Midnight came around slowly. I stood in the kitchen, watching the clock’s hands click together under the large number twelve. The Witching Hour, or that one single minute when this world and whatever was beyond it touched. I sighed into my ice cold mug of water and thought about making something warm to eat.
Around me the party was in full swung, though a handful of people had been celebrating the hour as if it was New Year’s. The kitchen was an overcrowded mess of abandoned plastic cups and plates, food and drink lingering on them. Someone had left their black wig behind and it sat like a dead creature on top of the toaster. Music flowed from the living room -the latest dancing/club songs with heavy, fast beats and shouting lyrics.
I finished my water, washed my mug in the already full sink and put it back in the cupboard. Squeezing my way out and into the hallway, I went upstairs and joined the queue for the bathroom. Ahead of me the pink princess and a Storm Trooper were chatting away. I leant against the wall and looked sleepy downstairs. Laughter and voices mingled with the music and I couldn’t hear anything but a jumble of sounds.
I rubbed my ears, eyes and head.
‘Oh, hello again. Is this the bathroom queue?’
I twisted and nodded before I realised who had spoken.
‘Good job I don’t really need to go…that badly!’ the shining knight chuckled.
I smiled weakly and rested my hands against my stomach.
‘So…er…I didn’t get your name before…’
I nodded, strangely remembering that though it had been about three or four hours ago.
Fred joined me against the wall as the queue moved down. A grey, raggy ghost floated passed us and downstairs, trailing dirty torn fabric behind it like a bride’s veil.
‘I handmade my costume,’ Fred picked up, ‘original my friends and I were being the Scooby Doo gang. I was going to be Fred. But the guy who was going to be Shaggy decided he wanted to be Fred and we had an argument over it. Then the guy who was being Scooby got the flu and he couldn’t make it.’
‘Oh. I’m sorry to hear that,’ I automatically said.
‘Yeah. We were still going to come like that up until two days ago, but then ‘Velma’ decided she’d rather be a vampire like her boyfriend and so we called it off.’
I nodded and slide along the wall as the other four people before me moved up. A teenage girl rushed passed us. She was dressed as a black cat, but her makeup was looking smudged in the seconds I saw her for. I heard the pink princess mutter that the cat girl had had argument with her parents about leaving.
‘What did you come as?’ Fred asked.
I looked down at my long black velvet dress as if I had forgotten. I so wasn’t in the mood for this, I just wanted to pee and go home.
‘A witch,’ I spoke softly.
I watched Fred do a double take of me then arrange his cardboard sword’s sheath at his left hip. He was quiet for a few moments, but I shrugged off his reaction, having gotten used to it.
‘I thought they had hats and green faces and…’ he trailed off.
‘I’m a white witch. We like to look normal,’ I added and made the effort to give him a small smile.
He pressed his lips together and glanced away from me. Luckily, the man I had first seen him with – dressed in a black robe and now caring a scythe- came up the stairs and interrupted us.
‘I need to go first,’ Fred pointed out.
‘You can go at Jess’s,’ the grim reaper responded.
‘I can’t wait that long! I’ll be quick.’
Grim rolled his heavily black makeup eyes and looked at the queue. There were three people ahead of me now, four ahead of Fred.
‘Okay. Fine, we’ll be in the car,’ Grim breathed and swept back down.
‘Can I go in front of you?’ Fred desperately asked me.
‘No,’ I hissed, ‘sorry,’ I had to add as he recoiled from me, ‘it’s been a long day. I’ve been cooking since this morning and I spent most of yesterday baking too. I’m really tried and I just want to go home.’
‘Okay,’ Fred muttered. He paused then questioned, ‘baking? What do you do?’
‘I own a bakery. Dawn – the hostess – asked me to make all the desserts for tonight,’ I explained.
‘Oh, wow. So you made all the cakes and stuff? They were really great,’ Fred gushed.
‘Wait. You made the cakes?’
