The waves lapped gently at the shore as Connor and Ayako stepped off the wooden boardwalk onto the sand, their shoes held in their hands. "Are you sure this is going to be done right?" Connor asked.

"You're the Irish one," Ayako answered, her bare feet shuffling along the sand, the looser parts of her witch outfit blowing around her in the light sea breeze. She reached down and gathered the loose folds of her skirt in her hand, then pulled them tight and tied a knot to secure them.

"Just because I'm Irish doesn't mean that I know every obscure tradition that was ever a thing over there," Connor protested. "And I was born in Chicago!"

Ayako giggled. "Come on, Mel Gibson, you're always going on about your grandad and all the weird stuff he always did."

Connor's outfit of choice for Halloween was William Wallace. He was dressed in a tunic and kilt that Ayako had helped him make, his freckles obscured by smears of blue paint on his face. "What makes you want to do this anyway? It's just a goofy ceremony. All the information I could find about Seonaidh says that he may have actually been a priest or something instead of a water spirit."

"Well, we're never going to find out if we don't try!" Ayako chirped. She skipped towards the water, her feet kicking up small plumes of sand. Connor smiled as he watched her go. They'd been friends for a long time, since high school and now into college, and no matter what Ayako never lost her upbeat disposition. Or her good looks, Connor thought, but he shook that thought away. Ayako had gotten the best of both worlds with her mixed heritage -- big green eyes, smooth hair and a small but full figure.

Ayako seemed to flit from obsession to obsession, and this year her focus was on magic and old holidays. Fittingly enough, she'd become enthralled with the celebrations of Samhain, the old Celtic holiday that preceded modern day Halloween, and had pestered him for weeks about what they could do on Halloween night to celebrate. Lighting bonfires was out, unfortunately, as was sneaking onto cemeteries to make offerings to the dead. However, in their trawling of the internet they had found a simple ritual -- a traditional offering to a water spirit called Seonaidh.

Connor reached into the small fanny pack he'd cleverly disguised as a satchel for his costume and pulled out the two bottles of beer he'd swiped from the Halloween party they'd come from. They were local microbrews, but he figured they were good enough. The description of the ceremony that he'd found online said that it required ale brewed from bags of malt offered by a whole village, but in the absence of a village, bags of malt, or any knowledge of how to brew alcohol on his or Ayako's part, the craft beers would have to do.

Ayako stepped onto the wet sand, hugging her loose witch costume about her. "Hurry up, Connor, I'm freezing!"

Connor moved past her, wading into the shallows. The water of the bay was lukewarm, as the Florida oceans tended to stay until well into December or January. "I'm not doing this on my own! Get in here with me!"

Ayako made a face at him, then dropped her shoes on the sand and slowly stepped into the shallows. She grabbed the hem of her skirt and lifted it as she waded into to mid-calf. "I'm not going any further!" she said. "This water can't be good for my outfit!"

"Chicken!" Connor said. Ayako stuck her tongue out at him. "Hey, you were the one who wanted to do this!"

Ayako arched an eyebrow. "Just get on with it!"

Connor turned to face the bay, then popped the tops on the cans of ale. It was a honey and pumpkin ale, a seasonal Halloween brew that had seemed ideal when Connor was considering his options. He extended his arms, a can in both hands as the wind blew his redheaded locks out of his face. "I uh, call upon the spirit Seonaidh! To uh...uh...."

Ayako waded next to him, rolling her eyes. "Oh, give me that." She plucked one of the cans out of Connor's hand, her touch sending tingles up his damp arm. She held out the can in front of her. "We call upon the spirit Seonaidh to grant us good fortune in the year to come!"

The sea breeze continued to blow gently. "Is that all you're supposed to say?" Connor said.

"Yep." Ayako shook the can. "Now, upend the beer on my go."

She counted to three, then they turned the cans upside-down simultaneously. Even in the dim light of the night with only the moon and a few nearby street lamps shining, the beer in the cans seemed an unusually bright amber color as it splashed into the salty ocean waters. The ebb of the tide made the water they poured the beer into splashed against their calves. They kept going until the cans were empty. Connor resisted the impulse to take Ayako's hand.

