Fairy Witch.
Copyright 2018, 2019 by Raymond Johnson. Third edition.
Cover created by Emmy Ellis. (www.studioenp.com).

To Nicole and Mimi.

"Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other." - Eric Burdon.

Whilst battling with an unknown assailant an evil witch is infected by one of her own potion ingredients poisoning her blood bringing her to the brink of insanity. However she soon learns the ingredient was essence of fairy and her madness is the result of another mind sharing her body. The witch wants nothing more than to rid the cursed creature from her body and get revenge on her attacker but soon discovers the fairy's thoughts entwining with her own.

 

 

 

Chapter 1 - A Witch's Morning

A bubble of white light encapsulated my body raising me from the ground while enchanted sparks of plasma caused my pale skin to sting with excruciating pain. I could not take a single breath within the vacuum, not even enough to form a scream causing my cries to remain silent. The disorientation, the pain and the lack of air caused my head to spin but hidden within a recess of my confused mind I recognised the spell that had been used upon me and knew what was to come next. I flexed my body at the ready, flinching my face, reading myself for the eventual pop.

My suspicion was correct and I felt myself floating above the ground as an almighty crack of air fractured the bubble. I fell to the ground with a thud while my ears rang like a thousand church bells. There was the unmistakable taste of blood within my mouth while I remained motionless upon the ground hoping with all my will that the perpetrator wasn't preparing another spell. My gasps for fresh air caused nothing but pain within my winded belly. I wanted to speak, to plead with my attacker, but alas there was no chance of doing so until I recovered.

There was movement within the grass ahead of me. My eyes where blurred but I could just about make out the image of a figure making their approach. This figure stopped in front of me, their heavy boots mere inches from my face, then looked down at me with raised fists. I must have been a sorry sight and if this person was my attacker it was certainly possible they intended to finish me off.

As my vision grew clearer I could see a man wearing a long dark hooded robe. I could barely make out his features but it was clear he was speaking, alas I could hear nothing over the sound of my ringing ears. I turned my head away and stared at the ground hoping that he understood. To my relief I could see him walking away within the corner of my eye.

While I had many enemies he wasn't someone that I recognised, but it was likely from his robe that he must have been a wizard, or possibly an old warlock, getting revenge for a past discretion long forgotten. My body was still in its prime yet was far older than it appeared, using a multitude of concoctions to prolong my life, but alas I had gained so many rivals over the passing years that it was difficult to keep track.

"Who are you?" I mustered up some quiet words to which there was no response.

Wriggling my body from side to side I managed to heave myself into a sitting position. I was resting upon a patch of grass next to a boulder upon a desolate moor. My cottage was no more than a mile away over the hill yet it may have well been a hundred for I couldn't possibly make such a daunting journey in my exhausted state.

Darting my eyes from side to side I tried to see where the man had gotten to but he was nowhere in sight. There were other boulders around along with a crevice within the field but nothing that he could use to fully conceal himself. I blinked my eyes yet it made little difference. There was no way in which he could have traversed the moor so quickly leaving me to conclude he was using magic as a visual shield.

"Are you too cowardly to reveal yourself?" I said while heaving myself to my feet.

In a flash I turned around sensing movement behind me but there was nothing there. A cold shudder caused my shoulders to twitch as the ringing in my ears subsided to be replaced by the sound of the wind. My breathing was still erratic and my belly twinged with each inhale.

He may have been fleeing in fear as fast as he could before his spell of invisibility wore off or he may have been standing directly in front of me. I swung my arms around to check before falling flat upon my face due to my dizzy state. It was then that I heard a chuckle confirming my suspicion. My attacker was toying with me.

"You may very well find this amusing," I said whilst forcing myself to remain defiant, "But you have no idea as to the extent of my power. Flee now and I will spare your life. You will get no further warning."

I heard more laughter ahead of me, then to my right, then behind as the man ran around me hidden from my gaze. The imprints upon the grass indicated where had been previously standing but there was also gravel and stone around the heavy boulders leaving no impression.

"You're powerless without your enchantments," the man responded whilst still laughing, "I ransacked that dank hovel of yours, burned all your spell books, smashed your flasks, destroyed your herbs and cracked your cauldron. You're a witch no more and you'll soon revert to your natural state of an old hag."

He continued to laugh before treading upon my buttocks as he stepped across my still prostrate body. I closed my eyes repressing my anger as he continued to humiliate me.

"I didn't destroy all of your enchantments however," the man said, "I kept a few of your particularly strong potions which I won't hesitate to use if you don't heed my words. You are to leave this village, never to return. Do you understand?"

I nodded then heaved myself to my feet once more. It dawned on me that he may not have been a warlock after all if it had been my potions he was using. Without realising it he had just given his weakness away.

I proceeded to wipe some droplets of blood from my lip against the back of my hand. Acting as nonchalant as possible under the circumstances I calmly retrieved a handkerchief from my hip pouch, dabbing it against my lip as to clean my wound, but it was all a distraction for I had fetched something else from my bag at the same time.

In a flash I threw down a glass flask releasing a puff of smoke. A simple concoction maybe but it was certainly enough to reveal my tormentor's location leaning against a boulder behind me. He stared at me wide eyed as I grinned letting him know he had been outsmarted.

