The hag held out the shinny red apple but Snow White refused it. The princess turned away thus changing her fate forever.
The hag held out the shinny red apple but Snow White refused it. The princess turned away thus changing her fate forever.
The snow froze the ground and lay not as a solid blanket but more patchy and lumpy. The Wastelands were like that, rising and falling, all wild with long grass, spiky bushes and stunted trees.
A small cabin, easily missed, stood nested in between two hills and the cover of trees. Smoke rose from the chimney as the clouds blocked the last rays of sun. The chopping of wood echoed and the whooshing of an axe came from the behind the cabin.
Lance collected the newly sliced logs and juggled them with the axe. He could have left the heavy tool outside but he had lost his last one to the Imps. Going inside, he knocked the snow from his boots and dumped the wood and the axe by the fire.
The two dogs growled at him then settled again on the sofa at the sound of his voice, ‘it’s only me. It’s fine.’
Lance went outside to get the rest of the wood. It was dark now the sun had set and a few flakes of snow fluttered from the heavy clouds above. Lance couldn’t see that far into The Wastelands but he knew the layout as if the map was drawn onto his skin.
Back inside, with the rest of the wood, he put two pieces on the fire then put the other logs into the basket beside. It felt too early to light the lamps but if he didn’t the Imps might try to use the shadows to sneak in.
The lamps went on to the two window sills and on the small table next to the door. Lance touched the holly above the door, the leaves were bright green and the red berries shone in the light. There was also dried sage and other plants that The Hollow Witch said should help to keep the Imps away.
The snow was falling faster now and sticking to the ground. A chilly wind was creaking the cabin and creeping through the gaps to try and freeze the inside up. Night rolled in, claiming The Wastelands in darkness.
Going back to the fire, Lance sit in the only other seat in the cabin, an armchair. One of the dogs thumped his tail, whilst the other didn’t even raise her head. Lance didn’t mind, when the dogs were calm it meant the spirits were away.
‘Let’s hope we have a quiet night,’ Lance uttered, ‘the snow is coming down again and that should help keep things at bay but other things might be seeking warmth and we don’t ever invite anything inside.’
The dog grumbled in agreement and rest his head on the arm of the sofa to watch Lance.
Looking into the fire, Lance fell into wondering why him. He could see things people couldn’t for as long as he could remember. It had drove his parents away and he had been left as an apprentice to a shoe maker. That had only last a year though because he hadn’t been able to stop talking about the little elves who mended shoes in the night.
Lance had tried to be a baker, but couldn’t stop talking to the Spirit Keeper of the Ovens and the bread ended up burning too many times. Next, he had tried to be a blacksmith but the Talker for the Horses had kept telling him he wasn’t doing it right and Lance had kept getting in trouble even though it was the Talker making the mistakes.
He had found not pointing out the spirits was the best thing to do but somehow everyone in the town and the neighbouring ones knew he could see things. That unknown was frighting to simple people so Lance had moved away and tried to be a guard in the King’s City. But the spirits were worse there and Lance found seeing them and hearing them all the time too much.
Seeking out the help of people of magic or others that saw the spirit world had helped. Though it had also lead to him being exploited. As a young man he wasn’t aware of this, just glad to have found he wasn’t alone and someone wanted to help him.
As time went on and Lance become more awake to things, he realised that some of those magic people couldn’t see like he could and were using him to trick people into spending money and sometimes getting their houses robbed.
Lance had come all the way out here, to The Wastelands were people didn’t live. He had wanted to be away from everything and not bothered by spirits. He had built his cabin and made a living for himself as a carpenter. He carved bowls, cups, spoons, buckets, children toys and other useful items which he sold anywhere he could do.
The money he used for food and to pay for The Hollow Witch’s services. Lance was grateful to have discovered her. She had come to his cabin one night, seeking shelter and warmth from a snowstorm.
Lance had been unsure at first then The Hollow Witch had told him she could see that he was being hounded by a group of Imps and in return for a night or two of shelter, she would get rid of them for him.
Agreeing, Lance had let her in and once she was warm, The Hollow Witch had cast spells about and got out some sage to banish the Imps.
