“I love anything paranormal. A chance to tell a tale about witches this morning was too much of a good opportunity to pass up! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Pensitivity’s three things challenge – Undignified – Ridiculous – Slid
Your Daily Word — Assiduous
Ragtag Daily Word — Brandish
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Tale Weaver — fairytale -wicked witches
Reborn the Witches
The Elm Hill district of the city was the oldest by far. It’s cobbled road led from the Cathedral to the City Centre and was at least a thousand years old. The shops and tiny houses on either side were Tudor with their white walls and black beams.
Scott loved to walk this way to work. He could almost feel the ancient people still walking here when alone. The teddy bear shop with his favourite with all the bears peeking through the tiny square windows. Coming into view of the shop on this rainy morning, he was in time to see a young lady emerge. Draped in a fetching black dress that set off her long dark hair, she caught the eye. She made it three steps before her feet slid from beneath her and she crashed to the floor with an undignified splat.
“Ouch! You okay?” Scott asked rushing to her side.
“Aww, this is ridiculous! I must look like a silly fool not being able to walk this morning,” she groaned her voice soft and sweet.
“Hey, it’s okay. The cobbles get awful slippery when wet. It’s not your fault you fell,” Scott used his most assiduous, calming manner while offering his hand. “Allow me to help you up.”
“Thank you,” she smiled and took his hand.
Scott hid a gasp, her fingers were icy cold. Taking her shoulder, he helped her stand, “There that’s better, isn’t it?”
“Much, thank you.” The lady gave the road an uneasy look.
“We were going the same way. Can I escort you off the cobbles?”
“That’s very kind,” she turned her nettle-green eyes upon him. “I’m Elizabeth. I’d like to buy you a coffee to say thank you. There’s a nice place around the corner if you have time.”
Scott checked his watch as he introduced himself. “Sure, that’d be great.”
“Great, we’ll go this way.” Elizabeth drew him into a cobbled alley alongside an ancient chapel. It hosted the Crypt Café a great place for a scone and a cup of tea.
Scott was sure that was where she was going. His eyes registered a blood-red flash and the street vanished. “What the hell?” Flinching away from her, he found himself in a dark autumnal forest illuminated by surreal orange light. “Oh, Shit!”
“Welcome to Demdyke Wood. You’re in a witch’s world now,” Elizabeth’s voice was no longer soft. Harsh and old it filled him with dread. Facing him, she fixed him with a devilish grin. Her face had more wrinkles and crevasses than a mountain range. The skin grey and thin; almost corpse-like.
“Witches world! How that even possible? Witches don’t exist,” Scott remarked disbelieving everything he was seeing. “This is some kind of sick joke?”
Elizabeth cackled, “No, this is very real. Soon I’ll complete my summoning and reborn the wickedest of witches. Then you’ll be very dead.” With a brandish of her wrinkled, talon-like hand, she took on a red aura. “Daemones Vinctum!”
Scott felt the blast of warm energy hit his breastbone. He slammed backwards into a tree. Vines crawled over his body, binding him to the trunk.
“Finis Illusio!” Elizabeth’s fingers spouted blue sparks. A roaring, red fire appeared with a cauldron suspended above it on a tripod. It brought with it the smell of death.
Still bound to the tree, Scott was sweating with fear. He was going to be boiled alive for helping this woman. “Please, please tell me this is a joke. Witches were a creation of Christianity and rotten men in the 1500s. A way to get rid of outspoken women and those deemed to have powers beyond normal means. I know women were victimised and witches never existed.”
“Seems you’re well-informed but rather stupid.” Elizabeth slapped his face her long nails drawing blood. Taking some on a bony finger she tasted it. “Pity. You could be a nice morsel. Instead, your soul will bring back the Pendle Witches and we will take over —”
A green aura erupted within the trees. Lightning flashed as a figure emerged. She was adorned in a flowing red dress and a long blue headscarf. ”Mother, you must stop this. We witches were persecuted off the planet by people such as Matthew Hopkins …”
“The Witch Finder General,” Scott remarked.
“Shut up!” said both women at once.
“The very same,” acknowledged the newcomer. “Abducting people, murdering them. Stealing their souls to bring back the wickedest of all witches will not allow us to practice magic freely. I’ll only bring back the ducking stools, the skin pricking, the being burned at the stake. Nothing good can come of revealing ourselves to the world again.”