He quickly ran, his leather boots partially slipping against the ground in the process, fleeing with panic. The smoke would only reveal his location for a few moments before it cleared so I had no time to lose. Heaving a heavy stone from the ground with both hands I threw it at him striking directly into the centre of his back. He collapsed to the ground.

I cackled loudly while calmly making my way over to him as he laid spread out face first upon the ground. His invisibly spell flickered his appearance a number of times before finally wearing off. Placing my hands behind my back and keeping my legs straight I leant forward with an intimidating pose.

"It seems the tables have turned," I said looking down at him with my head cocked to one side, "Now what do you suppose I should do with you?"

Fear was plastered upon his face yet his words were somewhat contrary. He was either incredibly brave or very stupid.

"I do not fear your Satanic witchcraft," he said, "Do what you will with me but mark my words your reign of tyranny is over."

I let out a laugh just for the sake of intimidating him further, however it didn't appear to be working.

"Leave this village and rot you vile hag," he continued.

I gasped open my mouth then quickly closed it for it was imperative that I not reveal that his words had gotten to me.

I knelt down in from of him, my knees next to his face.

"One way or the other it is you that's..." I responded before he interrupted me by clambering to his feet.

I quickly stood up in preparation wondering if he was about to strike me but instead he lurched himself back and pointed his finger.

"Those who live my the sword die by the sword!" He moaned, "And those who live by magic will die by magic!"

I could see his attempt to fetch something from the pocket of his robe so without hesitation I quickly lunged forward grabbing his arm. While I was fully versed in magic and had vast power I was still fairly feeble when it came to physical strength so there was quite a struggle as I tried to prise the object from his hand.

"This will be your doom!" He yelled.

With one hand pressing against his wrist and the other upon his fingers I managed to take hold of his thumb forcing it back, but alas he still wasn't letting go of the object he was holding. He then grabbed the back of my neck with his other hand and began to squeeze. Luckily he wasn't in the correct position to strangle me but it still hurt nevertheless. Realising his attack was having no effect he lunged himself forward, literally using his shoulder as a battering ram, causing me to fall to the ground but I still had a firm grip upon his hand.

I wished I had time to fetch another concoction from my pouch but alas I couldn't risk letting go of his hand for even a second. I wondered if there was time to cast a verbal spell instead.

I felt pain against my shin as my attacker began repeatedly stamping upon my leg in his heavy boots as I struggled to get back to my feet. I was panting heavily and sweat poured from my brow down my face. I spat at snarled at him in defiance trying to get a foothold against the loose gravel and dirt beneath my feet. Finally I managed to clamber myself up from the ground letting out a breath of relief only for him to lurch forward again knocking me down once more.

My eyes widened as the hood of his robe fell back revealing his face and the collar around his neck. He was a priest. He too was taken aback when he realised he secret was revealed.

"A man of the cloth!" I screeched whilst still struggling to remove the object from his hand, "You hypocrite!"

"It is my duty to eradicate evil!" He yelled.

The struggle immediately ceased, with the priest releasing the object from his grasp, before cradling his inured thumb. The item was a glass vial containing a white gaseous substance that was commonly used as an additive for other spells. Clearly the priest was ignorant of the potion he had stolen from me. I couldn't help but let out a laugh for the struggle had been pointless.

It was time for a verbal spell to get rid of my attacker once and for all. I'd give him a general curse of pox leaving him bed ridden for the rest of his life. The humiliation of having to be cared for in such a way would be fair punishment.

"I call upon thee, the light and the dark, at the peak of the equinox, that give to this..." I said before stopping to stare at my blood soaked hand.

The vial was broken. My mind raced wondering what I should do. Were the contents poisonous? Had I been infected? Was that the priest's intention all along? My head span as more questions filled my mind, but alas it was already too late, my lifeless body slumped to the ground.

"Amen," the priest said solemnly.

 

Chapter 2 - A Fairy's Morning

Birds chattered merrily that bright spring morning with the smell of blossom filling the air. The ground felt cool beneath my feet as I scampered among the dried leaves of the forest floor foraging for morsels of food. Fungi was my species' staple diet and while it was still my main meal I had recently grown a fondness for moss, particularly the kind that grew upon rotten wood. It was tasty and stuck to my tongue with each lick. Unfortunately that day I had yet to find any and it was growing far rarer as the season advanced.

"Good day to you," I heard a soft voice that I recognised right away, "I see you're on a hunt again."

It was my sister Laila.

"Greetings," I said as I stopped in my tracks and turned to face her.

She scampered over to me while her white silky dress glistened within the sunlight.

"I've been informed of a felled oak tree to the east just beyond the edge of the forest," Laila said, "It's been there a fair number of years and coated with fine moss, more than enough to fill both our tums. Do you wish to accompany me upon such a journey?"

I nodded franticly with excitement while Laila's bright blue eyes lit up. We held hands and hurried as fast as our legs could scamper before opening up our wings and letting the gentle breeze lift us from the forest floor. We flew high into the air, among the tree branches themselves, then headed east using the sun as our compass. With neither of us having seen the tree before it was likely our moss hunt was nothing more than folly but it was the adventure we craved. The excitement of such a task was greater than its reward even though I did relish the idea of feasting upon such splendour.

