Sunday, May 4, 2014

Magpie Tales: It's All Made Up

Here is another venture into 
with its weekly challenge of 
an intriguing image
and the freedom to do 
whatever you want with it.

Chair with the Wings of a Vulture. Dali. 1960
“It's all just made up!”

Sybil pushed the keyboard away in disgust. In disappointment, bitter as her tears. She'd sat up late into the night, tapping away fruitlessly, chasing a dream and now it was dawn. Another wretched day, full of noises and whispers that blistered the inside of her skull. Jealousy is a vicious beast.

All night she'd picked apart Google to find what she needed to know. She'd tried Voodoo. And then, Hoodoo. Witches. Wicca. Pagans. Heathens. Even Warlocks. She’d looked for spells and incantations and magic circles and secret curses and there'd been nothing. Just stupid hints and whispers of something better and bigger, just out of reach. Something hidden, like the little man behind the curtain.

“This is stupid. It's all pretend!” And she pressed her cold face into her hot, sticky hands and sobbed, howling like a kicked dog. It didn't matter how much noise she made. There was no one around to hear her.

Wiping her nose on her bathrobe, she peered again at the mosaic of windows she had open on the screen, pulling a mulish face at each one, with its scattering of symbols and hints of power and demands for credit card numbers.

“You all just make this crap up.” she sneered. “There's nothing there.”

Leaning back in the seat, Sybil stared out into the garden. The sky had desaturated to pastel grey, a new day was coming. Well, that was supposed to be all powerful, right? Stupid sunlight, bringing light and heat, driving away the evil things back to their lair..

Daylight also meant he'd be getting into his car, coming home, smelling of some sugary young perfume and eyes baggy with deceit and exhaustion. It wasn't just his infidelity, though that made her miserable enough. It was the lies, as if he thought she was stupid. As if he thought she somehow colluded in the act by nodding and saying, “Yes, dear. Of course, dear. Another late night at work.”

And she'd thought that there was some magical, powerful whatever out there she could use to fix this. Maybe she was stupid?

“It's just crap! It's not real!' she yelled, and threw the cup and its scummy cold coffee against the wall. It splashed in a sunburst on the white paint and ran like sweat.

Sybil got to her feet. She stared at the wall for a very long time as the blisters in her mind popped and oozed.
Just because it's all made up, doesn't mean it doesn't work...

She picked up the laundry basket and began shoving random things into it, in a panic of activity. The printer clicked and purred and matches hissed and bloomed flame as she worked. Muttering and giggling, she stacked the objects against the splattered wall.

An unfinished dream catcher.
The doll's chair made of spoons.
A pair of bird wings, from some forgotten flea market.
 The Woman.

Sybil cut out the photograph with sharp, savage slashes of the scissors. 

She'd gotten the image from his Facebook. She’d seen the pokes, the smileys, the stupid little hearts. She'd seen the messages, ending in a dot, dot, dot. All those ellipses, with their hidden meanings. And now she had the photograph of the Woman and made her a centerpiece of the rough altar. Sybil stepped back and gave it a critical glance, as if it was a flower arrangement.

It would do.

Magic was all made up. There were no great secrets, no hidden, occult recipe books. Which meant she could make it all up, just how she wanted, and imbue these tawdry items with the power they'd need.

The cross at the top was given a nod and a bowed head. She muttered words which sounded suspiciously like the grace they used to say at school.

“For what I am about to do, may the Lord grant...” she faltered, and thought hard. “wisdom, power and vengeance.” Another pause. “Amen.”

But how did she start? In that moment of uncertainty, the sun peered into the room. If she was going to do it, she probably needed to do it right now. Sybil threw aside her bathrobe and stood naked. She flung her arms wide, so that her belly lifted and her breasts rose and pink light bathed her flanks. She spoke to the altar.

“I don't know how to do this, but I know what I want to do. So you, whoever you are, can help me and heal me.”

She pointed at the candles.
“The light is behind her, so that when she walks, she walks in the dark. Bad things will happen to her in the dark. That is my wish.”

A gesture to the fraying dream catcher.
“Her sleep will bring no peace and her bed will be full of nightmares and they'll trap her. That is my wish.”

Sybil swept her arms up and down, like bird.
'When she speaks, a crow will thrust its head in her mouth and tear open her tongue, making her mute. That is my wish!”

A finger jabbed at the doll chair.
“....and when she sits, every chair will have a spoon and she will eat, and eat, and eat and eat and eat and eat, until she is swollen. That...' she sucked in a happy breath.' that is very much my wish!”

Sybil wiped her eyes on her hand. She stared at the runnels of brine, and flung them onto the altar, for sacrifice and yelled,
“ Grant my fucking wish!”

In the sudden silence, the sun bloomed bright, turning from pink to gold; dimming the candles. And Sybil felt soft wash of tranquility. She felt better. She felt calmer.

If this didn't work, it didn't matter. It worked for her.


  1. Loved this frolic into a mind as obtuse a Dali himself. What a great Mag! :-)

    1. Thank you very much. That's praise indeed. Glad you enjoyed it! She is a little confused, isn't she?

  2. this is terrific! Best ever! May the spells work!

    1. I hope they do, too! At least, she feels a bit better. And thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Oh.. if magic doesn't work.. she could always try cyberstalking... she seem to have a knack for that.. great and captivating tale

    1. Heh! Thank you! And she does seem to know her way around a keyboard, I grant you that.

  4. glad she's healed and contented...strong storyline...

    1. Thank you very much! I was trying to give a snappy ending and then thought, nah. I'd let the husband live

  5. Ha ha , what is real ? Have you seen Lars Von Triers " breaking the waves " ?? A similarly powerful evocation there ....evocation vs invocation, always an ethical and spiritual dilemmna
    Well done

    1. What is real, indeed. I need to try some Lars. I like his breaking of the barriers by including real sex in his films, some genuine cinema verite.

  6. Rhissanna, my love, this is freaking exquisite... and terrifying... and graphic... (Noticed my "ellipses, with their hidden meanings."

    I saw the coffee "splashed in a sunburst on the white paint and [running] like sweat" and I liked it. It added to the mood and the chaos of the spell.

    "Just because it's all made up, doesn't mean it doesn't work..." Simply true.


    1. I'm delighted you saw the chaos! *danced happily* And, dear me yes, I try to make things visual. If I can't 'see' it, I can't write it. I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I don't often poke the Darkness Bunny, and I have deep writer insecurity when I do. Thank you, and thank you for reading when I know you're very busy birthday and blogoversarying.

  7. Excellent write...and a nice musical treat too...

    1. Thank you so much, Tess. And who doesn't love some Nina Simone?