The Little Witch – Excerpt

Once upon our time, in a small dilapidated building lived a little old witch with her little witch granddaughter. The only problem was that neither of them truly knew this. Long ago, before magic was removed from the world, their ancestors had been kindly witches, healers and extensions of those loving hands of our creator.  When it was decided that people were becoming too demanding, too possessive, too angry for the beauty of magic, the family was to put their powers to sleep; those powers would lay dormant until the day the magic would return to the world. And the magic would only return when one of two things happened: when people truly deserved magic once more, or when people could no longer survive without it. Over the centuries, from generation to generation, the family passed down spells and incantations in the forms of song, and recipe’s. And they would whisper to each other: “Someday, surely, we will return stronger, wiser. When they need us, we will know. When we need them, they will know, too.”.

But by the time the little witch was born, in a suburban home with a minivan, a computer, cable, cell phones, and bake sales and soccer practices, these whispers were thought to be the creation of a lonely and sickly grandmother. That was until the little witch’s parents died in a horrific home invasion. One sunny Tuesday morning both parents decided to have a family day off. Each parent and the child shirked responsibility: no school no work, and they sat around the kitchen table in pajamas eating whatever it was their hearts most desired. It was upon this most joyous moment that everything the little witch had ever loved was taken from her. Men dressed in the same clothes her gardeners often wore were upon the family before anyone realized what was happening. They stole everything of material value and when there was nothing left, they stole everything of value in the little witch’s heart. They slit the throats of both her parents. The little girl was shipped off to the city to live with her grandmother; the whispers grew louder and clearer with each passing day.

Longing for the cozy home she knew, the little witch would often curl up in the armchair in the living room and sing herself to sleep with the lullabies her mother used to sing. Upon hearing the words to what she knew not to be a lullaby at all, the grandmother began to sing along one night. Quite startled the child walked into the kitchen, sat at the counter across from her grandmother and asked, quite rudely

“How do you know my mom’s song?”

Without looking up from her pie, the grandmother said “It is not your mother’s song. It is our’s. I’ve known those words my entire life, as did my mother before me, and her mother before her. And for the record it is no song at all, but a spell for comfort and rest. Why else,” she added when she saw the look of disbelief on the girls face, “do you think you fall asleep so soundly in the lumpy old armchair?”

“Right,” the little witch responded. Quite haughtily the little witch hopped off of the stool, returned to the living room and turned on a SpongeBob Squarepants re-run.

Her grandmother marched behind her, turned the television off and sat facing the child.

“Honey, I know your mother told you I was a loony old bat. She stopped believing in magic even before you were born. But you? You’re a child. How can you not believe in magic? When you see those fireflies, you never wonder if they’re escorting some fairy to her wondrous destination. Has your mother never mentioned- ”

 

“It’s not real.” The child responded sympathetically, “all that witch stuff your mom told you. And if it were, Mommy would still be here.”

The grandmother looked into her granddaughter’s vacant eyes and felt a great cloud of despair fall over herself. How could it be that a child believed that this was all there was to the world? It was one thing for adults to not believe; what with bills, and traffic, and heartbreak and sickness and death – though let’s not forget that each of these are in their own right, quite magical. But children are supposed to be our last reserve, our last hold onto a world that ceased to exist alongside ours so very long ago. They were supposed to be more pure, more open to things that required so much faith. But somehow, our children have become dull, gray canvases of their once colorful selves. When they do show traces of wonderful sentience we stamp it out with rules, stereotypes, mandates. Now, the only color that remains within them is what is reflected in their eyes from Angry Birds and Adventure Time and other spoon-feed imagination tools. Their own color lost. Long before they have time to dwell in dreams, they wake to the nightmare we have landed ourselves in.

Before turning in to bed that night, the grandmother decided she would teach the child all of the songs she knew, she would teach her to cook with the age old recipe’s and she would not go on in life without finding some hope that magic would return one day, even if it is long after she or even her young granddaughter were gone.

It was hard going in the beginning. The little witch would mope about, and claim she’d forgotten lyrics to the new songs; the ones not taught to her by her mother. But as time passed, the little witch began to love her grandmother with as much fervor as she had loved her mother; she would joyfully sing them both to bed at night as they gazed at the stars from their tiny bedroom.

Mind, the grandmother not only taught the child the words, but most importantly the magical effect each was said to possess. One day, as the little witch was leaving the dilapidated building headed for school, she was quite rudely knocked down by a little boy with an extremely handsome face. Without so much as an “excuse me” or an apology he made the little witch fall into the gutter as he hurried past her, and disappeared up the stairs. Books were lying askew about her, and her ankle had already begun to turn a light chartreuse. Her eyes, wet with tears followed him as she whispered the incantation she so desperately wished would work.

“Let it reflect in your eyes,

should your heart be kind and your soul be wise,

but as so much, let it turn your smile

if greed and rage be your true style,

let the beauty without reflect the beauty within

and now go, your transformation begins.”

It was a spell that made people as attractive outwardly as they were inwardly. That is, every time a person is rude, their physical appearance becomes more haggard, disheveled. But, when a person is kind, compassionate their beauty increases tenfold.

For the next few weeks the little witch watched the boy every day, like a lion cub in training, as he came and went from his apartment, hoping to see a trace of her magic.

 

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