A murder of witches sailed through the twilight, silhouetted against the orange and purple dusk like thirteen Stevie Nickses coming onstage. Only this time the stage was a well-to-do residential section of town and instead of softly-to-moderately rocking out, they were here to steal children and eff stuff up.
“Are you sure this is smart?” asked Suzette Donovan, alighting in the middle of Forest Street. “You know we’re at our weakest tonight.”
“Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you started immolating children, Suzette,” barked Mabel, holding her broom like an assault rifle. Her dark hair fell in waves over her shoulders, the train of her black dress sprawled upon the asphalt. “You forced our hand. We can’t risk those kids telling other kids and all of them salting themselves in their homes where we can’t get them. We need young blood and organs and fingernails and we need them by dawn.”
“But nothing! I will not have another Dublin Disaster on my watch! You remember that? 1118? Those Vikings messed us up, Suzette. Kiera, Topanga… the… rest of them… They used their skulls as soup bowls. We had to relocate to England. Have you had English coffee?
“No,” continued Mabel coldly, a faraway look in her eyes. “Not again.”
“Besides,” added Sarah, landing between the two witches, “it’s only six hours until midnight. What’s the worst that could really happen?”
“Well –” began Suzette.
“Lighten up, Susie,” said Sarah, pulling her blonde hair back into a ponytail. “Try to have some fun with this. You remember fun, right?”
A morbidly obese witch riding what appeared to be a tree trunk dropped in between the trio; the nine remaining witches set down behind them. On all sides, costumed, sugar-addled children and tired parents barely noticed anything at all. The horizon turned a brilliant red.
“’ll be fine,” said Bertha, lifting her log onto her shoulder like a cudgel, “y’all just gotta get Susie riled up is what. Get her t’ pull that hair trigger o’ hers and she’ll fricassee an entire village all on her very own.”
She turned to Sarah and asked, “Y’all ever hear of Bogdan, jewel o’ Moldavia an’ capital city o’ the Wallachian Empire?”
“Yeah, no one has, thanks t’ Susie.”
“I had a couple rough centuries, OK?” snapped Suzette. “I’m getting help now. I don’t like talking about it.”
“What was it they done to piss you off? Make fun o’ your dog or something?”
Fire flared in Suzette’s eyes. “There was nothing funny about Samuel’s overbite! That snaggle tooth made it hard for him to eat!”
“There’s the Susie I ‘member,” said Bertha, a mile-wide grin on her round face. She slapped Suzette thunderously on the back. “Come on, let’s go kill some kids.”
“Not so fast, Broom Jerkface!” shouted a voice from farther up the street. The witches looked to see Brian, Lisa, George, Tommy, and a half dozen teenage boys standing before them, trying to look threatening.
“You’ve had five years, and that’s what you came up with?” said Lisa.
“What?” said Brian. “It wasn’t –”
“No, it really wasn’t.”
“Aw, it’s no fun if they come right to us,” muttered Bertha.
“That’s them,” said Suzette, her hair and dress levitating wildly. “The little ones are the ones who came to my house.” She lit up a fireball in her hand.
“What do you want, boy?” barked Mabel.
“My life back,” Brian growled.
The wind picked up and wispy grey clouds drifted quickly across the sky. The last of the sun disappeared behind the horizon. At once, all the boys’ phone alarms began playing Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising.” The seven of them began spasming and fell to the ground.
“I don’t get it,” said Mabel, arching an eyebrow. “What is he talking about? What’s going on?”
“I’m… not sure,” said Bertha.
“Oh, no way,” said Sarah. “What’re the odds?”
“What’re what odds? What’re y’all talking about?”
The teenagers writhed in agony on the asphalt, screaming incoherently. Fur began sprouting all along their faces and arms; their clothing ripped away as sinewy muscles doubled in size. The boys’ noses elongated; fangs and claws erupted from their gums and fingers, respectively.
Within moments the transformation was complete.
The seven unassuming teenagers now stood seven- and eight-feet tall, their enormous shoulders hunched, their furry chests heaving. Ebony claws and ivory teeth and blood-red eyes shone in the light of the newly risen full moon. Fury radiated from the beasts like first degree burns from an overcooked Hot Pocket.
“Son of a bitch,” said Suzette quietly.
“Come get some,” snarled the werewolf.