I’m going to attempt to tell you about Morgana, my latest love interest, or maybe she’s my latest obsession, whichever. We happened to meet at a rare book shop one day, and we came together almost magnetically. I was there to find something about the history of English castles, and, as I started down a back aisle, it was as if I stepped into her sphere of attraction. Her eyes met mine and I was immediately drawn into those flickering pools of liquid fire.She beckoned me, not with a motion of her hands, not with a word, but with her power; it’s the only way I can explain it. She summoned me, she commanded me. I was helpless, but it felt right. I wanted to do her bidding, no matter the cost. I approached, and her body seemed to flow to me, every curve of her clinging to every part of me, and then she kissed me, putting me in thrall.
I snapped out of her spell when I found myself outside the shop, wandering down the street. I wasn’t really free of her, though; there was a lingering feeling of emptiness, now that we were separated. I realized there was a book in my hand, something about castles, but I didn’t remember buying it. I had a vague remembrance of discussing a party with her, but no details came to the surface of my addled mind.
Some days later, I was feeling myself again, and had almost forgotten my encounter at the rare book store. I was looking forward to the weekend, and perhaps going out Saturday night, which was Halloween. Some friends at work had invited me, and I had promised to try to come. I wasn’t totally comfortable with the idea of a costume party, but maybe it wouldn’t be too bad. At the back of my mind there was a nagging thing about the upcoming holiday, and the woman I had encountered at the book store, but still there were no specifics. Were we supposed to meet somewhere? I was unable to recall the answer.
Saturday morning was spent running errands, picking up my laundry, going to the car wash; all that stuff. I came back to my apartment to find a pink envelope stuck to the door. Pink. Hmmm, the color kinda says it’s from a woman, but I just couldn’t make the connection. Who was it?
Inside the envelope was an invitation. A really odd invitation:
Come to the street of the hardest wood
Turn on the road that leads to the wood
Just halfway through; stay in the wood
Wear the costume, as you said you would
Disappoint me, you never should.
And this was supposed to be a party invitation? I know it’s a Halloween theme, but this was really starting to sound ‘over the top’ creepy. I was trying to think of some way to get out of this, but then I re-read the last couple of lines, and I could see Morgana, scowling at me, with that look. I shivered as I realized that there would be no skipping of this party. Discretion demanded that I try to please Morgana, rather than my co-workers. They, at least, had not threatened me.
After consulting the city map, I was able to figure out the somewhat transparent clues used in the invitation. Obviously, I was to go to Oak Street, follow it until I came to Elm, which led towards Dark Woods. After entering the Dark Woods I’d estimate the halfway point, then there should be a sign or something telling me where to go for the party. I put on my pirate shirt, hat and eye patch, grabbed up my sword and put the hokey fake parrot on my shoulder, then took off toward Oak Street.
I found Oak Street, then Elm, and then found myself driving into the Dark Woods. Approximately a mile into the woods I found the sign:
Take this turn
Or you shall burn.
For you I yearn
This one could certainly project an image. I began to feel some of the strong attraction I had experienced at the book store. I turned as instructed and soon found that the road dead-ended at a quaint old cottage. Oddly, mine was the only car there. Maybe the other guests would be arriving later.
I got out of my car and walked toward the door, feeling somewhat apprehensive. “Or you shall burn.” What’s that all about?
I must admit, I remember very little of what happened at the party, if indeed party was the correct term. I do remember reaching for the door knocker, which was shaped rather like a skull, and as I touched it, something pricked my finger. I didn’t actually fall down, but I was very woozy and weak. I have a vague recollection of faces, warm bodies against mine, hot flashes and bright lights. And, oddly, I have this recurring vision of what seemed to be kisses, but they were somehow piercing kisses. Why were their incisors so prominent?
I regained my senses at last, and found myself parked in front of my apartment building, but with no memory of having driven there. Morgana had again stolen some hours from me, but I don’t know what else she might have taken. Why was I so weak? I stumbled inside.
There was another pink envelope stuck to my door.