Jason Marchant is a new author currently still in school. Jason is a Georgia native but has lived all over the US. Jason has been a member of the USAF since 2009. Jason currently does his writing stationed in Hawaii living with his family.
Well, that took a turn.
The brief flight from the bar door to the parking lot wasn’t all together bad. The landing, in the rough gravel, was less pleasant.
“Learn some manners before you come back in here again, kid,” said the bouncer.
Carl had been having a pretty decent night for a bit there. Nothing a black eye and bloody nose couldn’t cure though. That could have gone better. Sitting up in the lot, getting his bearings straight, he heard a horrible crunch. Not my phone. He reached into his back pocket and took out the remains of his phone. Not getting a cab out of this place now. Home was only a few miles away. He really didn’t want to walk.
“Having a rough go of it, buddy?” said a man in a pick-up truck nearby.
The adrenalin from the fight was wearing off. The lack thereof coupled with the booze from before cropping back into Carl’s brain, he couldn’t quite make out the man’s face. “Yeah, you could say that.”
“Got someone coming to get you,” said the man. “Or do you need a ride?”
“My phone got busted and I don’t think my ride is on speaking terms with me right now. I am just off Pine. If it isn’t out of your way?”
“No trouble at all, hop in the back. I’ll take it slow.”
Well if he is an ax murderer it’ll stick with the theme of the night at least. Carl got into the back of the pick-up with less grace than he would have liked. Propping himself against the cab he asked, “What’s your name, man?”
Handing Carl, a bottled water through the window, “Oh, I am,” the engine backfired as the man answered, cutting him off.
“I’m Carl. Thanks again for the ride. Do you know the way?”
“Sure do, I am not too far past that way myself.”
They were on the main road now and only picked up a little of speed. The breeze felt nice to Carl. A small comfort at least. He watched as the bar faded in the distance, eventually taken over by the night. I messed that up.
“Well, Carl what is on your mind?” said the man. “We don’t have to talk if you don’t want. Just don’t want you dozing off back there with that nasty lump on your head.”
Understandable. “Just thinking about how I could have handled that better.” Ducking would have been nice. “This girl I met a while back, Jess. She has a boyfriend that is a real tool. Never met the guy but for a split-second tonight, that’s just what she said about him. She has been seeing me on the side for months. Told me she finally left him. I guess he didn’t get the memo.”
“By the state of your face I’d imagine not. I’ll wager he showed up then?”
“You’d win that bet. Didn’t see him come in, not that I know what the guy looks like anyway. I kiss Jess and take a swig of my beer. As I’m putting down my glass, I suddenly get a closeup of his class ring.”
“He shouldn’t have done that without knowing what was going on. What did you say his name was again? I might know him.”
“Mike, I think it was.”
“That would explain you getting thrown out even though he started the fight. He is a longtime patron there.”
Just my luck. “That probably didn’t help me, but I got kicked out for a better reason than that.”
“He only hit me the once. I am the one that lost my temper and made sure it was a fight. I should have known better seeing Jess behind his back like that. Bound to be trouble eventually.” Silence passed for the last moments of the drive.
The man made the last turn, finally arriving on Pine. “This is your stop, man. What do you plan on doing about the girl? If you don’t mind me asking.”
Hopping out of the car looking down the road towards his apartment, “I don’t think I will be seeing her again any time soon. I don’t like being lied to.”
Starting to drive off, “Probably a good call. She played us both for fools,” said Mike. “Nice right hook by the way. I’ll buy you a drink sometime.”
Well, that took a turn.
What is a Mother Witch to do?
In a world of infinite ironies, can anything truly be ironic? Mother Witch posed to her daughters (but mostly herself) many times this question.
Chapter one: Bloody Mary
The oldest of the three sisters (Shakespeare warned us that witches, while often numbering many in a coven usually flock in groups of three) is Bloody Mary. A nickname her siblings gave her— she found them impossibly unimaginative. With a pretty face dominated by giant obsidian, fairytale-eyes, and mischievous hair in a pixie coiffure (color varies wildly), she resembles a fairy or perhaps a playful river nymph; looks can be deceiving. Her skin is alabaster, pale to the point of translucence; why go outside when you have Wi-Fi? She brings to mind a porcelain china doll; no, not Chinese, she is much too lithe and willowy. Japanese; Japanese Lolita Goth, that’s what the kids call it nowadays. At fourteen going on forty, like many teenagers she is a little too mature for anyone’s good.
