My mom was a witch. Is a witch, not was. That isn’t too much of a problem because I keep it from my friends. They don’t know, and I work hard so they’ll never find out. Your mother’s a witch, and all of a sudden instead of being just like everyone else, your family’s full of freaks, and you’re a freak. A freak with a crazy mom. What kid my age—I’m 11—wants that? So, no one knows.
And it’s pretty easy keeping it that way because Mom really isn’t anxious for everyone to know. If people did, she says they’d all be dropping by to have warts removed and to stop their husbands from drinking too much and to make that weirdo who lives at the end of the street and everyone thinks is a pervert disappear or turn into a chipmunk or something. Witches can do that, can’t they?
I don’t know, really. She doesn’t talk about being a witch much. She told me about it when I was eight, when I happened to see her change a ladybug into a lizard; I never did ask her why she did that. I wasn’t supposed to see it, but I did. When I said I happened to oversee her, what I meant was, I guess I was snooping a little. Boys snoop, okay? Well, we do.
She saw I was kinda shook up about it, not being used to seeing transformations and all, so she sat me down and told me she was a witch but that I couldn’t go telling everyone because there’d be all sorts of consequences if I did, and she wanted us to have a normal life. I asked her if Dad knew and she sort of made a face and said, well, she had told him before they were married, and he’d been all right with it then, or at least he’d said he was, but then after they were married he began looking at her funny at times, like when she made the bed in my room while she was down in the kitchen making breakfast, so she whipped up a potion and said a few words and he didn’t remember she was a witch any longer after that.
So I asked her why, if she could do that—make people forget things, I mean—why she didn’t just make me forget what I’d seen. She explained there were rules about enchanting kids, that in the past some witches had gotten in deep doo-doo for doing that too much and for the wrong reasons, and she followed the witchery rules like the good witch she was.
I asked her if there were both good and bad witches and she said sure, just like good and bad teachers and good and bad real estate brokers and like that.
So anyway, I’m getting off the track here. My mom’s a witch. That’s all you need to know about that.
It isn’t a problem, really. I just don’t let on, and, as I rarely see her doing any sorcery, casting any spells or putting the whammy on anyone, it’s easy to forget about her powers.
A good thing about this is that none of my friends, no one at school, not even the teachers, have remarked on my name. I’m pretty sure no one is aware it’s a word and not just an unusual name. I mean, how many boys do you know named Eldritch?
I go by Rich. No one’s the wiser.
Anyway, that’s sort of an introduction. What I want to tell about is what comes next.
I was going to be twelve. On Halloween. Yeah, I was born on Halloween, October thirty-first. And I guess that was sort of a big deal, though I didn’t know anything about it till my mom told me. I did know that Halloween was a big deal with her, being a witch and all. She’d get excited about it well in advance, make all kinds of preparations, get me a costume and buy lots of candy to give out, all that sort of thing. Funny, though. None of the costumes she ended up wearing were witch costumes, and I never saw her buying her own consumes. She just seemed to have them ready to go for Halloween, and wow, were they realistic looking. She’d dress up as all kinds of things, like gargoyles or warthogs or two-headed dogs. One year she was a tiger, and our dog took one look at her and I never saw him again till the next day. One year she was the headless horseman and held the head in her hand filled with candy for the kids to reach in and take. Because the eyes still worked and looked around as the kids came up to the house and the mouth said hi to them, we had a lot of extra candy left over that year that I got to eat myself.
Twelve. I was talking about turning twelve. Mom was more excited than usual, and she sat me down to talk the day before that.
“Have you ever wondered, Eldrich—” my mother had never bought into the Rich evasion that everyone else had “—whether you might have inherited some of my powers?”
We were sitting in her, well, what should I call it? It was a room in the basement that was only hers. More a cave than a room, but who has a cave in their house? I was only rarely invited to enter it; each time was special, though a bit scary, too. It had dark purple walls and was dim and dank and chilly. I was sitting on what looked like a large toadstool. Maybe it was a toadstool. She was sitting sidesaddle on the pole part of a broom that was hovering in the air so her feet were slightly off the ground. How could she balance on that? Made me wonder if witches have better balance than regular people. But, too, wouldn’t that thin pole kinda hurt her bottom after a while? It looked terribly uncomfortable to me.
“I’ve thought about it. But I’ve never been able to do anything weird. Which is good because I don’t want to be a witch.”
“Oh, you’d never be a witch. You’d be a warlock. That’s a male witch. And you’d never be a pure warlock because your father, bless him, is a normal. That’s what we call people without magic—normals. What Harry Potter calls Muggles. Lots of things in Harry Potter are really silly.”
