Notes from the 422nd Annual Wraiths for Writing Conference: 'The Late Arrival'

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[Editor's Note: This is the seventh installment in the 'Notes from the 422nd Annual Wraiths for Writing Conference' series. Trace our story's roots here.]

The Moonlight Scrying Class had not gotten off to an auspicious start. In a shuddersome display, Miss Widdershins had predicted the omen of my undoing, and now I thought I saw it gliding our way. My thoughts and bones jellied, and I felt the moment for fleeing pass. A moving cloud paused to eclipse the moon, and the figure was upon us.

“Aurora! What a delightful surprise! I did not expect you at this year’s conference! Was there a change in your travel plans? I hope nothing is wrong? Yes, of course, please join us! Let me fill you in on what you’ve missed!”

In the brief quiet that occurred after Miss Widdershins’ prolix greeting and before she hooked Aurora’s arm in hers and whirled her towards the well, I tried to get a look at the newcomer’s face, but could discern very little in the darkness. The moon had not yet reemerged from behind that first and purposeful cloud, and in fact it appeared that more were coming to join it. Miss Widdershins frowned at the well where raindrops had begun to buffet and hiss.

“ ‘Nothing to be done with black soup but season it with tears,’ as the Norse seafarers used to say. As for us, I suppose we’d better head in.” And turning to Aurora, Miss Widdershins quietly continued, “Inside you can tell me your troubles. I must say you’re looking positively fey.”

Spirits have a knack for leaving a place in a hurry. The mingled scent of life and death, that is, of course, the smell of dirt, rose around me. Like earthworms evicted by the rain, I wriggled with uncertainty and waited for the dawn.

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