The first woman disappeared at dusk on Friday, August 13th. Two friends walked down Sylvan Lane, chatting. Laura heard a rustling in the nearby bushes and turned her head for a second. When she looked back, her friend was gone. The police discounted her story, put it down to hysteria. “Of course I’m hysterical,” sobbed Laura. “Pema was there one minute and the next …” She could barely speak. The doctor gave her a sedative.
Exactly a week later, Jennifer and Joe headed for their favorite restaurant, taking the shortcut through the woods, down Sylvan Lane. “I’m starved!” exclaimed Joe. He closed his eyes, savoring the thought of a nice sirloin steak and a small glass of wine. When he opened his eyes, Jennifer was nowhere to be seen. The police suggested that Joe had already had too much wine. “Absolutely not,” Joe insisted, as he shakily called Jennifer’s mother.
Week three, week four, week five – the drama repeated itself every Friday evening. The police were bombarded with questions from terrified townfolk. “No bodies have been found. No foul play is indicated. We’re totally mystified.” Everyone now avoided Sylvan Lane. Yet, missing person reports still came in every Friday. My sister… My wife… My daughter…
On the twelfth Friday, DCI Kate Delaney received a letter related to the disappearances. She entered the deserted lane, admired the bright autumn colors, took the prescribed number of steps, spoke the word that parted the red-gold leaves to reveal the secret door, and walked through.
Two nights later, twelve women clad in flowing pastel silk danced under the crescent moon. No more pointy black hats, unkempt hair and wild cackling. No more misrepresentation of magick. These modern witches had been selected for their intelligence, their compassion, their courage, their burgeoning wisdom. All had eagerly answered the call.
DCI Kate sent in her final report, accompanied by a photo of the coven. “We’re all safe and sound, happy and healthy, learning the old ways, exploring the new. The sacred task we’ve given ourselves is to become healers for our wounded world. Blessed be.”