A Vexing Hex

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/007/263/photo_cat2.jpgJoyce read the ad and a burst of incredulous laughter kicked out of her gut.

“Ridiculous,” she said to Simon, her 13-year-old cat, the only one around who listened.

She turned the newspaper page. Page 8 held her interest for barely a second before she ruffled pages and returned to the ad.spells, hexes, Halloween

Hell’s Spells

Dark Moon Ritual 10/30

Curse Away Your Trouble

Call Now! 415-383-xxxx.

www.halloweenhex.com

Private Consultation & Custom Spells Available

Carefully Joyce read each word out loud as if expecting Simon to remark. When he only blinked his yellowed eyes, as if saying he’d seen it all, Joyce picked up the phone and dialed. Continue reading

We’ve Been Here Since ….

locked doorI can’t figure out why the stupid key won’t fit into the same lock I’ve used for the past 10 months.

But my key ring contains many keys – the one for the office, the one for the car, the one for the other car, and the one for the mailbox. The key for the house, of course, and the key for the storage room.

But no, I’m using the correct key- it’s the only one that has red tape on it – red tape I placed there so I’d always know which key to use when I arrived at my front door.

But still, it doesn’t fit in a rather, now that I look more closely, misshapen lock. In fact, the doorknob doesn’t even have a lock, per se, but seems more decorative than anything else.

“Oh husband-of-mine!” I shout, probably too loudly. “What did you do?” I smile a bit. I love surprises – this one is a doozy. Continue reading

Witchy Woman

witch, witchy woman, HalloweenI’ve tried to keep my talents hidden for so long that at times I forget what activities are acceptable, and what are not. For instance, the other day I’m sweeping out the porch, and I hear a scream that sounds like a cat has just been attacked.

Being a lover of felines, I immediately run to the source of the inhuman sound. No cat is in sight, but a little girl stands in the pathway of the woods next to my home, mouth open, senseless screams issuing out of her throat. I guess she’s about 10 years old, blond hair falling loosely around her shoulders, pretty light pink dress all mussed up as if she’s fallen.

“What’s the problem, little one?” I ask. She peers at me as if she’s seen a ghost. I’m not a bad-looking woman, tall, with medium-length black wavy hair and a figure that looks like I work out every day. But she stares at me, wild eyed, as if I’m a wild animal about to pounce. This infuriates me, since I’m a nice creature and have never harmed anyone in my life.woods, witch, Halloween

“Can I help you with something?” I inquire. The little girl shivers as if it’s the dead of winter, but it’s a lovely October afternoon. I shrug my shoulders and turn to go back to my house, but she begins to cry, a frightening sound that my sensitive ears find offensive. I return to her, take her by the hand, and lead her through the path, around the pond, and back to my place.

Climbing red and pink roses cover the front porch, blooming azaleas and rhododendrons decorate the doorway, large lilac blossoms scent our way from the path up to the front door. The little girl opens her mouth and says the most astounding thing: “I’ve never seen so many flowers.”

woods, cottage, witch, Halloween“I have a green thumb,” I respond. Her fear seems to have fled, and she observes my property as if she’s just arrived at Disneyland. A little jump of pride leaps into my heart, an emotion I don’t often feel, and I quickly tamp it down. Pride won’t do in this day and age, not if I want to survive. Speaking of which, I worry a little about my instinct in letting the little girl come to my cottage. The last time anyone saw my abode was back in 18- -, well, I don’t want to age myself. It was before the age of automobiles, anyway.

“Would you like to come inside?” I ask lightly. She shakes her head no, which relieves me, and again I query, “What’s the problem?”

“I’m lost,” she explains with a quick hiccup and a look of total desperation. I sense another emotion I haven’t felt in a while, sweet empathy. This sensation I didn’t hinder. The poor girl is obviously petrified, missing her family and afraid she’ll die in the woods by nightfall.

“Your mommy is very worried about you,” I say. I can see the mother, a petite woman in blue jeans and a light blue cotton blouse, calling up all of Robin’s friends and asking if they’d seen her. “Would you like to go home, Robin?”

She starts to shiver again and asks in a tiny, high voice, “How’d you know my name?”

Whoops, there’s that problem again, not remembering what I can do and not do and what is acceptable in this fast-paced, no nonsense, world. “Well, maybe you don’t remember, but you told me,” I say quickly. And she had. She just didn’t say it out loud, but I don’t have time to explain.

“Robin, the way home is so easy. Go back on the path we just left, and follow all the yellow arrows on the trees. You’ll be home in no time.”Fall, woods, October, Halloween

The girl doesn’t budge, so I take her by the hand again and we begin to walk, but so slowly I’m afraid my stew, steaming on the pot, will boil over by the time I return. So I raise my hand over the child and a small fog of spicy aromas fall over her head, making her sleepy. We race effortlessly halfway over the wooded path, neither of our feet touching the ground, until we’re within shouting distance of the entrance to her neighborhood at the border of the woods. With a quick spell, I wake Robin, and she scrutinizes the scenery, confused.

“What a lovely walk we’ve just had,” I comment cheerily. “Now run along, Robin. Say hello to your mother.” I push her gently, and within seconds she’s running joyfully to familiar surroundings.

