Coventry

“I conjured the great prophet, Samuel,” the witch of Endor answered the inquiry.

“Well,” one of the weird sister replied, “we conjured nine kings …”

“… two boys …”continued the second sister.

“… and an armed head!” finished the third.

“Ghosts, phooey,” Erictho mocked, “I once reanimated a corpse for the son of Pompeii.”

“Oh, ho-ho as I always say,” the bubbly new witch added as she nervously smoothed-down her taffeta dress with both hands, “‘a little necromancy goes a long way’.”

This had finally elicited the much hoped-for cackles from the others.

The high priestess noticed one member of her newly formed coven was not joining in the mirth, but was instead forlornly watching the blades of grass within the circle as they danced on the breeze.

“Medea, what bothereth thee?” Lilith asked her.

“It’s this talk of men, Lil,” she replied, “just got me thinking of Jason. Today would’ve been our two thousand and eighth anniversary. Or maybe it’s two thousand and ninth?” she whispered the last part to herself, “I’ve lost count,” she continued aloud, “That is if he hadn’t’ve left me for that younger woman, that … that princess!”

“The little tramp.” Ursula offered as consolation.

“Men are pigs!” Circe interjected.

“I resent that generalization,” the only married one amongst them retorted, “My Darrin is wonderful and very supportive of who I am. And no comments from you, Mother,” she finished, directing her gaze at the witch of Endor.

Medea, still maudlin, recused herself once more from the conversation and returned her gaze to the circle’s center. There, she noticed a small square shadow suddenly appear in the grass.

“What’s that?” she asked and then looked skyward.

The other twelve noticed the shadow almost simultaneously, for in the ensuing seconds it had doubled and then quadrupled in size.

Dryghten,” someone murmured reverently as the thirteen joined hands.

Recognition struck the coven’s newest member and she tried to escape in a panic.

“The circle SHALL NOT be broken!” Lilith screeched.

Hecate and Canidia tightened their grips on the new witch’s slim delicate hands.

—§—

“That was a hell of a ride,” a frail old lady said to herself, moments later, as, disheveled, she stepped through an opening that used to be the electric glass double-door entrance to Coventry Convalescent Hospital, carefully avoiding the shards of glass that still jutted from its now twisted  metal frame, while tightly gripping the back of her dusty-blue hospital gown to keep it closed because, once again, she had forgotten to wear any panties, and then let out a gleeful whoop.

She surveyed her surrounding, the grove of massive gnarled oaks several yards to her left, and the glow on the western horizon that looked as if the sun had set in an ocean of Absinth.

“Well ain’t this the shit,” she said realizing where she had landed.

After a few moments of searching, she spied the familiar path hidden beneath foot-long blades of Emerald Zoysiagrass (she recognized the species from trying to seed her suburban California lawn back in ’54), which swayed on the warm breeze.

She heard a faint singing also drifting on the breeze, as she leaned over and retrieved a tiara that was tangled askew in the blood-soaked blonde hair that peaked from beneath the building simply one grotesquery among a plethora of gore smeared body parts—just as she had taken those damned red shoes over a century earlier. Dot wiped the tiara on her hospital gown, smearing the powder-blue with a ruby streak and then put it on her own fragile nearly bald head and joined her own voice with the little ones in the familiar tune.

Ω

Stephen M. Wilson  Stephen M. Wilson's website is Poetry Editor for Doorways Magazine, editor of microcosms and co-editor of the SFPA’s annual Dwarf Stars Award anthology. He is currently at work editing the anthology POEtry … without apologies and penning his first poetry collection Dark Duet (a collaboration with award winning poet Linda D. Addison).

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