“But I’m not, am I? A warlock? I mean, I’m a normal, aren’t I?”
She gave me a look. In the dim light, I’d swear I saw a strange glow in her eyes. Had to be my imagination. “I don’t know. That’s why I wanted to talk to you. The fact is, school’s still out on just what’s what with the offspring of normals and witches. There are lots of questions and lots of answers, but very little certainty or understanding because most witches and warlocks don’t congregate with each other. Are half-warlocks just like pure warlocks? Those guys, the pure ones, don’t come into their powers till they turn twelve. That I know for sure. But half-warlocks?”
She shook her head. “When The Change does come for halves, like you might be, I don’t know if it’s as complete as with pure warlocks. Maybe you’d get only half of what they get; I just don’t know. And what about a pure warlock’s powers? Will they be diluted for you, or what?
“Witches talk about this sort of thing, and I’ve heard all sorts of reports, but it’s all anecdotal, much of it is conjecture, and witches as a group tend to prevaricate a lot, so I’m not sure what to believe. I can’t even be sure you’ll have any powers at all. But if you do, if you experience The Change, then you need to be prepared for it.”
“Why? What happens?”
She sighed. “It’s a bit much to talk about, cold turkey. But I wouldn’t be a good mother not to clue you in in advance. Even though it might not happen. This is all complicated by the fact you were born on Halloween. For a pure warlock, that doubles their powers. Will it do the same for you? I don’t know what’s going to happen with you. I don’t know what the chances are that you’ll remain a normal, but I think it’s better than even money that you’ll have some powers at least, and maybe a lot. So, you need to be ready.”
She hesitated then, which wasn’t like my mother at all. She had a very strong personality, was very self-assured, and she never hesitated to plunge ahead with whatever was on her mind; that just wasn’t her. Made me wonder just how bad this was going to be for me.
Turned out, what she said didn’t sound all that bad, just very different, very something to get used to, and, well, embarrassing as all get out.
“You’ll turn 12 tomorrow, Eldritch, and being the age you are, I imagine the boys at school have started talking about sex. Maybe not so much girls, but, you know, sex with themselves. You know what I mean, don’t you?”
I think I blushed. “Yeah, I know.”
“Yet I’ve seen no signs that you’re doing anything like that yourself. Is that right?”
“Mom! You can’t ask me that!” Now I was sure I was blushing. It was embarrassing to have to talk to Mom about anything like this, and also embarrassing that no, I hadn’t had any interest in anything sexual yet. Other boys had and weren’t shy talking about it. But not me; not yet. It would come, I was sure. I was simply a late bloomer. But I didn’t want to discuss this with my mother, for Pete’s sake. So I repeated, “You shouldn’t be asking me that sort of thing!”
“I wouldn’t, if it weren’t for what might happen tomorrow. I think The Change will happen, and partly that’s because I don’t think you do that thing yet that many boys your age are already doing. I don’t think you have any interest at all in sex yet. If that’s true, it suggests strongly that you have some warlock in you and that you’re going to undergo The Change on your birthday, and at the exact time you turn 12, which is at 6:35 in the evening.”
“Okay, here goes, and I have to be a bit graphic here, so get a grip on yourself.” She took a deep breath and then said, “Eldritch, you haven’t reached puberty yet. What you need to be prepared for is, you will not only begin it, but you’ll complete the pubertal process at exactly 6:35 tomorrow evening.”
“Huh? That’s crazy!” I said. “Puberty is a process, not something that just happens in a Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am sort of way. It takes a while, and your body slowly changes. We learned all about it at school.”
“And it hasn’t happened to you yet, has it. I mean, it hasn’t begun. No extra hair where no one can see it? No lengthening of short parts?”
I shuddered, hearing her speak like that. “No, not yet, but any time now, I’m sure,” I forced myself to say, trying to sound nonchalant.
“And I’m pretty sure it’ll happen tomorrow evening at 6:35,” she stated firmly. “What’ll happen is, it’ll all happen at once. That means suddenly you’ll have a deeper voice, and hair where you’re bald now, and your teeny wienie will be, well, it won’t be teeny any longer. Longer it certainly will be.
“But that isn’t why I needed to tell you this. It’s only part of it, the easy-to-adjust-to part. You’ll like the long prong. The part that will hit you like a tidal wave is, you’ll suddenly be randy as the proverbial three-peckered billy goat.”
“Mom!” I couldn’t believe she was talking like this! Not only was she saying the words, but her face lit up and her breathing quickened as she went on, and her eyes grew wider. She was really getting into talking about sex.
