Practical Preparations for Your Ceremony : Scary Stories – Short Horror Story

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Six small logs, preferably pine. Arrange in a stack and set fire to start. Six candles of rendered fat with long-cut wicks of braided black cotton. These are for the six points of your circle. Draw it in chalk and connect using one of the diagrams on page 14 from the Red Book. Each design corresponds with a different Gift Giver. Choose carefully.

Salt, to trace the chalk circle. A razor to draw blood. Blood to create the thread. A price and an offer. These will correlate; pay a small price, receive a small miracle. The highest price is life and the truest life is one with many years left in the ledger. So you’ll also need a rope. Or nails.

Once the price is paid, refer to page 84 for Names, Greetings, and Other Points of Etiquette. Formal Apologies can be found on page 85. Desperate Pleas on 87. Should a blue flame manifest within your circle over the offering, turn to page 107. A red mist–page 112. Should you find a starry thing wrapped in drifting constellations over an ink firmament, leave the room. Quickly. Keep moving and you may evade it for a few years.

If all goes well, a mirror will appear. Maintain eye contact with your reflection as much as possible. It may try to distract you. If you look away and the reflection is gone when you look back, whatever you do, do not break the circle. It will return once it realizes it can’t get out.

If you do break the circle, see the above advice regarding the starry thing.

Finally, the most difficult part of the ceremony: prepare yourself for what will be missing when you get them back. No one returns all the way. There will be pieces, memories, moments…fragments will be missing. It will be painful for them, here. The sun will burn them, the wind will bite them, and rain will erode them like waves against a pier. Even the air will cause them a dry agony with each rattling breath. They’ll curse you, if they remember how to speak, they may even seek to harm you, though you can bind them if you wish (page 132).

If you still wish to proceed, turn to page 9.

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