Black Magic Women
We witches are misunderstood creatures. We are lonely, jilted women who live in secluded candy cottages or drafty haunted castles, all alone except for our black cats and our warty toads.
We are wise with experience. Wise as owls with eyes just as keen, and we can catch you with our talons in the middle of the darkest night. We are smarter than most men. We have spent years studying botany and astrology. We know how to interpret dreams and palms and the entrails of a butchered hog. We can look a man in the eye and see inside to his soul. But men are not impressed with our knowledge. They fear such power in a woman. We are too strong. They prefer their women with flaxen-hair and straw for brains. And so they call us evil and they cast us out into the barren wilderness.
We are empty and we are angry. We spend year after year alone, and our eccentricities flourish like the horehound and wormwood in backyard gardens. Like homegrown herbs, we are bitter and strong, and we grow impervious to the elements, able to withstand blizzards and droughts.
We grow old and ugly, with shriveled ovaries and sagging breasts. Our wrinkled skin is dry and rough as tree bark. But we have the power to appear otherwise, for a short time. We cast spells to smooth away our wrinkles, to bring the color back to our fading hair and faces. But the spells never last. And even though we possess great power, the young and beautiful always have more. The slim-waisted princesses, the creamy-skinned maidens. Though we pretend otherwise, we are jealous.
They come to us asking for help, these bubble-brained girls, and we hate them for it. They have everything we always secretly wanted, and yet they dare to ask for more. Is it any wonder we make unfair deals? Life has been unfair to us. Because we are strong, because we are independent, we have been shunned. By men and by all of the world. The young, stupid girls with blinking doe eyes come to us, twittering about love, and we say we will help them… for a price. We reach out our greedy hands and we ask for their babies. We ask for plump, rosy babies so that we might have something warm and fat to cradle against our cold, shrinking hearts. We ask for a new life. We crave the innocence we long ago threw away. We are too smart to be innocent. Too wise to believe in love. We are not evil. We are lonely. And beneath our ashen skin, our old bones are as fragile as glass.