“Yeah, I know, I know, but I had to tell you. You have to be ready for it. You’re going to want sex, and since you’ve never had that urge before, it’s going to be overwhelming. Now that you know it’s coming, you can at least understand the feelings that will be sweeping over and through you.”
I started to speak, but she held up one finger to stop me. Her fingers always looked bonier when we were in her cave. “There is one more thing, something that might ease your concerns. This all comes because you’ll get an overload of hormones all at once, and because of a little bit of hocus-pocus, too. That’s what turns your floppy noodle into a flagstaff. Especially when it’s hard. You won’t believe how big it gets till it happens. And how good it feels to—well, you’ll see.
“But the thing is this. The things that happen during The Change won’t all last. After 24 hours, much of the effects of The Change will have worn off. You’ll still be better endowed than any of your friends, but you won’t mind that. The compensations are worth it. But the voice change and all the hair, they’ll be gone, and you’ll go about entering and going through puberty like all the other boys. Until your next birthday, when you get to experience this all over again.
“Now understand, I can’t guarantee all this. Pure warlocks don’t go through that slow process. What they get on their twelfth birthday, they never lose. But I’ve been told it’s different with half-warlocks.
“You don’t have to worry, though. I mean about being hairy and having a deep voice when you’re trick or treating, or wanting to mate with everything that moves and some things that don’t. The reason you don’t have to be concerned about all that is because you don’t have to go out! What you can do is stay home instead of going trick or treating. I’ll need to lock you in your room, because you’ll want to go out. You’ll want to have sex. Warlocks, even half-warlocks, I’ve been told, always want to have sex. Not just with girls, either. They want it with every- and anything. Males and females. Boa constrictors. Warm pudding. Knotholes. Nothing is safe from them, not even the crack of dawn. And that’s what you’ll be feeling.
“Well,” I said, when she seemed to have stopped and was looking a little glassy-eyed. I was getting the idea that maybe it wasn’t just warlocks who were a bit oversexed, but did I want to see that coming from my mother? Ugh! “Thanks for telling me, I guess.” I gave her a funny look, got up from my toadstool with a bit of effort—it didn’t seem to want to let me go—and went up to my room. I needed to think.
Lying on my bed, I came to the conclusion that this was all too weird. I had to wonder if she was making it up. Maybe she wanted me to stay home to hand out candy. She was going to dress up as Godzilla this year, and I was going to have too much candy to eat again if she tried to be the one to hand it out. I could envision all the kiddies screaming and running away, tripping over their costumes as she roared at them. Maybe she could envision that, too, and wanted me to stay home to meet with the kids because of that.
There was something else to think about, though. It was true: I didn’t have any sexual urges. Never had. I’d just figured I would soon and had never given it much thought. But, if for some unimaginable reason I did feel sexy for the first time tomorrow at 6:35, I figured I could fight down the urges. I was in control of myself. I was good at that. And the important thing, what was really important to me, was that tomorrow night was probably the last time I would get to go trick or treating. I was dressing as Harry Potter; I thought that would be ironic. My best friend, Dwayne, was dressing as a cat. We’d to out together. And I wasn’t going to stay home because of some mumbo-jumbo my mom was throwing at me. I simply wasn’t. No locked room for me. No sir.
She had to be making this all up. She had an ulterior motive, that was for sure, and if I wasn’t sure what it was, well, so what? She wasn’t going to ruin my Halloween for me!
And I didn’t like hearing her call my willy a floppy noodle. Even if it did kinda look like one.
Dwayne ate dinner with us the next night. Mom kept glancing at me, over and over, but it was only 6 PM, and nothing had happened. We’d be out in the neighborhood when the—can I say it?—the witching hour occurred. Though I was pretty sure it was all a hoax. Witches excelled at hoaxes. Though what her real motive was, I had no idea. I think she believed what she’d told me was true, even though she’d said she had no real information on half-warlocks, or that this was my birthday and also Halloween.
Anyway, we ate and got ready. Dwayne was going as a black cat. His costume was a black unitard, a full body suit with a curvy black tail that came up from just above his butt and was attached to the back of the costume just about in the middle of his back where his shoulder blades were. He had cat whiskers stuck on his upper lip. Dwayne was a really cute kid, but I’d never really noticed before. He was simply my best friend.
Me, I was Harry Potter. For a costume, I hadn’t been sure what to wear because in the movies Harry has all sorts of outfits to wear. But I’d loved seeing him in his pajamas—oops; Harry was British; in his pyjamas—and had wanted to go out in ones like he wore along with round, wire-framed glasses, a painted on scar and messy hair. I hadn’t been sure it would be warm enough out for that, but it turned out it was a very warm night like we sometimes had in Southern California at that time of the year, and so I was just wearing thin two-piece pyjamas like Harry had worn in the films.
