Seven Dark Haiku and a Basket Full of Yum

By crafting birthed of soul and heart
and the turning of mind-gear,
infused with memories and with love spiced,
Witches in Fiction dances near.

It’s true, my Wicked Luvs… October 17th, and with it, Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances is almost here. I’m so excited about this blog party; for I’ve glimpsed some of the yumminess you’ve conjured for the occasion, and I can barely wait for the feast. But before our full blown celebration of the memories of our dead starts, we have a sixth giveaway:

pre-Witches in Fiction 2015, sixth giveaway, is a virtual basket sponsored by Magic Love Crow, Rhissanna, Touch of the Goddess, and moi.

The lucky Wicked Darling to win this giveaway, will take home an 8” x 10” painting, a tea set suitable for dolls, a bottle of smudging mist, a $31 credit for any of the participating shops, and a copy of my three books (if you own my books, we can transfer them to a friend). I’ve listed the contents of the virtual basket below, preceded by a haiku… follow the individual links to learn more about each item and/or its creator:

“Evermore”, by Magic Love Crow
kissed by winter, love
liquid salt over the bones—
forget evermore
Evermore, by Magic Love Crow

“Skull Tea Set”, by Rhissanna
cloud brew in two cups
a memory served in bones—
tiny skull tea set
Skull Tea Set, by Rhissanna

“Clean and Clear Smudging Mist”, by Touch of the Goddess
so much leaden air
stagnation of heart and home—
Goddess in the mist
Clean and Clear Smudging Mist, by Touch of the Goddess

And from moi:

a $31 credit for any of the shops sponsoring the party
for Halloween night
gift for a Wicked Darling—
the Witches’ New Year
Gift Card

a copy of AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories, by Magaly Guerrero
running through the trees
heartbroken but strong of will—
self-saved witchy child
AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories

a copy of Thorn in Red, by Magaly Guerrero
dark forest of tales
hearts are crafted and minds made—
lies kiss truth with tongue
Thorn in Red
and, a copy of Blooming Howls, by Magaly Guerrero
first, there was darkness
small seeds dreaming giant trees—
death and birth of worlds
Blooming Howls

Here is how to enter this giveaway: in a few sentences, tell me what comes to mind when you read the phrase “Death Rites and Remembrances”. For one extra entry, visit Magic Love Crow, and come back to tell me a bit about a painting you liked. For a second extra entry, stop by Rhissanna’s shop, and come back to tell me which of her creations you liked best. For a third entry, fly over to Touch of the Goddess, and come back to let me know what caught your eye. For a fourth extra entry, follow my blog via email. For a fifth extra entry, tell me three words that come to mind after reading one (or all) the haiku preceding my 3 books. Wishing for a sixth extra entry? Share this post on Facebook (tag me, Magic Love Crow, Rhissanna, and Touch of the Goddess). Yes, with 7 items in the basket, you should get a 7th extra entry… and you will, 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.

* Every item in this giveaway is open worldwide, except the “Clean and Clear Smudging Mist”, which will ship only to the US (If the winner resides outside the US, then I’ll choose a second name for the smudging mist). This giveaway excludes any place where prohibited by law.

This is the last pre-party posts. Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances will be here on October 17th. You can still join the celebration, just click the link.

Other Witches in Fiction 2015 pre-posts and giveaways:
– “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
– “A Rattle and a Wee Book on Her Grave
– “Love, Death, Memories
We Have an Obligation to Imagine… and I Do (NY Comic Con booty giveaway)
Remember the Witches

Mads and the Shifty Cat

Johnny Mads had wanted to spend some time with Queenie Claret ever since a dream, that woke him gasping and covered in sweat, informed him that there was a new man in his house.

Queenie was almost two years older than he was, and had given exactly zero signs that suggested she knew Johnny existed. Then she showed up at his grandfather’s funeral, five months ago, and had never left.

She brought her college-girl smile to his high school graduation, he could look nowhere without glimpsing at her red hair, and… “Does your grandmother really have to park in front of my shop the entire time you’re here? It’s disturbing, Queenie.”

“Please don’t call me that.”

He kept forgetting that Queenie’s new interest in him had come with a name change. “Sorry, Rose. It’s just that whenever I call you by that name, my brain starts thinking that I’m talking to your grandmother.” He sighed. “Who, by the way, just got out of the car and is staring right at us through the window.”

“There aren’t any windows on the back, are there?” Her hand was under the table, running fingers up and down his thigh.

His eighteen-year-old body responded accordingly. “You know I can’t,” he said, reminding himself not to hyperventilate. But it was so hard. “See?” He pointed at the purple words painted over the door that led to the restricted area of the coffee shop. “Only Mads Outback,” he read aloud.

Queenie grinned as her hand moved higher on his thigh.

Johnny closed his eyes and groaned.

The sting of sharp claws replaced Queenie’s caresses. Johnny jumped out of his chair, hands covering his front.

Queenie was also on her feet, glaring back and forth between the bloody scratches on her hand and Phoebe—the Mads family cat.

“You need to get rid of that beast. If it makes me bleed one more time, I will make sure it knows what it feels like.” Queenie squinted towards the cat, as if taking a closer look. “What magic do you use to make your cat wear a hat?”

“No one can make Phoebe do anything she doesn’t want. Try taking her top hat and you’ll find yourself searching for at least one of your eyeballs.”

Queenie shook her head. “You think it’s a good idea to keep such a violent cat around your customers?”

“Phoebe isn’t violent. She’s—”

“You just said she would scratch someone’s eyes out for a hat.”

