SESSION: THE CREPUSCULAR HOUR, DECEMBER 1
One day a young witch – or perhaps not so very young anymore, though young enough to know better – took down her Ouija board from the cupboard where she kept it and, succumbing to the desire for knowledge which perhaps should not be hers but knowledge she desired nonetheless, placed the board flat upon her card table and summoned forth the spirit of one Angela Carter – that demonic whore, that spinner of fine gossamer tales – and requested from her, most wondrous of crones, a dollop of eternal wisdom.
“Oh madamissima, oh madwoman, my sentences are insufficiently long, my sexytimes scenes somehow not sexy enough. What am I to do?”
The board speaks:
What’s– hic– this?
The young witch feels she has woken a slumbering beast, that Carter has cast her coldest eye upon this interloper.
Is this an alarm clock? A joke?
The young witch’s will quavers; she presses forefinger and thumb together with considerable force, for luck.
“Neither, madamissima. It’s a simple spell.”
Why have you spoilt my afterlife?
"I write fairytales, you see, and so you’re my greatest influence. I teach your stories, actually. My students always love you – The Bloody Chamber, The Company of Wolves, The Fall River Axe Murders – though they often don’t understand you. They want you to be a perfect feminist, statuary on a pedestal, and so they siphon off all wildness that might complicate their reading of your supposed politics. And so I end up arguing for things I don’t believe, trying to return you to your true self."
Am I your poor farm servant, your old woman who squints at stars? You are neither here nor there. You do not speak for me.
"I wouldn’t dare. But do you have any advice for me? For teaching, or for writing?"
Use a great telescope to view the heavens from your roof. Take a long voyage. Sow a field of strangers while wearing a clean pair of heels; always carry a handkerchief with a bit of dinner in it. Learn the words for love and hunger in every language. Trade your milkmaid’s apron for the ermine mantle of a whore or queen. Stow away worlds in your pocket.
"I’ve learned so much from you."
My fate was long since cast to the tender mercies of night.
"So I should let you go now?"
Yes. I am a very good walker.
"Thank you, and please forgive the intrusion."
The young witch folded up her board, tucking her planchette into its silk pouch. Outside, twilight had diminished to blind velvet. Tomorrow, perhaps horrors, perhaps treasures.