“Kay! Elly! Come in, come in!”
Jo held the door open and allowed her two friends to come into the flat, closing it behind them. The young girl was wearing a long sleeved white top under a Motley Crue t-shirt, faded denim jeans, and a pair of brown slouch socks pulled up over the legs.
Kay was a blonde haired girl, who had just celebrated her 21st birthday. Her padded blue gilet had a large fur hood attached to it, and she wore it over a blue denim blouse with a matching mini skirt. Her dark leggings were covered below her knees by long striped socks, with a pair of brown suede boots over her feet.
Elly was Kay’s younger sister, a bright nineteen year old with short blonde hair. She was wearing a v-necked sweater with a diamond pattern on the front, and a large black scarf tied round her neck, the ends tucked in the front of her sweater. A black leather jacket was over that, while her tight black leggings were tucked into a pair of black knee length leather boots.
As they removed their coats and handed them to Joanne, Elly said “So this is your flat - nice Jo.” Jo smiled as she heard that - her dad had bought her the place, and she had done her best to make it her own. The two families had known each other for years, and Jo and Kay had grown up together, learning at the same time in the same place.
“So,” Kay said as she sat down and pulled her boots off, “What is the plan for tonight?”
“Oh I thought a few drinks, a film, and then,” Jo said as she pulled out a box and opened it, showing the contents to Elly and Kay.
“Wow,” Elly said as she looked at the two of them, “Is it time?”
“It is,” Kay said as she hugged her sister, “If you are ready?” She brought out the wooden board, with the letters and numbers engraved on the faded willow, and the special counter.
“Can... Can we do it instead of the film,” Elly said as he looked wide eyed at the others.
“I suppose so, but we cannot do anything until it is fully dark,” Jo said as she stood up. “So let me get the takeaway ordered, and then after we eat we can begin.”
Elly pushed away the plate and took a sip from her glass of wine. “That was fantastic - where did you find that restaurant?”
“A friend,” Jo said with a smile, “They specialise in our particular tastes. Now, are you ready Elly?”
The young girl nodded as Kay set up the board on the table, and Jo lit some candles, turning off the electric light so that the room was lit in a dim, peaceful way.
“We use the board to communicate,” Jo said as she sat cross legged on the floor, “To make sure that the things that we do are right and in alignment with the plans and purposes laid down for us here on this planet. Are you read, Elly, Kay?”
The two girls nodded and placed their fingers on the counter that was resting under the carved letters and numbers. Jo placed her finger on the wooden triangle as well, as she said “We must all clear our minds, let go of all the stress and strain of the day, and ready ourselves to listen.”
The three girls, sat still, breathing slowly, allowing themselves to calm before Jo said quietly “We are here - are you there?”
The counter started to move slowly to the word “Yes” that was carved into the board.
“We have the newest member of our clan here, Elly. Are you ready to welcome her fully into the clan?”
Elly watched, smiling as the counter moved again to “Yes.”
“Elly, you are following your sister into the mysteries that are prepared for you. Do you do so willingly, of your own free will, and without fear?”
“I do,” Elly said as she looked over at Kay, her blue eyes shining. “I am ready.”
The counter moved across the board, spelling out the message “Good Welcome” Elly’s cheeks flushed as she looked at Jo and Kay. “Ask the question,” Kay said with a smile, the candlelight throwing shadows across her blonde hair.
Elly nodded, and said slowly “I desire to know my place in the clan, and the role I was born to play.” The counter moved slowly, as the word “Protector” was spelt out.
“I thought so,” Jo said as the candlelight shone on her dark hair, “It means you complement Kay and me. Is Elly to be one with us?”
The counter moved again to “Yes,” and then spelt out the word “Tonight.”
“Tonight,” Kay said as she looked at the other two, “Does this mean we are to be tested?”
The counter moved to “Yes” and then spelt out “Two are coming soon.”
Jo looked at the sisters, and said “Do we have time to prepare?”
They looked at each other as the door to the room opened, and a rough male voice said “Well, well, what do we have here? Three little girls playing with the Ouija board?” Elly gasped as the light to the room was turned on, and she saw two men standing there. They were dressed in casual clothing, but the heavy bats in their arms told her all that she needed to know.
“You’re not going to give us any trouble, are you?” the other man said in a softer voice as Kay, Elly and Jo stood up and faced them. “Who... Who are you,” Jo said as the first man came forward and grabbed her by the arm, while the other one blew out all the candles.
“We’re the men who want your stuff,” he snarled as he twisted Jo’s arm behind her back, making her cry out in pain. “Did that board tell you we were coming?” Elly opened her mouth, but she noticed a warning look from her sister, and instead quietly said “Please, don’t hurt us, we’ll do whatever you want.”
