Love potions. Such a waste of time. Mr. Heartsick sitting in front of me is starting to ramble. I can’t concentrate. I let him drone on about her freckles and hair and how her giggle makes his chest constrict. When he’s done I’ll give him my speech about how love potions cause a temporary infatuation that slowly fades out, and he won’t listen to a word. He’ll give me almost as much of his attention as I’m giving him my own now. The truth is his only thoughts will be of basking in her infatuation and not a thing about what he needs to do to maintain it. And the truth is that right now. The only thing I’m thinking about is getting a hold of Ty and how quickly he can get me a fix.
As he wraps up his pain-stakingly detailed description of his fair maiden I grab a rose quartz bowl. In goes some cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves. I add some powders that I keep premixed. Dragon’s milk. Rose petals. And just as he becomes too caught up in my ritual to remember every single eyelash he’s ever pulled from her cheek and told her to wish upon, I get to the histrionic part of the show. A single drop of fae blood. Translucent and slightly iridescent. His breath catches as it hits the milky surface. It’s instantaneous. The contents of the bowl turns pale gold and shimmering. It’s liquid light. I fill a vial, and his hand reaches before I’ve even got the cork in.
“I need you to know that this will not cause love. This will keep her infatuated for about a week. The infatuation will slowly fade. You need to have a plan to gain her interest during the time of this infatuation. Help her fall for you. Do you understand?”
He shakes his head and grabs too quickly. I let him leave, though I doubt he has any plan. She won’t fall in love. He’ll sneak her some liquid love into her tea or her wine and become so caught up in her sudden unyielding interest that he’ll never do anything to keep her around.
I’m spent, and I need a hit. I convince Ty to stop by and then knock out while I’m waiting. I wake to his cool hand on my forehead. He looks concerned but also tired. His soft, bright eyes are concentrated frustration with the slightest trace of relief. I miss when those eyes shone with love for me, and I can’t help but feel disappointment in everything I’ve become.
“Mia...Damnit. I thought you said you needed to replenish potion supplies...I thought you were off the coal...”
I think about lying. He won’t believe me, but he might give me enough to make it through the night without the shakes and the sweats. I’m weighing my options when he pushes me off his lap and makes for the door.
“Ty, wait! I have enough for work, so I just need enough for the night. If I could just get like a coin then it’ll make the dreams easier on me...”
“I didn’t bring any. I’m no fool, Mia. You aren’t using five coins a week of fae blood making love potions, which seems to be all you’re selling anymore...”
I can’t believe him. He’s pacing the kitchen clearly unsure of what to do with me. I knew that he probably suspected that I was still using fae blood, but I figured that he was playing along to avoid putting me through having to say it.
“If you want me to stay I can. I can talk you through the dreams. Give you dragon’s milk so you sleep. I can help you relax through them. Help with the shaking. I miss you. I hate to see you stuck on this...”
“Can you go now? I have other plans tonight anyway. I don’t need you to make me feel guilty or judge me.”
I know he’s not trying to do either, but I need him to leave. He looks defeated. He gives me a quick, hurt nod. I walk him to the door. Our hands meet accidentally at the knob, and I see his face tighten. A quick kiss on my forehead and he’s gone.
If Ty won’t help me I have only one other option. I have to go to Callie. The lowest of the low. She’s a disgusting creature. A pixie that feeds off her own kind. It’s bad enough for us witches that are addicted to fae blood, but at least we aren’t spilling our own magic for fun. Maybe for profit or for spells sometimes. But I’d never dream of using another witch’s blood. Not to mention that the mere fact that she is an addict suggests she was doing something unsavory to cause her to get a taste for the drug.
I toss my cigarette out as I hit the buzzer for her apartment. The smell of rotting fruit drifts up to her front door from the alley, and I am torn between wishing she’d buzz me in and hoping I never have to see her again. I hit the button again three times in quick succession and almost immediately receive the sharp click of the door unlocking. The speaker must be out on the intercom. No surprise in this hovel.
“Mia. What’s up, babe? I like your hair dark like that.”
“You gonna let me in then?”
I push past her into the dark apartment. Her power must be out. This small studio is a fire hazard at the best of times, but right now it’s filled with smoke and what looks to be every candle the south side of the city holds. She’s close behind me, so I steal myself for whatever she might ask for in return. She’s horrid, but she’s also smart. My eyes are dilated, and I’m sweaty despite the cold. Not to mention that with her being a pixie she can probably smell me detoxing.
