Disturb the Peacekeeper

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Photo credit: Flickr

Three maidens cast piercing glares my way. Tramps, the folk called them. Others knew them simply as the dark sisters. They tugged at the binds, squirming like a bunch of stretched worms against soaked tree trunks.

“Repent!” Father Pritchet gave them another lash across the face. The whip butchered their powdered skin like a bull carcass in a lion pit. “Admit your sins in front of your brothers and sisters! Shout it so the good Lord can hear your pathetic confession!” The sisters kept quiet, unflinching. This only further enraged the preacher.

Pritchet’s face burned as he turned to face us. His eyes were glassy and his fingers twitched and tightened against the whip. There was no question that he was back on the spirits again. “Dare you stand at your post, denying the good people of Neckam an admission of guilt in the possession of young Bette Ferstip?” The preacher pointed his scaly finger at me. “What about your little sister, Gloria? Will you not give her closure? Anything to ease her suffering? You three killed your mother, after all.” The silence was broken by a sneeze from the back. It was the baker, ol’ Maryann Callister – everybody told her flour would be the death of her. She swore it was the work of Satan and his three wenches.

“Speak!” The father whipped them another four times. Still nothing. Pritchet wiped the sweat from his brow. “Very well. You can die with your demons, harlots! Would dear Maryann please face the accused?” Mrs. Callister cut through the crowd and joined the preacher at the front. “Now tell us all what these sinister whores did to your health, Maryann.”

Despite being the source of Neckam’s sweet treats, Maryann evidently did not indulge in her product; she was gaunt, her apron barely clinging to her thin waist. She had been part of the community since migrating from the homeland sixty years ago. “They tarnished it, Father!” The audience hissed obscenities, curses of their own, as the woman coughed in a dark handkerchief. Dust danced in the dry wind. “They asked for a blackberry tart, but I explained that I ain’t got no blackberries, as the harvest was spread too thin. Most of this season’s batch was shipped to the capital, you see. And they left appalled! Shortly after was when I developed this painful cough!”

The crowd erupted. “Burn the witches!” they chanted. “Cast the flame, Father!”

And he did exactly as the spectators demanded. In seconds, the three women were ablaze. Their screams would haunt the square for centuries. Father Pritchet stood tall and proud, confident that he just ridded the land of some more of Satan’s slaves.

The death of my older sisters does not affect me. The stench of the burning hair and their screams were enough to send the rest of the villagers back to their cottages, but I watched every moment.

When the three girls walked in on me with the stones one afternoon, they threatened to tell the preacher. Everyone figured the village was rife with witches, thanks to hysteria in neighboring towns, and how great would they be regarded if they turned in the most powerful one of them all? So I casted a simple hex sealing their cancerous mouths and went to work.

“It’s such a shame it had to come to this,” I mentioned to Father Pritchet, who was scribbling something in a journal, still at his post near my burning relatives.

“We live in dark times, Gloria. The Devil’s shadow stretches far.”

“Indeed.” I walked back to my secret cottage in the woods, enjoying the smell of my sisters’ burning hair on the way. At the cusp of war, I entered my home with no bounds for the first time in a century.

Homecoming

Scantily-clad skeleton whores and their royal subjects march the fine line of morality, drunkenly toeing a cum soaked strip of purple satin and grit. A squad of gaping streusel mouths danced at their backs, so close in fact that they are practically stomping the bone wenches’ furry capes. The paper mache orgasm brigade, we call them; together, they performed with such finesse and skill, only to be reduced to soggy strips of yesterday’s news when the patrons erupted.

Glass serpents coil the thirteen Corinthian columns in the main hall, sacred sentries of the citadel. In the lobby, I wave to Glinda, but she doesn’t see me for the green and gold plasma bulbs floating past in a cold draft, like a festive hot air balloon fest. Besides, these days she’s so strung out on poppy shots that she probably would not even recognize me.
Loud music deafens the wailing children in the back and the chunky belches of their parents hurling in the sugar-glazed stairwell. Those who try to move from the stairs to the bathroom do so with the assistance of a molten chocolate and vinegar Slip’n Slide.
I can’t help but just sit and stare, a dorky smile pasted on my face. For forty-seven years I had been in the west, scaling jagged cliffs, dodging countless blazing apple cannons, and fighting teams of feathered simians – my journey transformed me, yet the emerald castle was just as I left it.

