Excerpt from the novella Revels
I was sent off to gather worms. When I got back to the campsite, Lolille was making a ritual circle about twenty feet across out of twigs and dried grass.
"Get in here!" she chided. "No pokin'!" She tossed one of my worms at Verity, who screamed.
"That one's high strung," Lolille said to Cheswick with a nod. "Now gather round, y'all. Let me show you how we do things back home in Crawfish Gully."
She arranged all the gruesome things we'd gathered into the center of the circle and began to dance around them, hopping up and down and chanting in some language that seemed a little like French, although I couldn't make out its meaning.
An' a gris-gris comin
Better watch les petits
Les mortes sont venues
Ici avec nous
Peter and I looked at each other. Verity was trembling. Becca had blanked out.
Weirdest camping trip ever," Cheswick said.
At that moment the circle around us burst into flames. Verity's shaking hands flew to her face. Then Lolille fell into a swoon as the things around her-the worms and toads and moldy bark and all the other dirty things she'd made us fetch-wriggled and rose up around her like dream trees. They grew tendrils and wound among us, changing form, melting, growing, taking on color, taking on life, until we were faced with . . . people.
They'd all turned into people.
Some were young, no older than we were, and might have come straight from Ainsworth School, blinking in the moonlight and looking bewildered. There was a pale, beautiful girl with dark hair hanging down to her waist, who could have been on the cover of a fashion magazine, a lanky boy as tall as Peter, a gap-toothed Georgia Mae Jagger look-alike with big pink lips and bleached hair, a pair of twins with sly eyes like foxes, a short, stubby guy with a buzz cut and pimples . . .
And him. Him, perfectly, heartbreakingly gorgeous. A Chris Hemsworth clone, aged seventeen. Blond hair a little too long, cheeks that blushed. Eyes like blue ice, sparking in the firelight. He was wearing a red military jacket with gold epaulets. And he was looking at me.
"Huh?" I'd been willing my heart to stop pounding. Peter was pinching my arm. "Ow."
"This is some kind of spell," he said.
Duh. "Well, yeah."
"Are they all dead, or what?"
"I don't . . ." I began, but then the pretty brunette floated up off the ground and hovered above our heads. "Well, maybe."
<End of Excerpt>
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