Paul knocked on the door to the witch’s shack. Even if you hadn’t come here looking for a witch, you would know on sight that this was a witch’s shack. Every inch of the outer walls were covered with weird symbols and carvings of animals. The front garden consisted of sticks with a single leaf each stuck in the ground.
The door opened, but the woman inside did not match the description we were given. She was much younger and much hotter. She saw our confusion and was annoyed. “Yes, I know. Just come in and don’t worry about it.”
We went in, but I at least was still pretty worried about it. One expects a certain maturity when dealing with the supernatural. At least I did. Though I had no previous experience with such things. I was basing all this on what I’d seen on TV.
The inside of the shack was much more what I expected. Cans and jars filled the shelves which covered all four walls. Some of the jars contained things with eyes. Sad, dead eyes that stared at us and knew we were here for no good. Nothing they hadn’t seen before.
There was a fireplace with a cauldron but the odor from it was much more chicken soup than witch’s brew. There were other smells though. Dank and bitter, moving around the room as if alive. Coming and going. They smelled like fear and danger, waiting to pounce.
The witch told us to sit at the rickety table in the center of the room. It was then that I noticed that there was no bed, nor door to a bedroom. The shack was the one room. She sat down across from us, flopping heavily into the chair as if worn out from the journey from the door.
“Visions was it?” she asked.
Paul explained what he was looking for. He was in love with Berta, but she wanted nothing to do with him. He wanted to know why she didn’t love him, so he could change, or if the gap was too wide, give up.
The witch stared at Paul for a minute, then at me. I told her I was just there to support and protect Paul. She didn’t ask, but somehow, she asked.
“I can’t give you what you want.” She said. “But, I can give you what you need. Forty dollars for the pair of you.”
I told her that I was just there to watch. She said there was no watching. Paul gave her the money.
She got up and took an empty mason jar from a shelf. She went around the room adding bits of plants and liquids to the jar. Then she held it over the fire. It started to boil, yet she held it in her hand.
Then she cried. Not a tear rolling down the cheek kind of cry. It was like she had a hose in each eye. The tears flowed into the boiling jar. She moaned from the pain and a sorrow deeper than the pain. I wanted to jump up and help, but didn’t dare.
When the jar was full she pulled it away from the fire. The tears stopped and she smiled. “You should see what I have to go through for the insomnia potion.”
She got two coffee cups from beside the fire, put them on the table and filled each with a third of the jar. She winked at me and said, “I saw that you almost stopped me. I can trust you. You can trust me.” Then she drank the remaining contents of the jar.
I drank the liquid in the cup. It was sweet, but burned. Paul hesitated, but the witch’s glare convinced him to drink his brew.
We all sat in silence waiting for something to happen. After a long time Paul got up and turned towards the door and disappeared into thin air with a loud pop. I turned to the witch. She was laughing but I couldn’t hear her. She slowly faded away.
Then I saw Paul. He was in total darkness but he was running. He was screaming that he couldn’t see, but I could see him. I tried to call to him but I had no voice.
Then the witch was there. She was naked. She asked if I wanted her. I nodded yes. She smiled and became old. She asked if I still wanted her. I thought it was some kind of trap so I said, “Yes.” She disappeared and I was sitting at the table again.
The world took a moment to focus. The witch and Paul were sitting where they had been. The witch was still young. Paul looked like shit. He was covered in mud and blood. His clothes were torn.
Paul described how he was running through the darkness the tripped, fell and rolled down a rocky hill till he landed in a creek or something.
The witch laughed. “You don’t know what you want. That’s why you couldn’t see.”
Paul said he paid for a vision and wanted his money back. The witch laughed louder. Paul got up and stormed out.
I asked the witch what my vision meant. She told me that I was a shameless horndog. Then told me to get out before she turned old and held me to my promise. I hesitated. She flicked her wrist and the evil smells attacked me. I ran out the door.
I caught up with Paul who by now was convinced that Berta would never love him. I asked him if he’d met the new girl at the diner. He hadn’t, so we went for burgers. Figured that would soften the blow about Berta before I told him that I had the hots for her too.