AN: Second chapter of the 10 Small Stories, my first attempt to a large connected story. Caution! for this and all of the stories: might contain violence, bad language and graphic content, so I would suggest it for over 17 year olds (consider yourself warned). Not intended to copy anyone else’s stories. Enjoy!
Shit, it is raining again. Why does it have to rain every fucking time I do not have an umbrella with me? Wondered Lizzy miserably as she crossed the street. Her otherwise beautiful hair was completely wet and her clothes clinked to her body in the most uncomfortable way possible. She briefly thought to go home and get out of her misery but she was close to her destination. She would have been in misery all that time for nothing.
Not being able to go home she covered the last meters of her destination running. It was not her final destination, the important one, but for now it was good. It was half past eight in the morning and the old crone would not accept her before nine o clock sharp. She wouldn’t appreciate it if she were late either though. She liked her visitors right on time, neither earlier nor later.
She checked her watch for the hundredth time since she woke up. Still half past eight. The young woman sighed heavily and entered the small café. She really needed a double espresso. The last nights party had left her with a terribly hangover. Also, it was always a good idea to make oneself feel as nice as possible before meeting with her. She had just enough time to dry, put on new make up and possible feel better after the hungover.
The “Crone’s Chronicle” was usually busting with people and lively chattering, but this early in the morning the situation was different. The young woman did not mind that; it simply meant that the bartender could serve her their special cupcakes faster. The cupcakes, the usual burst of life and the sweet bartender with the orange glasses made her love the small place. The one feature though that she loved and hated at the same time was the fact that it was just across her house. The name of the place was fitting though; Lizzy would bet all her money that these walls with the flower pictures had heard many stories about the Crone whispered by exhausted people to the ears of their frightened friends.
As she entered the cafe she could smell the lemon cupcakes in the air and she could hear the espresso machine working. Eagerly, she approached the counter and sat next to the only other customer. The woman’s long and red hair made her own blond seem dull. But it was not only her hairstyle that drew her attention; the other woman was of exceptional beauty and elegance. Lizzy felt like she had suddenly met one of the movie of the past. She felt dazzled by her, and honestly she also felt shy to sit next to her. The only thing that gave her the courage that she needed, was her pale face. She could tell when someone had just visited the crone.
Lizzy asked for her usual order and an extra towel if they had one. While she waited she observed with the corner of her eye the other woman. The more she looked at her, the more sure she was. She contemplated whether she should talk to her as she dried her her. The blond woman creased her eyebrows thoughtfully and then she saw the bartender nodding her slightly with approval. It was very fade but she took it as a positive sign. “Hi, I am Lizzy.”
“Good morning, Sonja” answered the woman startled; she looked like she had not notice her sitting next to her before now. Sonja was a woman clearly in the mid-thirties, with big grey eyes and natural red hair; a trait not found often in this town. Oddly enough, she reminded Lizzy of Mary. She brushed that thought away as fast as possible.
“Why are you upset?”
“You look like you just saw a ghost and you need to talk about it to someone”.
“I am fine” the lie came out so naturally to Sonja that it was obvious it was a lie. She averted her eyes from Lizzy’s face. Sonja followed her glance and understood immediately what she was looking at.
“You have visited the old witch.” Period. She did not have to ask, she knew it deep inside her from the first time she saw her. When you visited the old witch, there was something left into you that you could never really get rid of. A nasty mark upon your aura, like a tattoo to recognize all the band members. “It is safe to speak to me… I have an appointment with her as well. I know how peculiar and unnerving she can be.”
“I…” she paused for a while and the younger woman let her take her time. “I am afraid.” her voice was a shaken whisper. “I asked for something, she is a witch, she is supposed to help. She did help with a wish I had… and now…”
“…she asked for her payment.” A fact again, not a question. She feared the next question, because the answer would be cruel and painful. “What was her demand?”
“My firstborn’s blood. All of it.” The old crone could be very cruel. And she always gets what she wants.
“It is cruel… what did you day?” Lizzy knew had offended the redhead before she even finished her sentence.
“I declined, of course!” she slammed some coins onto the bar and stormed out of the place without looking back.
Lizzy sighed. She did not mean to offend her, but now she felt good that she did it. Sonja was obviously a better woman than she was, stronger in character and that left her bitter. Because she was not a strong willed woman. She could not resist to go back for help, again and again. She was addicted to the results of her power. And she had to pay the price. When she initially refused, she could feel the loss and that loss was magnified by the old crone’s power. She had to come back and beg to get it. She hated it, but she could not live with the repercussions of not complying to her rules. She hated it, but she was not strong enough.
She paid for her order and went to her appointment. She entered the dimly lit and sat on the floor across from her. The atmosphere was heavy with the smell of the candles. Why on earth would you have lit candles at that time of the day? She thought misserably. The crone was sited across her on some leather pillows. What are the leather from? She wondered but then she rembered Sonja’s payment and she decided she did not want to know.
The Crone smiled, or so Lizzy thought. She could only see a small portion of her face. She seemed aged beyond count, maybe she had a potion or glamour or something to keep her alive. Lizzy would not be surprised if she the philosopher’s stone. Again she decide she did not want to know.
The Crone’s lips were thin and paid red, in the color of the blood. That made her look like she had just broke her fast on a human heart. Her jaw was pointed and firm and under it the skin hung like a curtain.
“I paid.” The young woman wished that her voice would not be shaky, that would not revail her pain. She did not wish to give her that satisfaction. But she was not a strong woman. And the old witch knew that. Satisfaction was there on the small part of her face that was visible.
“I know” said the witch in a low and slow voice that made Lizzy shudder.
“You always know!” she spat back. Pleasure was in her voice and she could not accept it. She had to. “Of course you know evil bitch. Nick is your son.”
“Indeed”. She reached for something that was hidden under her sidetable. She got out a really small crystal bottle filled with a golden liquid. Lizzy wanted to snatched out of her clasp, but she had to be patient for a little longer.
“You aren’t the best friend in the world. You prefer having success to the other sex rather than having a best friend to go shopping, braid your hair, swoon over celebrities, eat chocolate.” the old witch mocked her. Some of her feelings must have reached her face cause the old woman laughed happily. “Go on, child, take it. Sexyness in a bottle, your heart’s desire.”
She grabbed the bottle and run out of the witch’s place as fast as she could. Outside it was raining heavily still. Good, she thought, someone has to weep for Mary.
AN: If you would like to read the rest of the chapters, you can find them in the category “10 small stories” at my blog page.