The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Passion Spell
by Alyson Faye
Miranda walked at dawn, through Milner woods; hood pulled up to hide her face. A blur of brown startled her, but it was only a young deer, who was equally alarmed to see her.
She checked her iPhone, with the Passionata plant image downloaded, along with the words to the spell, the old woman with the blackened teeth, in the Tarot and crystals shop had sold her.
This will bring you the passion you seek, the crone had promised, giving her a gummy grin.
Miranda shuddered at how much money she’d spent. Her parents would kill her if they ever found out she’d emptied her savings. But all she could think about was Jake, his laugh, his face; he even smelled amazing. He was intoxicating, being around him made her feel wonderful. She longed to spend time alone with him, but he was oddly evasive, and elusive.
The bright strawberry-red leaves of the Passionata caught her eye, nestled under a fallen log. The old woman had said it only turned red for an hour a day, ‘between the rising and swelling of dawn’. Then it reverted to boring browny-green.
Miranda tore off three leaves and, as instructed, rubbed them over her lips, and hands, whilst saying the words of the spell. Those magic words which guaranteed Jake would feel real passion for her.
Her lips buzzed, tasting of mint, copper and something else, something alien. The red sap stained her fingers, which was gross. But she also felt super-confident and powerful. A woman who Jake would desire.
The next day at college she kept watch for Jake, but at lunchtime overheard his mates saying he’d gone away for a few days holiday with Lucy, from Lit. and Language.
Not that quiet mouse, thought Miranda, who’s always got her head in a book. Not her!
Miranda had to go outside, to get away from the crowded canteen. She felt sick, shaky and her lips were throbbing, and sore.
On the way home, she diverted down Pennygate Alley to the Tarot shop, to confront the old woman.
‘You lied to me, you old witch.’ Miranda shook with fury, and something else – a hot wave starting from her toes and racing up her body, tingling her arms and legs. ‘Jake’s gone off with another girl. He should have been mine. I performed the spell ritual. I got up at bloody dawn, too. I want my money back.’ Her spittle landed on the old woman’s face.
The woman didn’t seem concerned at Miranda’s outburst, merely shrugging. ‘If you think me a witch, then you should be wary. There are all sorts of magic, girl. Good and bad. You wanted passion, didn’t you? I have given you that.’
Miranda held out her hands, which were shaking of their own volition. ‘What’s happening to me?’ Fear made her voice shake. The red stain was spreading up her hands, slithering to her wrists, then past her elbows on its way to her shoulders. Her lips were burning. She desperately wanted a cold drink. No, she wanted an ice bath to lie in. No, she wanted to be teleported to the Artic, naked.
‘This is the gift of the Passionata plant, girl. This fire you feel. This is passion. It is not love, which gives and shares. It is dangerous, uncontrolled, consuming. It takes all of you. And by the way there are NO refunds.’
The crone pulled down the shutters, turning the shop sign to ‘closed’, and dimmed the lights. Miranda was on her knees, huddled up, groaning. Her lips had swelled to three times their normal size, her heart was pounding at double speed, and her fingers and toes (hidden in her boots) were turning charred black.
Steam rose from her body, her hair ignited into ashes, and her eyes popped from her skull, rolling across the floor like marbles.
The witch watched impassive. She had seen it all before. Soon she would have a stock of newly-charred bones to toss in the pot. Business had never been better, especially with being on social media, which did so much of the devil’s work for her.
Fiction © Copyright Alyson Faye
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Alyson Faye:
The Lost Girl & Spindleshanks
The Lost Girl
A nailed-up door. An inheritance which comes with a ghost. A missing girl. A fifty-year-old mystery. Parapsychologist Berkley Osgood is hired to investigate. What he uncovers reveals secrets the living want to hide and the dead will never forgive.
Adam is having nightmares about a skeletal shadow figure, who he calls Spindleshanks. Soon his whole class are sharing the same nightmare. Adam’s dad, Rob, knows that Spindleshanks can’t be real. But is he? One terrible night Rob has to face his son’s nightmare creature and fight for his son’s life. What would you sacrifice to have your child back safe?
“A decent two-for-one. Alyson Faye brings the engaging and eerie in equal measure.” CC Adams – horror / dark fiction author