by Virginia Wallace
Gerald Kowalski was always a strange boy. He’s quiet, smart, obsessed with comic books, and nothing at all like his coarse, dim-witted parents. He is also a dreamer, which is a depressing thing to be in a sleepy, small town like Watsonville.
Little does Gerald know that a strange family of witches is about to reveal a shocking truth to him, one he has suspected his entire life: that the world as we know it is simply a façade, a shell . . .
And the world within that shell is a waking nightmare!
Gerald stared at his shoes for a moment and then looked at Kylie. She still looked a bit nervous, as though this situation made her ill at ease. Before he knew it, Gerald was fishing in the pocket of his shorts. He felt a moment of panic, fearing that he’d lost the object of his search while he’d been swimming. But no, there it was—the soggy ten-spot that old Widow Fitzgerald had left in her mailbox for him.
He slid it across the counter as Kylie beamed at him. Gerald was about to say ‘thank you’ when the old woman grabbed him by the collar, and yanked him close.
He panicked as she began whispering into his ear. “What is done, young man, cannot now be undone,” she whispered vehemently. “You have made a covenant, one that will not be consummated for many a year. But the day will come, as surely as the sun rises in the east. You made another covenant last night when you took the book, and the day will come in which you must pay the piper for that one, too. Now go, young man, and may the ages be kind to you!”
Gerald backed away from the counter, frightened. “Thank you, ma’am,” he whispered. He took Kylie’s hand, placed the pendant into it, and pulled her fingers closed around it. “This is for you,” he whispered. “I hope you like it.”