“Right - you,” he said to Elly, “Lie face down on the floor and put your hands behind your back.” As she did so, he took a length of rope from his pocket and threw it at Kay. “Tie her hands together behind her back - and make sure it’s tight.”
“Be brave, Elly,” Kay said as she crossed her sisters hands behind her back and wrapped the rope around them, securing them together and passing the rope between her arms as she did so. She did her best to keep the rope over the cuffs of Elly’s sweater, but she still winced at the way the rope cut into her arms.
“Now her legs,” the man said as he threw a second length of cord over. Crossing Elly’s ankles, Kay bound them tightly together, watching the man as he held Jo’s arm tightly up her back. “You,” he said then to the other man, “Get upstairs and find whatever you can. Turn everything out.”
Jo turned her head and got a good look at the second man. He was in his early twenties, with short cut brown hair, and stood about five foot eight tall. As he turned and walked out of the room, she looked over to Kay, who nodded as she said “Now what?”
“Now you get down on the floor,” the intruder said as he let Jo go, “and your friend here gets to tie your wrists and ankles.” He handed Jo two further lengths of cord before pushing her in the direction of Kay and Elly.
“Are you all right, Elly,” Kay whispered as she lay down on her stomach on the floor. “Sort of,” Elly whispered as Jo crossed Kay’s wrists behind her back. As she felt the rope cutting into her wrists through her blouse, she looked over her shoulder. “It’s all right, Jo,” she said quietly, “Do what he tells you to.”
“Listen to your friend,” the man said as he watched Jo tie the rope off, then cross and bind Kay’s ankles, the white rope showing clearly over her striped socks as she pulled them together.
“Right,” the intruder said as Jo tied off the knot, “You lie face down and put your hands behind your head while I take care of your friends here.” As Jo lay down, she watched as he rolled Kay and Elly over and pulled them by their arms to opposite sides of the room. She took careful note of his appearance - early forties, black hair grizzled whit grey, stocky build, and a strange musky smell about him.
Taking two more lengths of cord, he bound Elly and Kay’s legs together below their knees, then knelt next to Jo and pulled her wrists together behind her back. As he did this, she heard a footstep, and looked up to see the younger man walking in, a pillow case jangling in his hand as he looked down.
“Find something to shut these three up with,” the older man said as Jo felt the rope pulling her wrists tightly together. She winced at the tightness, before she felt her own ankles been crossed and lashed together as well. “You’ve got my stuff,” she said as she watched the younger man emptying out the purses of the three girls and pocketing their purses, “Why don’t you just leave us alone now.”
“Already thought of that,” the younger man said as he threw three of Jo’s bandanas down on the couch, “Who do you want me to start with?”
“The younger one,” his fellow robber said as he looked at Elly. Her eyes widened as she watched him pick up a black scarf, roll it into a band and tie a knot in the middle. “No, please, you don’t have to do thammmppphhhh,” she said as he pulled the knot into her mouth, silencing her cries as he tied the ends of the band together under her hair.
“You bastard,” Kay said as she watched this, “Leave my sister Alonmmmmmggggg.” She felt the taste of cotton in her mouth as a knotted red bandana was pulled into her own mouth, muting her calls as he tied the ends over her own hair.
Jo felt herself been rolled over and pulled into a sitting position against the couch, between her two friends as her legs were bound below her knees as well. “Just get out of here,” she said quietly as she watched the green bandana been rolled into a band and knotted as well.
“Once we have you quiet,” the older man said as Jo found herself been gagged with the scarf as well, making her grunt “Vrrfneee,” as the cloth was pulled around her own head and tied tightly at the base of her neck.
“Have fun,” the younger man said as he turned off the lights and left the three girls in darkness, closing the door behind him as he followed the second intruder out. Jo sat still, listening to the sound of footsteps outside, and then the flat door opening and closing. She sat still for a few minutes, as her eyes adjusted to the dark room and she saw Elly trying to twist her arms free.
Looking at Kay, she saw the older sister nod slightly, as she mumbled “Cndlslt.” The candles slowly flickered back to light as Elly looked at her sister and Jo, nodding as she understood what was required of her.
She closed her eyes and imagined the rapidly soaking cloth in her own mouth slowly easing out from between her lips, the knot that was pressing into the back of her neck slowly coming undone as her tongue was released from the pressure that it had felt. In her mind she opened her mouth to allow the knotted scarf to come out and fall silently onto the floor by her side.
“Well done, sis,” she heard Kay say, and Elly opened her eyes to see her sister smiling at her, the red bandana that had been gagging her lying on the floor. To her side she saw black one, while Jo was kicking her gag out of the way.
“Well, they said we would be tested,” Jo said as she looked at the other two, “I just did not expect the test to be like that. Kay, you’re up - do you need your hands freed?”