Navigation at speed was quite a challenge as we swiftly interweaved the entwining branches whilst keeping a secure grip upon each other's hands not daring to let go. Our wings were a blur as they buzzed at full pelt, the air swirling over our aerodynamic bodies being pushed aside as we grew ever faster.

Whoosh! Something was amiss. My hand was no longer holding onto Laila's. I stopped flapping my wings, with only momentum carrying me, whilst I stared at my empty hand with shock.

"Lai!" I called out with panic in my voice, "Laila!"

Raising my wings flat against the breeze I instantly stopped then turned my body whilst hovering. All I could see around me were a multitude of branches, leaves and the forest floor below. An eerie feeling encapsulated me causing my body to shudder.

"Laila!" I called out again, "Where are you?!"

I stated at my empty hand again shocked at how quickly events had taken a turn for the worse. My palm felt cold.

The sound of birdsong quieted as I focused upon an object ahead. I could see something that resembled a white mist but I couldn't be certain. I tried to will the mist closer to me hoping that it wasn't just a trick of the light.

"Lai?" I said softly.

My heart began to beat once more and I let out as sigh of relief as the mist grew closer. I could also hear a gentle chuckle.

"Nissa," the sweet voice of my sister said as she approached still in her mist-like wisp form, "I flew into a tree. Sorry about that."

In a flash she reformed into her usual fairy shape along with her white dress and outstretched wings. She began to chuckle once more.

"I am so relieved," I said floating over to her as we embraced, "I thought something bad had happened."

"I'm safe now, that's all that matters," she said calmly whilst stroking my long hair, "There's no need for worry."

Fairies by their very nature were practically impervious to danger but still had strong feelings for one another's well being even if those feelings were unfounded. It was perfectly possible for a fairy to die from despair and Laila knew all too well what could have happened if she hadn't reappeared so quickly.

We parted our embrace then Laila looked at me while we continued to hover among the tree branches. The happy sound of birdsong gradually returned.

"Are you well?" Laila asked.

I nodded and gave her a smile.

"Do you still wish to search for the fallen tree?" She asked.

"I certainly do," I responded nodding my head with even more vigour.

"Then let's go," she said.

We held hands once more and continued upon our journey only this time taking more care among the branches, and flying at a steadier pace.

"We'll go higher above the treetops," Laila said as we flew at a steady incline, intermingling the tree branches, until we were above the forest itself.

It felt exhilarating for the both of us for it wasn't usual for fairies to fly at such a height. The air felt cooler and there was less resistance upon our wings. We shared a smile then flew on and on as the forest below became a blur only to then slow a little once realising the speed we were travelling. With no obstacles it was so easy to misgauge the swiftness of our nimble wings but neither of us wanted to risk another accident.

To our surprise we could already see the edge of the forest below so began our decent whilst keeping an eye out for the fallen tree. There were a multitude of tree stumps along with forest debris of broken branches and wood, but no signs of any fallen trees.

Laila turned her gaze toward me with a look of puzzlement upon her face as we grew closer. A patch of scorched earth stained the area beneath our feet as we reached the ground.

"I think we're in the wrong place," I said.

"This is the edge of the forest," Laila replied just as bewildered as I was.

The air around us felt stagnant and I felt a shiver down my spine.

"Um," Laila said letting go of my hand and scampering across the ground looking for a clue as to what had happened.

"I sense danger," I said firmly yet calmly, "We should go back."

Laila responded with a nod then gave one last gaze around our surroundings as she opened her wings. I too readied myself to take flight but a shadow formed overhead. Before I had the chance to react I could see a human hand lunging toward me.

"Lai!" I screeched as loud as my little voice could muster.

My wings were held tightly within the vicelike grip of the human's fingers. I then felt myself being forced into a thin container made of clear glass. In an instant I turned from fairy to wisp as to pass through the confines of my prison but alas something about the structure of the container would not let my gaseous body pass through. I was trapped.

"Laila!" I screamed, "Laila!"

All went dark as the clear container was placed into a pouch while I continued to scream in terror.

 

Chapter 3 - Two Become One

I awoke in terrible pain, my hand feeling as though it was aflame while my swollen head and neck throbbed. It took all my will to heave myself into a sitting position where upon I looked at my bloodied palm. It didn't look right, it was the hand of a human, yet somehow I expected it to appear different. Why was my blood red? I wasn't thinking straight.

"Laila!" I called out having no idea who Laila was.

Ignoring my dizziness I tried to focus upon my surroundings. I was still on the moor where I had fallen, with the priest nowhere in sight, yet part of me felt I should have been somewhere else. I remembered being a forest just a few moments ago yet knew full well that I had been on the moor all along.

The priest had caught me with one of my own concoctions, an ingredient rather than a full potion, most likely poisoning me from within. I was sure it would soon wear off so heaved myself to my feet looking into the direction of my cottage. I could aid my recovery with an energy boost potion of which there were many tucked away within my home. I just hoped the priest hadn't discovered them when ransacking the place.

I took a number of breaths before taking a step forward. I was wearing a pair of rough leather shoes which caused me to stop in my tracks for I had earlier been in bare feet. I shook my head knowing full well that I always wore shoes then continued upon my journey.