When the last of the beer had been poured, Connor shook the last few drops from the can. " what?"

"I'm not sure," Ayako said. "What did it say on the website?"

"Just that everyone adjourned to a church for a bit, then went and got shitfaced in a field with more ale."

Ayako turned to him, looking thoughtful. "Well, there's a church up the road. And then I guess we could go back to the party and take care of the shitfaced part."

Connor shrugged and crushed the beer can. "I think we can just skip the church part, honestly. They're probably all locked up tonight."

"True," Ayako said. "Maybe we can-"

She was cut off by the tidal surge that suddenly swelled and washed over them, bowling the both of them over in the shallows. Connor felt rough sand under his cheek as he rolled over underwater, scrambling to right himself. His head broke the surface and he scurried up the shore to the waterline, coughing out ocean water. "Ah, blech! Gross! Ayako, you okay!"

"My costume!" Ayako wailed, though it sounded like she was laughing at the same time. "Come on, man!"

Connor turned towards the sound of her voice, then stopped and stared. Ayako was soaked through, the thin fabric clinging to every curve of her petite body. He could clearly see the outline of her full bust and the bra she wore underneath her witch outfit. The sheer black fabric clung to her hips, highlighting her round, taut ass. She pulled the outfit away from her, looking down at herself and sighing. "Gonna be murder getting this thing clean again."

Connor stared for a moment longer, then blinked and shook his head, becoming aware of how soaked he himself was and how hard just a lingering glance had made him. "Where the hell did that wave come from?" he wondered, getting to his feet and brushing sand off his wet legs. He looked out towards the ocean. It was as calm as it had been when they'd first walked up, with only a slight tide.

"Beats me," Ayako said, wringing out the hem of her skirt and letting it go. It still clung stubbornly to her legs. "Well, at least we can still go back to the party."

"What's our cover if someone asks us why we're both soaked?"

Ayako pursed her lips. "We'll say...we were up to no good, then someone turned the sprinklers on and scared us off."

Connor wiped moisture off his nose. "Won't that make us seem like dicks, though?"

"It's Halloween!" Ayako said. "It's what happens on Halloween." She turned and began walking back up towards the boardwalk and dry land. Connor followed, casting another wary glance back over his shoulder at the water. He stopped. There were bubbles in the shallows as if something had just ducked back under the water. He watched the water for a time, but when nothing happened and Ayako called to him, he turned and hurried after her.

They put their shoes back on and walked back up the road to the beach house where the party was happening. Robbie O'Hendry was hosting, and Ayako had managed to score an invite by being friends with his girlfriend Shelly. They were nice enough, Connor supposed, though Robbie seemed inclined to flaunt his family's wealth on occasion. Then again, by virtue of having parents that lived local with a big three story house that went on frequent vacations, Connor supposed Robbie would've been the host with the most no matter what.

They heard the music halfway down the block, along with the raucous laughter and general amiable chatter of partying college kids. The humid evening had rendered them somewhat dry on the way back, but Connor still felt a slight chill, as if his skin was damp and being cooled by the open air rather than being completely dry.

"Well, that was a bust," Ayako said as they got close to the iron gates of the property. "Still, thanks for coming with me and humoring me." She beamed at him.

The image of her costume pulled tight across her figure pushed to the forefront of Connor's mind. "You're welcome," he said, patting Ayako on the shoulder and tamping down on his lewd thoughts.

She stopped just at the edge of the hedges before the gate, then turned to look at him. Her face was half cast in shadow from the streetlight. "Connor?"


Ayako fidgeted. "Is there anything you might like to do before we head back inside?"

Connor frowned. "I don't follow."

She took a half-step towards him. "Since it's just the two of us out here? No one else?"

Connor inclined his head. "Ayako, what are you talking about?"

Her face fell, her expression one of massive disappointment. Then she smoothed it over with a grin and chucked him on the shoulder. "Never mind. Let's head back inside." She turned and walked through the gate into the party. Connor stood there for a moment, staring at the space where she'd been a moment before.

Then he realized what she'd been getting at.

"God fucking dammit," he muttered, digging his knuckles into his forehead. "God fucking dammit."

