This witchy tale can stand on its own two little legs, but I promise it will be less wobbly—and a LOT more enjoyable—if you first read “Alexis’ Story” by Tori.
Here is a belated Winter Solstice gift for a friend who deserves much more.
Blessed to Death: Part II of Alexis’ Story
How do I tell a 12-year-old blind witch that she’s the only one who can vanquish the ancient demon who has been planning her death since way before her great-grandparents were born? That question flew around and around my avian brain as I circled over the witch in question. I decided to follow my gut. It was early, and the school entrance was deserted. I shifted from crow to human form right in front of the witch’s eyes.
She squinted up at me. Her short black hair made her look extra pale in an unintentionally Goth kind of way. She opened her mouth to talk, but closed it again.
“What were you going to say?” I sat next to her on the sidewalk. She stared at me, but didn’t answer. “You aren’t mute,” I pressed on. “I heard you talking to yourself.”
Her quick fingers leafed through the book in her hands. She looked back and forth between me and the yellowish pages, and muttered words I couldn’t make out.
I snatched the book from her. “I’m not the one you need to curse,” I said. A nervous witch chanting from a raggedy leather-bound book is never a good thing, especially for the one making her nervous. I wondered what teenage witches were learning these days. I glanced at the spot she had been reading, “Easy Everyday Blessings?” I roared at the title.
Glaring at me, she got to her feet using a black cane for support, and resumed her chanting, “With the passion of fire, and with water’s strength; with the wisdom of air, and with earth’s grounding breath.” The witch’s cane shook in her grasp. “I command you… I…” Something that looked like panic or courage took over her face.
Her cane landed across my right ear and cheek, and she rushed back into the school building.
My face was throbbing. I could barely see through the pain. “Wait,” I stumbled after the witch. What’s her freaking name? I asked myself. I looked at a piece of paper she had been using as a book mark. Her name was written under a huge red F. Alexis. “Alexis, wait.” I yanked the door opened, and followed the witch’s scent into a janitor’s closet. I froze.
“They should stop sending little nightmares to do grownup demons’ work.” Stian, hiding under the skin of a middle-aged woman, held Alexis against his chest. They stood in the middle of a circle I couldn’t cross. Stian’s voice sounded strange and too masculine, coming out of a tiny woman’s mouth.
I looked around the room; we were alone. Alexis seemed to be in a trance. “Listen to me Alexis,” I swallowed and wished I had taken advantage of the little time I had spent with the witch. “That is not your teacher,” my voice didn’t seem to reach her. “Please, Alexis, you have to trust me. His name is Stian. He’s a rogue demon who’s here to kill you, but you can banish him.” My words sounded senseless to my own ears, but I had to say them anyway. “You must banish him, little witch.”
“Don’t be stupid, Mara,” Stian caressed Alexis’ hair. “Look into my eyes, child. I’m your teacher; you know that. Do what I say, darling. That woman is very, very bad.” Stian pointed at me with a cock of his head. “She is evil. I need you to hold my hands and repeat what I say, dear, or the evil woman won’t leave. She will hurt everyone if you don’t help me.”
Alexis nodded and I wanted to scream. “Don’t look in his eyes, Alexis. He is trying to suck your magic.” I saw as Stian’s aura flared. He was a halo of white fire about to consume the little witch. “He’ll kill you, Alexis. Run!”
But Alexis wasn’t listening to me. Her own aura had flared red, blue, yellow and brown, creating a double conduit between her magic and the demon’s power.
Stian opened his arms and dropped his barriers, in order to welcome Alexis’ soul.
The witch took a step back, picked up her cane with incredible speed, and used it to draw a smaller circle inside the one she had been sharing with Stian. The demon realized what the witch was doing and tried to escape, but Alexis’ circle held strong.
Standing straight and looking determined, Alexis yelled, “With the passion of fire, and with water’s strength; with the wisdom of air, and with earth’s grounding breath,” her cane smacked the ground three times, and with each blow the demon’s aura sizzled. “I command you, Stian, to be blessed to death!”
The demon’s white aura was absorbed into Alexis’ glowing colorful form.
“B… but,” my tongue felt too big in my mouth. “No one has taught you anything. The Coven sent me because you were… well, because you were weak and lost.”
“Things are not always what they seem, are they?” Alexis took her book from my hands, and walked past me.
I turned around when a question came to mind. “You used a blessing to banish a demon; why?”
“I didn’t banish him,” Alexis lifted her cane. “I consumed his energy.”
I blinked. I didn’t know of anyone ever doing that. “How? You need to curse a demon to take his power. To do that, you must look into his eyes. Looking into a demon’s eyes, grants him permission to steal your soul. You are still you, right?” She felt and smelled like she hadn’t change.
“Right; I didn’t curse him, remember? I blessed him into his dead. And I have been blind for quite some time. I can’t look into anyone’s eyes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see what’s inside them and around me. Also,” Alexis grinned and padded her backpack with the cane, “I’m pretty awesome at playing witch.”