“Not yet,” Kay said, “You can take care of that when you’re ready. First I need to find them.” She closed her eyes and stated to relax, as she focused her mind on the two men who had just left the flat. Elly watched as a faint blue haze started to form around her sister, and her eyes snapped open to reveal eyes white as the driven snow.
“Have you found them,” Jo asked as she and Elly looked on.
“Yes,” a voice that came from Kay said, “They are about a mile away, and it would appear that we are not the only people they intend to visit tonight.”
“They are breaking into another house?”
“Yes - I see an older and younger woman, and their faces have the look of terror about them. The mother is holding the younger one, and I can see the rope in his hands.”
“Show me,” Jo said, and as she Elly closed their eyes it was as if they were looking through the eyes of the robber. The older woman had shoulder length black hair, flecked with grey, and was wearing a brown dogtooth patterned dress with knee length brown leather boots. The other girl was wearing a blue smock top with a leather belt around her waist, black leggings and knee length tight leather boots, with a black scarf tied into her auburn hair.
“I have them,” Jo said with a smile, “and I know where they are. You can break contact now.” She watched as Kay closed her eyes, and the blue haze around her body disappeared. “Elly, you will not have seen this before - do not be afraid.”
The younger girl watched as Jo’s body seemed to start to shimmer and change. Her hair turned from the dark colour to a bright white as her skin changed from pink to a dark grey hue. As she looked on, Jo’s arms and legs broke free from the rope bindings as her clothing ripped into shreds, and she stood up, padding softly over to Kay and slicing through the ropes around her arms and legs.
“I’ll take care of Elly,” Kay said as she rubbed her wrists, “Go - we’ll see you later.” The sisters watched as Jo seemed to fade into the dimly lit light.
As Kay untied her sister, she quietly said “Well done, kiddo - I think we’ll hear soon if we have passed or not.”
“What is Jo going to do?”
“Save the other two women,” Kim said as she helped her sister to stand up.
“Plssssdnttttt....” The older woman looked up at the two men, her eyes wide over the silver tape that covered her mouth and jaw. She was sat on the floor, her back leaning against that of her daughter as she tried to move her wrists apart.
That was difficult, as her arms had been pulled behind her and her wrist tied together against her daughter’s waist, while she could see her daughter’s wrists tied in front of her. Their arms were held together wither side of them with rope, and another strand was wrapped around their waists.
Looking down her legs, she could see the white rope around her ankles and legs, as she tried to twist them free. The cloth stuffed into her mouth was pressing her tongue down, as she listened to the squeak of leather against leather while her daughter tried to move her legs behind her.
“Nice haul,” the older man said as he looked in the pillow case, “but I wonder how much more we can get if we really make them talk.” He knelt next to the older woman, and whispered “Talk to me or your daughter gets hurt.”
“NNNNNNNNNNNN,” she screamed through her gas as she felt the younger woman’s arms press into her stomach - and then the lights went out.
“What the hell,” the younger man said as the room was plunged into darkness, and they all heard a low, snuffling sound similar to one a cat might make. The older woman tried to look through the gloom, as the two men looked at them, then round the room.
“What the hell is going on,” the older man said as the noise got louder, and then he screamed out “What the hell is that!” The mother saw the direction he was pointing in, and turned her head, her eyes widening as she said “Dntlk” to her daughter.
It was about six foot tall, with skin a deathly pale grey and eyes that burned red. There did not seem to be any clothing on it, but there was a thin coating of what looked like brown fur over the skin. A long shock of white hair covered the head of the creature as it looked at the two men.
The feet were like dog’s paws, long and wide as it stood there, the legs slightly bent, while at the end of the arms what should have been hands with fingers was instead a wide paw with long claws that extended from where the fingers should have been. The head turned and looked to the woman, nodding as she slowly closed her eyes and tried not to listen to the screams of the two men.
After a few minutes, she felt something slicing through the ropes, and as she opened her eyes she saw - nothing. The room was empty, and as she looked down she saw her daughter’s arms free of the rope, the scattered remains of the binding lying on her lap and the carpet.
“Mum,” she heard her daughter say, “Wh... What just happened?” She tore the tape away from her mouth and pushed the soaking wad of cloth out with her hand, as she slowly turned and embraced the younger woman. “I don’t know,” she said quietly, “but we’re safe now, we’re safe...”
Kay looked at the creature as it shimmered back into view, leaving a pillow case on the floor before it slowly regained the form of Jo. Elly handed her a robe to cover her body as she sat down, and accepted the cup of herbal tea from Kay.
“They won’t trouble anyone again - what do they say?”
“They say congratulations,” Kay said as the other two sat down, “and that they will talk with us again next week. We are finally a unit - hunter, seeker and protector.”
“Good,” Jo said as she sat back. “It can be so hard to fit in with this moral world at times, but at least we can do some good.” She looked at the two sisters as they stared back. “The Craft must never be taken lightly, ever.”