Hour 22: The Witch’s Ladder

She sits alone in her house in the woods, fingers working fast.
The moon is hiding.

By knot of one, the spell’s begun.

The animals stay away from her house.
The people in the city four miles from her woods tell stories about her.

By knot of two, the magic comes true.

Her fingers move nimbly, liver spots and all.
She can feel her blood rushing around her body, her breathing quickening.

By knot of three, so it shall be.

Leaves and twigs tangled in her hair, a spider watches from a small hole in the wall.
She’s done this many times throughout the years.

By knot of four, the power is stored.

Her one good eye, making sure the knots are secure and fashioned properly.
Her other eye, in a glass jar, keeping watch for anything trying to sneak around in her house.

By knot of five, my will shall drive.

Her fingers are beginning to ache, magic isn’t as easy on the body as it used to be.
The wind blows in gusts and flurries, matching her breathing.

By knot of six, the spell I fix.

Her muscles straining along her bones like ship-ropes, strong and taut.
The cat sits at her feet, purring in its sleep.

By knot of seven, the future I leaven.

There’s a knock at her door, but it doesn’t startle her.
The little woman in the jar on the table next to her rouses from a dream.

By knot of eight, my will be fate.

Her fingers move faster, smoother, the liver spots on her hands fading.
Her hair grows longer, soft as velvet and silk.

By knot of nine, what is done is mine.

She finishes the knots and opens the door.
A man stands there, wet from autumn rain.

He sees a beautiful, naked woman, with long soft hair and glowing skin.
He kneels in front of her, offering himself, his life, his love.

Another century, another Halloween done. The knots begin to slowly, imperceptibly unravel.


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