The room wasn’t completely shrouded in darkness. Flames were flickering and wavering from candles, giving the place a warm, mellow, inviting glow. Jutting out slightly from the center of each wall, were thick, faceted, cut-glass candle holders, hanging in suspension from brass chains. The eastern wall was lit with a bright canary-yellow candle; the southern wall, a scarlet-red one; the western wall, a powder-blue, and lighting up the northern wall, was a brilliant lime-green candle.
Taking up a considerably large area of the bare, unvarnished, wooden-planked floor, was a large encircled pentagram, painted in a vivid, turquoise-blue color, and was being used as an altar. At the heart of the pentagram’s center, were three, tall white pillar candles, each positioned on individual tripod-type holders. Their flames revealed and fell upon the other objects withing the pentagram: a brass brazier that was billowing out a blend of lavender and sage incense, filling the room with its calm, relaxing scent. There was a Celtic knot-designed pewter chalice, filled with a deep, ruby-red Bordeaux wine; a double-edged, black-handled athame and an oak wand; all were strategically placed on the floor. Slightly behind, and to one side of the trio of candles, was a small bronze statue of the ancient Egyptian cat-goddess, Bast; on the other side, was a gold-toned statue of Isis.
Sitting crossed-legged on the floor and in front of the pentagram was Ceara. The flames of the three candles illuminated the woman’s face, and every now and then, the flickering light danced upon her waist-length, wavy brown hair, bringing out its red and blonde highlights. Directly before her, was a black-veined marble mortar, and several cork-stoppered glass jars; each filled with a different herb. Every once in awhile, Ceara dipped her fingers into one of the jars, extracted some of its contents, sprinkled it into the mortar, then muttered a few words while she crushed the herb with the pestle.
Ceara wasn’t alone as she performed this ritual. An up until now, silent companion had been diligently observing everything Ceara had been doing.
“You’re suppose to add a few pinches of mugwort, you know.”
“Are you sure?”
“Trust me, I do know about these things. You do want the spell to work, don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” said Ceara, rising up from the floor and went over to the shelves that were crammed full with jars of herbs, spices, and small vials filled with essential oils. Locating the proper jar, Ceara came back and sat on the floor again, opened the jar and took out the required few pinches of mugwort out, and added it to the mixture.
“I hope you realize that I still can’t believe that I’m relying and taking advice from you.”
“And why not me?
“For God’s sakes, Twinkie. You’re a cat! A talking one at that.”
“Well, who would be better to help a witch than a cat? And by now Ceara, you should realize that I’m not really talking to you. Not verbally anyway. I’m sending my thoughts out to you and into your mind.”
“Yeah, I know you are. And the very first time that you did that, you scared the crap out of me.”
“Sorry….didn’t mean to.”
“Yeah, right, sure. I mean there I was. All alone. It’s nice and quiet. I was in the middle of a peaceful meditation, visualization thing, preparing myself for a spell, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I hear this great, loud, booming voice inside my head. I thought I was going out of my friggin’ mind.”
“Sorry,” said Twinkie. Her large, yellow eyes momentarily blinked closed, then opened again with an apologetic stare.
“And why then? You didn’t start talking to me until two years ago, when you were eight years old.”
“Well…need I remind you, that you weren’t a witch before then. You only started your chosen path two years ago. I’ve always had the ability to talk to you. All cats can. Let’s just say, that you weren’t very interesting to talk to before.”
“Oh, gee. Thanks a lot. There’s one thing I’ve been meaning to ask you all this time. When you talk to me, why do you seem to have a slight Irish brogue?”
“You’re part Irish, aren’t you?”
“And what does that have to do with anything? Why do you speak with an accent?”
“Beats me. I just do. Who knows? Maybe it’s because most Wicca traditions are of Celtic origins, and when you started studying the craft, you fell in love with the whole Celtic culture thing. You read everything and anything that you could get your hands on about its history and folklore.”
“That’s not really an explanation.”
“No, perhaps not. Sounds good though, doesn’t it?”
“Not really. May I remind you, that I also happen to love the Ancient Egyptian and Nordic cultures as well?”