“You’re gonna let me do what I want with you, right, love?” My hand is on the nape of her neck, fingers wrapping through her lilac hair. I whisper into her pale clavicle, and I feel a small shock course through her skin. She leans into me, and I can tell this is going to be easy. I grab her hair hard and push her to the mattress on the floor. An hour or so of my hands and mouth violating her until she’s breathless and disoriented. I let my fingers slowly trace the small, crescent moon birth mark on her hip. She’s calm as she breathes out a light, approving sigh letting me know that we’re even.
“There’s needles and bowls on the mantle, but this time can you take enough so that I can drop too?”
I nod to her, but inside I’m nauseous. She’s going to drop her own blood? I’m no longer sure she’s a safe resource. She’s always disgusted me, but this is low even for her. I’ve never met a junkie using their own blood. Blood releases magic. The more you spill the less the being contains. The more you spill the more you have to use next time. At some point…you only have so much magical blood.
I pull a syringe full from her spidery, glowing veins and empty it into a crystal bowl. I drop the bowl into one of the larger candle’s flames. The smell is intoxicating. Sharp, biting citrus with sweet, sticky sugars clinging to the edges. The blood coagulates, no longer beautiful and iridescent but a matte black mess. I grab a dropper and it takes every bit of restraint I have to feed Callie first. I kiss her mouth open and then let a single drop slide onto her tongue. She smiles and lets her eyes flick upwards as she crashes into easy sleep. I pull the rest out and fill a vial from my bag I left near the front door. Then I take my drop. And suddenly everything is easy. Suddenly Callie isn’t such a disgrace. With her translucent skin and her pastel hair she’s actually quite lovely. I drift into sleep. And I don’t remember a thing.
Let me fly
in wisps of clouds
twisting my tongue
in concentric circles
Give me space
to hearken closely
to magic whispers
Whispers of water
coursing through veins
winds of change
in dragonfly wings
Grab the blade
snatch the sun
let it ignite
Upturn my face
of my fate
snippets of illusion
on my heart.
In the open hours, the world hums like a live wire, growls like a giant beast best left undisturbed. Cars whizz along the city streets, brakes squealing to the whims of merciless streetlights that care not for time nor missed appointments. People wade through one another, waves of bodies that roil and tumble with the passing hours. We walk our circles. We punch the numbers and calculate the odds and formulate strategies. We get lunch.
In the open hours, we are busy.
And they are all open hours now, filled up with spreadsheets and Skype calls and punchy headlines that beg to be read. We are a seething mass of newness, reinvented with every instant trend and drop of falling water turned to wine. We are searching for our own Messiahs and we are living in the background of each other’s touchscreens and we are wishing for a place that doesn’t feel so lonely, all filled to the brim with people.
Out there is where we’ve forgotten to be, the place with all the nothing.
The sea is old and boundless, its deepest glories hidden from our eyes, our cameras, our very best submarines. Beneath the surface, in a place where wristwatches hold no meaning, there are things that move without brains and swim without fins. There are beasts that know only the darkest dark, a place we’d never dare to wander. Inside the open mouth of endlessness, these things are finite and gone before we knew they ever were. Inside the ruins of our failed ships, they make a new home.
In the forests there are trees that have been climbed only by the sunlight that slides along their edges, pulls them up to greet the sky. There are hidden winds that push against whispering leaves and tell of secrets we can never hear. Outside our tiny little circles, our coffee shops and ticking walls, there are a million curling roots beneath the soil that drum a melody into the earth, sings a tune we cannot hear above the hum of our air conditioning.
We write of monsters, creatures with sharp teeth and slithering tongues. We dream of lands where sparks fly from fingertips and heroes come to reveal hidden realms, the quests we must embark upon to save the world. To save ourselves from the world.
We’ve lost the magic, but it hasn’t left us. It is out there, waiting. Waiting in the spaces between stoplights, the open roads that take us to a place we’ve never been. It is in the wisps of the rainless clouds above our heads, the gentle kiss of puddles left behind. It is the towering Oak made only from a misplaced acorn, a thing never meant to be that becomes anyway. It is in the bee that should not fly; the penguin that probably should. It is the flecks of color in the irises of the stranger we never look at.
Magic is the rush of the ocean inside a seashell and the way you can never touch a butterfly’s wings.
We fall inside our open hours, our urgent matters and tiny heads and still, we are not abandoned by the thing pulsing inside the mist along the roadside, whispering to us beneath the shadows falling across the vast mountain peaks.
We are the stardust that fell to Earth and we are the tiny things that slithered to the shoreline and grew legs and it is here inside ourselves that we can find all the forgotten rhythms that move inside those ocean waves, those untouched trees and wispy clouds. There is a song to be sung if we could just remember the words. There is majesty waiting for us, if only we could look each other in the eyes.