She is highly animated; a living anime, simultaneously tenebrous and ethereal, with herky-jerky motions that make one feel slightly seasick. She moves in a way that makes her seem as if she were in a badly filmed, single camera movie (one comes to mind, The Blair something-or-other) that if watched to long, makes you nauseous and fatigued. The world of Wicca knows Mary as a Succubus— her specialty, Glamour.
Mary’s favorite target is over-confident boys (or to take down a peg the occasional girl who needed it). Her sobriquet is ironic because when she strikes there is rarely any blood, usually just slight scratches. She takes a hand and places it tenderly on a boy’s face: the cheek, lips, anywhere on his visage. With the other hand, she gently massages the back of his neck and head, just above the brainstem. Staring beguilingly into his eyes, she takes her nails— normal nails, often manicured, sharp, and quite pretty— and with adroit fingers, slightly perforates the surface of the skin. An awkward teenage caress, the poor boy probably thinks he is about to be kissed. Boy, are you wrong.
Through a process known in witch lore as aura absorption, she would suck the very quintessence of their being from them. If she did not go too far, this rarely resulted in death. Nevertheless, parents did notice that overnight their child became extremely taciturn and languorous; they seemed to be only husks of their former selves…Hollowed.
Doctors were baffled when worried parents would bring the boys in. After a battery of cognitive tests and scores of CAT scans, they would ineptly attempt to explain how the limbic system, the part of the brain that houses memory and emotion; had been eradicated.
“You mustn’t keep doing this,” Mother Witch reprimanded Mary.
“Why not, they deserved it,” Mary rebutted, with that petulant, sarcastic tone of a teen that so irked her mother.
“No! They did not,” her mother replied sternly. However, her resolve weakened, and then slipped away as she let out a sigh. For she knew, how the sweetest of boys (and men; even some women) could quickly turn grabby and aggressive, stifling and domineering; Dr. Jekkle and Mr. Hide was more than just a mere story. She had to fight off her share, and that is not counting the hordes in her youth, even if that was many years ago— centuries in fact. Magnetism is a powerful thing.
She had a sudden vision of a handsome man who had fancied her, yet, one whose affections were unrequited. She remembered him first gently trying to take her, then assertively, then violently. He would not remember that. He would remember nothing at all for the rest of his short life.
“Mom, you know I can always tell when you’re lying,” Mary exalted.
They both began to chuckle.
“And I you,” she reminded her daughter
Mary took boys from the mall, found them online (social media makes things so easy); there were few rules, only one really: “never from your own school,” Mother Witch had said; this one, nonetheless, was often broken; Mary didn’t like rules. And it’s not as if they weren’t given a chance. If only they had looked her in the eyes, those haunting changeling eyes, they might have had an inkling. Funny, how people never look a girl in her eyes.
Besides, can they really be victims when they acquiesce themselves to you freely? She recently started plying her trade at bars. A little makeup and a lot of Glamour can thwart the most tenacious of bouncers. Her exasperated mother tried to put an end to all of this. Oh; but for-pities-sake, what is a Mother Witch to do when her child does the same things she did?
Chapter Two: Ikillia
Ikillia (actually named Amelia; sisters can be so mean) is eleven and the middle child. She epitomizes a Norman Rockwell painting come to life— the typical (well…atypical if we are honest) wholesome American girl. She has long curly strawberry-blond hair, pale skin with just a swash of freckles and enormous blue eyes that glow with ebullience. Ironically, how you see or feel about Ikillia depends on how she wants you to; for Ikillia possesses the power of persuasion. She never touches a hair of any of her victims; she can kill simply by asking as her big beautiful eyes cry out, believe what I wish you to believe. She is what followers of Wicca know as, a Charmer or Enchantress. Persuasion is her power but her true ability is efficacy; she simply wills others to her desires.
By simply asking; she could make her prey: jump off a cliff, dance themselves to death in an absurd jig, eviscerate themselves in an act of seppuku, eat a lunch of poisonous spiders with a poison ivy salad, gulp down pop-rocks then drink a coke (this one was a little messy however, for the pop rocks were broken glass and the coke liquid Drano), or endlessly read Harry Potter books until they just couldn’t take it anymore.
“Why did you do this sweetheart,” Mother Witch would ask her daughter, cautionary, yet lovingly, as is her way.
“I only wanted them to like me”, “play with me,” or “be nice to me,” were the typical responses.
“You must learn to play carefully my love. You must learn not to use your powers,” she exhorted.
“But when one has powers, why not use them?” the young girl asked.
Mother witch dreaded this question but knew it was inevitable. She had already gone through this with Mary. “Gods I pray it is easier with this one,” she said to herself. Soon her youngest would be asking the same question and she shuddered at the difficulties that one would pose. How can three sisters be so alike and so different she thought to herself? She wished she could have known the likenesses and differences between herself and her own sisters. If only she had had the chance.
