Christina Mayer: To Harness the Art of Witchcraft

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After another kiss with Bridget, Christina opened her eyes and found herself somewhere she had never been before.

She was on a street, or at least, the Puritan equivalent of a street. There were no cars or modern houses, no pylons or signs of twenty-first century life. Weeping Willows was known for preserving its eighteenth-century image; the houses had all been beautifully made with clay and wood, and the stone chimneys stood miles above the roof of the house. There was a meeting house behind her, and a small, linear church to her left. The houses were close together, forming what would be considered a town square.

Christina loved the aesthetic. Despite the fact that the majority of houses were now rotten and decrepit, the air felt clear. She inhaled deeply; a seductive power filling her lungs. Her dress trailed along the ground when she took her first steps in the ghost town, heading for the church.

The first ingredient would be there. She looked down at her list – Asphodel was the first one, and Bridget had put a note next to it with one word – 'church'. The calligraphy on the parchment was beautiful and something to envy. She folded the parchment up and kept it in her hand.

The church was small and completely made of wood. There were only three windows on either side – no stain glass, no beauty of any kind. The steeple was quaint also, with a large cross that looked five sizes too big for the structure. Christina felt uneasy as she approached it, keeping her eyes on the cross. She was a believer of God and her family always attended church on Sundays, and now she worried about the judgment for what she had become.

Her heart beat ferociously as she reached for the handle on the door. There was no change in the atmosphere, and no bolt of lightning struck her down once the door swung open. The absence of condemnation eased Christina's mind; she realised that she has always been a witch, she just didn't know it. If she could pray in church with her family for all those years and not be burned for it by now, then being a witch must be okay.

That is what she told herself to feel better.

Once she was inside, she slowly scanned the room to ensure there would be no surprises. It was a little too dark to tell as her eyesight adjusted to the shadows, and she started to realise that there were people in the aisles.

She gasped and almost ran backwards to the door. Nobody in the aisles moved at the audible sound from the new arrival. Noting that, Christina calmed ever so slightly and continued deeper into the church.

Once she passed the first set of people, she noticed that they appeared to be frozen in time. The woman closest to her had thin, long hair with missing patches in her scalp. Her skin was translucent and wet, and she gazed at the altar at the front of the church. Christina thought that she might be dead, but when the woman kept blinking every now and then, her status of life was confirmed. She didn't pay Christina any attention.

The woman's face was particularly frightening. Her nose was long and hooked down, and despite her young eyes, her body sagged. Christina moved her eyes away when she saw that she, and every other person in the church, was naked.

Their terrifying exteriors did nothing to stop Christina from walking to the other end of the church. She was told the Asphodel has been growing through the cracks of the wood, and the floor was littered with grass and flowers. Christina looked at the parchment again to see a very small drawing of what looked like a lily next to the Asphodel.

She dropped to her hands and knees and started examining all of the flowers. With her back to the rest of the church, a draft came up behind her. She snapped her attention in the direction of the frozen people. Nobody had moved, but an uneasy feeling stirred in Christina's stomach. They may not be moving, but they were definitely watching her.

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