This short story participates in the Halloween Community Contest
Title-->Headless Chicken: The Beginning
Through the pumpkin garden the witch limped. She was breathing heavily, adequate proof of her failing health. The skeleton guard beside her – an imposing figure by all means – had no problem matching her pace and escorting her through the toxic fumes of some of the garden's most bizarre experiments. There was a strange pair, those two. The magical shackles which bound the skeleton and his broadsword in the witch's service were potent enough. On the other hand, the old hag, having a frail body, was completely dependent upon her spells in order to continue living. Servitude was an ever obedient tool.
Several hundred heartbeats later, they left the garden behind them and their feet came in contact with the black soil of the barren field which surrounded the old woman's abode. She halted and gazed at the midnight sky. There was a full moon reigning and the constellations of Reaver and Sceptre – invisible to the uneducated mind – were surrounding it. Everything was in place.
Kneeling with difficulty she turned her attention to the skeleton warrior and he in turn gave her the small, wooden box which had carefully held under his left arm during the long walk. The dim light was no problem for the witch. Her magic-enhanced senses allowed her to discern the box's moth-bitten sides and its rotten edges. She placed it in front of her and lifted the lid. A small chicken and a rusty knife lay inside.
It was weird, the witch thought, how the humans discover secrets and, unable to comprehend them, give them a new meaning. They try to impose rules to the unknown and create traditions based on arcane rituals.
She scoffed at the people's presumptuous interpretation of Halloween. A period of astral convergence and increased spiritual activity had degraded to idiot costumes, pranks and mobs of loose children. Ignorance was the true enemy of everything mystic.
With that in mind, she watched the chicken. It had a simple mind, not equal to the task of sensing the immediate danger. The witch grabbed the old knife and plunged it deep into the animal's neck. Her hands kept the spasmodic chicken's body in place while she took care that the blood would soak the earth. Moments passed and the life essence of the now dead chicken had all fell upon the ground. Seeing this, the old woman buried the knife into the wet soil and recalled the words she needed to say.
''One for the dead
Two in the earth now red
In this blackest night
Make this body right.''
Her incantation complete, she saw her knife shine blue. That's when she sensed something behind her. Turning around, she gasped because a headless figure riding an enormous horse was looking down at her. It was as if he had been created out of thin air. The horseman's hand unsheathed an iron sword and before the witch could even blink, the newcomer attacked. The savage strike splintered the skeleton guard. Bones scattered everywhere and just like that, the skeleton warrior was no more.
''What...what are you?'' the witch rasped. Her voice was a mere whisper, wheezing out of her lungs.
Either because the horseman couldn't speak or because the witch didn't deserve an answer, her question remained motionless in the air. But not for long. The iron blade came forward again and with a great swing, the horseman sought to decapitate the old hag. Her magical resistances melted before the attack and she felt something sharp biting into her neck. She felt no more.
As the headless horseman stood above the two corpses, he pondered how stupid some people are to think they can bend the laws of magic to their benefit. Eternal youth was hunted by many, conquered though by very few. By those who well understood the notion of sacrifice. A head was a small price for immortality. A head, as well as the irresistible urge to hunt down witches and warlocks in order to offer special souls to those waiting beyond.
He got down from his horse and surveyed the scene. He stood motionless for a little while, surrounded by silence. Suddenly, he bended and his ironclad hand grabbed the dead chicken. A brutal twitch separated head from body and he let both bloody parts fall to the ground. More silent moments passed with the horseman standing still.
It was one hour after midnight when a brilliant blue flare emanated from the rusty dagger which was lying besides the killed witch. The blue energy left the the weapon and surrounded the headless chicken. Which, with a sudden jerk, bolted upright and running as fast as it could, vanished into the night.
The headless horseman didn't waste more time. He climbed once more upon his horse and spurred it into a trot. All in all, it was a good and eventful night. His...prank had lightened his mood, if a creature such as he had one. After he left, the silence of death ruled on the witch's regime.
(After mindless wandering, the headless chicken now plagues our eworld)