Innocence preached that there was no place like home; wisdom taught me that home is where you make it. I left the palace beside three flawed friends, and return now alone with a plastic sack containing the head of the bitch that killed my family because of a pair of ugly shoes. She claimed the dull things contained immense power, but all they had was the horrid stench of sweat and a broken latch.

Suddenly I see him by the gumdrop dispenser, with a handful of purple gummies and a devious grin. He was the only one with enough power to travel between the worlds, and now, with the Bitch of the West done for, no one could stop him – us – from purging the two realms. With his magic and my wielding of Glinda’s wand and the so-called powerful slippers, we will be unstoppable.

I light a cigarette, before a couple handsome Munchkin boys take me by the hand and lead to me to my king, my wonderful wizard.

Magic, Motels & Mania

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Bring the pot to a boil and add the seeds. Let that sit for exactly six minutes, not a second more or you’ll have to start all over. Now pour the water and its contents into a flask; seal it, and let it sit for a month. Once the brew is finished, you’ll have a span of two days before it expires, so you’ll have to act fast.

My great grandmother’s words buzz in my mind as I stick the cork into a glass tube, the last one of the batch. In a month and two days I will be rich and famous and my enemy will be at my feet, mumbling curses while patches of her beautiful skin peel away from her body and turn to gray ash. Before long only a petrified skeleton and some dust shall remain of my mother. I only have a few weeks left to put up with the bitch; I wish it were sooner, but even magic has its restrictions.

I wrap the batch with linen, place it on the top shelf of the pantry and close the door. For a moment, I look around at my old, rotting kitchen and the nasty living room. If the Faeries hadn’t taken over the old Raponvale Motel, as per the so-called fantastic Faerie-Blessed truce, I would have claimed the territory as my own. But no – under their rule, all motels and whorehouses belonged to the state. Those filthy Blessed, they call themselves “good witches” as if there were such a thing. And my pathetic mother leads those witch bitches, but not for long. Only time is keeping me from turning the grand ivory palace of the good witches to black, hot tar. The reigning board of Blessed will be forced to admit their wrongdoing, or live the rest of days in wooden caskets.

“Mrs. Ettings, it’s time to take your medicine.”

With a scowl that could melt glass, I walk up to the all-smiles nurse holding a Dixie cup of water and swallow a smorgasbord of pills. One day I will break free of this padded prison, and when I do, they will all realize the crazy woman was never really crazy. I will be queen.

Rising Power

The blood-tinged breeze stirred waves in Jay Andrews’ tattered, black cape. A colt .45 snug in a holster rattled at his hip. A storm was approaching – one of legend – and he still had Lovelace to deal with.

“So, you gonna shoot me, or wait for a twister to put an end to the both of us?” Lovelace stood opposite Jay, his figure hidden inside a ragged cloak. The villain’s finger outlined the jeweled hilt of a dagger concealed in his back pocket. It would only take a second before he could pin Jay with the blade, but Lovelace had always been one for a gripping conversation

Jay gripped the pistol, and took aim. He wanted so badly to simply pull the trigger and kill the criminal once and for all; this was a day he dreamed of since he took the oath seventeen years ago. However, he felt his grasp loosen and his motivation plunge. The gunslinger could not understand the feeling that he had for Lovelace; he felt it for wife Cora and Max, his son, but never could he imagine having it for his enemy. Regardless, Jay was overwhelmed. “What have you done to me?” he demanded, remembering that Lovelace is no stranger to magic.

Lovelace grinned, his teeth as gray as the storm clouds hovering above. “I assure you, my friend, whatever is bothering you I had nothing to do with. But I would love for you to explain what your experiencing.”

