Chapter 3 — Witching Hour
“Oh, look at him!” The voice said again. “He’s all of a dither!”
“Stop it, Pam,” another voice thrilled in a soft soprano. “You’ll scare him to death.”
Then a third spoke up, more mature and maternal than the first two. “Relax, Cris, he’s fine. But quit it, both of you. Is that how to behave in front of a gentleman?”
One of the voices huffed and even before she spoke, I knew instinctively it was the first. “Of course he’s fine. He always is — he’s a nightprowler after all.”
A sigh, “Okay, okay. I’ll be quiet.”
I listened to all this, my eyes as wide as saucers. My hair was standing on end, and I stood shock still, hyperventilating. What was happening? Who were the ladies talking, and where were they? The road around me was deserted in the bright light of the night’s moon, and there was no way they were in the dark woods –their voices were much too close. And though I couldn’t see them, I could feel their presence. It was inexplicable, but at the same time, unmistakable, like a steady flow of static energy coming from three different spots just in front or slightly above me. There was no other way to describe it. They didn’t feel malignant at all. In fact, I felt drawn to them. I raised my hand tentatively towards the presence I felt to my right.
“Hey!” The first voice intoned, sharply but silkily. I froze mid-motion. “Back off,” she said. “No trespassing, dude.”
I let my hand fall back to my side.
“Be calm, Donald. We’re not here to harm you,” the maternal voice said, kindly. “The shock couldn’t be helped –we’re very sorry about that.”
I almost let out a huff of nervous laughter. Here I was, standing on a deserted road under the full moon, hearing voices of persons I couldn’t see but who apparently knew me, and one of them just apologized sincerely to me. Was I going insane?
“Nah,” the first voice said. “You’re fine, Don. Just as insane we are.”
Another sigh. “Okay! But let’s get on with it, already.”
I shake my head vigorously and finally find my voice. “Who are you?” I ask.
For a beat, everything goes quiet. Then the voice with the thrilling soprano, the one that had spoken only once so far, replies. “We,” she says, “are the Nightprowlers.”
Nightprowler. My old nickname.
What on Earth was going on here?
The maternal voice takes over, talking softly. “Relax, Donnie. Everything will be explained if you could just see us. But that, unfortunately, is not up to us.”
“But... who is it up to?”
“You,” she replies. “It’s up to you.”
For a second, I can’t make sense of the words. I shake my head harder, trying to clear it. “What?”
An impatient sigh. “What she means, witless, is that only you can get yourself to see us, once you join us here.” The first voice, of course.
I’m still confused. “Join you? How? I’m not one of you. I’m not a...,” But then I trail off, my heart hammering. They are nightprowlers. I am a nightprowler. I am one of them.
I feel the presence of the thrilling soprano come closer and I’m filled with inexplicable warmth. It’s the same feeling I get whenever I stare into Chloe eyes. Something courses through my body down from my shoulders, and I realise that she has put her hands on my shoulders.
“Just try,” she says, and her voice is so close and so soft. My heart is still hammering, but with something else. “Close your eyes. Feel the energy around you, the light of the moon. Can you feel it?” I close my eyes and nod. “Embrace it,” she continues. “Use it.”
I’m taking deep breaths now, feeling her hands on my shoulders, her warming presence close to me. And the moon... I could always feel that, couldn’t I? Even with my eyes closed now I can feel it all around me, an indescribable, all-encompassing, energy. I breathe it in and allow it to fill me. It feels good. It feels powerful.
“Yes,” she whispers. “It’s midnight, and the full moon is directly above us. It’s the witching hour, when we come into our powers.”
I’m vaguely aware of the voices of the others joining in, creating a cadence that fills me and carries me along.
“It’s the witching hour, the peak of the moon, shining her light on us and giving us power. It’s the witching hour, and it is our birthright, power granted down to us from generations before and to generations unending. It’s the witching hour, and we awake from it into our true selves. We awake from it into power.”
I’m barely conscious now. I don’t know where I am anymore, and I feel like I’m swaying on my feet.
“We awake into power,” the chant continues. “We awake into power.”
It’s building up now, filling me like I would burst at any moment.
“We awake into power. We awake into power! WE AWAKE INTO POWER!”
Watch here for Chapter 4 — Shadows
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