"Sorry to say it, but your party's a little ridiculous. They're trying to sell bottles of Pepsi for twenty dollars. Not the big party bottles, either."

I gestured across the lawn, over my friend's shoulder. All around us, his guests danced and laughed. The normally-green yard had faded to a crackling beige with the winter seasons, but here in such a hot state, it never truly got cold.

He looked over at the table where men stood, shilling their overpriced, probably-counterfeit beverages. Some caterers they were.

"I don't know who they are," my friend said. "I didn't bring them."

I looked over again. Staring at a lone bottle on the edge of the table, red and blue against the white, was the last thing I clearly remembered.

It all went dim. I heard darkness, saw screaming. Pain and fear wracked me, pulled me inside-out. The guests on the ground, on the dead grass. The dried-out lemon tree in a neighbor's yard peering over the line at us, me peering up at the pale sky through its fruitless branches. Screaming and darkness, both mine. The week following formed only with great reluctance; I did not want to return, did not want to remember. I gripped oblivion and held it like a blanket, wishing it all away.

Droning in my mind, I recalled only one phrase: "The witch."

What did she want? What did they want from me?