He could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He went to the fridge and got a soda and sat down at the table to think. Was it just a coincidence? She hadn’t said she was going anywhere tonight. He had heard her say on the phone that tonight was the time though. Whatever that meant, and tonight was a full moon. Hadn’t the book on ritual human sacrifice mentioned the full moon? He needed to look at it again.
He went to the cabinet and felt underneath for the key. It was gone. He stood up in a panic. She must have known he had found it. He was trying to decide what to do when he heard the car in the driveway. He went back to the kitchen and sat down.
“You’re back. That was quick.”
“Yes, I just needed to run a couple of errands. I got us a couple of steaks for tonight.”
“Great. So we’ll just be having dinner?”
She gave him a quizzical look. “Well sure, don’t we have dinner every night?”
“Um, yeah, I guess so.”
“That reminds me though, I am going to meet up with some friends tonight. I was wondering if you might want to come along. You’ve been so curious about what we do.”
“Me come along? I mean, what is it you’re going to do?”
“Oh, it will be a surprise.”
She put away the groceries and he thought hard about how he could get out of going with her.
“Well, I don’t know, maybe it would be best if you just went by yourself.”
“Well, you think about it. There’s plenty of time. We’ll have dinner and then see.”
He went to his room and thought about what he should do. It was still raining hard. He wouldn’t get far if he tried to leave now. He reasoned that if he simply didn’t go with her nothing bad could happen. Besides, he was probably just being paranoid anyway. Even if she did belong to some witches group it was probably just harmless pagan stuff. The book was just something she had acquired along the way that had to do with black magic.
When dinnertime came she hadn’t said anything more about going out and he set the table and they sat down to a wonderful meal of steak, fried potatoes and fresh corn. As they were about to eat Maude stood up.
“I just remembered. I got a couple of beers while I was at the store. I thought we should have a little toast since you might hit the road tomorrow. It’s been so nice having you here Jeremy.”
She went to the fridge and got out the beers and poured them into glasses, taking something out of her pocket as she did while her back was turned to him. She brought the glasses to the table and sat down. Lifting her glass she smiled at him.
“Here’s to chance, good fortune, and to friendship.”
“Thank you Maude. It’s been great being here.”
They clinked glasses and drank.
“So tuck in. I hope it’s how you like it.”
The dinner was wonderful and the beer tasted great. As they finished the last of it Jeremy began to feel light-headed. He wasn’t much for alcohol so he figured it must be some pretty strong beer that had him feeling that way. As they sat talking he noticed his vision was becoming blurred and he was having trouble sitting up straight.
“Maude, I…I feel a little…”
The doorbell rang and Maude smiled at him. “Looks like my friends have arrived. It’s time Jeremy.”
He tried to answer but his mouth had gone dry and when he tried to move his limbs wouldn’t respond. He sat immobilized as several people in black robes came in the room, picked him up and carried him to the waiting van outside. As they drove away Maude sat by his side and patted his hand.
“You’re going to serve a very important purpose Jeremy. We’re all very grateful to you.”
He could only stare straight ahead in horror as the others turned and favoured him with sinister grins.