“Well now. Would you be having me talk to you in the Ancient Egyptian language? Or, how about Danish, Swedish, or maybe even Norwegian?”
“Oh, funny. As if I would understand you then.”
“Be happy then, that I speak in English, even if it is with an Irish accent. Who are you doing this spell for anyway?”
“What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s been very ill lately, so I’m going to do a healing spell for her. I was also thinking of doing a spell for Margie as well.”
“Besides her illness, Margie’s mother also has a slight case of Alzheimer’s. She’s not even really aware of what’s going on around her. Anyway, Margie’s been a complete, emotional wreck. She’s not sleeping well, and when she does, she has all these terrifying dreams. She’s been filled with a lot of anxiety, and even depression. She’s always been so close to her mother, so it has been causing a lot of pain for Margie to see her mother this way.”
“Sounds like Margie could use a bit of therapy, if you ask me.”
“Perhaps. Probably couldn’t hurt her. Just like my casting this spell couldn’t hurt either. I do owe her in a way. She’s the one that got me interested in the craft in the first place. She’s a witch.”
“Can’t she be doing her own spells then?”
“Of course she can, but she asked for my help.”
“Doesn’t she know any other witches?”
“Not personally. She’s a solitary witch but she often clicks onto the various pagan websites for advice, spells, and chat groups, but she does so anonymously, using only her craft name.”
“Twinkie, most witches prefer to remain anonymous. She’s absolutely terrified about people finding out that she is a witch.”
“It’s no great shame in being a witch you know.”
“I know that. But people can still lose their jobs, be evicted; even be down-right persecuted by narrow-minded people who still think all witches are evil. Margie does have a high-ranking position where she works. She’s terrified she’ll lose her job if word got out that she was a witch.”
“But…isn’t that against the law?” Twinkie asked.
“Yes, it is. It’s an infringement on a person’s constitutional rights in pursuing freedom of religion. But you just try telling that to your average person, especially one of your Bible-thumper types, who think all witches are in league with the Devil.”
“So…you’re doing a healing spell for Margie?”
“Well…not just a healing spell. I was thinking of combining it with a protection spell as well,” said Ceara.
“Then you better use a blue candle for that then.”
“Blue? What about white?”
“Blue is better. It’s not only the color for healing but protection as well. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone, so to say, by using a blue candle as your focus of intent.”
Once more Ceara rose up from the floor, and walked over to the shelves. Below the shelves, was a small rattan bookcase, containing a sizable collection of candles of all shapes, sizes, and in every color imaginable.
Twinkie sat still for a moment. Her large, yellow eyes followed Ceara’s every movement. She was a chubby, part Angora cat, with predominantly black fur with splashes of brown and orange here and there. Twinkie was vain and sensitive about her rotund physique, yet she refused to give up on her favorite delicacies of herbed-Brie cheese, salmon with Hollandaise sauce, or anchovies mixed with a good helping of sour cream, which she feasted on with regular frequency.
Twinkie was swishing her long, fuzzy tail back and forth for awhile, then rose and went over to the mortar. Her brown-colored nose and black whiskers twitched as she sniffed its contents.
“What’s this for exactly?” the feline asked.
“I’m going to make a sachet filled with those herbs. One for Margie, the other for her mother. I’ll also be adding a small nugget of turquoise, a tiger’s eye stone, and a small crystal bead to each of them. The sachets can be slipped into their pillows, and should help them while they sleep,” said Ceara, coming back with two deep-sky blue candles.
“One for Margie, one for her mother, of course.”
“Oh, of course! How dumb of me! Can’t you just use one for the both of them?”
“I could, yes. But I’d rather use two. Or does that go against your highly-esteemed principles, mademoiselle?”
“Not at all.”
Ceara took one of the candles, and by using a pointed metal nail file began etching directly on it a few symbols, including pentagram, the Egyptian ankh sign, and the Norse rune for protection. She also inscribed a few words of a spell, and Margie’s name on it. She did the same with the other candle, but etched the mother’s name on it instead. Ceara next opened the vial of her special blend of oils, and anointed each candle. She reached over for the middle, white pillar candle, poured a bit of the melted wax into two silver-plated, leaf-shaped metal holders, and firmly set one candle onto each holder. To add power to the spell, she began sprinkling several herbs used for protection and healing around the base of each candle in a clockwise fashion.