Something wet spattered on his head. Connor blinked and looked up. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky, just a full, glowing full moon. Nor was there any place around him where condensation could collect, or someone could drop water on his head. He rubbed at his hair, but his fingers came away dry. He made a face - something had definitely just spattered on his head.


He nearly jumped out of his skin. He spun around. "Oh, Shelly. Hi."

"Hi, yourself." Shelly stood down the sidewalk from him, grinding out a cigarette under the pointed part of her stiletto heel. She was dressed as a vampire queen, wearing a very flattering one-piece made of red fabric that hooked over her breasts and shoulders and back down her body like a swimsuit. She wore a black wig, and a pair of fake fangs poked out over her bottom lip. "Was that Ayako I just saw? Where did you two go?"

"Just for a walk," Connor lied. "Thought about getting up to something down the block, then the sprinklers came on."

"Getting up to something like Halloween mischief?" Shelly asked. "Or getting up to something like...well, you know."

Connor felt his face burn, cursing his pale skin. Even though it was dark, almost eleven, Shelly could probably see him brushing red to the tips of his ears. "Erm, the first one."

Shelly smiled. "I'm honestly surprised you two aren't dating. Always seemed like the two of you were joined at the hip."

"It's...complicated." In that I don't want to ruin our friendship by admitting to her that ever since her figure filled out in high school I've masturbated to the thought of her at least three times a week.

Shelly arched an eyebrow. "Uh huh." She strode past him, grabbing his shoulder and pulling him towards the gates. "Come on, Highlander, let's get back in there."

"Wrong movie!" Connor protested as Shelly led him through the gates onto the property. The area around the house was spacious and packed with at least a hundred college kids, most of whom were milling about in their own groups chatting over beers and booze. Someone had brought cornhole boards, and some of the football players were taking turns tossing beanbags at the holes in them. The house was a mixture of Mediterranean Revival and Modern architecture, and Connor didn't even want to begin to wonder how much it had cost. As he and Shelly wound through the throng of people, Connor spotted Ayako on the landing near the front door. She was texting someone, then slid the phone into her little belt pouch and went into the house.

Shelly led him up the landing to the front door, which was propped open with a ceramic stopper in the shape of a pumpkin. "Listen, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life," Shelly said as they strode inside. "But that girl is obviously holding out for you. And if you keep not doing anything about it, someone else is going to impress her more." She gestured to the party around them. "Possibly someone here. Tonight."

Connor looked away from her, at the pretty artificial fountain in the foyer of the house. Water was pumped from a small reservoir in the foundation continuously in a little waterfall that never went dry. It was meant to be pretty, but all the Solo cups on the rocks around it ruined the illusion a little bit. "I'm not going to presume anything," Connor said. "I don't even know if she likes me in that way."

Shelly fixed him with a look. "Sweetie, please. You should see some of the texts she's sent me about you."

Connor saw something flicker in the waterfall, like the lights reflected in it were obscured by someone walking past them. "So why hasn't she said anything to me? It's the 21st century, she's allowed to make the first move if she wants to."

"She's also a woman who wants to be swept off her feet. To be wooed." Shelly smirked. "To be ravished."

The waterfall spasmed, the pressure increasing for a split second. It was enough to create enough of a splash that some of the surrounding people yelped in surprise, shying away and eyeing the décor warily. Connor's eyes were on the pool that the waterfall spilled into, however. Among the disjointed images of the people surrounding the pool, he saw a clear image -- a shadowy figure, it's shape greenish-black, two glowing white eyes staring directly at him from the water. It's hair fanned out and coiled around it's head like that of a drowned man.

Then he blinked, and the figure was gone.

"Connor?" Shelly said. "Earth to Connor?"


"Ayako. Wants. To be. Ravished. By you, specifically." Shelly gestured with a hand towards the kitchen. "But if you don't get the job done someone else will take ravishing duties, and you'll be shit outta luck."

The image of the phantom figure in the water lingered in Connor's mind's eye. "I...I don't know, Shelly."

She shrugged. "I'm just saying. Do with it what you will." She turned sharply on her heel and left, and Connor's eye wasn't the only one following the fabric of her costume hugging the cleft of her perky ass a bit tightly. Though he'd never admit to her that he thought Ayako's was better.