"Laila?!" I called out again.

Turning my gaze all I could see was a desolate grass more, a pile of boulders and a gravel path ahead. There was also a crevice in the ground that I needed to take care to avoid. The forest was gone, not even tree stumps remained.

I gritted my teeth as I was tempted to call out again. My mind was filled with insanity, with flashing images of false memories, I needed to remain focused. I took another large breath then continued down the path heading for home.

"Laila?" I said again causing myself to respond with an annoyed sigh.

There was silence for a number of seconds but I could sense I was about to say that infernal name again.

"Shut up!" I yelled at myself.

"Who's there?" I replied.

I closed my eyes tightly trying to clear my thoughts. The ingredient within the glass vial had poisoned my mind and I hoped it wasn't going to prove permanent with me living the rest of my days at an asylum much to the delight of the priest.

"I feel funny," I said, "I don't know where I am."

I raised my bloodied hand and looked at it once more. The blood had already congealed but it was clear it had been a very nasty injury. I attempted to take on my wisp form but nothing was happening.

"I can see a hand," I said whilst continuing to stare at it opening and closing my fingers, "It's a human. I think it may be trying to catch me."

"That's my hand," I responded then quickly shook my head as to shake away my impending madness.

I had already set upon my journey back to my cottage but it had grown apparent to me that my legs would stop moving after just a short number of steps. Holding up my arms and keeping my fingers spread apart I inhaled deeply then exhaled through pursed lips. I repeated this action a few times, flapping my arms and taking deep breaths, trying to clear my contaminated thoughts but I then realised I was doing it for another reason entirely. I was trying to flee from danger for I felt my own hand was trying to grab me, I was attempting to fly.

"Where are you Laila?!" I called out again before bursting into tears and collapsing in a heap.

"What is... happening to... to me?" I whimpered whilst sobbing.

Gritting my teeth I shook myself out of it, my own rage overpowering my sense of despair, then jumped to my feet spitting upon the ground in defiance. It took all my mental will to force my legs to start walking again in the direction of home.

"Where are you taking me?" I asked as I wiped my nose-tears upon my sleeve.

"Home!" I shouted in reply, "I'm going home to cure this insanity!"

"This isn't the forest," I said.

I stopped in my tracks yet again, my heels sliding against the gravel of the stone path. Something clicked within my mind as to the possible cause of my madness.

"Are you from the forest?" I asked calmly.

"I live in the forest," I replied.

I turned my gaze around the grassy moor, toward the village in the far distance, the boulders spewn upon the ground, and the gravel path ahead allowing my possible spirit possessor to get a clear view.

"Can you see that?" I asked.

"See what?" I replied.

I sighed knowing this was going to be a very slow and complicated conversation. I wiped my brow causing myself to flinch as I glimpsed my own hand again.

"What do you see?" I asked.

"Grass," I replied, "Lots of grass. I'm floating above it."

"You're not floating you're standing," I said trying to remain as calm as possible under the bewildering circumstances.

"Where's the forest?" I asked.

"The forest?" I responded.

I took another deep breath for it was clear I was having difficultly differentiating who was speaking. I could feel my eyes warm as tears began to form once again.

"Don't you even dare do that again!" I snapped, "Just relax, calm down, I can fix this."

"I'm not crying," I replied, "I think that's you."

"It is most certainly not me!" I moaned placing my fists upon my hips in defiance while staring ahead, "I'm not the kind of person who blubbers every time I come across difficulty, I'll have you know that I've dealt with far more..."

I stopped mid-sentence when I realised I was essentially having a blazing row with myself. I raised my palms yet intentionally kept my gaze away from my hands. There was silence while I calmed my temperament.

"My name's Hazel," I said, "What is yours?"

"Nissa," I replied.

It wasn't the name I was expecting and was puzzled. I wondered if there may be more entities within my body that had yet to speak.

"And who is Laila?" I asked.

The warm tears within my eyes overflowed down my cheeks. I made no complaint for I had no wish to start yelling again. It was imperative to remain calm.

"She's my sister," I replied, "We were in the forest then attacked by a human. I was taken prisoner and trapped inside a container."

"Are you not human?" I asked.

"I'm a fairy," I said, "Now I don't know where I am or what's happening to me. Where's Laila?"

My suspicions were correct. I had been infected, whether intentionally or accidentally by the priest, with essence of fairy that was flowing within my veins due to the injury upon my hand. Ironically it was from one my own potion vials so I was the very person who captured Nissa in the first place. Using fairies as a catalyst for potions was common practice until they began to decline in numbers.

"The forest hasn't existed for nigh on eighty years," I said, "You've been trapped for a very long time. Your race is all but extinct."

There was silence but my warm tears continued to flow so I decided to quickly add a lie to what I had said in order to make Nissa feel a little better.

"That is to say your race within this village," I said, "Fairies still thrive elsewhere."

"Where am I?" I said in practically a whisper.

I gazed my eyes around the location once more letting Nissa get a good look at the surroundings.

"You were captured and sealed within a glass vial," I said matter-of-factly, "Your forest home has receded due to the increasing population of the neighbouring village. This moor is all that remains. A ghastly evil man attacked me and used you as a potion but now it seems you've possessed my body."