With a gentle tug on my sleeve, I’m back at my front door, smelling the vegetable stew before even opening the door. I inspect my surroundings. How I love living here, and have for centuries, but obviously my little whimsy of releasing the invisible spell around my home has been a mistake.

With a nod and a twist of my head, I disappear as I enter my home, ready to enjoy my lunch of turnips, parsnips, hickory and ivy, with a pinch of…well, never mind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d8hZtvRPno

Why I Hated Halloween

Grinning Halloween lantern vector illustration.I wasn’t the kind of parent who produced daily  science/art/math projects for my children, or thought up of special field trips once a week, or was creative in any way.

In my mind, that meant I didn’t stack up any “good parenting” awards. I hated working on anything “arts & crafty,” which included just about everything except reading a children’s book out loud.

So when school began each year, and the air became crisper, leaner, more aromatic, I began to gnaw my fingernails.

Halloween would arrive sooner than I wanted, and any time was too soon.

Because I hated Halloween.

I just wasn’t good at it.

“What can I be this year? young daughter would ask by mid-October.

And every year, I’d respond the same: “A gypsy?”

Halloween, costume, gypsy costumeI have photos of her when she was 4, and 5, and 6 (and beyond!) wearing one of my old patterned skirts and a worn down shirt, strands of costume necklaces, a bunch of bangles, a neck scarf around her head, and lots of red rouge and lipstick.

Viola! A gypsy girl.

My little boy, however, came home with tales of his friends’ moms making them elaborate ghost costumes, or turning them into Luke Skywalker, or even worse, fashioning cardboard boxes into honest-to-goodness real looking silver rockets.

“No,” I always stated. Sadly, yet defiantly. “Your mom doesn’t do that.”papter bag, Halloween

So most Halloweens, my boy insisted on wearing a paper bag over his head, with holes for the eyes, and a pair of my old cowboy boots.

“I’m a monster,” he’d insist, year after year.

But the year our family splurged for a vacation to Hawaii, I got clever.

Not artsy crafty, but clever.

I came home with children-sized Hawaiian shirts, grass Hula skirts, and plastic leis. When I showed the kids their Halloween costume the third week of October, the expressions were less than enthusiastic, but they appeased me and wore them on the 31st.

Halloween costume

Happy Halloween…?

That was the year my boy’s best friend’s mom sewed her little guy a huge green Tyrannosaurus outfit, the kind that could win a ‘BEST KID’S COSTUME IN THE WORLD’ award. Trexbig

My daughter’s best friend’s mom dressed her little pumpkin in a glittery pink and purple fairy queen outfit with gossamer fairy wings and sparkly silver shoes that lit up when she walked.

My children came home from trick or treating early that year, claiming they were tired, no joyous shouts as they counted their candy treasure.

I suggested they change best friends.

Then I castigated myself for not being a good creative parent.

However …

            Every October

                         I read to my kids

                                    a LOT of terrific Halloween books.

That should count, shouldn’t it?

Halloween books, Halloween

A Ghost Story

ghost, ghost story, spirit, friendI know it’s going to happen tonight. All the signs are right. Children off on their own, husband away on business, my two best friends gone on vacations with their families.

I am alone. Finally.

For the past two months I’ve been preparing for this time, not knowing that it would come, but preparing nonetheless.

The sun finally loses its power over gravity and sinks down into the dark rose horizon. The moon floats ahead, but herds of black clouds cover its cheerful shine, darkening the sky and the earth below.

I turn off the lights to the living room, the hallway, then the stairway, and finally my bedroom.

I am swathed in glorious blackness.

I close my eyes, then open them so the room is revealed to me like a developing photo in a dark room.  Familiar shapes and shadows relax me.

Then an unfamiliar form floats from the window to the door and stops a few feet away.

“Virginia?” I ask.  She nods her head. I see no face, no female body, but still, I know it’s my dear friend of many years, my mentor, dead over 15 years now. I have talked to her so often in my prayers, but never a response.

Now she speaks, though no words fill the room.

We revel in memories of the life we shared, and she laughs heartily. My soul fills with the sound.  I have missed it, but now realize that it has always been part of me, and shall remain so.

She answers my personal questions of what lay beyond.  I won’t tell you what she says.

Felicity, my cat, creeps into the room, staring at me with her yellow eyes.  I’m afraid she may think her mistress has lost her mind, but instead she meows to me.  “Why stay here? Take a cat nap and see the world.”cat, ghost, story

Oh, I suddenly realize; I’ve always been able to go back and forth between worlds. I just don’t nap enough.

I close my eyes, feeling Virginia’s presence close at hand.  We soar off through the window panes into the black night.  I am so happy my heart balloons twice its size. I see George, then, and grandmama, and, of course, Pauli.  They are just as free as me.

We head toward the prism that has suddenly appeared, and just as suddenly we’re in a garden of roses and delphiniums and hydrangeas. The soil is moist and smells like cut grass, starfish, and summer moonlight.  Felicity joins us and converses with a butterfly.

“Change is imperative,” the colorful flying insect says wisely.

I wink and find myself back in my dark bedroom, seated Buddha style, petting Felicity in soft gentle strokes.  She gazes up at me and says only one word in a long, low purr.

“Llllllooooooovvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee.ghost story, butterfly, cat, soul

 “Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for

but never seen.” (Anne Sexton)