WITCHES DON’T …
Sometimes he’d bring them to his room
Only at night, when the passing lights
outpaced the moon
and the world seemed to have a silver lining
rough and smooth at the same time.
Sometimes he let them know, beforehand.
Sometimes he would lie.
The stranger was thin, and bright
eyes deeper than his years.
The stranger came willing with a smug smile
and lisped softly, hesitantly, speaking of
dressing up, and Spock and Kirk
and the virtues of slash fiction.
He said nothing until they entered his room,
and finally turned, slowly, and offered up
a lesson. Real slash fiction.
The stranger was confused,
pouted, but said yes.
He drew out the knife
like a hidden, secret thing.
The stranger met his smile
with a knife of his own.
Slash. Flick. Slash. Flick.
Oh, what stories they made!
He was tired, the old wizard in his small house with only a familiar for company. Once, long and long ago, he had made a vow in the way of wizards, and such oaths could not be rescinded nor broken without shattering the feeble magics he still claimed as his own. Some days he had almost broke the vow in the bitterness of his despair, but his apprentice had pulled him up from it or hope waved toward him like a strumpet displaying her legs, and he had rallied himself for another quest, dug out musty grimoires and spoken ancient spells.
All for nothing. In the end, all for nothing, leaving behind an old man with rotting teeth, a back stopped from long toil and no power to show for it. He had worked wondered in this time, but his greed – oh, his greed had been greater than they. He could see that now, with eyes that scarcely saw the world.
“I worked wonders once,” he said, though there was no one to speak to. Scruple the apprentice had left long ago, stealing books and learning and fleeing for new masters. Not that the old man could blame him: he had done the same in his time, for lower reasons by far. And his familiar – well, Azrael had been dead for some time, even beyond all his skill at magic to return.
“I know.” He hears her voice, soft, gentle as he made her. “I was one.”
“Yes.” He turns his head slowly to the voice. “Yes, you were.You are the only one who could get past my wards.”
And he is old, but not feeble-minded, and something in her voice: there is something in her voice. “Why are you here?”
“You made me, and sought to kill the rest of my kind. Do you know why, father?” she says, and the word is only to wound.
“I sought to turn them into gold. To a meal fit for kings to win a place on the high council. To destroy them, in the end. Many things. Many things,” he says, and he is tired. “They are with you, then.”
“Some are,” she admits, and he can here them moving. Small as mice, the little people, and the sounds of metal scraping metal.
“I will ask why you are here,” he says, though he knows. Oh, how he knows.
“You tried to eat us,” one explains, in a voice rough with old wounds. “So many times. It’s only fair we return the favour and see how you taste.”
“Ah,” the old wizard breathes. “I could stop you. I have words. Powers. There are bargains.” He does not move. Some come closer, his greatest creation, and the small people with her.
“Do you have last words?” she says. “Gargamel, do you have words before we eat you?”
And he draws up what magic he can to see clear one last time. His gaze falls on the smurfs, and some quail back even now. But he turns it on the cat on his counter, stuffed gently by his own hand. “Oh, Azrael, I miss you so,” he says, and nothing else at all.
Not even when they begin cutting.
Your poem was like
It was like a punch
The lawsuit will
A thought: if Hillary Clinton DOES run for President of the USA, should people ask for her birth certificate to be on the safe side?
- If it ever comes up, I am highly inexperienced in dying. I haven’t done it yet.
- Should you deem life on this planet worthy of the supreme honour of eradication, I can do so by contacting my home planet.
- If you ever need someone to rant about zen, I cannot do that. But nor can anyone else save by not doing it.
- If you need this list to, be longer, I can add more things!
- I am a highly skilled [censored] who [censored] and, well, [censored], but only with red squirrels.
- I cannot read the future, though if you give me your name, address, and write me as the only beneficiary in your will I can assure you that you will die within three days and it will seem accidental.
- I am (probably) not a fish.
“Jasper? I can’t force you to talk, but I could tickle you. Or sit on you.”
“You could, couldn’t you?” Jasper said strangely, then stared down at his hands. “Whatever I am, I believe it is my father’s fault. When I first spoke, I was three, perhaps four. I named them, and shortly after used other words. I never cried, as babies cry. But my father cried often, and I said ‘Mommy wants you to stay’ because I was sure of that, and he has stayed. My father has tried to kill himself twice by my reckoning. It did not take either time, because I told him to stay and that means he had to stay alive. I have no way of undoing what I do. Old age may take him: I do not know.
“My mother loves me,” he continued, not looking up. “So much that it’s a burden for her when I go to school, even when I leave the house on weekends she wishes to be with me. Because ‘I love you’ is an unwise thing for a child to say when their voice cannot be disobeyed. I learned not long after that what I was doing, ceased speaking casually, but damage had been done that I cannot undo.
“I tried with my aunt, Karen: She saw me as cute at all times, and I asked her not to. When I was three I had said her name, and yes. Which meant: Yes, you will see me as cute for ever and always. And that did not end, even when I told her to cease doing that. Both – both commands remained, and she went mad trying to do both at once. Her solution was to cut herself in half, so she could be all I had asked at once.”
“Oh,” Clay said. He had no idea what else to say. He swore. Jasper’s gaze flicked up at that, the other boy’s eyes hesitant and scared. “I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been – still is – for you. I thought your comments about your family not being normal were because they were scared of you, not –.” He shook his head. “How are you sane?”
Jasper offered up his almost-smile as Clay’s face began to turn red. “I don’t know. It’s possible that whatever I am simply does not permit me to be otherwise.”
Hm. The research level would be absurd, but it would be fun to do a novel where a time traveller removes one single work of art from history and just explore the ramifications of that….
[An outgrowth of my theory that you could destroy almost all creative people with a time machine and showing them what becomes of their work in the future; though some might just be happy to be recalled at all.]
The serial killers stared at each other across the table, both certain match.com had much to answer for.
stephentkennedy replied to your post “A novel made of entirely death scenes would be funny. Police Officer:…”
Yep, a novel where the conflict is between the characters and the Author. Where the third person narration is the enemy.
I did that for one story once about zombies that was so meta it was beyond absurd by the end. The problem is that not many longer works can carry that off, I think — at least not without the reader losing empathy with the main character (determining them to be a bit of a moron).
grouchomac replied to your post “A novel made of entirely death scenes would be funny. Police Officer:…”
do it … doo iiiit … doo iiiiiit
I might seriously try it as part of NaNoWriMo this year :) I tend to always try one that is far outside my comfort zone. And the cozy mystery genre is definitely that….
All the computers
They dream of ones and zeros
Can’t imagine twos
A novel made of entirely death scenes would be funny.
Police Officer: “But people keep dying around you, Timmy. You remind me of Miss Marple. Some people just seem to find bodies and mysteries to solve so very … conveniently, don’t they?”
In seriousness, that would be a fun novel. A murder mystery with the protagonist unaware they are IN a murder mystery….
Air heavy with meaning,
the smoke stack replaces the peace pipe;
the neon sign supercedes smoke signals
traffic lights the new augury as we walk
through crowds like a ghost, strangers.