Ceara wrote out her intended spell twice on two separate pieces of blue-colored paper. Her spells were in rhyme; they always had to rhyme for them to work properly. After setting the two prepared candles in the center of the pentagram on the floor, Ceara lit the two candles, added more lavender incense to the brazier, and, while speaking her spell out loud, ignited the two pieces of paper, then tossed them into a minuscule iron cauldron.
Ceara and Twinkie watched as the pieces of paper burned. The smoke rose into the air, carrying the spell out into the cosmos. When there was nothing left of the papers except ash, Ceara let out an audible sigh.
“Well now, it’s up to the goddess to fulfill the spell,” said Twinkie.
“Oh? And whom did you invoke?”
“Isis, Brigit, and Freyja.”
“Purists would have a convulsion about that, you know.”
“Mixing deities from different cultures.”
“Hey, I do what works for me. Is that so very wrong?”
“Not really. To each their own, I guess”
Unlike Margie who was in dread fear of anyone finding out that she was a witch, Ceara couldn’t have cared less who knew. From an early age, Ceara had always been different; the unconventional, non-conformist type. Adding the status of being a witch to her resume of character traits just seemed to go naturally with her personality.
Ceara never brazenly advertised what she was, but neither did she hide it, and openly wore ornate, pentagram jewelry. All around her apartment were pentagrams and other symbols related to witchcraft; she even had a small pentagram painted on her front door. This, no doubt, must have scared the living hell out of any Jehovah’s Witness or Born Again Christian going door to door in the hopes of saving people’s souls, and to bestow the salvation of God upon others. Ceara didn’t resent Bible-thumpers, but she just wished they’d keep their religion to themselves. After all, witches never sought to gain converts, did they?
When Ceara had made the decision to follow her new chosen path, she half expected that people would suddenly shun her, avoid her, be afraid of her. Instead, people were intrigued by her, and were coming out of the woodwork, asking her to do either a healing, success, prosperity or protection spell for them. She never out-rightly asked for money for her spell work, but gladly accepted token donations.
Word quickly circulated how successful her spells were; so much so, that she left her full-time secretarial job. Casting spells had become a full-time job in itself, and none of it could have been accomplished without Twinkie’s help. After the first initial shock of having a cat’s voice speak inside her head, Ceara found Twinkie to be an invaluable help. The feline was a walking encyclopedia of everything a witch could possibly want to know about in practicing the craft. Ceara relied on Twinkie’s knowledge of what herbs, oils, incense, and which color candle went best for each spell. Twinkie could even tell Ceara which days were best, or, what phase of the moon was beneficial for casting certain spells. How the feline knew all this was beyond Ceara’s comprehension, but she never dared question the cat’s wisdom.
There was only one spell, however, that Twinkie adamantly warned against doing at all costs; a love spell directed toward a specific person. Ceara, would of course, cast an all-purpose, generalized spell for someone to find their soul-mate, but never dared to go beyond that.
One day, while Ceara was checking out her groceries at the supermarket, Alicia, the cashier leaned over to her, and in a voice barely above a whisper, asked Ceara if she would cast a spell for her.
“What kind of spell?”
“I really can’t talk about it here. Can I come over to your place after work tomorrow night?” asked Alicia.
“Why of course.”
The following evening, Alicia nervously sat on the sofa, while Ceara brewed up some orange-spice tea.
“Now, Alicia, how can I help you?”
“I want you to cast a love spell for me. I’m so desperately in love with James, but he doesn’t even know I exist. Not even if I fell in a dead heap in front of him completely naked. He completely ignores me.”
“Alicia, I can’t do that.”
“Everyone knows I don’t do those kind of spells.”
“Please! I’ll make it worth your while, ” said Alicia as she handed Ceara a large business envelope.
Ceara peaked inside the envelope. There were ten, one-hundred dollar bills inside. Ceara handed the envelope back to Alicia.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you Alicia. And I certainly could never take so much money.”
“But…that just shows you how desperate I am. Everyone says how successful your spells are. I know you could help me. Please!”
