13 Kisses in the Dark

She thought it impossible to love anyone more than she loved her magic. Then he said, I’m yours—and meant it—and impossible was nevermore.

“I let them take you. I knew, and I still let them.” The dirt that had sucked her lover’s screams felt cold against her wet cheek. “I wish I could change it. I would give everything I am for a chance—” The idea hit her so abruptly that it was as if it had been born in someone else’s head.

Fueled by desperate hope, she took the shape of a white hare and ran to the Crafter’s cottage.

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“It’s not wise to walk these woods in your fur,” the Crafter said, without looking away from the parchment he was working on. “They’ve been felling trees and turning stones looking for you.”

Crossing the Crafter’s threshold and resuming her human shape, she said, “Can you write my husband out of wherever they’re imprisoning him?”

“I can write anyone anywhere, my girl. But—”

“I’m with child. I know they’re keeping my husband alive to use his magic to rip our babe out of my wound as soon as she’s big enough to breathe on her own… That’s in three nights.”

“They will track you, my girl.”

“Not if you write us into a story your masters will never read.”

The Crafter put down his quill. “Crafting a story world takes weeks.”

“What about that one?” She pointed at the scribbling-covered parchment in front of the Crafter.

He shook his head. “This is a place for punishment, a place where… they hurt people like us.”

“My husband and I will shield our child. We’ll do anything for her. That’s what parents are supposed to do. But I was wrong to expect—”

“They will burn you alive, in this story world,” the Crafter yelled, hurling his quill against a wall.

“We can hide,” she said. “You became slave to people you despise, so those you love could live. My husband and I would give up our magic to protect our child.” She put a hand on his shaking shoulder. “No story world can be too terrible, if we get to be together and alive, Father.”

“They will force me to tell them where I wrote you,” he said.

“I’ll drink your memory of me,” she said, placing a dusty tin cup on the table.

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By the sounds of quill and kettle, the Witch brewed a forget-me tea, and the Crafter wrote his daughter and her family into a story world where the wrongs of magic were made right by fire.

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She poured the tea in the cup. He handed her the parchment with the words she would need to escape their world. His face was warm and wet with tears, when she put her hands on his cheeks and began to chant:

Thirteen kisses in the dark,
they’ll taste of moon full
and of sun-bright;
thirteen touches of my lips,
they’ll make me yours
and keep you mine.

Thirteen kisses in the dark,
they’ll bring oblivion
and memory seep;
thirteen touches of my lips,
in your mind I’ll be nothing
after this sleep.

He slumped forward the thirteenth time she kissed his temple, sipping his last memory of her. Gently, she laid his head down on the table and watched him through blurry eyes until each line of his face was branded in her heart.

They had agreed to leave the empty cup on the table and some forget-me tea in the kettle. His masters would find him spelled, and realize he didn’t remember her. And they would never hurt him; not when he was the only living Crafter, and the other one was unborn and lost to them.

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Inspired by “13 Kisses”, winner of From Blackout Poem Bit to Flash Fiction or Full-Length Poetry, 3; and linked to Vanessa Valencia’s Witches Tea Party. Fly over to A Fanciful Twist and see what everyone else is brewing. Oh, and beware of tin tea cups… you know, just in case.

Tin Tea Cup, from Analogue Lifevia

A Rattle and a Wee Book on Her Grave

“Her own people stoned me half to death for trying to help her.”

“It’s not wise to mettle in villagers’ affairs, Pali. They must’ve had their reasons. It was none of your concern. You should’ve stayed out of—”

“Don’t shame my ears with your ignorance,” I said, stopping a few steps from the graveyard’s gate and squeezing my cousin’s arm. “She took a risk letting a Romani youth into her schoolhouse, teaching him how to read in secret. We pay our debts, Manfred.”

He lowered his eyes. “Forgive me. Without the learning you got from her, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Don’t be daft.” I let go of Manfred’s arm. “I wasn’t asking you for payment. Like I would let Lord Căcat Cu Ochi whip you for dancing on Sunday. Besides, his lady wife thought it was great fun before—”

“Shhh!” Manfred stopped, crouched and pulled me down with him.