‘I’m the Hollow Witch because I live in a tree hollow down in the valley on the edge of The Wastelands,’ she had told him, ‘I can help you with your other spirit problems too. But I can’t take away your Sight, only help keep things at bay.’
‘Do you know anyone who can take the Sight away?’ Lance had asked her as the wind had whipped the snow outside and the fire had crackled away.
‘No one can take away your gift or your curse if that’s what you call it. It is your’s alone. You can use it as I have, to aid people and yourself or you can try and ignore it. But some spirits won’t like that,’ The Hollow Witch spoke.
‘The imps?’ Lance had pondered.
‘Yes. They will stop at nothing till they have your attention. They will steal from you, pinch and bite you, laugh and scream in your ears. Anything that makes you speak of them. Then they will continue because that is what they do. They plague us, trick us and led us to danger.’
Lance nodded and had fallen silent. He had felt coming out here would help him escape but it seemed he had been wrong.
Coming back to the present, Lance heard the growling of the dogs. He watched them get off the sofa and go to the door. They stood with ears and tails up, fur raised, growling deeply.
Lance followed them and tried to look out the window but it was too dark. He pressed the side of his face to the door and listened. He could hear laughter like a child but he knew it wasn’t.
He stood back and repeated what The Hollow Witch had told him to, ‘you are not welcome here. Go away. Don’t do anything to this place nor myself or my dogs. Stay away. I banish you from this space. Return to where you come from. BE GONE!’
Taking a few deep breaths, Lance pressed his ear to the door again and heard the wind blowing the snow.
The Imps were gone now but he knew they would be back soon enough.
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/12/12/thursday-photo-prompt-chill-writephoto/ with thanks).
I curse you.
May your blood boil and fill you with rage. May you destroy all you love. Let the rage consume you and spill into the earth.
Let poison be in your cup and you drink deeply. The poison shall course through your veins, turn your blood black. Let your body be sealed. No blade can open you skin, you shall not be cut.
Stitch your mouth and eyes closed. Burn your fingers so you can’t feel. Let only you ears hear the screams.
Boil, boil, boil. Rage, rage, rage. Burn, burn, burn. Flow, flow, flow.
I cast this curse on you.
It was the last day of September and a Monday which meant that Sadie had been super hectic at work. Finally, she was free to go home and though she was tried, she had a busy evening ahead.
As the bus engine vibrated underneath her, Sadie listed off her plans; home to eat and shower, then off to the coven meeting. There the practising witches would welcoming the coming of October at midnight. Afterwards she could go home to sleep.
Getting off the bus, she hurried down the road to her small house. The sky above was almost dark and Sadie hoped it wouldn’t rain. She opened the gate to her house and went up the path. On either side, Sadie’s front garden grew wild with a mix of things she used in cooking and magic.
Something rustled close by the front door. Sadie paused and looked down. There was something black and white sticking out of a clump of rosemary. Sadie peered further and saw a magpie trying to hide.
‘What are you doing down there?’ Sadie asked.
The magpie let out a soft, distressed cry. One of his wings was sticking out strangely and there was dried blood.
‘You are hurt!’ Sadie spoke, ‘wait a minute.’
She dug out her keys, let herself in and rushed into the kitchen. Getting a clean towel, Sadie went outside again and scooped up the magpie.
The weak bird allowed himself to be wrapped up and taken in without a fight.
Sadie placed him inside an old wicker basket then wondered what to do.
‘I’ll take you to the coven,’ she said aloud, ‘someone there will know what to do with you. A few of the witches have bird familiars.’
Sadie kept the magpie warm, give him little bit of cooked chicken and some water. When he seemed settled, Sadie got something to eat herself. After, she showered and changed in her black dress and purple hooded cloak.
Tucking the magpie carefully into the basket, she carried him to the basement of the abandoned factory where the coven meet.
Candles light all the walls and corners of the room. Chairs and tables were dotted around, some with witches sitting on them. Other figures moved across the centre, making markings on the floor.
Sadie found a male witch, Alex, who had a raven familiar, to help the magpie.