“Yes, yes, Lyssa. Blah, blah, blah,” Elizabeth gave her cauldron a cursory stir. “The humans killed a hundred thousand witches. When they rise from the dead, We shall not practice among humans. We shall annihilate every single one of them. It’s time for the witches to rule the earth!”
“I won’t let you do that angeli naturae tutela mihi!”
Scott watched Lyssa’s aura turned green she opened an aggressive stance.
“Haeret sica, impetum!” Elizabeth yelled. The sticks all around her rose within a tornado of air. Plunging towards Lyssa like a cloud of murderous daggers.
“Saeclum.” Lyssa waved a hand. The daggers struck a wall of magic around her, disintegrating into sawdust. “Terrenum quidem— noctua percutiens!”
Scott didn’t understand the words, but he knew this was retaliation. The earth rumbled beneath the woods. Great claws of stone grabbed Elizabeth by the ankles. Scott flinched as the air was filled with the screeches of owls. Dozens flew into being, scratching and clawing at the dark witch.
Elizabeth screamed. “Tenebris fulgur percutiens!”
The air around Scott became charged with dark energy. He felt as if it would catch fire or explode at any moment. Instead, Elizabeth erupted with a blast of lightning. The owls burst into flames; their feathers raining down all around the cauldron. The witch vanished.
“Don’t worry, Scott. I’ll get you out of this. Ipsum revelare.” Lyssa’s eyes flashed gold. She spun on the balls of her feet. A fireball burst from the ether, slamming into her chest.
Scott cried out in fear and pain she slammed into his legs and fell in the leaf litter — smouldering. “Lyssa! You okay?”
“I’m fine. That was a dirty trick, Mother. You will — waaa!”
Elizabeth reappeared and acted as though dragging a heavy chain. Lyssa soared across the clearing clanged into the cauldron and disappeared behind it. “I’m sorry its come to this dear daughter. Now, you must be sacrificed for the greater good.” Elizabeth stepped over her daughter, hauling her limp body up. Her once green eyes were as black as the pits of hell. Her magic all-consuming darkness to which nothing, nobody stood a chance of surviving.
Scott didn’t know Lyssa before she appeared today. He felt himself crying for her as he watched on helplessly.
Elizabeth conjured a table draped in the black cloth and laid her daughter upon it. ‘Animae lucrum strigae turpium!’ The dark witch’s hands glowed violet as an athame dagger wrought with an inverted pentagram appeared in her grasp. “This dagger is imbued with the ability to take souls and resurrect witches with them. You will witness its power. Then it’s your turn to feel it’s bite!”
“Wait! Please you don’t have to do this!” Scott begged his eyes fixed on the dagger hovering above Lyssa’s chest.
“IT’S ALREADY DONE!” Elizabeth plunged the dagger downward with a demonic growl.
Lyssa radiated an ethereal blue light. The dagger pierced her sternum and lodged deep into the tabletop. She became translucent and then was gone, replaced by sparkling white orbs.
Scott felt they looked like fairies as they shimmered around Elizabeth’s confused looking face.
“No! What is this?” she screamed.
“It’s called a shimmer, mother. Surely with all your magical powers know about them.” Alyssa’s voice seemed to radiate from the crackling air. “No, wait — of course, you don’t. You only practice dark magic. Whereas this is magic of purest kind. Imparca magicae!”
“Noooooo!” Elizabeth screamed.
The orbs became white doves. Black fluid began pouring from Elizabeth’s nose and mouth; forming a ball in front of her chest. A flash of lightning transformed it into a single, smouldering black crystal. The doves grew in size, turning gold, flashing to red as Alyssa reappeared and plucked the crystal from the air.
Elizabeth collapsed to the ground, heaving and retching as she rolled about. She’d become a regular, old and powerless woman.
“I’m sorry mother. But if you cannot respect your magic and use it for good. Then you can never weld it again.” Alyssa cast the crystal into the cauldron. “Relego magicae!”
Scott saw the cauldron cease to exist. Then he was stood in the cobbled alley beside Elm Hill once more. “Bloody hell! I need to drink less coffee in the morning,” he breathed.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” said Alyssa appearing in front of him. She drew a pentagram over his chest with a single fingernail. Ending beneath his chin, she raised it and kissed him.
Scott felt electricity humming over her lips as they caressed his. Breaking free he gaped at her. “What was that for?”
Alyssa smiled serenely. “While you can never tell a soul what happened today. I wanted to give you something to remember me by,” she gave an assiduous winked and vanished, leaving Scott alone in the alley knowing he would never see her again.
Have a great day!