“What?”

“Listen,” he said, cocking his head towards the graveyard. “Someone’s in there.”

I heard it, too; a low wail mixed with shaky sobs. My hand reached for the red pouch that hung from a cord around my neck. “A lot of villagers have gone angry into their graves. There could be hordes of spirits gone mad with fury haunting this place.”

“No,” Manfred said.

“I saw them do it,” I said. “The women beat her and ripped her clothes. Then the men dragged her to the center of the village and stoned her until she stopped moving.” I shook my head. “Kids spat on her.”

“No, Pali, look. There’s a man.” He pointed towards the side of the graveyard where the village buried those they thought wicked. “He’s hugging a post. Can’t you see him?”

Still crouching, we moved closer to the sound. “It’s… the reverend,” I said. I went to him when they dragged the teacher out of the schoolhouse. He wanted to help. But there were too many of them. A good man, the reverend… His servants always brought food to the schoolhouse, and he made the teacher smile every time he brought her one of his illuminated little books.

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Manfred and I hid in the bushes until after the reverend’s sobs of “Forgive” and “Man is weak” quieted, and he walked out of the graveyard. I was relieved to know the teacher’s grave was not ever lonely. A year had gone by since the reverend, his servants and I stood on the fresh soil that now covered her bones. Thirteen moons was too long to spend unwanted under a pile of dirt.

The school teacher rested under a naked tomb. “Bring her comfort and peace,” I whispered into a bunch of red wild flowers, and bent over her grave. As I put down my offering, I noticed two very small trinkets that had been laid on the dirt by a puddle of hardened candlewax.

I must’ve watched the two little shapes for a lot longer than I thought, because Manfred came to crouch next to me, and asked, “What’s that?”

“Strange,” I said. “It’s a baby rattle and a wee book.”

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pre-Witches in Fiction 2015, third giveaway:
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures

Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (1)
The third giveaway for our pre-Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances is sponsored by Gothic Miniatures. The cover of this wee piece of massive beauty is handmade from faux leather with raised spine.
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (2)

There are over 30 pages in the book, made of linen paper painted gold along the edges for a faux gold leaf finish. The gold thread, at the top and bottom of the spine where the paper connects to the book, gives the mini book an extra touch of bling.
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (3)

The image of the form weeping over a post, which inspired the tale attached to the giveaway, is of a U.S. Graveyard with statues. The book measures approximately 1 1/8” tall x 1 5/8” wide.

Here is how to enter this giveaway: Leave a comment telling me what classic book you would love to own in miniature, and where would you keep it. For one extra entry, visit Gothic Miniatures and come back to tell me a bit about piece you liked. Wishing for a second extra entry? Share this post on Facebook (tag me and Gothic Miniatures). You can get a third extra entry, if you add these words at the end of your comment: “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!”

Giveaway Rules, details and stuff…
* I need to be able to contact the winners. If you don’t have a website or social media profile, through which we can interact, then please add your email to your comment. If your name comes up, and I have no way to contact you, I will choose another name.

* You can group all your entries in a single comment—or not… the choice is yours.

* To my Canadians, before you can claim your prize, I must test your mathematical brilliance by asking you a very obscure question, such as… what’s 13 + .5? Yeah, obscure…

* All Witches in Fiction 2015 giveaways will end on October 20th, 2015, at 10:13 pm, EDT. The winners will be chosen using Random.Org, and announced on October 21st, 2015.

* This giveaway is open to the US only, excluding any place where prohibited by law.

This is a pre-party post. Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances won’t take place until October 17th; to join the celebration, click the link.

Other Witches in Fiction 2015 pre-posts:
– “Loving You through the Veil
Culture with Real Fictionalized Witches in It
Shaking It and Twisting It until It Says Yes
Not All Witchy Souls Are Religious