“Are you sure this is gonna work?”
Alvin’s question was a good one, but no one in the group knew the answer.
“Look, I found this old book in my dad’s closet,” Chip said, holding up the cracked old leather book. “He’s always been into that occult type stuff. And there’s a page in here about re-animation. I think it’s more for people than dogs, but if it’ll work on people, why can’t it work on Waldo?”
The five teens looked down at the body of poor Waldo, a mixture of no telling how many breeds of dog. The mutt had been the neighborhood dog, always friendly, tail wagging, hoping for a treat. Never bothered a soul, never offered to bite anyone. Not even the mail man.
Yesterday, Waldo have been hit by a car that had ran up on the sidewalk near Chip’s house. The car never slowed down. It could just as easily have been one of the gang.
The ‘gang’ consisted of five teens who lived in the same two block area and attended the same school. Alvin Thomas, who’s parents owned the hardware store. Chip Douglas, the son of the local insurance agent most everyone in town used. Angie Harold, her mother owned the ‘Creasy Spoon’ restaurant, and Donny and Donna Craig, brother and sister twins, who lived with their mother and step-dad. Their father had died in Iraq when they were still very small.
The five of them were almost always together, somewhere. Doing something. Usually something that would get them in trouble.
Not serious trouble, of course. They weren’t hoodlums or anything. Just curious, rambunctious kids who prowled and prodded, always looking for something to lighten up the day. The five of them had been friends all their lives, their parents all good friends who visited all the time, having the occasional party. Always adult parties, of course. These ‘parties’ always resulted in a ‘sleep over’ for the teens at another home, with a babysitter.
Waldo had been ‘their’ dog. And they were all heartbroken when he’d been run over. The boys had carried Waldo into Mister Jamieson’s backyard, since Mister Jamieson was in the nursing home and no one was staying at his house at the moment.
Now, the five stood around the dog’s body, already bloated from decomposition, looking at Chip.
“Look, what have we go to lose?” the fourteen year old said. “If it works, we get Waldo back. If it doesn’t, then. . .well, we haven’t lost anything else. But if you guys don’t wanna. . . .” he trailed off, shrugging.
“I say we try it,” Donny shrugged. “Can’t hurt. And if it works, we can use it on other stuff.”
“I don’t know, man,” Alvin scratched the back of his neck. “Pastor Samuels says stuff like this happens for a reason. Maybe we should just bury him and be done with it.”
“Pastor Samuels says a lotta things,” Donna’s tone was sharper than she meant it to be, but Angie snorted in agreement. Both had caught ‘Pastor’ Samuels giving them a more detailed look than a man of the cloth should be giving a teen-aged girl in his ‘flock’.
“Well, it’s all or nothin’, cause the book says we need all five of us,” Chip pointed out.
“Well, let’s put it to a vote, then,” Donny suggested. “All in favor of trying to get Waldo back, raise your hand.” He raised his own as he spoke. Chip was a close second, followed by Angie, and then Donna. They all looked at Alvin. He sighed.
“Yeah, okay. What the hell,” he half-raised his arm.
“Cool,” Chip nodded, opening the book. “Okay, we got all the ingredients, and we’ve got a bowl,” he pointed to the box of ‘ingredients’, including one of his mother’s favorite mixing bowls. “Now, all we have to do is make a circle around us with the salt, combine the stuff, mix it up, and hit it with the match, and presto! Waldo’s back.”
“I got the salt,” Alvin volunteered, taking the large box of rock salt. “How big a circle?”
“Well, it’s gotta be big enough for all of us to fit in,” Chip said. “I guess just make it wide enough around Waldo that we can all stand
inside it.” Alvin nodded, and started spreading the rock salt on the ground.
“Donna, Angie, you guys wanna start adding the ingredients as I call’em out?” Chip asked. The girls nodded, and knelt down to take the bowl from the box, and started organizing the ingredients.
“What you want me to do?” Donny asked.
“Well, someone needs to be a look-out, I guess,” Chip admitted. “I mean, we’d probably get in a lot of trouble if we got caught.”
“You mention this now?” Donny asked, eye-brow raised.
“Look, all we’re trying to do is get our dog back,” Chip pointed out. “But how do you think this is gonna look to anyone else who sees it?”
“Like a satanic ritual,” Alvin said from where he was spreading the salt. All eyes turned to him.
