The Cat, the Crow, and the Conjurer
by Colleen Driscoll
I creep around the house and wait for her arrival. I’ve witnessed the routine before. Each time a lover jilts her, she sulks for days, then cackles and begins preparations. Most woman cry tears. She cries revenge.
“Is she here yet?” I mew as I leap on the table.
The crow’s scrawny feet perch outside on the elm tree. He caws nervously and flies through the open window. I shiver at the night air and purr to push past my uneasiness. We’ve braved the brunt of her anger before.
The door slams, and we take shelter in our safe zones. From under the table, I watch through the darkness as the crow flies to the top of the oak pantry. She enters, carrying a burlap bag. Humming, she drops it on the table and lifts the cauldron from the stone floor. She sets a fire to blaze in the hearth and hangs the pot on its hook. In steady movements, she takes the container of rainwater from yesterday’s deluge and pours the liquid into the kettle. I approach, rubbing my fur against her warm leg to remind her of our racy past. She doesn’t kick. That’s a good sign. She seems determined to proceed. She runs her hand across my curved back and grabs scissors from the table to snip a whisker—my small sacrifice. The crow’s eyes follow her for a moment, and he, too, approaches, flapping his wings as he lands on her shoulder. She plucks a feather and tosses it in the boiling water. She adds slugs, centipedes, grasshopper wings, a tarantula, a dragonfly, and two drops of snake venom that she keeps in a vial. The room fills with a noxious odor.
When the brew is ready, she unties the sack. I feast my eyes on the rat she pulls out and lick my face in anticipation of leftovers. I almost feel sorry for the creature. She drops the vermin into the foamy broth and mumbles the incantation. The rodent’s chilling, high-pitched squeals as the scalding water seizes him ring throughout the room, and my eyes meet the crow’s beady stare. The devious look on the woman’s face reveals her delight. She revenges lovers who have scorned her by morphing them into powerless animals and captures them in her bag. Once they sink into the bubbling brew, the spell is permanent. Perpetual imprisonment. Victims who underestimated the powers of the vicious witch. Only the crow and I have eluded the final chant.
She beckons us and we come. I leap on the table and let her stroke my fur. The crow acts more guarded and perches on her shoulder, wings ready to take flight. If we attempt an escape, the next spell will be ours. Rejected lovers do not understand the extent of her magical powers. And so, we remain in this house. The cat, the crow, and the conjurer.
Colleen Driscoll resides in West Virginia with her family. She has three published children's stories in the Piper the Elf series. Find Colleen at http://cdriscollauthor.wixsite.com/colleendriscoll
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Sadness With The Morn'
'A Little Lore'