"Witchcraft"

Cowley Student (Vol. 8: 2019)

I did it!” she screamed, her blonde curls bouncing in the air as she jumped up. “I finally figured it out!” Janice didn’t say anything. She’d “figured it out” twelve times, and each time it hadn’t worked.

            “That’s great,” she said, as she continued to flip through her magazine, not bothering to look up.

            “I’m serious, Janet. I finally figured out how to cross the bridge between the living and the dead.” Janice didn’t say anything, and Bridget moved to snatch the magazine away from her friend.

            “Hey!” she said.

“Come to the spell room and help me. I need another witch.” Janice sighed as she rose.

“I’m telling you, it won’t work.”

“It has to,” said Bridget. Scarlet, a black cat who also served as Bridget’s familiar jumped down from her spot on the window and went to follow. She always seemed to know when Bridget was about to do spell work.

They entered a hidden room behind a bookshelf in the basement. The room was dimly lit and was filled with an array of potions, herbs, candles, and crystals. Bridget moved to grab a couple of black conical hats off the shelf. She handed one to Janice, before putting the other on herself. A witch’s power was a gift from the gods above, and the hats allowed them to channel the divine energy into their bodies. Sure they could cast spells without the hats, but it was believed that wearing them made their spells stronger.

Bridget placed the spell she had created onto a tall podium that held an open spell book, and she and Janice joined hands around the podium. They began to chant, and at first nothing happened, but then they began to hear unintelligible murmurs around them. Then there were hands touching them, their shoulders, their faces, their feet. Janice’s eyes flew open, but she saw nothing. Only Bridget and Scarlett were there.

“Bridget,” she said, voice trembling.

“Don’t stop chanting,” she said, eyes closed.

“Bridget,” she said again. Scarlet let out a hiss from the corner of the room.

“Keep going. It’s working this time. Can’t you feel the difference?”

“I don’t think this is such a good idea. The spirits seem angry. Look at Scarlet. Even she’s freaking out. We need to reverse this spell like now!” she said.

“Cara­–.”

“Will understand,” she said. Cara was Bridget’s younger sister. She’d died in a freak accident about a year ago, and Bridget had never been the same. She’d been trying to figure out a way to communicate with her ever since.

“No,” she said. “She’s here. I can feel her,” she smiled.

“That’s great Bridget, but we can’t continue. We need to reverse this spell.” Janice held tight to Bridget’s hand, trying not to break the circle. If she did, the spell would be that much harder to reverse and worse, they’d end up releasing all the spirits down here out into the world. Dealing with the deceased was a tricky subject and not one most witches chose to deal with. Especially since you never knew what you might be releasing into the world. It was for this reason that spells that allowed witches to interact with the deceased were strictly forbidden, and the requirements to cast these types of spells were not common knowledge. But Bridget had been so determined, so desperate that she hadn’t had the heart to tell her friend no.

Not to mention, she didn’t think that she’d actually manage to put together a spell that worked, but this one worked all right. A bit too well.

“Bridget,” a voice said. “Bridget,” it repeated, and her eyes flew open.

“Cara? Cara? Where are you, I can’t see you.” Bridget yanked her foot away, as she felt a hand grab onto her ankle.

“Listen to Janice. It’s not safe.” As she said this, a gust of wind blew, knocking over a couple of potions. Only there were no windows for the wind to have originated from. And then Janice looked to the side, only to discover a small, red portal beginning to open. Her auburn hair began to blow in her face, and she once again reminded herself not to break the circle.

“Listen to her,” said Janice. As she said this, the portal began to open further. The force of energy coming from it seemed to want to pull her in. Janice realized that it was the door to the spirit world. It wanted its souls back, and it would take Janice and Bridget with them if it had to.

“Cara, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to save you. I’m your big sister. I was supposed to be there,” she said, as a single tear slid down her cheek.

“Not your fault,” the voice said. Janice noticed the vortex beginning to get stronger, and she looked over at Bridget.

“Come on, Bridget,” she said.

“I love you,” she told her sister, and then she began to chant the reversal. Janice joined in, and the pull from the vortex began growing weaker and weaker. The murmurs and the feeling of hands touching them everywhere vanished. Janice peeked one eye open, taking a deep breath when she saw that the room was still again.

“Bridget, are you okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” she said, staring longingly where the portal to the spirit world had closed.

“Let’s never do that again,” she said. She waited for Bridget to agree, but she said nothing. Scarlet jumped down from the table and began to rub against Janice’s leg, as she let out a purr.

“Bridget?”

“Yeah?” she said, looking up for the first time.

“Was that enough? You got to finally talk to your sister.”

“It’ll never be enough. But thanks for helping,” she said before walking off. Janice sighed, before reaching down to pet Scarlett.

“She’ll heal with time,” she told the small cat. Scarlett let out a meow, and when she looked up, her eyes glowed red, before returning to their familiar green. Janice took a step back, but then she wondered if perhaps it was just a trick of the light. There was nothing wrong with Scarlett. Janice reached down to pick up the cat before walking up the stairs. The spell had been reversed. So then why did she get the feeling that something wasn’t right?

Janice shook her head before closing the bookshelf entrance and meeting up with her friend. Bridget was lying down in her room. Of course she wanted to be alone. Janice grabbed her magazine from where it sat on the couch and went back to reading about the uncomplicated world of celebrities and fashion. Here there were no spirits, no witches, no magic powers. It was in these magazines that she felt normal, and the world of witchcraft could no longer affect her.