We file into a room that’s something like a small theater. Somehow, the women appear on a little stage at the front. We settle into our seats and the lights go down until the room is so dark that I can’t see anything except the women under the spotlight. The short, skinny one speaks first.
“In 1692, a dark evil swept over this land, settling in Salem. God had given this new world to man, so that he might have dominion over it. But Satan would surrender no square inch without fight.”
I look in the direction that I think Guin is. God? Satan? Where had she found this tour? The small one goes quiet and the tall one steps forward. Her mannish voice is deeper and ominous when she speaks this time.
“And that’s when our ancestors stepped in. To fight God’s good fight and lay the demon witches to rest.”
My eyes almost pop out of my skull. What the hell are these chicks talking about? Demon witches? This is supposed to be a historical tour. The audience is dead silent, not an uncomfortable, incredulous chuckle among them. I can’t so much as hear as an inhale. The tall one’s voice is more strident.
“Yes! God charged our ancestors to rid the land of those demon spawn!”
This lady’s lather put Guin’s to shame. Even from were I stand, I see her eyes glazing over like she’s going into some kind or trance or fervor.
“There were mistakes. Yes, there were innocents who suffered. But their cause was just and now they are reviled.”
“That’s it.” I whisper in Guin’s general direction. “I can’t listen to anymore of this. You coming?”
Guin doesn’t answer, so I turn and start making my way back to the door. The theater is packed, but I manage to make my down the aisle without bumping into any knees On the stage, the women still drone, but their voices are muffled. I wave my arms. I look and they seem so far away, like seeing them through fog and haze.
I start to freak out, flailing my arms, but there’s nothing but a void. I turn to go back to my seat the seats aren’t there. I call Guin’s name, but with despair because I know for certain that she’s not there either.
“You’ll not see her again.” The voice whispers to me out of the voice. I whirl around, searching for the source.
“What’s going on? Am I hypnotized? What are you trying to pull?” I scream and my voice echoes.
“You will suffer. You will take my place.”
The darkness seems less dense. There is light now and the room is familiar and yet somehow different. I can’t move my arms or my legs and something heavy crushes my chest.
“Wait. Wait a minute.” My words are huffs of breath expelled from my lungs as the thing on my chest sinks deeper and deeper, making it impossible to speak. With one last, desperate inhale, I scream Guin’s name into the silence.
Blackness is coming again. This time, I know, for good.
They were right.