and you will survive college. If you don't, then drink up for this might be your last party."
Greg crushed the empty cup, gazing directly at Thomas.
"Be safe," he murmured.
It took all of Thomas's willpower to suppress the shudder.
Tipping the chair back, Thomas stared at the dozen sheets of paper on his desk. They were drawings… all of her.
The past several days he spent all of his free time at his pad, flipping sheet after sheet covered in his latest muse. Or obsession if one could say.
I shouldn't have looked at it. I shouldn't have, he told himself. Though it was inevitable he conjectured. His curiosity was insatiable and he couldn't sleep without taking a look at his first drawing. And it led to this.
First were the dreams.
He envisioned the tumbling tresses, the scarlet lips, and the taciturn gaze in those large gray irises.
And he drew. And he painted.
Her dress would be the same weathered one, but the color changed. One time it was charcoal, then it was a forest green, and the latest—a deep crimson that it was almost black. But her countenance was forever indifferent.
How could one person be so cold? So emotionless?
Yet, there was a warmth about her. Maybe not in her visage but from her aura. There was definitely a polar attraction that pulled Thomas in. He couldn't understand why but each time he closed his eyes, he saw her.
She was close… so close… he could practically breathe in her cinnamon scent. He could nearly touch her silky skin, the soft tendrils ghosting his face. And the chilly orbs weren't as frightening as he believed… but something wanting.
He wanted to make her burn. He wanted to see those lovely eyes light up with the growing desire he felt in his breast and belly.
He wanted this mysterious girl.
Exhaling, Thomas rubbed his temples with his fingertips. Greg's warning rang in his ears, however, a part of him resisted fiercely.
The idea of a witch, here at Central and in this time, was downright hysterical. Obviously it must be a joke. No one can age twice as dramatically as Greg spoke of. His buddy, Dave, could have run off with the girl and in Greg's grief he thought that some old geezer was him.
That was the logical explanation. Plain and simple.
Now Greg was using his Lifetime story to scare the freshmen. What upper classman wouldn't? To freak out the fresh meat was too tempting and he made up that rhyme to go along with the tale.
It made perfect sense.
"I'm not that gullible," Thomas mumbled. "Let them be afraid. There's no such thing as witches, ghosts, or goblins. What does he take me for? I'm too old for the boogeyman lies."
Tentatively, he tapped the close-up of his aloof girl.
Her looks were plain, nothing spectacular, but there was a beauty about her that couldn't be ignored.
Not ignored by an artist.
"You're not at all scary," Thomas said aloud in the empty room. "But you're a wraith, haunting me."
The clock struck midnight.
Thomas stood outside barefoot with his arms widespread as the silvery moonlight washed over him. Stars were scarce and the clouds in the distance were dark and foreboding wisps. Everything was silent. No trains, no cars, and no evidence of a party in the background.
Silent as the grave.
He took a hesitant step forward and then another. He wasn't sure where his destination was, but he followed his instincts as it took him further away from the familiar sights.
He was astonished that it wasn't all that chilly, considering it was Michigan and in the middle of October; though stranger things may occur in this bipolar of a state.
He wandered aimlessly on the cement paths, weaving in and around the trees, enjoying the solitude. In his head, he could already picture his next masterpiece—the blackened swirls of the trees, the indigo sky, and perhaps the outlines of Warriner Hall…
You drew me.
Thomas froze. Slowly turning on his heels, he saw the girl on the pathway about five yards away. She was as he remembered. The ebony dress, the ends of the skirt ragged, her hair loose and wild. And her eyes… the stoic ashen irises gleaming in the soft pale light.
An angel of darkness…
I saw you. You drew me.
His mouth opened but no sound came out. Her lips weren't moving he could tell, but her voice was crystal clear in his head. It was melodious, but venomous. A rose with thorns… a beautiful rose.
I knew I would find you.
Thomas gaped. "Y-you looked for me?"
In a blink of an eye, she was standing in front of him. Her delicate hand was held out like she were about to touch him as a dear lover, but she made no move to.
I know everything Thomas.
"M-my n-name?" he sputtered, his blue eyes wide. "H-how?"
Does it matter? You were searching for me as I for you.
She smiled sweetly.
Isn't this what you wanted?
"Yes," Thomas whispered and nearly groaned as her hand, her warm hand made contact with his fevered flesh. It was as silky as he knew it would. His dreams did not lie.
She brought his face close, her wine-stained lips tilted up in offering as Thomas eagerly pressed his mouth to hers, tasting the sweet nectar.
"This is where you found him?" The uniform officer questioned, looking at the stricken college kid.
"Yeah. I know this sounds odd, officer, but I'm telling you that was Thomas Richards."
The officer nodded. "You may say so but the family has yet to identify him. And chances are they won't. Not when this is clearly someone's grandfather you came upon. As procedure goes I have to keep your statement on record in case we have further questions."
He gave the boy one last sympathetic look before taking his leave to his squad car.
Greg Ackerman watched the policeman drive off. Smirking, he strolled away while humming…
The Witch of Central
Is thy despair.
Do not fear
Tis thine soul
I long to share.