Jay was too distracted with what he was seeing, to reply. He noted the sorcerer’s sharp jawline and impeccably pursed lips. He followed the drops of sweat down Lovelace’s neck, disappearing in the cloak. The cloth stuck to Lovelace’s sweaty form, and suddenly Jay felt a rise in his trousers. “Fuck! What have you done to me?” he yelled, hiding his eyes behind his hands. The sharpshooter fell to his knees, as lightning cracked the sky.

“I’ve seen that look before; the glimmer in those eyes is Sybil’s handiwork. She’s known to bring armies against one another over a simple kiss on the cheek.” Lovelace’s cackle deafens the rolling thunder overhead. “The great Jay Andrews is lovesick over Lovelace! Oh, Sybil, you’ve really done it this time.”

“Reverse it, please!” Jay begged, unhinging. “I’ve got a wife and son for fuck’s sake! I have so much left to teach Max, and how could I ever be a father with these feelings for a man! It’s unnatural and sickening – it’s magic!” He stood, revealing his tenting trousers. “Do this for me, and I’ll let you go; I swear.”

Shaking his head, Lovelace turned his back toward the once powerful gunslinger. “Naw, this is too good. I’ll leave you to find a way to relieve yourself of this torture. However that may be.” He winked.

“Lovelace, please!” Jay Andrews watched his enemy walk away, finding himself focused on the assassin’s back end more so than of a plan to kill Sybil. Jay had more of a tower than a tent by the time the rain started.

Harvest

Crooked vapor waves frothing from the stale Louisiana marsh darkened the moon’s pacifying glow. On any normal night, the swamp would be alive with hums and buzzes from the wetland’s various residents – but not this night; this marked the start of the harvest, and it, at least to the lunar sorceress, was the most anticipated night of the year.

The bog remained quiet as the witch departed from the warm waters, humming a wistful melody. Her long, dark hair clung to her breasts and thigh as if she were within a raven’s embrace. With every step out of the swamp, the more the vaporous fog cleared, illuminating the mistress’s soft, olive skin. Fireflies spellbound from the mysterious woman’s incantation danced rhythmically at the edge of the water, forming a barrier of gentle pulses of gold and persimmon.

Suddenly, the melodic whispers turned to a beautiful song. The spongy, lifeless soot under her feet turned to soft grass and purple wild flower blossoms. Decrepit tree trunks reverted to thick willows and sycamores as she touched them. She covered the waters with blankets of duckweed and lily pads, concealed by a wall of perky bulrushes and arrowhead stalks. Curious green frogs and herons approached the seductress, and in moments, the swamp was more alive than ever. Dragonflies and mosquitoes flickered about happily, while the turtles and muskrats took to the waters. The witch smiled for a quick moment, but her smile turned into a maniacal sneer.

She cackled, once again silencing the marsh. Suddenly, all the light and beauty she restored to the land returned to her palm in the form of a glistening pink ball of plasma. The woman formed a fist and reduced the flickering light ball to dying embers. “My babies, I have returned after many years,” she coughed, “not to give you pleasure. Babes, Mama needs your souls.”

The animals trembled with fear and newfound paralysis; while they could witness every sense and emotion, they could not flee. “You see, cuties, this is the time I turn outward and beyond this pathetic place. It is in fact the dawn of the harvest!” The witch twirled, giggling. “I shall finally have enough energy to punish the humans by ripping away the most powerful sentient in the universe: love.”

The paralyzed audience blinked nervously as the sky turned a shade of purple; however, the living beings would never see another sun rise. The sorceress expanded her arms and muttered one final chant, one to sap the remaining life force from the captivated spectators.

The pulsing bodies suddenly oozed ichor from their cracked figures as the enchantress reached her energy peak. Dozens of thin, lustrous soul strips flowed into her, the swamp an intricate bicycle wheel with several tensed, radiant spokes all flowing into the dangerous siren at the center.

One by one, the animals fell limp and lifeless; afterwards, the lunar sorceress, still humming her captivating tune, disappeared deep inside the marsh, waiting for the first poor, unsuspecting fisherman to cross her.