It was all too tempting for Ceara. She had never received so much money for any of her spells before. She glanced down to where Twinkie was sitting on the floor near her feet. The cat’s tail was swishing back and forth, back and forth, and the cat’s eyes gleamed a little more than usual. In her head, Ceara heard Twinkie’s voice loud and clear.
“Don’t you even dare think about it. I’m warning you. It’s dangerous territory you’ll be getting yourself into if you do it.”
“Please!” pleaded Alicia, who hadn’t heard the cat’s voice, and handed the envelope back to Ceara.
Ceara was confused. She didn’t know what to do. But all that money! How could she possibly pass that up?
“All right. I’ll do it.”
“Oh, thank you! Thank you! You have no idea what this means to me.”
After Alicia left, Twinkie sat in front of Ceara, looking directly into Ceara’s eyes.
“Don’t expect me to help you with this one. You’re entirely on your own.”
“Fine! Be that way! Who needs your help anyway?”
A few nights later, on a Friday night, during a waxing moon, Ceara cast her love spell for Alicia, and thought nothing of it for the next two weeks. Then, once again, at the supermarket, Ceara had Alicia checking out her groceries.
“Ceara, can I come over to your place tonight? I really need to talk to you.”
“Uh…..why sure,” said Ceara.
Later,that night, an anxious looking Alicia sat on the sofa. She kept cracking her knuckles and wringing her sweaty hands. Her face had a tormented look, and there were deep, black circles under her eyes, as if she hadn’t slept in awhile.
“Oh, Ceara. You really must help me again. I’m really desperate now.”
“What is it, Alicia? Didn’t the spell work for yo?”
“Oh, it worked all right. Too well. James won’t leave me a alone at all now. It’s been a nightmare for me. It really has been.”
“I only did what you wanted me to do.”
“I know. But you have no idea what I’ve been going through. I’m practically having a nervous breakdown.”
“Alicia, what do you want me to do?”
“You’ve got to reverse the spell somehow.”
“I don’t know if I can. I’ve never had to do that before,” said Ceara.
“Please! There must be something that you can do. I really can’t go on like this much longer.”
“Well, the only thing I can think of doing is some kind of banishing spell. That might work.”
“Do something….Anything!” pleaded Alicia.
“Let me see…I’ll need something personal of his, like maybe an article of clothing of his. And, this might sound very Hollywood-movie-like, but can you get me some clippings of his hair and maybe a photo of him?”
“Well…..I’ll try,” said Alicia.
“Okay, then. Come back on Saturday with some of his hair. Also, a photo of him would help, and perhaps, even an article of his clothing.”
“Saturday? Why Saturday?”
“That’s the best time for banishing spells.”
When Alicia left, Twinkie sat before Ceara with a very annoyed look upon her feline face.
“Don’t even say it Twinkie.”
“Well, I did be a warning you now, didn’t I?”
“Twinkie, could you help me out with this one?”
“And, now why should I be doing that? It’s your mess after all.”
“Please? I’ll forever be in your debt.”
“I’ll think about it, ” said Twinkie, sarcastically.
“Oh, come on. Don’t be like that.”
“I thought you didn’t want my help. You didn’t want it before.”
“Well, I need your help now.”
Two hours before Alicia was to arrive, Ceara was making the necessary preparations for her banishing spell, with Twinkie right by her side, giving her advice. As a safeguard measure against any possible harm that might occur toward Ceara or Alicia, the feline recommended that a protection spell be cast around the entire apartment.
On her encircled pentagram on the floor, Ceara had many of her usual items for casting a spell, however, there were a few major differences in her set-up tonight. Instead of the three white pillar candles, there were now black ones. Ceara’s favorite statues of Bast and Isis, were replaced by two identical statues of the Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet; a powerful feline deity who was never to be taken lightly. The faceted, glass candle holders at each directional wall, now held small, black votive candles. Set upon the floor, was a much larger cauldron, and nearby it, was a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a black, male-figured candle.
Ceara was just about to cut stripes of black construction paper, when, at 11:35 p.m. the doorbell rang. When she opened the door, Alicia rushed inside, nearly knocking Ceara down.
“Quick! Close the door! I think James may have been following me.”
“Are you sure?”