“You have to trust me sweetie, you will only make people fear you if you keep doing things they cannot understand. People have and will always fear what they cannot comprehend or appreciate. Tomorrow you and I will talk more about this, for now sweet dreams,” she said tucking her daughter into bed.
Mother Witch knew a great deal about persuasion and the power of charm. She had used it quite often. She would explain to her daughter that for her, it was a matter of survival, and besides, Ikillia never relished in harming anyone. Yes; once or twice when she was very young, she may have reveled in the hilarity of watching a chastising adult pull their intestines out like a clown with a string of handkerchiefs, but now she was eleven; a very compassionate eleven and she knew better. In fact, she was often quite distraught, at the revelation she had caused pain, injury, or worse. It should be heeded, however, that a too strong-handed bully (be they child or adult) would quickly find out there were limits to her compassion.
Mother Witch explained to Ikillia about the perils of persuasion. That it is a power not to be taken lightly; of this, she was very aware. Many a mortal had obsequiously supplicated himself or herself to her, through no free will of their own (though many more had, and did, of their own volition). She was not too worried though; she new Ikillia was good at heart; had been raised with love and reverence. Furthermore, can there really be victims when any atrocity they suffer is at their own hands? Moreover, what is a Mother Witch to do, when her child does the same things she did?
Chapter Three: Preszilla
One would think that the youngest of three siblings would be the most docile; simply by being the youngest, the most lovable— this however, is often not the case. For after going threw the joys and happiness, the trials and tribulations (for there are always trials and tribulations when raising witches) of loving and nurturing one than two, parents are often just spent and exhausted by the time a third comes along. There is simply only so much oohing and awing, cooing and doting that any parent can have in them. The youngest most often must be the most self-sufficient; being the smallest and weakest must fight the hardest, if not cleverest. Preszilla (real name Presley; oh sisters) fought the hardest.
At the mere age of six, a sylvan child, she would hide within shrubbery, a copse, or any strategic arboreal lair and await her prey— young mothers, or nannies pushing newborns in carriages or walking them in baby-carriers. There was no need for Preszilla to stalk or pounce, her impish body and cherub face easily lowered the guard of all, she hid for the simple fact that she liked to hide.
She merely wobbled out of the woods, never bending her knees, keeping her legs perfectly straight, as was her way. If she was gigantic she would bring to mind a Frankenstein monster, instead she moved like an adorable penguin. Furthermore, she was small and small things can’t hurt you; right?
She had the most precious way of balling her tiny hands into diminutive fists attached to pudgy arms (the chunkiness telling you she has not yet lost her baby fat) and banging them together. Hence, moms found her simply delectable, literally the cutest thing they have ever seen, next to their own babies of course. Can they be blamed for allowing her to waddle right up to the newborns, some even extending their child to her for a closer look?
How could they know that hidden in those tiny fist, attached to tiny fingers, were razor sharp, talon like fingernails; weapons that would be the envy of any bird of prey? Only too late, as they hopelessly attempt to pry their precious newborns from her, do they realize that those stay-puff marshmallow arms are actually solid muscle? Now it would be wrong to condemn a new mother for not paying attention to her surroundings, so abstracted by the edification of motherhood-- the tender mews, and smell of new life. The same sounds and smell so irresistible to Preszilla. Her blood stained piranha teeth would haunt those mothers for the rest of their lives— those lucky (or unlucky) enough to escape.
You must give them your utmost sympathy; they have lost so much; witnessed such sanguinary horror. However, in life (or death), the laws of nature (or the supernatural) do not subside for ignorance. Preszilla did not kill out of malice; she did so simply because she was hungry and for her, baby tasted exactly like strawberry cheesecake.
“No! No! No! Not again. You have to stop this.” Mother Witch condemned and pleaded simultaneously, contemplating just how severe she should punish her youngest. “What on earth am I going to do with you? She said with a mother’s concern.
“But I’m just so hungry mommy,” Preszilla said with beseeching eyes.
“Oh come here little one.” Mother Witch pulled Preszilla to her bosom and hugged her forcibly, yet gently, as only a mother can do. “We must work on curbing your hunger,” she implored, while suddenly remembering the hunger she had felt as a child. She knew then, she would not repeat the discipline her mother had brought down upon her. “We will work through this together,” she put forth to her young daughter while dabbing her crimson streaked face with the wet cloth. For what is a Mother Witch to do; when her child does the same things she did.
“Just love me and never let me go,” the little one said causing mother witch to gasp with bliss; restrained.