If only we could see.
Magic and spells
Used by my will
Singing of bells
For an empty heart, it fills
To ones delight
You lose your sight
People will bend
Right under my thumb
But soon the magic
Begins to feel numb
And stolen minds
Replaced by spells
To make better times
Of pink and gold
Turned to rust
They sink and mold
Emotions too real
Cannot be put under
So keep your fairytale
Deep in a slumber
Don’t Move the Washing Machine!
5090 Park Lane Circle was an attractive two-story house in the city of Liston, Michigan. It was built in 1971 and, at that time, it was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Trevor. Mr. Trevor had carried his new wife over the threshold on the day they moved in. Five years later, however, when he left the house for absolutely the last time, he was alone.
The house was sold to the McArthurs, a large family consisting of Mr. McArthur, Mrs. McArthur, Billy, Jason, Michael and Sharon, who was less than a year old at the time. Over the next twelve years, 5090 Park Lane Circle played host to baseball games, movie marathons, tea parties, slumber parties, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, Christmas parties and the loss of one of the McArthur boys’ virginity.
It was young Sharon McArthur who first made the discovery. She stumbled upon the strange secret of this house entirely by accident and managed to keep it a secret for over a year before the family moved away, deciding that with half their children grown up and moved out, they no longer needed such a large house. The very last thing she did before vacating the first home she would ever remember was to leave a note for the next residents of 5090 Park Lane Circle.
This proved to be the Benningtons. Having only two children instead of four, one of the bedrooms (Michael’s) became a guest room and another (Billy’s) was converted into an office where Mrs. Bennington would work at times when she was not working at the office provided to her by her employer. Her two daughters, Moira and Angela, failed to understand why their mother needed so many offices nor why she needed to do so much work.
Angela found the note Sharon had left as she was moving her things into her new bedroom. She read it, then ran down the hall to where her big sister was moving her own things into her new bedroom. After both of the girls read it, they decided that moving into their new rooms (which was all they had talked about on the long drive from their old home) could wait and they investigated the claim Sharon McArthur had made in her note.
They managed to keep the secret for six years, during which time their mother was forced to do slightly less work until some time after the birth of her first son, Alex. When their baby brother was old enough, Moira and Angela shared their secret with little Alex and he, too, kept a tight heavy lid on it for quite some time.
It did, however, come out eventually, though not through the carelessness of any of the Bennington children. No, it was just one of those unfortunate happenstances which are nobody’s fault but which still manage to ruin things for everyone. The upshot of this particular happenstance was that the Benningtons soon moved away from 5090 Park Lane Circle, which actually sat empty for four years.
When the new owners did finally take up residence, they found a strange and indecipherable note pinned to the washing machine.
As did the family who moved in after them.
As did Carol and Neil Meriwether.
Stuck to the fridge with a magnetic calendar from their realtor was a sheet of paper with a Post-It stuck to it. The Post-It read:
The previous owners wanted me to show you this. Maybe you can figure out what it means.
The note itself read:
Dear new owners,
Welcome to your new home. We hope you will be as happy here as we were. Before you get too comfortable, though, we have one very important thing to tell you:
Don’t move the washing machine.
Ever. For any reason. Do not move it at all. If it breaks, buy a new one, but find someplace else to put it because you must not ever move the washing machine from its current location. Seriously. I know this sounds insane but, trust me, I’m being totally serious.
Carol and Neil took turns reading the note and trying to figure out what Chris Davis was on about. Finally, and without a word, they both went to the laundry room.
Of course, it was really more of a small atrium between the kitchen and the garage. On one side was a cabinet for storing cleaning supplies, and on the other was the washer and dryer. Both of which looked perfectly normal. A bit old-fashioned, perhaps, but still, broadly-speaking, functional. They did their first load of laundry and both machines worked just fine.
Neither of them understood why the previous owner had been so adamant about not moving the washing machine, but they also saw no reason why they would need to move it. So, they threw away the note and promptly forgot all about it.
Two years passed before the washing machine started giving them trouble. No matter how evenly they tried to balance the load, it rocked back and forth. The clothes came out with undissolved patches of soap powder on them. And, finally, Carol went down to move the laundry and stepped in a puddle of water in her stocking feet. It was leaking.
Neil, completely forgetting the warning from the previous owner, mopped up the water with some old towels, then prepared to move the washer so that he could find the source of the leak. There wasn’t much room in the small atrium to maneuver the large, cumbersome machine, but soon he had pulled one side away from the wall far enough that he could get in and try to fix it.
Almost immediately, a bluish blur swept past Neil and, making a horrible squealing sound, scrabbled into the kitchen. Neil could hear its feet clicking against the linoleum. Then he heard Carol scream and ran into the kitchen after whatever it was.