“No. But lately, I’ve gotten so paranoid, that I scare myself with my own shadow.”
“Do you have the items I asked you for?” asked Ceara.
“Yes,” said Alicia, reaching into her large canvas tote bag, taking out a shirt belonging to James, a photo, and a small envelope with some strands of James’ dark, blond hair, and gave them to Ceara.
“How did you manage to get all this?”
“Well…I went over to his apartment the other night, and forced myself to be a little lovey-dovey with him. Believe me, it wasn’t easy for me to do. I wanted to jump out of the window the whole time. When I went into his bathroom, I saw his comb and took some of the hairs out, then stuffed in the hamper was one of his shirts. When I passed by the dresser, I noticed a photo of him and his dad when they had been on some kind of fishing trip….I cut the part off with his dad on it.”
“Great! Will you follow me?”
Alicia’s eyes widened, and she gasped a bit as she entered Ceara’s room.
“I hope none of this freaks you out…don’t be afraid of any of this.”
“I’m not. Not really. It’s just that I’ve never seen anything like this before, except maybe in movies. So….this is where you do all of your spells?” asked Alicia.
“Yes. This is a protected, sacred space you might say.”
Ceara grabbed the male-figured candle, and with straight pins attached the photo of James onto it. Next, she cut out a section from his shirt and placed the strands of his hair at the center of it, folded the cloth up, and attached it to the candle as well. She then cut up nine strips of the black construction paper, and wrote the same spell on each strip. Underneath the written spell, she also wrote out James’ name.
“Is there anything I can do?” asked Alicia.
“Yes, after I light each paper, I’ll be moving the burning paper around the pentagram in a counterclockwise fashion. As I do his, we can both say the spell out loud together. Okay?”
“Sure. Anything. Just tell me what to say.”
“Black as night,
Mighty Sekhmet make it right.
Banish this person
From our sight.
Black as night,
Mighty Sekhmet make it right.
Vanish this person,
This very night.”
“Ready?” asked Ceara.
“Ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.”
Ceara placed the male-figured candle in the middle of the cauldron and lit it. One by one, she took each strip of paper, ignited it, then moved the burning paper around the pentagram, while the two chanted the spell out loud. When Ceara could no longer hold each strip without burning her fingers, she threw the paper into the cauldron. The very last strip was burning to ash, when the two heard the front door slam open.
“Alicia? Where are you my love? I know you’re here.”
“Oh, my God! I must have forgotten to completely close the front door,” said Ceara.
When the two came out of the room, James saw Alicia, and ran over to her. He grabbed her. Not with affection. Not with admiration. Not with love, but with brutal force.
“Oh, Alicia. I can’t bear to be without you for one minute.”
“James. Let go of me. You’re hurting me.”
“I’m sorry darling. But I love you so very much.”
“James, why don’t you let go of Alicia?”
“And, who are you?” asked James, who, until then, hadn’t been aware of Ceara’s presence.
I’m a friend of Alicia’s. And I’m asking you again, to please let go of her.”
“And who do you think you are to interfere? This is between me and my lady love here.”
“If you don’t let go of her this minute, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. This is my home after all.”
“Yes, James. Please go away,” said Alicia, who managed to push James away from her slightly.
“Don’t you love me, Alicia?”
“How can you say that? I’d do anything for you.”
“Then leave me alone.”
“Ah, honey. You don’t mean that.”
“Yes, I do!”
“I never want you to leave me. Why don’t you come with me now,” said James, grabbing Alicia’s arm and started dragging her toward the front door with him. Ceara came over, and tried to separate Alicia from James’ iron grip. James let go of Alicia for a moment, pushing Ceara with such force, that she fell to the floor. James then grabbed Alicia again, and resumed dragging her to the door.
“Ceara! Please do something! Call the cops!” pleaded Alicia.
“Quick! Throw some of the alcohol onto the candle,” said Twinkie.
“What?” asked Ceara.
“Pour the alcohol on the candle, then repeat the spell over and over again. Do as I say. Now!” said the feline.