She licked her thumb to rub off a particularly stubborn bloodstain from the girl’s forehead, and then subconsciously placed her thumb in her own mouth to suck off the goo and memories from the sensation of the taste immediately inundate her. She too was no stranger to the hunger.
Preszilla was her mother’s greatest test of will, for she was a true Soul Eater. She truly worried about this one. Soul Eaters only came along once a generation. Fortunately (or not) Mother Witch was the last known, until her daughter, giving her insight into what to expect but making punishment difficult. Furthermore, can anyone really be a victim when…? Ok, in this case, yes, they were victims.
It was then that Mother Witch recalled a memory. One she had been suppressing for what seemed like (what was) lifetimes. Goosebumps rose from her arms. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled. It had been kicking and clawing in the recesses of her subconscious where she kept it locked away and now it had broken free. She quivered. She had a vision. It seemed like yesterday. Even though it was hundreds of years in the past. A millennia ago. In medieval France. Her mother and two sisters burning at the stake. Their screams. The smell of burning flesh. Sounds and smells that forever come to her in fitful sleep.
She did not notice the blood that began to run down her hand from the puncture wounds her nails produced as she dug them into the meat of her palms. She remembered her helplessness. She was young, her powers far from developed, still; tremendous power she did posses. She remembered other dark days in colonial New England where people had actually sought refuge from persecution because of their faith— those hypocrites. Her kind would always be reviled as evil; would forever be persecuted and castigated to the shadows. Yet; she knew it was humans, who had perfected the art of malevolence.
She could feel rage boiling within her, could sense her eyes changing, there natural intense green being inundated with an angry sepia. Like two almond-shaped pieces of polished malachite with veins of sulfur running threw them. She did what she often told her children to do when they became upset, she took a series of deep breaths. Her children had done things, terrible things, however; nothing compared to the charnel house bloodbath she had inflicted. The anger subsided, but…
“They made me do what I did. They gave me no choice,” she said to the ether. A maleficent, yet lighthearted, smile graced her face. She knew all too well, just whom her children sounded like. She however was justified. They had taken so much from her. They preached compassion and forgiveness in their churches, yet; were merciless in their actions. Never would she pity them; nor be sorry, for the carnage she had latter brought down upon, those so-called Righteous people.
“And they call us monsters,” she said sotto voce.
“Why?” Her overhearing child asked with questioning, honey-brown eyes.
“Why indeed,” She feigned anger but it was just the distraction she needed. “Why, why, why,” she mocked playfully. Her three girls used the word infinitesimally. She was dumbfounded at their ability to use the word not just as a question, but as a statement; often considered just buying them all matching shirts with the word WHY on the front. “If only I had a spell for every time you three girls asked ‘why’. I would have my own spell book by now.” She said softly with a sly grin, knowing she already possessed many a book of spells, as she gently stroked her long fingers through her youngest soft blond hair, which now, thankfully, smelt of apple shampoo.
She let out a deep sigh, sitting back on the side of the bed whence she had tucked the girl into; the one now purring in sweet sleep like a gentle Cheshire cat. She sat contemplating, more and more she lived in a murky bog of contemplation; knowing one-day all three girls would demand, require, and deserve explanations. She dreaded the inevitable look in their opalescent eyes, so different yet so similar, each with their own most striking colors of the spectrum.
Their eyes would bear no reprieve for her; only giant quizzical irises of vivacity, like skyrockets in the full-bloom of explosion. Coruscating starbursts of yellows and blacks, like swarming wasps; greens and oranges of exotic rain-forest frogs, and the admonitory vermillion-red, yellow and black of slithering coral snakes; bleeding into mother-of –pearl-white. They would be beautiful and quizzical, defensive and judgmental. They would each react in their own way when she told them; explained salubriously to them, the story of how they had become who and what they are. Oh, how she loved and dreaded those eyes— knew them well. They were the same eyes that stared back at her when she looked in the mirror. After all, she was the mother of those pearls.
“Hmmm, why must they grow up?” Mother Witch unknowingly said aloud, deep in reverie.
Was hers any different from any other family? She thought not, well…perhaps a little. She laughed aloud at the absurdity. Her little cabal must discuss, weigh, and agree upon assessments and resolutions. She could not stop thinking of her three little ones; so beautiful/toxic, charming/venomous, precious/deadly—wonderful creatures all. She would prepare them for the harsh realities and injustices they would face (and occasionally administer). She could only think of how the world today is so much different then the one she knew when she was their age, yet; so very much the same. She knew tough decisions were inevitable, but alas, what is a Mother Witch to do; when her children do the same things she did?