The house was pitch black when I entered. I assumed the power must have been out, but the rest of the neighborhood was well lit. Was there a problem that tripped off our entire house? Perhaps Aunt Lucy had done something. An image of her, frizzy grey hair standing on end, eyes bugged out, flashed through my mind. She was an oddball and may have done something, well, not too bright…
“Aunt Lucy?” I said, though it was little more than a whisper.
I walked carefully through the house, not turning on any switches. If my great aunt was touching a wire, I didn’t want to be the one to throw even more juice through what I imagined must be her smoldering remains.
I found her alive and well, sitting on a cushion in the middle of the living room. The curtains were drawn back throwing a circle of the full-moonlight around her in the otherwise midnight black room. She was ripping pages, one at a time, out of an ancient book and holding them up to the silvery light. It didn’t make sense. The side away from her was lit up, so she was looking at the shadowed side. What could she see?
“Aunt Lucy? What are you doing?”
She glance casually in my direction before studying the next page.
“I’m looking for a sign.”
“A sign? What type of sign?” All I could think of was a stop sign, as in stop acting like a lunatic. She was always weird, but this was too much.
“A sign that will help me enter Briddillian, the Witches World.” She said it matter of fact, as if I should have known what she was talking about, but it was all types of “matter-of-fiction” to me.
“No not Brigadoon. That only appears for one day every one hundred years. Briddilian appears for one night, every eighteen or nineteen years. I went there once, as a child, and want to go back.”
“And you are looking for…?”
“Haven’t you ever wondered how I became a witch?”
I had always called her a witch, but usually when she wasn’t within hearing range.
“I’ll tell you anyway. On October 31, 1955, there was a full moon. I was just 13 at the time and was drawn to it.”
She ripped another sheet out and stared at it. She seemed to have forgotten me and her story.
“And so the moon made you a witch?” I asked after a long pause.
“Of course not. I found Briddillian, the Witches World, that night. It only appears when there is a full moon on Halloween, you know. I was indoctrinated that night. I was told to return the year before I turn 60, this year, 2001.”
She ripped out another page and held it up.
“I am now looking for a sign that will help me return. You see, it is easy for a 13-year-old to find it, but not that easy for a 59 year old.”
Truthfully, I thought she would be more productive looking for her marbles, which she obviously lost, but said nothing.
She ripped out another page, held it up. This time, however, she let out a little exclamation, like “ah-ha!”
She handed me the page. There was nothing special about it, just words.
“No, you have to let the full Halloween moon shine through it,” she said.
I went closer to the window and held it up in front of me. I could see the full moon through the page, as if it were glass, but more than that, I could see a sign post. In place of the missing sign was a witch’s hat.
Lucy walked up behind me and took the page out of my hand.
“I’ll be needing that, thank you,” she said.
She let the moonlight illuminate the page in a normal way and read silently. After a few minutes she smiled.
“Goodbye, Matt,” she said. “You have some of the magic, but it is too late for you. Perhaps when you have children…”
She winked and left.
That was the last time I ever saw Lucy, the last time anyone saw Lucy. She is still considered a missing person, but it’s a cold case. I never talk about her….
Why do I bring this up?
Today, my daughter Violette told me that she was going to go visit Aunt Lucy next year. I just smiled and nodded. “Yes dear, of course.”
But today I realized that next year, 2020, there is a full moon on Halloween. Violette will be 13. Lucy said that it is easy for a 13-year-old to find it. She said my children may be magic.
Do any of you know how I can make sure Violette avoids her great-great-aunt’s fate? Is there anyway to keep her from following that sign? It’s over a year away, but I’d like to start preparing now…