"But I didn't..." I replied before I quickly interrupted.

"It's not your fault," I said, "I'm not blaming you, but do you think you can leave my body? Can you at least try?"

I looked down at myself and held my arms outstretched in front of me then started wiggling my fingers.

"This is my body," I said.

"No it's mine," I replied, "You're a fairy, I'm human."

"But it feels like mine," I said.

I decided to end the conversation for it was clear we were going in circles again. Instead I began heading down the path hoping I would remain in control of my legs long enough to reach home. The image of dried leaves and a ring of toadstools filled my mind as my image of home, yet knew I was referring to my cottage. I sensed our minds as well as our bodies were becoming infused.

 

Chapter 4 - The Witch's Cottage

I couldn't help but babble all kinds of nonsense as I proceeded down the gravel path heading for home. At times I wasn't sure if it was me or the witch talking as my mouth appeared to move of its own accord. I was already losing myself forgetting who was who for I myself was the witch not the fairy, or was I the fairy controlling the witch's body, I was at a loss.

"We'll be fine," I said trying to remain positive, "As soon as we get home I'm sure I'll be able to concoct something that'll separate us."

So long as the fairy was gone that's all that mattered even if it meant its death, but I tried to keep that thought distant just in case the fairy sensed what I was thinking. I just hoped there were enough potions left in my ransacked cottage.

"The evil man stated that he cracked the cauldron," I said.

"How did you know that?" I asked.

"I didn't," I replied, "It was you that spoke not me."

I took a deep breath then spat upon the ground with repressed annoyance as I continued down the gravel path.

"That's rude, please refrain yourself from spitting," I said.

I ignored my own words then spat again out of defiance as I sped up my pace. The sooner the blasted creature was out of my body the better. Thoughts filled my mind as to what I would do if the fairy was released and if I should recapture it again for the sake of another potion ingredient. I grinned at the thought then remembered to repress such a notion. Another thought then entered my mind as to the powers fairies had for their bodies possessed magical properties after all.

"Nissa?" I asked calmly.

"Yes," I replied.

"What kind of fairy are you?" I asked, "Are you a fairy queen? Can you cast spells?"

There was a long pause before I responded as though I had offended Nissa in some way.

"Fairies don't cast spells," I responded, "And I'm not a queen I'm a boy."

"Oh," I said with surprise, "I thought you a girl. I imagined all fairies to be female but I suppose that would make no sense."

"But you must have some powers," I added.

"I do but it's due to casting spells, crafting potions and the like," I replied, "Otherwise I'm just a normal person."

"But you're a fairy," I said.

"No it's you I'm referring to," I responded.

"Grr!" I moaned before spitting upon the ground yet again, "We should refer to each other by name from this moment on. I'm beginning to not know who I am anymore."

"I'm Nissa," I said.

I shook my head while continuing down the path, focusing upon the sounds of my shoes against the gravel, intentionally trying to distract myself before I became totally insane. The roof of my cottage gradually came into view as we circled a small hill causing a sense of relief but that feeling soon passed when I saw smoke wafting above. Instinctively I broke into a run.

"No, no, no!" I yelled not knowing which of us were saying those words.

As I caught sight of my cottage ahead all I could see was the hollowed out shell of the building among thick wafts of smoke. The thatched roof, window shutters, window glass, and the front door were all gone, burned to cinders. I could only imagine as to the state of the inside and all my most precious possessions.

"He'll pay for this mark my words!" I growled.

"Calm down," I said softly, "For your own sake rest your angered mind. You need to think clearly."

I jerked my head with surprise at the fairy's words knowing I needed to calm myself if I was to formulate a plan of revenge, but it was likely not what the fairy had meant.

"Some potions may still be salvageable," I said softly, "We can, that is to say may still be able to recover from this setback."

I flopped directly into the ground in front of my cottage, a sense of helplessness filling my soul, for I had lost everything. Repositioning myself into a kneeling position I continued to stare ahead. I was hot and flustered but it was imperative to remain calm for my own feelings of despair could prove fatal. I could no longer tell whose thoughts belonged to who as I sensed our human and fairy minds continue to entwine. I wondered if the fairy died within my body if I would be free of this infernal curse or if I would perish too.

"I would if I could," I said as I continued to sit staring at the smoke wafting from what I once called home.

"Would what?" I asked.

"I would relinquish my life willingly to save yours," I said.

"I wasn't seriously pondering the idea," I said, "I've no desire to cause you harm."

I didn't know what I was saying. I cared no more for fairies than I did of insects and would happily swat one without a second thought, my mind was effected and it was difficult to retain my sense of self.

"This was the witch's home," I said while heaving myself to my feet, "My real home is in the forest, but alas that has gone too, so it seems we are now both homeless."

"But I am the witch..." I said before stopping myself mid-sentence not wishing to argue about personal identity again.

"Do you really believe you can separate us?" I asked.

I paused before replying.

"If..." I said then took another moment to think, "If I still had my potions and spells then possibly, but as things stand I doubt it."

"Then I want revenge," I said bluntly, "Make certain that evil man gets what he deserves, his comeuppance should be death and make sure he suffers in the process."

