How Could She Have Known

by Joseph Robertshaw

“Halloween is not until tomorrow anyway” she said, to the small grove near her family’s home. She looked at the neat spidery handwriting of the journal again. Yes, she thought. I read it right. The spell specifically said that it could only be cast once per year and on Halloween. That is what it said, but the light that had begun to consume the entire wood now didn’t seem to care about that condition. She reached into her blouse for her cell phone. Anne Dee pulled it out and nervously made the gesture to unlock the screen. The clock said 12:03 am.

“Oh shit,” she said, as she as she looked back from the phone to the book to the slowly brightening light that almost cast the house in daylight. Suddenly she knew what she should do.

Anne Dee tucked the phone away — even though every time she did this she remembered the Dateline special about cell phones and breast cancer. She found the page in the book with the spell she had activated. Only moments ago she had thought that this book was just another relic of fakery that her family had kept in the attic, along with the collection of lava lamps and disco lights, the box of D&D stuff that no one used anymore and the holiday decorations that came out once a year for a month and lay hidden for the other eleven.

The page was entitled “The Opening”. As she read the effects for the first time her eyes grew wider, along with the burgeoning swell of undulating light that now pulsed in the side yard with no center and no sign of slowing anytime soon. It was a spell to release all of the gnomes, sprites, brownies and other fairy folk that were banished during the previous year. It would take fifteen minutes for the gate to reach the opening stage and she would have to say the key word, Kom en zie, at that point to actually open the gate.

That didn’t sound so bad. She could just wait and watch and use the spell on the next page called “Ausblenden” to close the thing before it got activated. It would only be a few moments more and who would know?

Moments passed and finally the tiny screen flashed 12:15. The tiny creatures had been visible now for several minutes bumping, and pushing one another and leaning on the force of the gateway, like Anne Dee might have leaned on a storefront window waiting for her mother to emerge on a boring Saturday afternoon. The pressure had become immense now though as the creatures started fights and pressed in from all sides. Some simply clawed at the bubble of light with bestial appendages. These things didn’t much look like the ones in the Disney tales or the Fairy Tale books at the school library. Some were downright nasty looking. When one of the meaner looking creatures grabbed another who looked more or less harmless and ripped it in half, Ann Dee decided that it was time to close this thing down.

She reached the page again and raised the book up to see the words in the light when a noise came from the door to the house. Ann Dee spun to meet the sound.

It was her mother dressed in a night gown and fuzzy slippers. Ann Dee noticed that her mother didn’t appear to even notice the blinding light coming from the gateway.

“Du Morrow iz Halloveen AnnDee” said her mother in her best stylized Dracula voice. “You zhould come in zide.”

The wall of sound was deafening. Ann Dee, now facing the house, watched her mother cower in terror from the explosion of light and noise that erupted over her daughter’s shoulder.

 Spark by Michael Marshall Smith

Spark by Michael Marshall Smith

Copyright © Joseph Robertshaw 2015