And slippers. Like Harry had.
We left my house at quarter past six. Other kids were already canvassing the streets. It wasn’t dead dark yet, but was moving in that direction. There wouldn’t be much of a moon; we both had flashlights that we’d need later.
We started in on the houses around us. I was very conscious of the time. 6:20, then 6:30, then—
At 6:35 exactly, I stopped, stood still, waited, and nothing happened. No overwhelming wave of sexual energy. No uncontrollable urges. No need for anyone to be locking up their sons and daughters and parakeets.
As a matter of curiosity more than anything, I surreptitiously reached down to the PJ’s trousers. I realized this was the perfect outfit for this. There was a slit in front for easy access peeing at night when half asleep. I slipped my fingers inside when no one was looking. Nope. No changes there, either.
I didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed. On the whole, I guessed I was glad. I liked myself the way I was. Being a horny creature from the dark side didn’t really appeal to me.
Then I looked up and saw Dwayne looking at me. Looking at where my hand was, actually. It was dark enough by now that you had to be close to something to see it well, and he was standing right next to me.
Which of course meant I was standing right next to him, so I could see him perfectly well. Even in a black costume, a skin-tight one at that. And what I saw was movement down below. His tights couldn’t hide it. He was getting hard.
Seeing that, for some reason I didn’t understand, I found myself getting hard, too. Feeling a little guilty, a little embarrassed, I quickly withdrew my fingers from where they’d been, but doing that opened my opening. And guess what pushed itself out?
That of course just made Dwayne’s problem even more evident. The more I looked at him, the harder he seemed to get. Or maybe it was seeing me, poking out into the night like I was that was encouraging his reaction.
When he spoke, his voice sounded breathy. “I didn’t know you got like that. You never talk about it. I didn’t think you’d started puberty yet.”
His eyes were fixed on the part of me that wasn’t accustomed to being out and about in the night air. Or any outside air, for that matter. Unconsciously—at least it looked that way—he reached down and pressed his hand on his own pole, pressing it into his leg.
“I didn’t think so, either,” I said. My voice sounded funny, too. “In fact, it was seeing you get hard that made me that way.”
Dwayne raised his eyes to mine. “I just found out about, uh, jerking off last week. You ever do that yet?”
“No,” I said, then daringly continued with, “but I’m willing to learn.” I was feeling sort of shaky, but it was a good shaky. Excited, you know?
“Follow me.” We were near his house right then, and he led me to it, around back and into a large lawn equipment shed they had behind the garage.
We went in. He turned on a light, which was okay as there weren’t any windows and wouldn’t be seen from outside. He walked to the back of the shed, and I saw there was a cot back there. Where had that come from? Then I thought about Dwayne learning about doing what he had and figured a cot hidden away in a dark shed made a lot of sense. I also saw as he was walking toward that cot that he had a very cute 11-going-on-12 butt made cuter by his perky little tail.
I could see that butt much better only seconds later, seconds being all it took for him to get out of his unitard. Then he was standing nude and erect in front of me.
“What are you waiting for?” he asked, and just about as fast as he had, I had my pyjamas in a heap on the floor.
He showed me how he did it. I must have been a slow learner, because then he showed me how I should do it with him doing the doing on me. Then he said fair was fair, so I did it to him, too. At our age, we only needed a few minutes rest and we were ready again.
What we did in the rest periods was just as surprising as what we did when we weren’t resting. First we talked, and he told me he’d liked me as more than a best friend for several months now, but was afraid to tell me. I told him I’d been totally unaware of that sort of attraction before this, that I’d never even had a crush on anyone, but I did now. On him. I told him how cute I thought he was.
So he kissed me, and, well, wow! So that’s what we did while resting. We learned the joys of kissing another boy. We ran our hands all over each other’s body, all over, feeling all that smooth skin, the slight musculature under it, how running our hands over it made the other wriggle and shrug and writhe. It all felt so amazing. It shortened up the rest periods, too.
We didn’t get much candy that night but did get something better. We got each other. I learned I wasn’t a warlock, but instead was a normal, horny kid. I had no regrets at all. What I’d done with Dwayne was about all my emotions could tolerate. How warlocks survived, going after everything that moved, and didn’t, I had no idea. It would have killed me.
When I finally got home, it was late and Mom wasn’t Godzilla any longer. She was just herself, but she was very curious. She wanted to know. Was I a warlock? She looked me over, and I’d swear she sniffed the air around me.
“Well?” she asked.
I smiled at her.
Some things are private, you know?
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