A Witch’s Journal : Part One

It seems I am to be a witch. Or rather, it seems I am one already. I certainly could not have predicted this. I’m told I have a choice, that I can refuse if I wish to, that I can simply walk out the door and never look back…

Where would I go? I have nowhere else to be. Perhaps this is what I’ve been looking for.  Perhaps I’ve finally found a place where I can truly belong.  It seems so unlikely, so strange, and yet…perhaps if I force myself to believe it,  I can will it into truth. Perhaps I have at last found a home.

I’m told  I should record my life and work in these pages, that this is what witches do. I’m not sure how to begin. I suppose I might start by telling how I came to this place. It is a simple story: I was in the forest; it was dark; it was raining; I was lost.  Perhaps it is wrong to say I was lost, as that implies that I had some destination in mind, when in reality my only goal was to find somewhere reasonably warm and dry where I could shelter for the night, or at least until the rain had stopped.

 

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I was cold, wet, and miserable and growing more so as the night went on.  The full moon was bright enough that some of its light reached me through the clouds and the leaves, but it was still dark enough that I kept tripping on roots and walking into trees.  When I found myself lying in the mud for what felt like the hundredth time, I couldn’t quite find the strength to get back up again.  I managed to sit up, but standing seemed to require more effort than I was capable of.  I was so exhausted that it took me a moment to realize that the surface I was leaning against was too smooth and flat to be a tree. I ran my hands along it, hardly daring to believe…it was a wall.  I stumbled to my feet.  Surely a wall must be part of a house, surely a house must have…a door! Had I been less desperate, less miserable, I would have knocked, of course.  As it was, I simply grabbed the handle, wrenched open the door, and threw myself inside.  I suppose it was lucky, then, that the house was empty. It was just a hut really, only one room with just a few pieces of furniture, everything covered in a thick layer of dust.  There was, however, a fireplace and – miraculously – a stack of dry firewood.  I started a fire easily, though I had never been good at it and though my fingers were stiff from the cold. Had I been less tired, I might have found it strange.  I might have wondered at the dim light in the cabin, which seemed to have no source. I might have been unnerved and forced myself back into the rain.  As it was, I simply curled up on the floor in front of the fire and fell asleep.

 

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The fire was long dead by the time I awoke, but I was no longer cold. I was even almost dry. I pried open the shudders and the room was filled with mid-morning light. I looked around the place where I had spent the night.  It was clearly abandoned. As I had nowhere else to be, I decided to explore, though, frankly, there didn’t seem to be much to see. One side of the room was taken up by a simple but solid wooden table with a bench on either side, while the other side contained only a bed and a large trunk.  The wood of the bed frame had rotted until it had snapped in the middle, and the mattress stunk of mould.  The trunk was locked.  The wall opposite the door had no windows and no furniture leaning against it.  It was entirely lined with shelves, and these shelves were filled with all sorts of curious things: jars and bottles filled with various substances – powders, liquids, dried herbs, jellies, pickled…things – some labelled, some familiar, some completely unidentifiable; bunches of dried herbs and flowers; small, finely carved wooden boxes filled with exotic spices; various animal horns and bones; goblets, bowls and other dishes, most of clay, but some of glass or metal or materials I did not recognize; and six large leather bound books.  I was drawn to the books, as I always am. Three of them were handwritten, filled with notes and sketches and diagrams, all rather difficult to read. The other three were printed, and therefore much more legible. The titles sent shivers down my spine: Identification and Properties of Common Plants, Stones and Animal Parts; Simple Spells and Potions; and Methods of Scrying and Divining.

 

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These were a witch’s books. This was a witch’s home. Dread rose in my throat until I thought I might be sick. Magic had caused me enough trouble already; I wanted nothing more to do with it. I rushed to the door and was about to swing it open and flee when I was pulled up short by a knock on the door. I froze. I held my breath, staring at the door, hoping that I had imagined the sound. There was another knock. What should I do?

“I know you’re in there,” a voice said. “You’d better open the door.”

I sighed. What could I do? I opened the door.

An old woman stood there, her bright blue eyes boring into me as though she could see into my soul and was not terribly impressed. She looked me up and down.

“So you’re the new witch?” She said. “Well, you don’t look like much, but who am I to judge? Let’s get you settled in, shall we?”

To be continued

Happy Dreaming,

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  1. A Witch’s Journal : Part Two |

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