by David Barton
Toby kept the car at a steady thirty miles
per hour while they travelled along the country lane. This was farmland, and there was no telling when a tractor might appear
in the other direction, or come out of a field unexpectedly. These bloody farmers thought they owned these roads; they never
gave way, he thought.
Gemma sat in the passenger seat, listening
to Marilyn Manson on the car CD player. She reached forward and turned it up.
Toby cringed; he was still nursing a hangover
from the previous evening when they’d both gone out to a club and he‘d got seriously hammered. Gemma had remained
reasonably sober; she never drank much. ‘Not so loud.’ He reached forward and turned the volume down again.
Gemma looked over to him and after gazing
at him for a few seconds said, ‘I love you, Toby.’
‘Where did that come from?’
he asked, a bit taken aback by her sudden declaration.
She looked distant. ‘I dunno, I’ve
just been thinking about things.’
‘It doesn’t do, to think about
things too much,’ Toby told her. He didn’t feel too comfortable with what she’d just said. He didn’t
think of her as being serious. Toby didn’t want to get too serious with someone at this early stage in life,
he wanted to play the field, screw around a little.
Sure, Gemma was all right, for now, but
he couldn’t see himself settling down with her, getting married, having kids. Isn’t that what it meant when they
started telling you that they loved you? That they wanted that?
She glanced back to him, then away from
him, then back to him again. ‘Well?’ she asked.
‘Well, what?’ he wanted to know.
‘Isn’t telling you I love you
a cue for you to tell me that you love me?’
He leaned forward and turned the CD up.
Gemma reached over and lowered the volume again.
‘Well?’ she asked.
Gemma peered at him, waiting for an answer.
She was beautiful. Like him, she had long dyed black hair, and favoured black clothes. They’d both been Goths since
they were teens. They’d been just friends then, now they were lovers. She liked to call him her dark angel.
She was cute. And her dark, blue eyes could work wonders on him when she wanted to get her own way.
Beautiful, yes, but that didn’t mean
he shouldn’t try out all the other beautiful girls that he met, first, before he committed himself to one of them.
‘But I don’t love you,
I’m only going out with you because you’re a great lay,’ he said, trying desperately to suppress a smirk.
‘If something better came along it would be goodbye,’ he added.
He was only teasing her of course, but she
still didn’t like hearing this all the same. ‘Pig!’ she said.
‘You know I’m joking, right?’
he asked her. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Knowing Gemma she would think he was being serious. In a way he was,
but he didn’t want her to know that.
She folded her arms and looked out of the
window in a sulk. ‘Are you?’
‘Hey, course I’m joking,’
‘Do you love me, then?’
‘I love fucking you.’
That was true enough.
She turned from him and peered out of the
window, in a huff again. ‘Oh I hate you!’
‘I love you, okay?’
Liar, liar, pants on fire!
At that moment Gemma spied a hitchhiker,
about a quarter of a mile up the lane they were travelling along. ‘There’s a girl standing by the side of the
road up ahead,’ she said, then glanced up to the sky. Heavy black clouds were hanging in the heavens all around them.
‘Looks like rain, should we pick her up?’
Toby looked at the girl and his eyes widened
when he saw that she was a babe. Long black hair, like Gemma and him, and dressed in a black leather jacket with
sawn-off jeans, showing off her long slender legs. ‘Looks like something better just came along.’ he quipped.
‘You really are a pig,’ she
snapped at him.
‘Oink, oink!’ he mocked.
Toby pulled the car up alongside the girl;
Gemma wound the window down and poked her head out. ‘Get in,’ she said to her. Toby saw specks of rain begin to
settle on the windscreen, and realised they’d arrived in the nick of time to save this stranger from a drenching.
The girl climbed in the back, and Toby set
the car in motion again. He had to put the wipers on now to battle against the huge spots of rain falling on the windscreen.
‘Looks like we arrived just at the right moment,’ he said to the girl over his shoulder.
‘Thanks,’ she said to him, ‘I
would have got soaked if you hadn’t come along.’
Gemma looked over the seat to her. ‘I’m
Gemma,’ she said and then nodded her head towards Toby, ‘and this is my pig of a boyfriend, Toby.’
‘She loves me really,’ said
Toby half turning his head back as he drove.
‘I’m beginning to wonder,’
‘I’m Lucinda,’ said the
‘Where you heading?’ Gemma asked
‘Just up the road, I live on a farm,
‘You live on a farm? That
sounds cool!’ Gemma said. ‘What sort of animals have you got? I love animals!’
‘Well we’ve got cows, chickens,
‘Pigs?’ said Gemma, then nodded
her head over to Toby and winked at Lucinda. ‘Do you want another one?’
Lucinda looked over to Toby and seemed to
linger on him a while. ‘Yes I would, that would be great!’
The two girls laughed to each other.
‘It would just suit my Toby, wouldn’t
it darling?’ she said to him, then looked back to Lucinda. ‘Rolling around in his own filth.’
‘He does that at home,’ Gemma
said to her, then she turned to Toby. ‘Don’t you pumpkin?’ She reached over and pinched his left cheek playfully.
Toby looked uncomfortable that he was being shown up in front of the stranger they’d picked up.
‘Want to see a trick?’ Lucinda
asked Gemma, when she‘d returned her attention to her.
‘A trick?’ said Gemma producing
a frown. ‘Go on then.’
Lucinda cupped her hands above he lap; and
flames suddenly appeared from them, then they rose into the air and hovered above them.
Gemma’s eyes widened in amazement.
‘Hey, cool!’ Then she turned to Toby. ‘Hey Toby you’re missing a great trick!’
Toby glanced into the rear-view mirror and
saw the flames hovering in the air. Then he had to return his attention to the road, as the rain was pelting at the window
making visibility difficult as it was, without him being distracted by what was going on in the back seat.
