Submitted for the Daily Prompt: What a Twist

Sorry to my followers as I am cheating today with a story written last week.  I enjoyed writing this story which was for a picture prompt blogging event and I feel it really fits today’s daily prompt.

The asignment:  Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming. Photographers, artists, poets: show us SURPRISE.

The Ritual

Josie didn’t know why she was hell bent on being invited to the party.  She and her mom moved to Blackfield last month and Josie was not doing so well in the find a friend department.  She missed living in New Jersey where she had a few close friends and had fun activities.  Although only a few hundred miles away, Blackfield was like a different world.  The first thing that Josie noticed was that for such a small town, the people didn’t seem to interact with each other.  Neighbors passing each other in town, didn’t wave or say hello.  When Josie entered the local store to pick up milk and bread, the locals stopped and stared at her until she left.  She tried to speak to her mother about her feelings but her mom thought she was still fighting the move by trying a different angle.  Her mom just repeated her lecture about how her work provided us with food to eat and a place to live and that is why they had to move.

After observing the kids at school for the last few week, she noticed that one group of kids seem to be the center of attention.  Today in the cafeteria, Josie overheard two of them, Amanda and Shannon speaking about the party that would be held in the clearing tonight.  Josie decided that she would try to get included.

“Did I hear there is a party tonight?”asked Josie.  Amanda and Shannon didn’t respond.  They gave her a strange look and turned away.

“Excuse me for talking,” said Josie as she turned in the other direction and entered a classroom.

During the last period of the day, Josie overheard two boys also discussing the party.

“I’ll meet you on Jackson Street at the entrance of the woods at 9:00 pm.  You and I should be able to carry everything.  Amanda and Shannon are coming with Mike and they will arrive early enough to collect wood for the bonfire”, said Zachary.

“Sounds great.  I can’t believe we are finally starting again,” said Alex.

Although it may be awkward, Josie decided she would also go to Jackson Street tonight, but just after 9:00 pm.

Around 8:45 pm, Josie left the house telling her mom that she was going to a classmate’s house.  Her mother never had cause to question Josie’s choices, so she barely looked up when Josie left the house.  Jackson Street was about ten blocks away, but Josie didn’t want to take her bicycle at night.  Even though it was late October and a little cool, it was still a pleasant walk.  Soon Josie was standing at the entrance to the woods.  It was a little scary as most of the leaves had fallen off the trees with the change of season and there was a mist in the air.  The light from the bonfire could be seen through the trees and coupled with the mist there was an overall atmosphere of the macabre .

Warnings in Josie’s head told her that she should turn back and go home.  “When I get to the bonfire, I will be alright,” Jose kept telling herself.  As Josie approached the light, the path became wider as it was about to open up into the clearing.  Josie didn’t know why she decided to not make her presence known right away, but it is probably what saved her.  Josie hid behind a big oak tree and observed the activity in the clearing.  There definitely was a big bonfire but instead of finding her classmates laughing and drinking beer, she saw about ten figures in dark hooded cloaks standing in a circle around the bonfire.  She couldn’t see any faces as the cloaked figures were wearing grotesque masks.  The kind of masks that Josie always avoided looking at when visiting Halloween Superstores.  Josie could hear a kind of chanting and the figures were swaying from side to side in a kind of ritual.  Not wanting to be seen, Josie covered her mouth to muffle a scream.  She turned around and ran back down the path and kept running until she was home.

Josie ran into the house and looked for her mom in the kitchen.  She wasn’t there or anywhere else in the house.  Josie found a note from her mom taped to the refrigerator.  In the note, her mom said she would be out tonight for a few hours and to not wait up for her.  Josie tried to reach her on her cellphone but the call went straight to voicemail.  When her mother didn’t return her call 30 minutes later, she tried again with the same results.  Just when she was about to call the police, she heard her mother come in.  Coming into the livingroom to tell her mom all about what she had witnessed in the woods, she observed her mom hanging a dark cloak in the coat closet.

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