The four girls named Michelle, Skye, Catherine (or Kitty, as they all called her), and Rachel sat around their campfire, giggling and talking, gossiping as young girls do. They were all about fourteen years of age. Suddenly, Michelle reached into her backpack and the rest went silent as she pulled out a large, very old, leather bound book with a picture of a woman with eight arms on the cover.
"What's that?" Skye asked.
"I found it in the used book store. It's, like, a spell book or something. It's pretty cool. I thought we could try some of these out," Michelle answered.
"Maybe we shouldn't," said Kitty, brushing her long hair back from her face. Rachel remained silent.
"Are you kidding? It'll be so cool! Everyone knows these things never work anyway. It's just for fun," Michelle grinned, and opened it to the first page. The words were in old fashioned, spidery writing, and this is what they said-
You who have acquired this book are in possession of great power, for this is the book of I, Rajika of India, Priestess of the Goddess Bhadrakali and I speak the truth. Be wary of the spells contained here for all are powerful and those who are not experienced may unleash a demon, a yakshini, upon themselves. Heed my words, it matters not what language you speak for I have placed a spell upon this writing that allows anyone to read it. I am Rajika of India, Priestess to the Goddess Bhadrakali, and I speak the truth. You have been warned.
The three girls looked at each other, "Cool!" said Michelle, and she started to turn the page. Rachel, who had been silent until this point, stopped her.
"Read it again. We are not experienced, and in no way do I want to unleash a 'yakshini'," she said.
"Oh, come on. Don't be a wuss," with that, she flipped the page and started to read aloud-
A Spell to Speak to the Dead
A group of people is to join hands in a circle and chant these words.
Goddess of the Dark
I beg you
Summon (whom you wish to speak with)
And bring him forth.
The foolish girl memorized these words quickly and put the book down. She and her friends grasped hands in a small circle, the fire next to them, and chanted the spell, putting the name of Rachel's grandfather as the one they wished to speak with. They chanted the spell, unaware that each time they chanted the verse, they got louder until they were yelling it at the top of their voices. Suddenly, the fire flared and grew to six feet in height. Rachel was thrown from the circle to land on her back on the ground. She started to convulse; her back arching off the ground, her head rolling back and forth, her eyes tightly closed. Suddenly she stopped and lay still. So still, it seemed she was not even breathing. Then she sat up and opened her eyes. Where they used to be green, they glowed an evil, bloody red. She grinned at the three cowering girls, and through her teeth came the long, slender, black, forked tongue of a snake. She flicked it at them, and the saliva that flew off burned smoking holes in the leaves on the ground.
"You summoned me, children, now I am here and you cringe in fear," the demon said. The voice he used was not that of Rachel, but a man's voice with the hiss of a snake.
"No! We didn't summon you, we called Rachel's grandfather," said Skye, trembling, her voice weak with terror.
"Haha! Foolish children, in doing that you allowed me to push the soul from the body of this girl and enter it myself. Now that I have, I am not sure I like it," he glared at them, his eyes growing a deeper blood-red, "This body is small and weak, and now I cannot escape it freely until I have sent all those who called me into the embrace of Mother Kali."
The girls screamed. Michelle and Skye took off running in opposite directions, but Kitty, hypnotized by the light in the demon's eyes was unable to move. He slowly advanced on her. A tear slipped from the girl's eye. The demon hissed and picked her up, lifting her off her feet by her throat. She gasped and her hands flew to her throat, trying to pry her friend's fingers off. The demon drew a deep breath, and, still holding it, he pressed his mouth to Kitty's and breathed down her throat. Then he dropped her. She began writhing on the ground, screaming. The fire of the demon's breath was consuming her from within. Her skin began to redden and smoke poured from her mouth, ears, and nose. Her eyes began to blacken and turn to ash. Still, she screamed. The demon laughed. Her hair burst into flames, and now fire was coming from her nose and ears. The demon made sure her mouth was last. He wanted to hear her scream for as long as he could. Seconds later though, she choked, her back arched, and she was silent. She burned until her body was ash, then the fire stopped. It simply went out as if it had never been there, without smoke or smell. The demon laughed again, and turned to pursue the other girls.
Skye and Michelle had run until they could run no more, then Skye hid beneath the branches of a pine tree and Michelle inside a huge old log that had rotted out.
It did not take the demon long to find Skye. He reached under the tree branches and pulled her out by her hair, screaming. He grinned as he looked into her terrified, tear filled eyes. Again the snake tongue came through Rachel's teeth, and he flicked Skye's lips with it, barely touching them, but it was enough. She grimaced. Then she began to scream again, as the pain set in. The skin was peeling back from her face and body, beginning at her lips, where the demon's tongue had touched her, and spreading. Soon her face was a mass of gore, white bone showing through the blood in some places. Her eyes stayed intact, though. The demon liked to see the pain and fear in them as much as he liked to hear her screams. He had been sorry when Kitty's eyes had burned so quickly. Skye, he made sure he killed slower. He watched, grinning his hellish grin, as the skin peeled from her bare arms and legs, revealing tendons and muscles and blood vessels. He flicked his tongue again and all of the blood vessels tore, sending sprays of blood everywhere that to the demon were sweet as wine. Skye, who was still alive, screamed even louder. The demon laughed at this.
When all the skin had peeled from her body, the muscles and tendons began to rip from the bones. This is the point where Skye stopped screaming and lay still. Then she burst into flames, burning her remains. The demon chuckled, and began to look for Michelle.
Michelle was curled in a shaking, sobbing ball in the middle of her log. She had heard the screams of both of her friends being killed. She was still carrying the leather book. She flipped it open, her fingers trembling, and looked for a spell to kill the demon. On the last page was another note from Rajika-
I am Rajika of India, Priestess of the Goddess Bhadrakali, and I speak the truth. To undo a spell cast, you need only to repeat the spell, from end to beginning, reading the letters sdrawkcab.
Once Michelle deciphered the last word- backwards spelled backwards- she knew what she had to do. She heard the demon's steps approaching, and his voice calling her name. She shuddered and returned to the beginning of the book and began to sound out the words.
htrof mih gnirb Dna
xoC rehtafdnarG nommuS
uoy geb I
kraD eht fo sseddoG
Michelle heard the demon stop in his tracks. She repeated the words again, louder. And again, the syllables were rolling off her tongue now as if they were in a language she was fluent in. She heard the demon hiss, "Where are you, foolish girl that thinks she can defeat me?"
Suddenly, the log blew apart around her. She did not falter in her chanting, even as chunks of wood hit her, bruising and cutting. She was screaming it now, and the demon was frantic, "Stop! Stop that! SILENCE!" he shrieked as smoke began to rise from his skin. He clutched at his eyes. He screamed again and again as Michelle continued to chant the spell. Suddenly, he stopped and Rachel's body fell to the ground. Michelle saw something like smoke but more substantial and black rise from her friend's body in the shape of a huge serpent. She still continued to chant, even as the serpent spirit hissed at her, and flicked it's tongue out, then disappeared. Finally, exhausted, she collapsed.
Not long after, she got up and walked over to where Rachel had fallen. There was nothing but a pile of ashes.
Michelle went back to their campsite and tried to burn the book of spells, but it would not. So, she put the fire out, picked up the book, and threw it into a nearby river. She watched as it floated away, praying that nobody would be as stupid as she had been, and whoever found the book would heed Rajika's warning.
I am Rajika of India, Priestess of the Goddess Bhadrakali and I speak the truth. Beware, those who do not heed my warning could fall to the same fate as these foolish girls, and may not be as lucky as Michelle. Beware whoever finds my book of spells, for nothing is, as it seems...