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The Summons
by Gary Hewitt

The medium aimed his finger at the corner. “There's something here. Something, something terrible.”

A torch followed his direction. A dark shroud stared back.

“What is it?” pleaded a young woman.

“Quiet. Don't say a word,” instructed the medium. He spread his arms and forbade anyone to venture forward. “Who are you? Why are you here?”

The figure pointed to the window.

“Did something happen here? Did something happen to you?”

The shadow nodded. Glass smashed. Several people screamed.

“It's OK everyone, it's only a minor manifestation. Everyone stay calm.”

A robust figure next to the medium swayed. His knees buckled and he shrivelled onto the floor.

The shadow in the corner drew a finger across its neck.

“What's happened to him? I thought you said we were safe.” someone yelled.

A blast of frigid air scoured the room. The medium backed away. “Oh Christ, this creature is a shade. We must leave now,” ordered the medium.

“Quick, do as Mr. Santini says. We must go.”

Mr. Santini helped the stricken man rise and they made for the door. The shade crossed his arms and edged forward.

“Out now, out or we'll be damned,” shouted Mr. Santini.

The gang fled to the entrance of Willow castle. The medium gasped for night air and the man he helped sat on a the cold steps of the castle.

“I thought the spirits might be out in force tonight on old Samhain but not quite like this. To meet a shade is highly dangerous but thankfully very rare.”

“What about that poor man? Is he going to be OK?”

“He's had a lucky escape. But he'll be fine in a day or so. If we hadn't had acted so quick I shudder to think what would have happened. I'm feeling a bit faint myself so if you wouldn't mind I'd like to draw tonight's adventure to a close.”

The group shuttled to their flock of cars. Soon Mark Santini and his patient stood alone.

The door to the castle creaked open. Santini glanced over his shoulder and a dark figure stepped forward.

“Good work my son, you did well tonight.”

The shade tossed a black cowl aside and sat on a stair. “Thanks Dad, how much did we make?”

Mark reached into his pocket and drew forth a generous bundle of notes. “More than enough for the three of us. Hey Tony, you can wake up the clients are long gone.”

“Thanks Mark. It was a good show, that new industrial cooling unit worked a charm didn't it?”

Mark nodded and stashed a generous dose of pocket money into his son's hands.

“Hey, Uncle Tony did you hear that redhead scream. I had to stop myself from bursting out laughing.”

Tony ruffled his nephews hair. “Course I did. She sounded like a car breaking.”

Mark removed his phone. “Who wants pizza then?”

His family responded in the affirmative.

“You'll have to be a boring old ghost next week son. We save the shade for Halloween. Come on, let's go home and scare a Margherita.”