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The Word Witch

June 10, 2019

    She didn’t need to dawn herself in cloaks and hats to earn the name of the Word Witch. All she needed was the twitches of her wrists and an empty room before her. She worked best without people to distract her.
    Ballpoint pens were the preferred choice of weapon to carve her mind with.
    Yet the magic was not only in her fingers, or so thought Theodore as they stood staring at each other. It was in her eyes, he swore, the way they possessed a tawny glow despite the shards of blue and gray scattered across her irises; the way her eyes did not crinkle when she smiled, but widened, as did the thin curve of her lips as she spoke.
    Her voice brushed against his ears, soft as feathers. “Monsieur Oliver! Oh, you’d might like to move, you’re blocking the stairs..”
    His lips slanted into a grin, warm but tentative. Of course, the title she had earned was bogus, just a way to highlight her talent with words, and yet..
    “Right! My apologies, Tilly. Here…” He lead her to the side of the stairwell. “What was it that you needed?”
    “Monsieur Abdul sent me actually.” There was her smile again. “I’ve missed you.”
    “I’ve missed you more.” He reveled in the rose tinge that melted against her cheeks.
    “Monsieur Abdul said you wanted to see me.” People jostled around them, one knocking into Theodore. She caught his arm before he stumbled forward.
    He swore her fingertips were sending gentle flames through his skin.
    “I suppose you’d like to go somewhere a little more.. private?”
    He nodded, sliding his glasses atop his head. “Where, exactly?”
    She smiled, and he grinned back. Light and shadow floated in her eyes. It made his stomach swirl with awe.
    Leading him down the hall, Tilly peered at the doors around them before stopping at 217Z. Theodore swore the raven knocker blinked its midnight eyes as she pushed the door open.
    “This was Father’s room in this hotel, if you remember. Sit.”
    A maroon armchair sat beneath a lamp tucked in the corner, stale light dusting the room. He sunk into it and watched Tilly move to the dresser. “I’d be rude if I didn’t offer you a drink. Tea alright?” She asked over her shoulder.
    Sharp clinks and hisses erupted from where she stood. “Tea would be wonderful, actually.” Now was his turn to hide the flush on his cheeks.
    After a moment she placed the tea tray between them. Arrays of blue chipped cups shimmered with sugar, glowed with honey and cream. Warmth enveloped his hands as he held his teacup, steam rising from the top. “How is it hot..? It-”
    “I’m a woman of mysteries.” She winked as he took a sip. Heat rushed through him, his tongue dancing on deep earth and sharp spice. “Now, what did you want to discuss?”
    “Right. In regards to your poetry, I was wondering…” His brows creased as he stopped to clear his throat, a small pinch of pain forming. “...wondering where you got your inspiration… from..?” He coughed once, twice, thrice, each louder and ripping his throat with a claw of pain. He touched his neck. Heat radiated from his skin. He could feel his throat quiver. Pain scorched his tonsils. A gnarled hand of fear gripped his heart, clawed at his stomach. Tilly’s expression tightened fear’s hold.
    “Have you studied cancer, Theodore?” Her smile disappeared. So had the light in her eyes. Instead, they were unfocused, far away, full of hazy emptiness. “It’s such an enlightening subject.” Her whisper was no more than a croak, and neither were his cries. His throat was tightening, pain burning through his neck, his mouth. He clutched his neck as he got to his feet.
    “Cells grow and divide you know, through mitosis. The cells live in the body and work to replicate and keep tissue replenished, and then they grow old or become damaged and die, but sometimes… they outlive their age or damage, and they keep dividing when they’re supposed to be dead… the body then keeps producing new cells to replace the ones that would have died, and since they are still, in fact, living, the body becomes overwhelmed with cells. The cells form masses, called tumors.” Her gaze darted towards Theodore. His hands clawed at his throat. Threads of air wheezed through him. Spit flew from his mouth. His eyes gaped. His hand reached for help.
    She pretended not to see it. “You know, there used to be witches who believed in blood magic. Rituals, blood manipulation. They never thought there could be people like… me.” Her eyes snapped into jarring focus. Her face cracked into a jagged smile. “My ancestry has been gifted the ability to go farther than blood.” She rose to her feet, watching Theodore writhe before her. “We were gifted by the gods with the ability to manipulate the very biology of the people we walked among. Spells, potions...:” She gestured to his body with another wink. “We can distort the very being of cells, essentially of life itself..” She bent over him.
    Cold fear and searing pain thrashed against his body. His limbs twitched. His skin was fading to blue. HelpmehelpmeohgodTillyhelpmewhatiswrongwithyouTillyhelpme...
    “I can create seemingly infinite life spans from the slowing of cells… and I can play Death, causing cell change and growth instantly.”
    Darkness bled onto Theodore’s vision as Tilly reached a hand into his coat pocket. She pulled out a leather-bound notebook, flipping through the pages as her eyes perused the poems written within. His limbs, too heavy to lift, were unable to move, to stop her.
    “Looks like you won’t be needing this, won’t you?” She hugged the notebook to her chest. The softness of light was fading back into her eyes while the sheen of unconsciousness expanded over his. She reached out a hand to check his pulse. Empty.
    “My words now.”
    And the Word Witch left the room, cradling her next masterpieces.

spoooky amiright? no? look I know I'm not the next Stephen King (God bless his amazingly beautiful soul) but at least gimme some sympathy, I'm trying here.


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  • June 10, 2019 - 8:46pm (Now Viewing)

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