Carol was standing at the kitchen island, making a sandwich. She had dropped both the jar of mustard and the knife she was using to spread it on the bread when she saw the creature which was now running frantically around the living room still squealing for all it was worth.
It was a pig. Sort of. It was blue, with two long tails instead of one short, curly one, and two horns coming out of its head. It was also clearly terrified.
“What the hell is that?!” Neil said.
“I don’t know!” said Carol, who had calmed down slightly from the initial shock of seeing a blue horned pig in her kitchen.
“What do we do?”
“Catch it, Neil!”
Neil thought for a moment then ran back into the laundry room. He came back a second later with a white plastic laundry basket which he intended to use as a cage for the pig. He charged at the pig which, of course, simply ran away and hid under the sofa. Then darted out and, knocking into a table and upsetting a lamp, hid behind the recliner. Four times Neil dropped the laundry basket on the floor and four times he missed the pig entirely.
“Here, pig, pig, pig, pig, pig!”
Carol had said this as she tipped over the kitchen garbage can. Food wrappers, banana peels, coffee grounds, Chinese take-out boxes and uneaten scraps of meals spilled onto the floor. And even though it had two long tails and horns and was blue from head to toe, it was still, at heart, a pig. It couldn’t resist the smorgasbord on the kitchen floor and while it was preoccupied with a fragment of leftover egg from breakfast, Neil was able to drop the basket and then sit on it. The pig was trapped.
“We got it!” said Carol.
“Yeah,” panted Neil. “Yeah we did…now what?”
Carol didn’t have an answer for this question but, as it turned out, she didn’t need one.
“Oh, good, you caught her.”
Carol and Neil looked up to find a stranger in their home. He might have passed for a normal, stereotypical farmer, in his overalls, flannel shirt, boots and straw hat, were it not for the undeniable fact that his skin was just as blue as the pig’s.
“Mayzie,” he said to the pig, sternly, “you should be ashamed of yourself. Barging into these nice people’s home and making such a mess. Honestly,” he added to Carol and Neil, “I hope she didn’t give you too much trouble. She’s a good girl most of the time, really. Still, I guess we all get a little worked up from time to time. Well, I’ll take her home now. Er, you mind, Mister?”
It took Neil a moment to realize what the blue farmer was asking. Then he stood up and lifted the laundry basket. The farmer picked up the now docile pig (evidently called “Mayzie”) in his arms. He then walked toward the laundry room, Carol and Neil following him closely.
“Well, so long,” said the farmer with a friendly smile, and he climbed nimbly into the narrow space behind the washing machine. But when Neil looked behind the machine a moment later, there was no sign of him. No sign of anything except the bare wall and the wires and hoses connected to the washing machine.
The next person who moves into 5090 Park Lane Circle, if and when Carol and Neil finally decide to leave, will find the non-functioning washing machine bolted to the wall and impossible to move. They, like Carol and Neil, will have to wash their clothes at the coin laundry a few blocks away. Despite this precaution, however, it is likely they will also find a note left for them by the previous occupants, which will read:
DON’T move the washing machine!
Dreaming Into A Fantasy
I had a dream.
I was out of this world
...or so it seemed.
The grass was green,
the sky was blue,
and there was no one else;
just me and you.
And we were so free!
We could paint the sky,
we could eat the clouds,
and we could jump and fly!
Then the dream ended,
just as I took your hand,
for it doesn’t exist,
such a land.
To be a witch or not to be a witch
I am just a waitress in a bar, perhaps
One of the best waitresses, as my boss tells me
It all happened on one Tuesday night, so breathtaking,
He arrived at the bar with his mate, wearing a black suit
He smiled at me as I took his order, at first, I didn’t feel it
I didn’t feel the heat radiating from his muscles, his plastered grin
I simply grinned back and brought his drink, vodka on ice, with a lemon slice
He winked at me mischievously and shrugged, I was just a waitress,
Guys like him came and brought up lust all the time, I ignored him
But as he came in night for that week, I could not refuse him, his sexy smiles
The way he winked his black eyelashes, he had in in for a long time, I only wanted him
But then there was my boss, and on one night, he gave me a small pink bottle
My boss winked at me and said, this is a very strong love potion, mix it in a drink
And whoever drinks it, will be your lover for a thousand years, forever and forever
I couldn’t resist it, and when my mysterious man in black suit came, I had no choice
I mixed the love potion in his drink and I waited for him to drink it, and so it happened
He came up to me, slinked his arms around me and I brushed my lips on his cute lips
He grinned and said, “Let’s go out for a stroll, hunny!” I obliged and hand in hand
We walked in the streets of the most amazing city, and I kissed him like a hungry wife
We sat down on a bench and we kissed passionately, and he asked me, “Wana go to my room!”