He needed to think. Connor wound his way through the throngs of people lining the staircase to the upper floors, heading up to the second floor before he found a restroom that wasn't occupied. He went inside and locked the door. The décor in this one was all pink and fuzzy, with a lit scented candle on the back of the toilet tank that made the space smell like cotton candy.

Connor leaned down over the sink and ran the water until it was hot, then stuck his hands under the stream. He raised them to his face several times, kneading the warm water into his skin. The bathroom mirror fogged up as he did.

It wasn't as though he was sexless, or had hangups about relationships. Far from it. But Ayako was a special case. As attractive as he found her, there was a simplicity to their relationship that he didn't want to tread on. They were friends. Nothing more. Despite how much he wanted to take her to bed, feel her soft skin pressed to every inch of him, hear her moan his name and him respond in kind.

Connor pressed his fingers to his eyes for a moment and sighed. Then he opened his eyes and wiped some of the fog off the mirror.

And nearly jumped out of his skin as a face stared back at him.

It was the same face that had been in the waterfall pool minutes earlier, a dark silhouette with wild hair and two wide, pure white eyes that glowed with an eerie light that was not from this world. Connor cursed and stumbled backwards, hitting the back wall of the bathroom. He stared at the face. The face stared back, the reflection of the bathroom around it cast in dark, shifting shadows.

He lunged for the door. The handle slipped through his fingers as he tried to grab hold of it. He tried again and again, but it was like trying to grab hold of an eel. His fingers just kept slipping right off the knob when he went to turn it. Connor spun around, looking for another way out, refusing to look at the face in the mirror.

Then he heard it -- the squeaking sound of a finger brushing against the mirror.

He slowly turned his head. The face now had a full body, cast in that strange green-black shadow. It had raised an arm to the mirror and was writing something in the fog. Connor stared. The word wasn't written in a language that he knew, but strangely, he could comprehend it's meaning.


Connor closed his eyes. "It's not real," he muttered. "There was something in the ocean water that's making me see things. A junkie dropped his stash of acid in there and it didn't diffuse fully, and now I'm seeing things because of it. That's all this is."

More squeaking from the mirror. Connor screwed his eyes shut and refused to acknowledge it, even though the squeaking noise came at the volume of a jet engine. He gamely tried to get a grip on the doorknob and turn it. It didn't work.

The squeaking noise stopped. Connor waited for several long moments before cracking open an eye and looking at the mirror.

The figure was still there. The mirror had refogged, and now sported a new word. Really?

Connor didn't know much about drug hallucinations, but he was pretty sure they weren't snarky. He slowly took a step away from the door, back in front of the mirror. The figure stared back at him, it's white eyes angled in an expression that matched the tone of the word it had written on the mirror, despite the face having no other features that he could see. A bit condescending, a bit amused.

He licked his lips. "Who...what are you?" he said.

The figure pressed a hand to the glass, the the word it had written was filled in by fog once again. It raised a finger and scrawled in the fog again, this time a longer sentence. You summoned me. You should know.

"Seonaidh," Connor breathed.

The figure's eyes narrowed, and it repeated the process of refogging the glass and writing more words in it. You're pronouncing it wrong.

Connor blinked. "What?"

There's an "H" sound in there. If you're going to summon something you might as well do it correctly.

"I am going insane," Connor said, staring at the figure in the mirror as if he hoped it would go away. "I am utterly losing it."

There was a burbling noise from beneath him. Connor looked down just in time for a jet of water to spurt from the drain and nail him in the face. He spluttered, ducking his head as he wiped the water off his face. "Gah! Dickhead!"

Another spritz of water splashed on his hand, and Connor jerked it back. The motion upset his balance, and he fell backwards onto his ass, scooting backwards away from the mirror until he back was against the wall. He looked up. Seonaidh was still looming in the mirror. It looked like the spirit was laughing, his wild hair whipping around his dark green features.

"Jerk," Connor muttered. He rose and leaned on the sink. "What do you want?"

A bit of fun.

"Fun? What do you mean, fun? You here to claim my soul or something?"

The figure definitely glowered at him. Gross. Souls are so difficult to work with.

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byNathanRavenwood© 5 comments/ 13044 views/ 26 favorites

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