Study of Witches

Extract from “The Study of Witches” by Stephen Cabrano:

Magic tends to skip a generation. Often, witches learn from their grandmothers, and so they always have a slightly old-fashioned approach to things. Heavy spellbooks filled with crammed handwritten spells and recipes, old cauldrons and knives… Not to mention that specialised tools such as broomsticks and wands are remarkably expensive- hard to make, so there are few who do.  It’s rare that your average village witch will have a new one. More likely she’ll have a broom that’s been handed down from at least four witches before her, that’s been mended and patched so often that there’s very little of the original broom left.

But the witches themselves tend to be modern, and it makes for an entertaining and remarkable system. Young witches are filled with thoughts about progress and new ideas and a fresh outlook on everything. They work closely with the people and they learn what they want. Witches are almost always empathetic, caring, concerned about the people in their village, the people under their care. They talk with the people and they hear their ideas and then they try and implement them.

Because of this, witches’ homes are always so anachronistic. Old books stacked beside laptops, cauldrons beside electric kettles, and once I even saw a brand-new modern motorbike in a garage beside an old broom with half of its twigs bent all over the place. It truly is an interesting juxtaposition.

Note scrawled at the bottom of the page in pencil:

What absolute fucking bollocks. What a wanker. If I’d known he was going to write this drivel I’d never have let him in my bloody house. What did he do, go to three witches’ houses and decide he was an expert? Just another man with unwanted opinions. Well he can take his bloody ‘study of witches’ and shove it up his own arse. And I’ll remember this if he ever needs help from an ‘anachronistic witch’. Pompous prick.

-Maura Kenny

[18/03/17: Anachronistic]

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Lipstick like the Mediterranean

Her entire summer had been spent deliberating on the perfect colour of lipstick. Surveying the Boots selection, she felt like Christopher Columbus, confident that there was a perfect shade to send her on the route to beauty. Each new colour would be placed next to her hazel eyes, while she contemplated the ways they complimented her translucent skin. It was a long process, yet there was nothing tedious about it. Her nose was turned up, her eyes deep-set, overall giving the impression of an anthropomorphic piglet. Her neck was like liquid, dripping over her shirt collar. Makeup was her one true saviour and this new makeup was as beautiful and blue as the ocean she had seen in Greece with her parents. The zenith of her finds.

Her mum’s reaction ignited an uncontrollable fury. ‘That’s too blue! You look like you’ve just been defrosted!’

A collage of her mother’s fashion mistakes was displayed in the gallery of her mind. She erased these cerebral sketches from her psyche as she simultaneously attempted to erase any idea in her mother’s brain that she was capable of handing out fashion advice. She was as harsh and cutting as a rusty razor, and the nasty slashes left a more permanent scar than any physical damage could. Her ideas of style were anachronistic. Perhaps she was once beautiful and knowing, but she had long since faded into forgotten memories where the old and ugly resided.

After her mother’s cruel comments, she showed her lipstick to Gary. He was as fat and unattractive as she was, but also effeminate enough to convince her he understood fashion. ‘Oh, my god. Yes! That is gorgeous!’

Summer ended and her confidence had been inflated. She was careful only to confer with those she knew would expand her already bursting ego. She swaggered towards her classroom, glancing smugly at the hideous trolls who lurked at each corner. She was a princess in a fairy tale, a shining star through the miniature universe of a high school.

However, when she entered her classroom, she was as unnoticed as an unneeded buoy amongst the sea of beautiful and popular people. But an observant captain sailed towards. It was Alex Hepburn, the best-looking boy in the class. From those perfectly curved lips came a seductive lilt: ‘Lucy, that lipstick…’

‘Yes?’ her voice tremored, as she gazed into his eyes. They were as blue and hypnotic as her lips.

‘It makes you look like a fucking corpse. Especially seeing as you’re so bloody pasty!’
Alice Jenkins’ perked at the sound of humiliation. ‘Yea, you’re right! God, she does look like a dead body.’

The entire fleet of twenty-two teenagers turned to face her. Their laughter was like an explosion and it was as unbearable as torture itself. She stared down at the graffiti, pretending to read. But in her mind, she was wishing she had listened to her mum, thinking that maybe the old ways weren’t so bad.

-James Hunter

[18/02/17: Anachronistic, Zenith, ‘Blue Lips’-Regina Spektor]