Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I am trying to write a scary story for the October display at the  public library in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. I do mysteries but not horror. This is what I wrote, but I'm not sure if I'll use it. What do you think?
Older and Wiser
Widowed and aged, she feared tonight’s visit from the Druid priests. They would soon be at her door demanding food, drink, and tribute. It was their usual fees for their intervention with the Celtic gods. If their requests were not met, they would find a way to exact payment in some way or some form. They were not easily deterred nor were their memories of imagined slights easily forgotten.
For hours, they would gather in a nearby oak grove with thick masses of mistletoe clinging to the oak’s ancient branches. At the center clearing of the grove, they would build a large fire and chant as they danced, preparing for the darkness of night. Beating on human skin drums and playing eerie tunes on ivory hued flutes made of men’s leg bones, they directed their worship to Anextiomarus, the protector god, to Ankou, the god of death, and to the goddess of fertility and abundance, Rosmerta.
It was rumored that the instruments they used in their worship ceremonies came from victims of the priests wrath and the candles that they used were made from the tallow and fat of those who failed to pay tribute for that protection. The priests always arrived on All Hallows Eve carrying the candles. Their hooded faces would be dark and lost in the shadows of the candles’ reflectors.
This year, the old woman’s pantry was especially sparse. She would have barely enough food to survive the winter. How could she keep the little provisions that she had?
She sat to think as her small barley cake baked in the hot coals of her fire. The cake almost burned as she was lost, seeking an answer to her problem. The room darkened as the night drew nearer, Was there a way to save her food?
“Berries,” she exclaimed. “I have a few dried red strawberries yet.” Quickly, she ground them and added water. She must hurry. Surely they would be at her door soon. She barely finished with her plan when there was a loud pounding on her door. She lifted the latch and offered them the small barley cake from her hearth.
The priest closest to her moved nearer to see the proffered item. The flickering light from the candle fell on the old woman’s face and hands. He backed away. “Pox!” he shrilled. “The old woman has the pox.”
When they’d gone, she closed the door, and laughed. Wiping the berries from her face and hands, she smeared the berries on her cake. “This will be a sweet treat for me tonight.”

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