Then Lucinda closed her hands around the
flames and squeezed them together, and when she pulled them apart, the flames had vanished.
‘That’s really cool, how do
you do it?’ Gemma wanted to know.
‘What do you mean, how do I do
it? It’s magic.’
‘Yeah, but it’s not real magic,
it’s a trick.’
Lucinda leaned forward to Gemma and widened
her eyes. ‘It’s real magic.’
‘What … like black magic?’
‘Oh come on,’ said Toby, ‘there’s
no such thing as black magic.’
‘I suppose it is black magic, yes,’
Lucinda told Gemma.
Toby raised his head heavenwards. He knew
that Gemma was the type that was sucked in by all that crap.
‘Cool, could you teach me black magic?’
‘Well I don’t know, my mother
‘Is she a witch?’
‘I suppose you could call her that,
‘Oh come on, there’s no such
things as witches,’ Toby said, ‘except on Halloween.
‘I’d like to meet her,’
Lucinda strained her neck and looked past
Gemma up the lane. ‘Turn left up ahead, and I’ll introduce you to her if you want.’
‘Take the next left,’ Gemma
turned to Toby and said enthusiastically.
‘I don’t want to go and meet
some woman who claims to be a witch,’ he moaned.
‘If you loved me you’d
take me,’ Gemma pleaded.
‘Oh all right,’ Tony said, resignedly,
‘I suppose I’ve no choice in the matter really.’
Gemma smiled to Lucinda the kind of knowing
smile that said that she had her boyfriend under the thumb and could wrap him around her little finger.
The downpour was only a shower and the rain
ceased after a few minutes. The sun broke through the clouds and everywhere was bathed in hazy golden light. Toby was glad
that he could see to drive again; it had been hell driving through the rain, even for that short period.
When they pulled up the drive and they saw
the large farmhouse, Gemma turned back to Lucinda. ‘Do you live here, just you and your mother?’
‘Yep, just me and my mother,’
she told her.
A woman appeared holding a shotgun, and
pointed it in their direction. Toby brought the car to an abrupt halt.
‘That’s Mother,’ Lucinda
‘You didn’t say she’d
be armed and dangerous!’ Toby said, looking alarmed and ducking his head slightly.
‘It’s okay, she just doesn’t
know who you are.’ Lucinda wound down the window and stuck her head out. ‘It’s all right; it’s me!
These are two friends of mine!’ she shouted over to the woman she said was her mother.
The woman stooped, peering into the car,
straining her eyes to get a better look at its occupants. ‘I’ve never seen them before.’
‘It’s okay, they’re cool!’
‘They can’t come in!’
the woman shouted over.
‘I’ve already invited them for
dinner, they gave me a lift, the least we could can do is feed them.’
‘Feed them to the pigs more like,
if they don’t get off my land!’
Then the woman fired a shot above the car.
‘Maybe we should go,’ Toby said
to Lucinda, ducking his head down even further and looking increasingly worried about the situation. This woman was obviously
some kind of nutter. And a nutter with a gun, too! ‘Nice meeting you and all, but …’
‘I’ll have a word,’ said
Lucinda and climbed out of the car. She made her way up the drive to the woman.
They exchanged a few words and looked to
be having a disagreement, they kept glancing towards the car at intervals; eventually the mother lowered the gun. Lucinda
beckoned for Gemma and Toby to join her.
Lucinda’s mother disappeared into
the kitchen to make them some dinner and the three talked about Goth music for a while until it was ready. It seemed that
Lucinda was just as much into Manson as the pair of them were. They had found another like-minded dark soul.
After dinner Gemma turned to Lucinda‘s
mother and said: ‘We heard you were a witch.’
‘What have you been telling them?’
the woman said to her daughter, clearly annoyed that this piece of information had been revealed to them. ‘What have
I told you about telling strangers our business?’
‘I only mentioned …’
‘You know it’s not every day
you meet a witch,’ quipped Toby to the woman. He glanced around the room as if looking for something. ‘Where’s
Gemma jabbed him in the ribs.
‘Have you been showing off?’
the woman asked Lucinda.
‘I only did the flame trick, I didn’t
show them anything else,’ she told her mother.
The woman now turned to Gemma. ‘Interested
in the black arts are you?’ she asked her.
‘Yes, I’ve read books on it.’
The woman laughed. ‘Read books?’
‘Come on,’ said Lucinda to Toby,
rising to her feet, ‘I’ll show you round the farm, and let’s leave these two to talk about black magic,
I doubt you’d be interested.’
‘Ugly looking bastards aren’t
they?’ said Toby a few minutes later as he peered into the pen at the farm‘s pigs.
‘I think they’re quite cute,
with their little curly tails,’ Lucinda said to him, looking admiringly at the beasts.
‘Have they all got names?’ Toby
wanted to know.
‘Of course, they’re my boys,’
Lucinda said, gazing at them lovingly.
‘Your boys?’ He shot
her a wry look.
‘Come on,’ she said, turning
towards him and linking his arm. It felt good to have this gorgeous chick link his arm, and pull him closer to her. Now she
was looking directly into his eyes, her own eyes wide with excitement. He’d really like to get it on with this girl,
that is if he didn’t have Gemma in tow. ‘I’ve got something special for you,’ she said.
Now she tugged him away. He wondered what
she meant by “something special”. It couldn’t be what he thought it was, could it?
She led him to a barn, he peered around
as she guided him into it; bundles of straw surrounded them. As they stood in the centre, Lucinda raised her eyes upwards.
‘Do you want to go up to the hayloft?’
‘What’s in the hayloft?’
She lifted her eyebrows suggestively.