Ceara rose from the floor, ran into her room, and grabbed the rubbing alcohol. She poured practically the whole bottle onto the male-figured candle. She had to stand back as a gigantic whooshing sound occurred, and engulfed the candle entirely in a fireball the moment the alcohol touched the flame of the candle. In a matter of seconds, the candle had melted down to next to nothing.
Suddenly, Ceara heard Alicia screaming at the top of her lungs. Running out of her room, she stopped dead in her tracks at the sight before her. James was standing completely motionless like a statue. His entire body was starting to look fuzzy, as if he were an out-of-focus photograph. His physical form kept getting fainter and fainter, hazier and hazier, and more and more transparent. Then a wisp of smoke spiraled up from were James had stood. There was nothing there. James had disappeared.
The two women were standing stock still in disbelief, trying to grasp fully what had occurred. Then, Alicia started to laugh hysterically.
“Are you all right, Alicia?”
“Oh….uh…sure. Just fine. Like I’m used to seeing someone vanish before my eyes. Was that supposed to happen?”
“I don’t know. I never did that spell before. I’m sorry”
“Don’t be. Who knows? Maybe James was some kind of possessive, psychotic nut-case with all his women. You probably did the world a great favor by getting rid of him. How are we going to explain his disappearance though?” asked Alicia.
“We don’t. I mean, how on earth could we explain this to anyone? It’s not like we murdered him or anything. He just…..”
“….disappeared,” interrupted Alicia.
“Will you be okay? You could stay here overnight, if you wish.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’d rather go home, fix a few good, stiff drinks, and pass out on my own bed.”
“Let me know if I can do anything for you, though, okay?” asked Alicia.
“I will. I think a few years of therapy should do me fine,” said Alicia.
Closing the door, Ceara let out a very, weary sigh of relief. She was glad in a way, that Alicia had decided to go home. She needed to be alone. She sat on the sofa, like a tossed rag doll, with her eyes closed for a long time, not moving an inch. She felt drained, utterly exhausted and spent, as though all her life energy had been completely sucked out of her. All she wanted to do was crawl into her bed and hibernate for at least a month.
When Twinkie jumped up on the sofa, and sat next to her, Ceara opened her eyes, and looked directly into those large, yellow feline eyes.
“Please, Twinkie. Don’t give me a hard time. I don’t need to listen to any of your words of wisdom. I’m in no mood.”
“Ceara, none of this would have happened if you had heeded my warning in the first place. How many times have I told you to never cast a personally directed love spell.”
“Please! Don’t rub it in. One thing, though. Was that supposed to happen? Was James supposed to vanish like that?”
“How should I know? I’ve never done that spell before either.”
“Oh, wonderful! Just great!”
“Hey, let up, will you? It was a desperate situation there, wasn’t it?” asked Twinkie.
“Yes, but I never knew a spell could be so powerful.”
“Well….you did invoke Sekhmet. She’s a very vengeful goddess, not to be reckoned with. She has always been a protectress for women in trouble. You know…..if you play your cards right, you could become a very wealthy woman.”
“What do you mean?”
“Think of it….doesn’t everyone have someone in their lives that they would just love to see disappear?”
“Oh, no! No way! I’ m never going to do that spell ever again. Going through that once was fine by me. I’m still in the throes of a major, meltdown panic attack here as it is.”
“And what about love spells? Going to do anymore of them?”
“You’ve got to be kidding. Don’t worry, Twinkie. I’ve learned my lesson.”
“Good! Maybe now you’ll listen to me when I warn you about something.”
“Don’t you ever get tired of being right all the time?” asked Ceara.
“Of course not.”
“Any final words before I go to bed?”
“Yes. Do you think you could be ever so kind, and give me just a wee bit of anchovies with some sour cream? I’m absolutely famished.”
Ceara sighed as she got up from the sofa and dragged herself into the kitchen. As she prepared a good-sized, healthy serving of Twinkie’s favorite delicacy, she muttered,
“You certainly don’t look famished.”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. Not a thing. Here you are mademoiselle. Bon appetit,” said Ceara, as she placed the plate in front of Twinkie. When she reached her bedroom, Ceara turned, and glanced over to where Twinkie was. The chubby feline was chowing down her late-night feast as if it was her last meal on earth.
“Still can’t believe I’m taking advice from a cat!”