I looked deep into his eyes and I could not say to him that it was the love potion that was speaking
But I agreed and I knew it was so wrong but to use magic when you are attracted to someone
Perhaps is not a bad idea at all, and I surrendered to my lover who is totally bewitched by me!
The Perfect World
Agel was not an ordinary child, even by the new standards of this world of magic. Surrounded by faeries and vampyres and hellhounds and demons, she was the only werewolf. No one knew how she became this way. She was scorned by everyone. The only person who didn’t scorn her was her best friend, Ana, and she didn’t know the truth. But eventually, Agel knew, she would learn the truth, she would leave, and Agel knew she’d be alone once more.
"This is the perfect world," her mother once told her. "There is no room for werewolves."
It was the night of the change, in which all the werewolves of the world would rise together to howl at the moon, but when Agel howled she knew that hers was the only howl, and it was low and sorrowful, carrying the tears of lonliness. Agel didn’t want to live anymore, the only think keeping her alive was the knowledge that at least one person would care if she died. The second Ana left, she’d be alone in a vortex of misery so complete that nothing on Earth could save her. The other piece was that when she died, the werewolf legacy would die with her. She was the last one. How could she doom an entire species like that.
“Agel! Agel, wake up, silly! It’s morning! You promised you’d come with me to school today!” Agel groans.
“I’m pretty sure I didn’t, Ana. I’m pretty sure I said I can’t today, because I’m too tired.”
“You’re always tired! Why do you have to be such a party pooper?” Because I’m a werewolf at night, genius. I don’t get luxuries like sleep, Agel thought, but she didn’t say it aloud. Most of the time, Ana’s bubbly enthusiasm thrilled her. But today, it was just plain annoying.
“I’m not going to school, Ana. Give it up.” Ana leans down and kisses Agel, and Agel moans and turns away.
“Don’t do that, it hurts.”
“Why does love hurt you?”
“Because. I don’t deserve it. You barely even know me.”
“Whaddya mean?” Oh no, thinks Agel. I’ve let too much slip out this time.
“Nothing. I’ll go to school,” Agel offers, trying to get the conversation away from herself. Sadly, Ana is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.
“Hey, sleepover tonight? Just you and me?”
“NO!” Agel snaps, and then fights to control her temper, but it’s too late. Her anger causes her werewolf side to come out. At first, she doesn’t realize what happened. “I can’t tonight, okay?”
“A-a-Agel? You----- uh. Agel...”
“What?” she asks, confused.
“You’re a werewolf. Is that why you can’t sleep over?”
“Yeah, how’d you-” She stops when she scratches her head and feels the ears there. Her anger has betrayed her. “I’m not dangerous,” she murmurs, but Ana is already gone. Agel sinks to the floor, truly alone now, kept alive by the respect for her species, nothing more, nothing less. Her hands glow with magic, trying to fix her wounds, but the healing can’t fix her broken heart. She grabs a razor and cuts into her wrist, attempting to die, but her magic heals it.
“GOD, WHY???” she screams at the sky. “WHY DO YOU DO THIS? DO YA THINK IT’S FUNNY? HUH? CAUSE IT’S NOT! IT’S HORRIBLE!” Agel sinks to the ground in tears. “Why am I alive, she whimpers, now more wolf than human. She’s letting her emotions get the best of her. “Damn it,” she whispers in the language of the wolf. She steps outside and is greeted by a loud burst of jeers. Without Ana to protect her, she is at the mercy of the people, who throw rocks at her and spit at her fur. Agel can barely feel it. It’s healed instantly, and even if it wasn’t, the external pain can’t compare to what she’s feeling inside.
I AM ALONE! she wants to scream, but her mouth can’t form the words. Why does it have to be me? she wonders. Why? She doesn’t get an answer, only continues her course. Only someone who’s been in the city as long as she has would know she’s going to the city pond. To do what, she doesn’t exactly know. But it involves dying. She reaches the edge of the glassy pond and looks at herself, the pathetic dog she’s been reduced to. She sees a girl with pointed brown ears, a shaggy tail, and tears streaming down her face. She doesn’t want to die, but it’s the only way to get rid of the people’s taunts. She dives in, and swims down to the bottom. Her lungs feel like they’re exploding, but she doesn’t care. She shuts her eyes against the bright blue glow of her healing powers, and opens her mouth to take a breath.
Somewhere, a million miles away, a wolf howls in agony.