Pay Me!
by Jo
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© Copyright 2011 - Jo - Used by permission
Storycodes: Solo-F; F/f; witch; majick; transform; display; betray; revenge; cons/nc; X
Ghoul-gle jpn
Pay Me! Jo Solo-F; F/f; witch; majick; transform; display; betray; revenge; cons/nc; X

"Pay me," came the whispered voice.

Candice slapped the phone shut. "Witch!"

She had called daily since Candice had gotten her gig. A solid month. She tried blocking the number, but it always came through with a different one. And she didn't dare not answer. It could be another gig. Now that she was the Anser Girl, the world was her oyster.

Candice had been desperate. She was a finalist for the spot: the face of Anser Cosmetics. A dream come true. But she had competition. She was convinced she had the edge over her rival, but just to make sure ...

The woman was old (and ugly).

"How may I help you, dear?"

"You do spells?"

The crone nodded.

"I cannot change the past, but I can make small, er, adjustments to the present. What do you require?"

"I'm a model-"

"Of course."

"And I have a chance at a gig. It could be huge. Have you heard of Anser?"

"The answer? It depends on the question, now doesn't it?"

"No, Anser Cosmetics, kind of a play on words. Anyway, I have competition. I'm pretty sure I'm their first choice, but I'd like some insurance, a little something extra to seal the deal."

"Of course. Of course."

"I mean, nothing serious. I don't want her dead or anything."

The old woman chuckled.

"I am not that powerful. But I believe I can help you. It wouldn't take much, just a bit of a tweak."

"Great! How much?"

"Five thousand dollars."

"What! I don't have that kind of money."

"But you will, dear, won't you?"

"Not right away, no, I don't think so."

"No signing bonus?"

Candice thought.

"Yeah, maybe. But if I ask for extra money up front it might put them off."

"No need to worry about that. The gig, as you call it, is yours."

And indeed it was.

When Candice walked into the agency she was almost bowled over by Patti, holding her hand to her face, tears streaming down her cheek. She had a black eye and there was a bit of tissue dangling from her nose.

"Well, Candice," the director said, "It looks like the job is yours for the asking. Patti had an unfortunate accident, walking along yacking on her cell, walked full speed into the light pole, broke her nose poor girl."

Candice was shocked. The witch? Could it really be? Or was she just a crazy old woman and this merely coincidence. Still ...

"I'd like a signing bonus: five thousand dollars."

The director shrugged. "You may want to talk to your agent first."

"Ten thousand!?"

Ted handed her the contract. "Page 2, third paragraph. Nonconditional. Meaning if you take a header into a light pole, like our little friend, you get to keep the money."

Candice signed on the bottom line.

The first call came later that evening.

"Pay me."

"Who is this?"

"You know who I am. You got your job and now you owe me the money. Pay me."

"Listen, I, er, don't have the money yet-"

"That's a lie. You cashed your bonus check this morning. Pay me."

"But what did you do? Patti had an accident. That's all, just an accident. Wasn't watching where she was going. You didn't do that. You couldn't have! You're just a ugly old lady and a fake! I should call the police!"

"Pay me."

Candice shut the phone.

Work was a lot harder than she'd expected. A lot of hurry up and wait. The photo shoots were okay, but the commercials drove her crazy. Take after take. But, still, she was the new face of Anser Cosmetics and she began seeing her image seemingly everywhere.

It had been a hell of a month. But she was making money hand over fist. Ted had lined up five more gigs, sum total well over a million dollars.

"Pay me."

The calls came nightly, as they had tonight. Candice poured a glass of wine and settled on the couch. She dozed.

Something was happening. She couldn't tell what. Her vision cleared slowly first in one eye, then the other. She was staring at the witch. She had a knife in her hand and Candice screamed, but nothing came out. The witch leaned closer, leaned back, closer again, back and forth. Candice felt nothing, heard nothing.

The nightmare went on seemingly forever. Her early terror changed to confusion, then annoyance. It was bad enough that the witch called constantly, but now she was dreaming about her. This was too much.

The witch pulled back one last time. Candice felt herself hefted and carried. She saw nothing, her face pressed against the witch's chest. She was set down with a thump.

Candice was on a table, facing a window, and it took a minute, but she could see herself clearly in the reflection. Her face had been carved into a pumpkin. It was her in exquisite detail, as clear and sharp as any photo. An orange glow filled the gourd. Candice starred at her unblinking eyes, fascinated.

Time passed. A part of her realized that days had passed. Late each night the light would go out. The next night she would, again, be illuminated.

It took several nights, but she began to notice changes: the carving became less distinct, her eyes drooped, the edges of her mouth curled inward.

Night after night it went. Candice face turning into a twisted, drooping, grotesque thing as the pumpkin dried, then began to rot.

Candice woke with a start, heart pounding, panting breaths. She pushed herself from the couch, walked into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and screamed!



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