"My sisters!" spoke a voice from the whirling microwave cloud. It was the voice of Cecily Goatgrass! Undying leader of this coven! "The time is almost upon us! The day on which the ancient forces will align... when the moon forms a straight line connecting us to the most haunted corners of the cosmos! The day when our ritual is most likely to succeed! I hope you have picked out the young girl whose body I'm going to take over. You know who I mean. The girl we saw over the summer, when we cast spells to see the future. Did she show up this semester?"
"We have a good pool of candidates as pledges this year, Sister Cecily," answered one of the cloaked figures, a young woman named Allie Pettylatte. "One pledge in particular stands out. We think it's the girl from our prophecy, but we'll want to be sure before we attempt the ritual. Of course, she'll also have to survive the pledge process."
"Splendid news!" said the disembodied voice of Cecily.
"As you have commanded us, we have made the pledging process very difficult this year, to make sure that only the best pledges make it through. Unfortunately, that means that we've had some setbacks," said Allie.
"Yeah," added Phora, who was one of the hooded figures taking part in the ceremony. "On three separate occasions, we took pledges into Hollow Hat Woods and performed the Ritual of 18 Cuts and a Half Dozen Unholy Fires. One pledge went crazy at the sixth cut and has been institutionalized. One pledge burned alive in the unholy fires. We had to tell the cops she ran off with a dot-com millionaire. And the third pledge turned into a tree? We think?"
"That's natural," said Cecily, foggy tendrils extending from her glowing cloud in a gesture that was meant to be sympathetic. "Even in my day, we would sometimes turn sisters into trees if we weren't careful."
"Thank you, Sister Cecily," said Phora. "We were feeling really bad about that one."
"It's fine," said Cecily.
"The environment is so important," said one of the other hooded sisters. There was a general positive murmuring in support of this statement.