“She’s protective of what’s hers,” Johnny said. “Grandfather John had that top had handmade to fit Phoebe. Now that he’s gone, we only have what he left for us. I would probably eye gouge anyone who tried to take what’s mine from me.”

Johnny was no longer smiling. And the grin had left Queenie’s face. They were just standing with a table between them, staring at each other.

“Meow, meow,” said the cat, scratching at the door the led to the back.

“It seems Phoebe thinks I should take you outback, Rose.” He had to think about it, but he was able to say the name that wasn’t truly hers.

“Almost six months of me asking and you saying no. But you’ll show me your family’s secrets because a cat meows that you should?” She laughed.

“Mads and the Shifty Cat,” Johnny said the name of his shop in a singsong voice. “A cat of Phoebe’s blood will always own half of this place. What she says goes.”

“Meow!” Phoebe was shrieking and pushing the door with her head.

“Follow us,” Johnny said, joining Phoebe and opening the door for Queenie.

Queenie stood in the middle of the small room, turning around slowly… her eyes on everything. She lingered on a few of Grandfather John’s favorite displays: AlmaMia and The Bloody Bride Take Cat Girl and a Couple of Skulls for Coffee received a glance; Twink, May, Mazie and the Maddest Crone were scrutinized for some time; there was even a muffled shriek when Queenie got to Mabel the Bloodshot, but there was no real excitement. If anything, she looked disappointed.

“I was expecting…” Queenie shook her head. “I don’t know, I… just thought there would be more.”

“More what?” Johnny said from behind his desk, where he watched Phoebe circle the top hat sculpture where he kept his painting brushes.

“Where are the enchanted coffee carafes and the animal slaves that make all your hats?”

“What are you talking about? The Mads craft coffees and hats the same way your family crafts cakes and teas.” Johnny stood up and walked to stand in front of his desk.

“We have enchanted teapots forever full of the best teas.” Queenie began to twirl and her voice got louder. “Our magic ovens bake cookies and cakes as soon as our customers spew their orders. We can do anything with tea and cakes because we have…” Her voice trailed off, and her eyes fell on the hat sculpture. She began to laugh. “You still craft? You truly craft your coffees and hats, one by one, by hand.”

“We are Story Crafters.” Johnny grabbed two brushes out of the hat, and began to paint a broad silvery line in the air, between Queenie and him. “If we change so much that we forget ourselves, our stories will stop being. People and worlds will forget who and what they are.”

“Don’t be daft, John. If we absorb the objects that filter a crafter’s ability, then we can wield that power with our minds. We can absorb energy from everything around us. Imagine, J—”

“No, Queenie.” He used the brush with the thinnest tip to sharpen the edges and tip of his drawing, and to add two letters to the hilt. The M was completed. But Queenie had pulled a dagger out of her purse, and rushed for Johnny before he could craft the O.

Phoebe leapt in front of Johnny, changed from cat to March O’Hare in midair, grabbed the sword Johnnie crafted, and ran it through Queenie Claret’s left shoulder.

“Drop the skin,” March said to Queenie, forcing the other girl against the wall. With a quick twist of her blade, March added, “Show your pretty greedy tricky face, or I’ll peel you off with my teeth… after scratching your eyes out. Eye gouging doesn’t kill, when done slowly and with lots and lots of care, did you know that?”

“Stop it, March,” Johnny said. Just behead the Scout. Send its essence back to its maker.”

“Show him, fabler, or I’ll rip your shoulder off.”

“What is—” Johnny lost the rest of his question, as he watched the skin charm melt and drip to the floor. There was lighter skin covering Queenie’s impaled shoulder, stretched over her neck, and shaping the feature of her true face. “Mrs. Rose?” He barely heard or believed his words. “What you are trying to do is madness? If you kill me, you…”

“She doesn’t care, Johnny.” March pushed Rose out of the small room, through the coffee shop, and into the deserted sidewalk. “That explains a lot,” she said, pointing at Queenie Claret, who was leaning against her grandmother’s car, holding her left shoulder.

“I don’t understand,” Johnny said,

“Of course you don’t get it. You were so traumatized after being thigh-molested, by a woman who could be your grandmother, that you didn’t hear her when she called you by your grandfather’s name.” March pushed Rose towards her granddaughter, walked back into the shop, closed the front door, and grinned. “We need to pick and split, Johnny Mads.”

They ran into the small room, and grabbed the essentials plus anything that could be contained inside a shopping cart, and drove away in their purple Volkswagen Microbus.

“Where are we taking our coffees and hats, Johnny Mads?” March kept her hands on the wheel and her eyes on the road.

“Head east, towards New York; Angeles Thorn owes my grandfather a favor. I heard she’s staying at Wildwoods with Kassia Van Dyke.”

March nodded, and then said, “Sorry she wasn’t the Queenie you dreamed off.”

“I’m not sorry at all,” Johnny told her. “In the dream I had, Queenie ripped off my crotch.”

“Ouch,” March O’Hare said.

“Yeah,” said Johnny Mads.

written for Debi’s May Mad Hatter Day Celebration 2015!

collaged images, from left to right, starting at the top: “Phoebe in a Top Hat”, by Little Gothic Horrors; “Hat”, by Touched of the Goddess; “Twink, May, Mazie and the Maddest Crone”, by Debi Livsey; “Mabel”, by Gina Morley
Mads and the Shifty Cat 2
then, below, a different kind of assortment (I took the photo, but in it, from right to left): “The Bloody Bride”, by Gina Morley; “AlmaMia Cienfuegos”, by Rhissanna; “Cat Girl”, by SunshineShelle; and the wee skeletal couple sculpture, is my Handfasting cake topper, crafted by Mendez and Hernandez, in Mexico
Mads and the Shifty Cat 1