‘Looks like he’s been hit by a car,’ Alex told her, ‘this wing is broken and he’s in shock. You did the right thing. I’ll look after him.’
‘Thank you,’ Sadie replied, ‘I knew I couldn’t leave him to die.’
The welcoming of October began and they joined the others in the nighttime celebrations.
Hours later, the witches closed things and said their farewells. Sadie was too tried to give the magpie anymore thought and went home to bed.
Days later, there was a knock at Sadie’s door. She opened it, thinking it was the postman or a neighbour but it was Alex.
‘Oh, my basket!’ Sadie cried, ‘I’d forgot all about it!’
Alex smiled and added, ‘and your new familiar too!’
Said looked into the basket and saw the magpie. He was looking healthy, his broken wing fixed and he had been well fed.
‘Yes,’ Alex replied, ‘I asked him if he wanted to be released or stay with you. He decided to thank you for saving his life by becoming your familiar. His name is Harbinger.’
Puzzlement crossed Sadie’s face and she looked from the magpie to Alex, ‘I don’t know anything about birds or having a familiar…’
Alex laughed and replied, ‘Harbinger and I will teach you all you need to know.’
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/09/26/thursday-photo-prompt-harbinger-writephoto/ with thanks).
The children called it the Witch’s House and told tales of a horrible old woman who kidnapped people and used them in potion making. There wasn’t any truth behind it but seeing the state of the house the tales were easy enough to believe.
Xylophile; Someone who loves forests.
The cold river water rushes over my bare feet and legs. I feel small stones against my toes and move slightly to be more comfortable. My hand are flat on the rock I’m sitting on and I can feel the slightly damp moss brushing against me. I shut my eyes and just listen to the sounds of the water, the trees and everything else around me.
A few minute later, I feel the natural energy gathering. It’s hard to describe, but it feels like a warm wind wrapping around me then sinking into me. I feel little electric charges dancing across my skin, they go and I feel calmness, sleepy almost. I drift, dozing on and off, letting the wind and water carry me away.
Time passes, I’m aware and not aware of it at the same time. I just feel the magic filling me up and the sense of the river against my feet and the mossy rock under my hands are not there anymore. Dizziness makes my head swim and I lay down on the rock to make sure I don’t fall. I don’t sleep but I’m not fully awake either. I’m just drifting in and out, around the energy that takes over.
When I next open my eyes, I lay there and listen. I can hear the trees whispering to each other. They are having conversations and telling stories but I can’t make out their words clearly enough to understand.
The river laughs and tickles my feet. The water is happy to tumble down the waterfall and around the rocks. The river asks me to give it sticks and leaves to race with.
I slowly get up, make my way back to the grass bank and in a daze, I find anything that will float. I collect a few sticks, leaves, bits of things and place them into the river, above the waterfall. I watch the river play with the things, turning them and making them race through the tumbling water. The river laughs loudly like a child enjoying a good game.
Going to a near by tree, I sit down. I hear the tree talking, the leaves above moving not by the wind but by the energy of the tree itself. The tree tells about the owl that lives in a hallow high above and the two baby owls inside the nest. The tree says it is happy to give the owl and her babies a home.
I touch the bare earth, my name sake, that the tree has disturbed with it roots. The earth tells me to take it’s energy and to use some of them to anchor myself down, like the earth does to everything.
I breath deeply, filling my lungs with the energy. I hear then feel a spring rain began to fall. The drops patter onto the trees and plants before reaching my skin. It feels like warm, soft kisses on my skin.
Getting up, I walk out from under the tree and stand in the rain. It’s soft and warm. I let the rainfall wash me and from it I take more energy; the elements of air and water.
I feel better and like I can face my problems again. It’s hard to leave the forest, the place of my birth and where I feel most like myself, but I must do. I have to get back to things but I’ll keep returning, drawing the energy and making the magic until the day I return to nature and am buried under the soil here to await re-birth.
Xylophile; Someone who loves forests.
I was born in this forest, like most of the coven members. It’s a centuries old tradition for babies to arrive out here. It’s said to be the most natural channel of magic in the area and also gives a connection to life, death and rebirth just like the cycle of the forest.