“What?” he asked. “You know it’s true. Heck, for all we know, it is one.”
“Chip, is this some kind of satanic thing?” Donna asked, now leery.
“I don’t think so,” Chip shrugged. “There no pentagram or anything on the book,” he pointed to the cover.
“Pentagrams aren’t satanic,” Donny replied. This time everyone looked at him.
“I learned that on Supernatural. Don’t any of you watch TV?”
“I got better things to do,” Alvin shrugged, finishing the salt circle.
“Like play Call of Valor,” Angie snorted.
“Call of Duty,” Alvin corrected. “And yeah, I consider that better than watching TV. I’m done,” he added, setting the salt aside.
“Okay, good,” Chip nodded. “Let’s get started.” He began calling out the ingredients, and the girls dutifully added them to the bowl. Some of them were strange, and Angie’s curiosity got the better of her.
“Chip, where did you get something like a chicken’s foot?” she asked.
“My mom cooked chicken for supper the other night, so I got it out of the garbage,” he told them.
“Ewww,” the girls both said at the same time.
“Oh, stop bellyaching, you already got it in there,” Chip snorted. “All right, that’s all of it. Give it a good stir, while I get the candles. Donny, give me a hand, will you?” The two boys took five candles from the box and set them at five different points around Waldo’s corpse.
“Why five?” Alvin asked.
“One for each of us,” Chip shrugged. “All I can guess. Okay, let’s see,” he looked again at the book. “We need to wait until right at sunset, so we got about. . .ten more minutes. All we need now is a little flash powder.”
“What’s that?” Donny asked.
“Stuff magicians use to make smoke and fire,” Chip replied, opening a small packet and pouring the contents into the bowl. “It’ll make the stuff work.”
“How?” Alvin wanted to know.
“I dunno,” Chip shrugged. “Just will. Okay, everybody take your spots.” The five teens all moved to different spots around Waldo’s body where the candles sat. Chip made the rounds, lighting each candle. Once he was done, he took his own spot, his candle already burning. He also had a long kitchen match held in his hand.
“That for the bowl?” Angie asked, pointing to the match.
“Yeah. Once we get done with the chant, I have to throw it into the bowl, and then we’ll see what happens.”
“See what happens?” Donna asked skeptically. “I thought Waldo comes back to life, that’s what happens.”
“That’s what we hope happens,” Chip corrected. “Like I said, the way this reads, it’s more for people than dogs. I’m just hoping it works.”
“I don’t know about this, Chip,” Alvin said, suddenly concerned. “What if something goes wrong?”
“We did everything according to the book,” Chip shook his head. “It’ll work.”
“What if it don’t?” Angie challenged, also uneasy now.
“Then Waldo is gone, and we’ll bury him,” Chip sighed in exasperation. “Now, it’s time. Sun is going down. I’m gonna call out each line, and you guys repeat it. We only get one chance to get Waldo back, so don’t mess up, okay?” The others nodded, though none of them looked as confident as they had just five minutes ago.
Chip began the incantation, speaking slowly as the words were in some foreign language he didn’t know. Each time he managed to get a line out he nodded, and the others stumbled through the repetition. It seemed to take forever, though in reality it was only about five minutes. Finally, Chip touched the match to his candle, lighting it, and spoke the final words. As the others repeated them, he dropped the match into the bowl.
There was a flash of fire, but the only sound was a slight sizzling. Each teen backed up a step at the flash, but no one stepped outside the circle.
“Nothing’s happening,” Donny said. Then, before anyone could agree or disagree, there was a loud whoosh, the ground seemed to thump beneath their feet, and a blue light shot out from the bowl along the ground in all directions. All five teenagers were swept off their feet, knocked flat by either the shaking beneath them or the light shooting through where they were standing.
For a second no one spoke or moved. As they stirred from their placed on the ground, Chip shook his head.
“Wow,” he said softly. “I didn’t see that coming’.”
“What the heck was that?” Donna demanded, getting to her feet, dusting herself off. She turned to help Angie up, then checked on her brother.
“I guess we did it right!” Chip enthused, grinning broadly. “How ‘bout that!”
“Uh, guys?” Alvin’s tone brought everyone’s attention to him. He was staring at the ground between them.
“Guys,” he repeated. “Where’s Waldo?”
Everyone looked to the ground.
Waldo’s body was gone.