You wake in a house by the sea. The house has always been there; the sea has always been there. Both are surrounded by a woodland. Everything is surrounded by a woodland.
Today you left your house and went into the woods. The trail was wide and full of travelers. You take the third left and head into the grove. You visit the hollow tree where the Green Lady has her café, originally titled, “The Green Lady Café.” She is behind the counter dunking her head into kettles of hot water. She is a sprite, her head is small, you ask for jasmine mushroom and her head splits in two. Dunk.
Sometimes you forget that you are a Witch. You try your hand at poetry, weaving, last year you took up an interest in gardening…everything but your beanstalk died. You feel bad, why can’t you diversify in talent? One day a little girl brings you her dead cat. You can’t bring it back to life. You put it on your table and take out its heart; the little girl cries and runs for the door. The next day you go to the Village and find her, you give her a cat heart dipped in gold, a gold chain run through the arteries, when she wears the pendant, she can hear a purr.
You were tired of sitting in the The Green Lady Café waiting for someone to discover you. You were tired of wishing someone would come and grant your wishes. You were tired of the way wishes stacked on top of each-other. You wish for one thing and then another. You wish and wait and you do nothing. You were tired of doing nothing. So you stole a broom, a black hat and then Witch wove itself around you. Of course, you still want, but now you don’t want an agent, a fairy, a moment of discovery. Now, everything you want can be accomplished, with the night and the right full moon.
You still wait.
That’s just the way of it.
It’s amazing how house is a synonym for family. When they say the witch placed a curse on their house they don’t mean the Witch cursed the structure, they mean the Witch cursed them.(And of course you did, they had it coming.)
You like to break things. You can’t help it. One day, when you walked among the woods, you came across a great monster, it creaked and groaned, its voice was the trees bending in a gale. And so, as is the way of these things, you entered into a competition.
He splits a tree in half.
You strike the timber with a match.
He curses with infertility.
You curse with many fat children.
He traps a man and breaks his leg.
You enter the trap and break his heart.
You go home with the monster’s left index finger. Use it like a whistle if you need help.
Someone has written a story about Rumplestiltskin in The Wide Woodland. You wonder who do I have to curse—but you wouldn’t really, you’re actually very nice. Just miffed.
Rumplestiltskin brags about it over tea. Maybe you’ll curse him.
Repeat: I am allowed to date. I am allowed to date. You met him last Friday night when he was running the Woods and misleading a pair of lovers for a fairy lord. He seems nice. You like the look of his grin, all bad news and spoiled milk. You get in his car. He came to the door like a gentleman. You are checking off a list. He has nice eyes. You sit next to him and you wonder but you don’t ask. Instead you put your head out the window and feel the wind.
There is a train that goes through the woods. You ride the train for many days and arrive in another city in the woods. Everything is surrounded by the woods. This city is caught by briars waiting to wake up.
You did not come to the city to sleep. You did not come to Kansas City to tend to the sleeping. You kiss everyone in the city. This takes many days.
By the third day, your lips bleed.
You would not say you love him.
You would say you don’t.
You would say that this is unfortunate.
You tried to kiss him.
And he turned your mouth away.
You hire a maid to clean house. They all go by cinderella. All narcoleptics say call me sleeping beauty, briar rose.
You go by Witch and all witches go by Witch.
Some distinguish by location black forest, alley-way, mountain pass.
Supposedly, every prince is charming.
While in Kansas City you disguise yourself in brown clothes and ask for water.
Every Witch once had a sister.
Every sister of a Witch is dead.
You hear the cries of a beautiful princess. She is sad that her princess lives in city far away separated by birch trees and a lace veil like a three mile curtain. There are no paths leading to this city.
You make yourself from the shadows of her room—
You give her a glass tunnel
When she walks it a path will take her where she wants to go.
She names the tunnel Amber Dawn, after her princess in another city.
(The tunnel will break if she is unfaithful)
The Story Nerve is a neural path through the woods. That links everything that is surrounded by the forest.
Everything is surrounded by the forest. Fable-Fucking
is your favorite word after once upon a time. The boy with the spoiled milk smile
was, predictably, bad news. He took your mirror and your many league boots. The story builds
walls around you. He will make mischief. You will be angry.
The story moves on.
You are not in the habit of saying you’re sorry.
In the dream where you are chased by a wolf, you throw down everything as an obstacle—
And drive watching it grow growl and lunge in the rear-view. The wolf lived in a cave. You left something in the cave. You’d been in the cave before. Has the wolf always been there?
Last night you dreamed about your sister. Once again, you proved yourself a failed
Necromancer. She didn’t appear in the dream. No apparition. Instead, you dreamed you tried to resurrect her.
You end the dream in tears, wearing black robes and feathers, human-raven patrols the perimeter of the dead.
Mitchell King is a runaway witch living in Kansas City. His work has previously appeared with Assaracus, The Southampton Review and online with Plenitude and Matrix magazine. He hopes, someday, to colonize the moon.