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16 February 2012 @ 02:51 pm
Fic: The Witching Hour (Original)  
Title: The Witching Hour
Prompt: midnight
Word Count: 1275
Rating: T
Original/Fandom: Original
Pairings (if any): none
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/RPF etc): witchcraft, voyeurism
Summary: Coming through the woods late one night, Lauren finds that the stories really are true.
Written for writerverse Prompt 11 - Midnight

Notes: Deosil means clockwise or sunwise; Widdershins means counterclockwise or against the sun

The Witching Hour

Lauren hurried along, her eyes glued to the path running beneath her. The cloudy night made it difficult to see and she didn’t dare lose her way, not tonight. Her steps faltered as she heard the chimes from the church floating through the crisp air warning of the arrival of midnight. Remembering her mother’s exhortation to be home at a proper hour with a wince, she gave an anxious look around and pulled her cloak more tightly around herself as she moved just a bit faster.

Then she heard them, the light crunching sounds of fallen leaves under feet. The sounds reverberated among the trees so that they seemed to be coming from all directions. She felt her breath speed up as the clouds slowly moved aside, allowing the brilliant light of the full moon to illuminate the Central Clearing of the wooded path as it slowly filled with a number of robed figures, their faces hidden beneath draped hoods.

It was true! The overheard whispers from the women’s circles, the stories shared with the other young women as they worked at the looms, the words that had wormed their way into her imagination prompting dreams both terrible and magnificent; it was all true. Entranced, she watched them form a loose circle; she quietly stepped off the path and behind a tree, never taking her eyes off them.

Twelve of the figures settled into their spots on the circle as one continued moving to the center. Her eyes widened as she saw them begin to open and discard their robes. She shoved her fist against her mouth to stifle her gasp as their womanly forms were revealed, bare skin shimmering in the silver light. She had never seen anything like it and allowed her eyes to skip around the circle, taking in the gentle curves, awed by the variance of features between one woman and the next. Breasts, hanging heavy or small and pert, and everything in between. She breathed heavily as she took in every difference before running her eyes down their bodies, enjoying the lines of their backs, how this one’s hips flared out where that one was almost as slim as a boy’s.

As she continued his visual exploration, it seemed that the light in the clearing grew ever brighter. A strange sound began and Lauren realized that they had begun chanting. Her eyes were drawn to their faces as they formed unfamiliar words and she was startled to realize that she knew some of them. There was Katrina, a classmate only a year older than she. And there were two of the village elders, women who sat in the same circles where the tales of the witches were laughingly discussed. The rest she did not recognize. They must come from neighboring villages or even farther, she thought excitedly, feeling again the vague stirrings of the sense of adventure that she thought they had beat out of her years ago.

The women began moving deosil, stepping slowly at first but steadily speeding up. The chant continued as they began to spin and jump, never deviating from the circumference of the circle they had defined. Their hair, hanging loose and long, flowed behind them. As she leaned farther around the tree, anxious to not miss any of this extraordinary display, it seemed that she could feel an energy, similar to when lightning strikes too close to the ground. She looked back up at the clear sky, black dotted with sparkling stars, and then back to the dancers just in time to see them come to a halt, all voices and movement quieted as they stood still, their faces lit with ecstasy. They all gazed to the center of the circle.

Lauren had almost forgotten about the lone figure who had not taken a place on the outer circle. She could only see her back, her hair a luminescent blonde cascade ending just above her bare backside. She began speaking, her voice bright and melodious, as she began walking around the edge of the circle, gently touching each woman as she passed them.

“O Lady of the Night, please accept the gratitude of your humble servants for another fruitful year. We gather to celebrate the joy and love of the Mother and to reaffirm the bonds between us; to strengthen our resolve to face the trials of the coming year.”

Her mouth had gone dry when she spoke, that voice as familiar to her as her own. As she watched Jocelyn turn along the arc of the circle bringing her face into view, Lauren could feel her eyes reaching through the dusky dark that lay on the edge of the clearing. Her gentle voice continued to sweep through the air; now she was speaking to each woman quietly, leaving each with a kiss to the forehead. Yet her eyes kept returning to search the area where Lauren stood, now stiller than stone, unable to tear her eyes away from the woman she had loved so long in secret shame.

After Jocelyn had spoken to each of the twelve, she returned to the center of the circle, lifting her face and arms up as if to embrace the moon above. “Blessed Be!” she exclaimed, her sentiment echoed by the others. And they began their dance again, this time moving widdershins. After a few revolutions, the defined outline of the circle broke. The dance grew wilder, punctuated with yells and shrieks.

Lauren was stunned as she tried to reconcile what she was seeing with the sedate, proper demeanor that she had always been taught was the woman’s natural temperament. She was captivated with the joy and passion that wove itself around and through every movement and sound they made. Her heart ached with longing as she watched.

She didn’t realize that she had lost track of Jocelyn until she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder. She whirled around, her heart stuck in her throat, to see laughing green eyes. Jocelyn’s hand ran lightly down her arm to clasp her hand tightly and pull her close. She was terrifyingly aware that Jocelyn was still nude and she willfully maintained eye contact.

“I thought it was you, Lauren.” Jocelyn lifted her other hand slowly to her face, caressing her brow and cheek with her fingertips as her expression softened. “This isn’t for you. Not yet.”

She laid a finger across Lauren’s lips to prevent the question that was forming. “You’ve taken the first step. If you would like to take the next,I will be happy to help with your instruction.”

“Yes,” Lauren eagerly replied and Jocelyn laughed.

“I have always thought you could do as much for us as we could for you. But do not decide hastily. You know the punishments awaiting us if we are ever caught. This isn’t sneaking away from needlepoint to play stickball with the boys. It isn’t even illicit feelings tucked away for appearance’s sake,” she said with a knowing, wistful look. “So think long about this. If you still wish to continue, come and visit me on the next Rest Day.”

Jocelyn leaned in slowly and gently placed her lips on Lauren’s, pulling away before Lauren had even had time to register the sensation. She stepped back and said, “Go home now, Lauren. Perhaps we will see you again.”

Lauren watched as Jocelyn almost glided back into the melee of movement, whirling around as the energy pulsed back through her. She reluctantly made her way along the edge of the clearing to rejoin the path home on the other side, already counting the minutes until the next Rest Day.

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