My love for the forest and it’s magic comes from that moment. I’m in tune with the nature around and can use that energy to create magic. But these are not the fantasy or supernatural magics of books and movies, this is a neutral magic that can be used in help me or others or to cause negativity towards others.
Nature’s magic doesn’t always work though and we can only ask so much of it. I guess that’s why so many people have stopped believing in it. They have turned to the world of technology and forgot how to ask the different energies to help them.
A few years back, magic users got away with saying they didn’t have phones, computers or TVs but now the world relays on all of those so much, we can’t avoid them. I don’t spent a lot of time with technology, I’d rather be reading books or walking in the forest.
My mother called me Ela which means earth. She never told me who my father was and the coven members don’t know either. My story is that my mother desperate for a daughter ask Mother Nature to give her one. My mother created a spell which involved swallowing an acorn – the seed- to make her pregnant. I’ve always believed it to be a true story.
And this story isn’t going to be about my search for truth to that tale because I’m happy with that knowledge. Today, I want to tell you about my current situation. Things haven’t been great for me lately, lots of stuff has gone wrong in my life all at once. It’s the normal young adult stuff; the struggling to find a job, the break up with the boyfriend, the falling out of the best friend. You know, the normal life problems.
So, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the forest, getting away from all of that and trying to use the magic to fix things. There’s a favourite spot of mine which I always go to and spend a good few hours there. It’s next to the river and a rushing waterfall. There was lots of rocks around which the water has to make its way over or around. These rocks make good places to sit and dip my bare feet into the cool water.
I let the water take the negativity away and draw from it clean energy to help me get through things. The sound of the water calms me and adds to the wind shaking the trees and the animals playing about.
Dear, Nature I draw energy from you. Today, I wish to make magic to help my life and others around me. Please, give me the energy I need to cast those spells.
I call upon the elements to aid me. Water, I take energy from you to help cleanse and heal me. Air, I take energy to speak my spell and to cast it out. Fire, I take energy for heat and passion. Earth, I take the energy of life force you give us all.
Mother Nature, hear my request and grant me what I need.
To Be Continued…
The full moon hung in a strange dark blue, smoke cloudy sky. The silvery light fell on a metal sign in the shape of a large grey, wizard hat, which rose high above a huge hotel.
The sign shimmered letting out a pulse of magical energy which rippled through the air. Everyone who knew even a bit of magic, felt the pulse no matter where they were and they all took off towards the hotel.
Soon, witches on broomsticks with their animal familiars landed in the car park. Wizards arrived in clouds of sparkling dust. Mages, sorcerer/ess, warlocks, enchanters, alchemists, seers, druids and loads of other magical sensing people arrived across the hours in all kinds of ways including; magic carpets, red flames, blue flames, snowstorms and miniature hurricanes.
Everyone gathered in the gigantic underground hall, lit be flickering candles and awaited for the Magic Council to assemble and announce why they had all been summoned.
Finally, one of the High Wizards rose and addressed the gathered, ‘there is a crises,’ he croaked, ‘magic is dying and we must do everything we can to save it.’
A murmur went around the room then a young witch’s voice rose, ‘then let us all work together to fix it.’
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/14/thursday-photo-prompt-sign-writephoto/ with thanks).
Three ancient hags sat around a fire, stirring their black pots which they added things too and whispered over.
‘Tail of rat dropped in this potion for a diplomat.’
‘Eyes of gnome dissolved in this lotion for Jerome.’
‘Tongue of duckling tender in this poison for the king.’
(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/01/15/twittering-tales-119-15-january-2019/ with thanks).
It was a strange stone building set away from the others at the far end of the court. Lucy walked up to it, leaving the rest of the tour group behind and read the sign; Witches’ Jail.
Anybody accused or found to be a witch was held here. The jail was built in the 1500’s and was used up until the late 1700’s.
Lucy glanced around, saw no one was watching and slipped inside the jail. It was cold and dark, musty smelling.
Lucy reached out and found the ghosts of the witches waiting for her.
(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/10/10/5-october-2018/ with thanks).
And so it goes...
Random musings on life, society, and politics.
Reclaiming my inner badass at 50