bewitchedIt seemed like the perfect idea. And it turned out to be, if only for a different reason than I originally thought. We were new to the area. I’d accepted a job offer in the city. It would be a new start for us. Emma had begrudgingly left her well-defined social circles and vegetable garden from the rural town in exchange for an apartment in the uptown district. It was a difficult transition for her, and subsequently me, but we were becoming more comfortable. With the cooling temperatures and the leaves transitioning to a vibrant orange, it was easy to slip into the autumn holiday spirit.

“Let’s have a party,” she’d said. “We can have your co-workers over. Maybe a few of our new neighbors.”

It was a good idea. I fully embraced it. But, I decided to take Emma’s idea and add a little flare to it.

“Sure, but how about we spice things up a bit, make it a costume party? It’s almost Halloween, after all.”

“Great idea! I’ll go as a witch. You can be my cowboy.” I picked up on her suggestive cue.

“Well, those two don’t mesh, but I’m game.” I whipped up an imaginary lasso, reeled Emma in, and adorned her lips with a passionate kiss. It was set, a costume party, the day before Halloween.

Witches are a common sight around Halloween. And our party was no exception. Although I didn’t fault Emma for her lack of originality, it was clear that my colleagues, our new neighbors, were short on creativity as well. There must have been two dozen witches. It was like an enchantress convention. There were enough broomsticks in our living room to outfit an entire Quidditch match.

Emma spared no expense to make a good impression, hoping to establish a new set of friends in this culturally diverse city. The hors d’oeuvres and punch, lightly spiked, were also accompanied by festive decorations and music to set the mood.

About midway through the evening, I sidled over to Emma, and slipped my arm around her waist. “How you doin’ gorgeous?” The look of surprise on my face was reflected back at me when she turned around. It wasn’t Emma. It was Gina. I think that was her name. I had just met her. My new boss’s wife. I backtracked quickly, but safely. We both chuckled at my gaffe, and it was certainly an effective ice breaker.

It wasn’t until later that I learned Gina wasn’t the only witch whose identity was mistaken that evening.

As quickly as he approached Emma, the man had slipped back into the crowd of people. She couldn’t be sure who it was, but Emma would never forget what he had whispered in her ear, and that our future here in the city was already tainted.

“I found the spot. Behind the nightstand in the bedroom. I already have the first number of the combination figured out. We’ll have to work on the other two another time.”