"Did you say that or did I?" I asked with surprise, "You're the fairy speaking? Nissa?"

There was silence. It was clear our entwined minds were working both ways and my thoughts of revenge were influencing the fairy, either that or fairies were not as gentle as I believed them to be.

I took a number of careful steps forward, wafting smoke from my face, as I approached the cottage. My heart trembled as I stood in the stone arch doorway looking at the devastation within. The smell of burned wood filled my nose.

"Be careful," I whispered.

Taking a tentative step through the doorway I placed my foot against the burned husk of the doormat gazing my eyes at what remained of my once beautiful cottage. The stone walls were black, the floor coated with ash and the remains of the rafters let in daylight from above. For something that was still wafting smoke the cottage felt frightfully cold.

The mirror above the mantelpiece was thick with ash. As I took a number of steps closer I could see its once splendorous frame cracked and broken. I wiped the mirror's surface with my hand revealing the large crack within the glass along with my reflection. My heart sank. The mirror had been the centrepiece of the room, something I was proud to display.

"You're pretty," I said to my reflection.

I ignored my words whilst deep in thought.

"I've a chest in the back room," I said softly, "It may have survived..."

I carefully walked across the living room as each crunch of burned ash beneath my feet caused me to wince with despair. My heart pounded within my chest as I anticipated the damage I would witness in the room beyond. Just like the front of the cottage the door was no more with just the archway and metal hinges remaining.

"Please calm your thoughts," I mimed with my mouth as the words struggled to form.

The back room was strewn with a blanket of black ash covering the remnants of furniture. My caldron rested upon the stone floor, cracked in two, with its large ladle bent in a contorted position upon itself. The priest couldn't have performed such a feat alone. My workbench and shelves containing my enchantments and potions were no more. Nothing remained of my many spell books.

"Your chest," I quickly said pointing at a large pile of ash in the corner of the room.

I stepped forward eager to see what of it had survived then forced myself to tread carefully upon the ashes beneath my feet which continued to crunch with each footstep.

Brushing the ash from the top of the chest first I was relieved to discover that it was still intact albeit charred black. The key I kept within my waist pouch was of no use as the lock had burned away from its fixings so I simply opened the lid of the chest causing it to snap within my grasp. I turned then coughed as smoke wafted into the air. I sensed Nissa trying to speak but alas my body was still busy coughing. I gulped a number of times trying to sooth my throat.

"What are those?" I asked pointing at a number of glass vials only partially charred.

They were spell ingredients, many being essence of fairy, so I chose not to reply and focused my thoughts upon something else.

"We don't need those," I said, "I'm looking for my wand. It helps to enhance my verbal spells. I normally don't require such a thing but under the circumstances need all the help I can get."

I began rummaging through the chest which also contained such mundane items as blankets and meaningless trinkets. I wished I had been more organised but it wasn't expected that anyone would dare burn the cottage of a witch. A flash of a distant memory entered my mind as I felt the wand between my fingers.

"You stole it didn't you?" I said.

I paused before replying trying to clear my thoughts.

"No," I said in a forced nonchalant tone, "I acquired it from a warlock to prevent him from performing evil."

"Hmm," was my response.

I took a deep breath only to start coughing again, then heaved myself to my feet. My urge to spit was strong but I felt it would be rude to do such a thing so did so nevertheless only to cringe with embarrassment afterwards. I needed this blasted fairy out of my body as soon as possible.

The wand I held within my grasp was lucky to survive considering it was essentially a short twig, but with so many enchantments over the years it had the ability to retain power as well as focus the power of the user. I only hoped the feeble stick still worked.

"You should test it," I said as I left the doorway of my dilapidated cottage, "Something simple, a levitation spell perhaps. Lift that stone."

I glanced around looking for the stone I was referring to before pointing at it. I felt my stomach wince with fear as I caught sight of my own hand again. I still wasn't used to my human body.

"It's not my usual forte," I said, "But I'll give it a try."

Raising the wand in my left hand, for my right was still bloodied, I concentrated upon the stone. I felt I was performing a conjuring trick more so than casting a spell but had to make do with what I had at my disposal. I paused whilst thinking of an appropriate verbal spell.

"Rock before me," I said before shaking my head as to the possible double meaning for the word rock.

I cleared my throat.

"Mineral of stone," I said with a false tone of confidence, "I command you. Raise from the earth, float within the air, move swiftly as a bird..."

"Like you were thrown!" I quickly interrupted myself.

I stopped and cursed myself within my thoughts.

"It's not nice to swear," I said softly.

"Then please desist from interruption!" I snapped as I wiped sweat from my brow, "This is not a game, this is a spell of witchcraft, not a rhyming chant."

"I'm sorry," I replied to myself.

I took a deep breath but held back my urge to spit upon the ground.

"Mineral of stone," I began again raising the wand once more, "I command you. Raise from the earth, float within the air, move swiftly as a bird... like... the wind."

My heart tingled as the rock gradually started to lift from the ground. I couldn't help but grin widely as it swiftly flew through the air in the opposite direction at a fair distance before falling to the ground.

"Yay. You did it!" I chirped whist jumping up and down on the spot.