We both turned to look at the pink princess as she broke into our conversation. She was balancing on tall thin baby pink heels which just peeked out from underneath her multi-layered flowing pink skirts. A matching shoulder bag was over her left shoulder and the bodice of her dress was decorated with lacy flowers, stems and leaves. Her long blonde hair was loose about her shoulders and her face was delicately made up.
I nodded, ‘yes,’ and really wished Pink hadn’t heard that.
‘Do you do birthday cakes? I’ve twin daughters and it’s their birthday next month. I’ve been looking for a Disney pink castle,’ she rambled.
‘Okay. I’ll give you the website. Do you have a pen?’ I said calmly.
‘I’ll put it in my phone,’ Pink said and dug in her bag for it.
I give her the website and she typed it out as there was another switch of the bathroom. Pink was next, followed by the Trooper then me.
‘That’s it,’ I finished.
‘Great, thanks. I’ll check it out,’ Pink stated.
I rested against the wall again, putting my hands behind my back. A small voice in my head whispered, just think about all the business you’ve drummed up tonight!
‘So…where is your bakery?’ Fred whispered into my ear.
I turned, not realising how close he was and whacked him with my hair across his chin. I pushed my hair back as we both ignored that. Whispering back I give him the address before pointing out the shops that were close by so he could visualise it. He nodded and the conversation ended.
Finally, it was my turn in the bathroom. I used the loo, washed my hands and face, dried off then left. I stole a glance at Fred as we switched places. He shot me a cheeky grin before closing the bathroom door. I went downstairs avoiding the new line of people and opening the front door, stepped out into the night.
A crying Midnight met me on the front door step. I looked down at him as he raced towards me and began rubbing against my legs. I picked him up and single handed unlocked and opened the door. I felt for the light switch, shut my eyes against the sudden glow and blinked a few times to clear the dancing spots. Still holding Midnight, I shut and locked the front door, walked to the bottom of the stairs, turned lights on and off then went up to bed. Pulling off my dress and hanging it back up, I took off my underwear and slipped on a soft cotton nightie. Midnight, who I’d put on the bed, pawed at the throw blanket and watched me.
‘It was an okay party,’ I said softly, ‘everyone liked my food and I seemed to have drummed up some new business. I met this guy too…’
I got into bed and flopped against the pillows. Midnight came up to my face and curled up beside me. I watched him shut his green eyes and listened to him purring. I petted him then turned off the lamp and rolled over to sleep. I didn’t have to worry about suddenly feeling wide awake, my exhaustion was too heavy and soon I was so out of it that the apocalypse could’ve happened and I would’ve been none the wiser.
The drill of my phone alarm smacked me out of sleep. I mumbled back from the black depths, feebly waving my hand around to locate the noise source. My fingers tapped against the side table and came back empty. Sitting up, I clicked on the lamp and looked around. The sound was coming from my bag which I had discarded beside my wardrobe and under my dress.
I got up and zombie shuffled over. Behind me Midnight let out a loud cat yawn and padded across the bed towards me. I grabbed my bag and pulled out my phone. Turning off the alarm, I read the time twice. It was seven AM.
‘I’m going back to bed,’ I mumbled.
I reset the alarm for nine and had another two hours sleep. Midnight joined me again then pawed at my face a few minutes before the alarm went off again. Waving him away I rolled over, but he came back and pressed his padded feet into my cheek. I got up with a growl and checked the time. Midnight meowed and rubbed against my back.
‘You want breakfast, kitty?’ I mumbled.
He replied with a long mew and tried to get into my lap. I stood up and left the room. He zoomed around me and made it into the kitchen way ahead of me. After feeding him and making myself some toast. I decided that today was going to be a lazy Sunday. I had some Halloween themed movies to watch and lots of snack food to eat. And God knew I needed the break. I didn’t bother getting dressed after I had eaten, instead going straight on the sofa and pretty much staying there all day.
To Be Continued…