It was an odd feeling to fill someone with joy for doing something so trivial. It was useless as a weapon after all, for I could simply throw a stone with the same force, it was nothing more than a test. It was a good feeling nevertheless.

"Calm down," I said as my feet continued skipping on the spot.

"You have special powers," I said with happiness, "You can do anything."

"I only wish that were true," I replied.

 

Chapter 5 - The Fairy's Despair

The glow of the sun changed to red as it was already in the process of setting. I had no wish to traverse the moor in the dark so hurried myself back along the path heading for the village itself, the stench of my burned out home still entrapped within my sinuses. My footsteps were steady with no interference from the fairy, in fact Nissa was quiet causing me concern. I shook the caring thought from my mind for I hoped the blasted little creature had somehow left my body.

"No I'm still here," I said softly having overheard my thoughts.

"We need to make haste to get to the village before nightfall," I said in a matter of fact tone, "If the priest thinks he's safe in his church then he's in for a very unpleasant surprise."

Nissa was still quiet while my shoes trod heavy against the grass increasing my stride. I sighed with annoyance frustrated with my newly acquired sense of empathy.

"What's wrong?" I asked softly.

"Oh, just..." I said before pausing mid-sentence, "What if this proves permanent? Will we remain together for the rest of our lives? And what if you do manage to separate us? I'm still alone? I will never see my family or home again. I can't travel to the past."

I tutted loudly turning my head to one side as my eyes warmed with impending tears. My mind raced with possible responses as to calm Nissa down but I couldn't think of anything suitable. Part of me sensed that it was imperative to not cause a fairy distress.

"It won't be so bad if this proves permanent," I said thinking on my feet as to the best choice of words, "You're pleasant company and I'm sure we'll become good friends. And if we do ever separate I'll return you to another forest where you can live with others of your kind."

"There are no others of my kind," I said firmly, "And I know when you're lying."

I stopped walking and placed my fists firmly upon my hips in defiance yet was unsure which one of us was doing so. Repressing my urge to yell I tried my best to focus upon calming thoughts for both our sakes.

"There are still others of your kind," I said, "Fairies are incredibly rare but they are far from extinct. I'm sure it wouldn't take too long for you to find others if I released you in practically any forest in the country."

"Oh," I replied.

"Now calm yourself please," I said, "I cannot do this with a face full of tears."

I wiped my sleeve across my cheeks and continued down the path pleased with myself that I managed to calm Nissa down. I just hoped the wretched creature would stay that way long enough to reach the village without interruption.

"What priest?" I said bluntly, "I thought a warlock did this, you mentioned a priest. How could a priest do such a thing?"

I bit my bottom lip.

"He's an evil priest," I quickly responded, "He stole my potions to use against me. I practice the art of magic only for the sake of helping others but the priest uses witchcraft for his own ends. He cares for no one."

I gritted my teeth knowing full well Nissa could sense my lies. It was certainly possible she now knew the full truth and it was I that was the evil one.

 

Chapter 6 - Revenge

Nissa remained quiet for the rest of the journey across the moor to the village. The church was in sight as I continued at a steady pace. The sounds of slamming doors and shutters could be heard from the nearby cottages. The people knew exactly who I was and what I was capable of, but they had no need to fear me for I only had one person in my sights that day.

A cold breeze teased my tunic causing my chest to tingle but it was certainly possible that it was fear rather than cold causing me to shudder. The priest likely still possessed a number of my concoctions at his disposal while all I had was the magician's wand along with the distraction of a fairy.

Walking down the church path, which was bordered by graves, I relished the idea of filling another with the priest himself as its occupant, whether he be alive or dead it mattered not. The thick oak door of the church slammed shut as I made my approach. I calmly responded by raising the wand.

"We just want to talk with you!" I called out at the priest.

I shook my head for it wasn't me that that uttered those words.

"Desist with your words," I told Nissa softly, "It's imperative the priest does not know of your existence."

I raised my arm pointing the wand toward the church door.

"Barrier be gone!" I said in a forceful tone causing light to blast from the wand shattering the door leaving nothing but splinters.

Entering the church, between the empty pews, I caught sight of the priest who stood defiant raising a golden crucifix in his hands. Realising it was having no effect upon me he placed it down upon the altar then tried his best to smile.

"My child," he said exposing his palms, "You wish to speak with me? I'm sure we can discuss this."

My eyes glanced upon his person seeing if he had any pockets in his priest clothing for concealed potions. There didn't appear to be any but I remained cautious nevertheless as I made my approach.

"You're a good man, we need your..." I said before cupping my mouth with my hands.

I cursed Nissa within my mind begging him to remain silent. I shook my head vigorously then lowered my hands once more before clearing my throat.

"As a priest you're expected to be a good man," I said rephrasing the words Nissa had spoken, "But you're no more than a hypocrite. You burned down my beloved home, destroyed my spell books, smashed my potions and have put and end to my life's work. So prepare to die!"

I raised my wand while the priest turned his head from one side to the other trying to find a place to hide. My hand trembled as tears strewn down my cheeks. Nissa was feeling my distress while I in turn felt his.

"Shh!" I said quickly wiping my hand over my wet face.

Talking advantage of my hesitation the priest lurched himself behind a pew then crawled into the vestry. I swiftly ran forward before he can chance to close the door which had the effect of slamming it against his face.

"I'm so sorry!" I quickly said while the priest clambered to his feet grabbing his cloak hanging from a nearby hook.

I felt a sense of panic watching him frantically searching for the pocket and its concealed potion within. I pointed my wand holding it in both hands in the most threatening manner possible hoping he would catch sight of it and cease his actions. It was difficult to think with Nissa screaming at me within my mind. I wanted to cast a spell of death but couldn't form the words. Sweat poured down my brow as I caught sight of the glass vial in the priest's hand. He clearly had no idea what it was so just as long as he didn't infect me with its contents I would remain safe.

"Cease your intention!" I demanded still grasping my wand tightly in both hands, "Place that potion down."

The priest stared at me then calmly did as I told him. My arms shook but Nissa was not allowing me to cast the spell. I couldn't let the priest know of my fairy possession however so still did my best to intimidate him.

"I have the power of life and death over you!" I boomed at the priest who cowered before me, "I can end you with just the utterance of a few words. Give me a reason to spare you."

My eyes stared at his face while he trembled with fright before I glanced at the glass vial placed upon the floor in front of him. It contained a gaseous substance most likely essence of fairy as before.

"You told me he stole the concoction from you," I whispered leaning for a closer inspection, "But that's..."

I shook my head then crouched down picking up the vial. In a flash I threw it to the ground, smashing the glass to tiny fragments releasing the wisp inside. Nothing happened as the gas dispersed. What remained of the fairy inside had perished.

"I knew you were bad, I sensed your lies and deceptions, but I never knew you were truly evil!" I screamed at myself, "You captured me, you captured Laila, you captured my family, you killed my entire race for your evil potions. How could you?!"

The priest was perplexed as to who I was yelling at. I closed my eyes with annoyance knowing that the priest suspected I had turned insane, then suddenly in a flash the fairy's screams vanished from my mind. My faculties had returned, I was a witch once more. I pointed my wand ready for the kill. I grinned widely forming the words of a most ghastly spell within my mind. I opened my mouth ready to speak.

All was quiet. I sensed something was seriously wrong. Nissa was dead. With the fairy no longer influencing my mind I was finally able to think straight, I should have been overjoyed, yet I felt sad. My eyes warmed yet again as tears began to form, flowing down my cheeks.

I looked down at the priest who stared at the wand of which I still had pointing in his direction. I lowered it then immediately shook myself from my own stupid sense of despair. I was grieving for something no more worthy of my compassion than an insect. Raising the wand once more I pointed it at the priest.

"Priest before me," I said with confidence sniffing away my nose-tears, "You will... your life will..."

I cleared my throat.

"Priest before me," I continued, "Your life will... you will be no more..."

I couldn't cast the spell, but it wasn't Nissa preventing me this time but myself.

"Forgive me father for I have sinned!" I said before collapsing to the floor and sobbing loudly.

 

Chapter 7 - A New Home

Restoration for my cottage was a long and laborious process. The townspeople assisted but other than the stonework it practically required a total rebuild.

It had been many months since my change of heart due to Nissa's demise but I was looking upon the positive side and seeing it as a stepping stone to a more productive life. I was using my witchcraft for good rather than for my own selfish ends.

"Whoa!" Father Wilbert said to one of the masons assisting with roof repair as he carried a large beam.

Wilbert proceeded to help him carry the heavy object through the door arch of the cottage. I followed behind wishing I could use a spell to raise such objects but knowing it would be frowned upon.

"Once the roof's finished I can move in again," I said, "The innkeeper's been more than welcoming these past months but I'm taking up a room that could otherwise be used by paying guests."

"Ohh, it'll be another couple of weeks at least I'm afraid," the masoner said, "Then there's the thatch to consider."

I headed back outside giving the masoner and other workers inside space to work while Father Wilbert followed. I sat upon a clump of earth staring ahead at the gravel path that wound its way across the moor. I could see the impression of the large crevice in the ground created by one of my previous encounters long ago in the past, the very encounter when I had stolen my wand from a warlock in fact. I had to bury my past discretions in the back of my mind so I could live with my own conscience which was nonexistent before meeting Nissa.

"How are you coping?" Father Wilbert asked as he sat beside me upon the clump of earth.

I took a large intake of breath.

"I'm doing as well as can be expected," I replied, "Talking to you and confessing my sins has done me a world of good, but I'm still grieving. I feel I've lost a loved one."

"It'll get better as time passes," Wilbert said, "So long as you remain on the straight and narrow, using your powers for good, then things'll improve."

Speaking of powers caused the image of my chest of items to enter my mind as well as the many vials containing essence of fairy. I wondered if they could be released. I then remembered the incident in the church knowing that upon release the wisp simply disperses. Another thought then flashed through my mind causing me to jump to my feet and hurry back into the cottage.

"Where are you going?!" Father Wilbert called out as he hurried along behind.

He caught me in the back room crouching in front of my open chest looking at the glass vials inside. They all contained the white gaseous substance known as essence of fairy.

"They should be destroyed," Father Wilbert said.

I looked up at him then upon the scar upon my hand.

"But I know a way to save them," I said.

THE END.

 

Ray's Shorts Author's Notes