The accidental witch
Back to sender! Back to sender!! Back to sender!!!
The black cat ran across the roofs of the houses in town, rushing to the coven meeting. She couldn't be late; today was the day she was going to plead with the other witches for a solution to her problem.
To anyone peering out of their window, she was just a black cat, navigating rooftops and dark alleyways, skipping past puddles on the road to get to the clearing behind the church where eleven other cats licked themselves, waiting impatiently.
She arrived and wagged her tail in greeting. "Nice of you to join us," muttered Mrs Ogunbiyi, a green-eyed tabby.
"I'm very sorry, I over-slept. It's the stress of my problem, you see, that's why I need help."
"And that's why we are all here in the bleeding cold," Mrs Solanke, an overweight cat purred, "so go on with it, we don't have all night,".
"It's my son, Muyiwa," she whispered in the strained voice she had practiced all day, " you know he's the only one I have since his father died, well he's come under the love spell of a hateful harlot, a single mother, used goods. She takes up all of his time and attention. He doesn't care about my wellbeing anymore, and the worst part, he's thinking of moving out of the house," she burst into tears dramatically.
"Isn't that your thirty-five-year-old son Muyiwa? You should be happy he's moving on," said Mrs Fayemi sarcastically.
"Now, now," muttered Mrs Ogunbiyi, we are here to support, not mock. An assault against one is an insult against all. Let us light the eternal flame."
The twelve cats formed a circle and blew air into the centre and it erupted into a small green flame around which they chanted, "Eternal flame, burn for me, give me powers I can see, eternal flame burn for me, give me powers I can see."
The flame burnt for a few minutes and exploded, leaving an orange powder. "Ah, the forget-me powder," said Mrs Koleshowo as she scooped it into a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to her, “Sprinkle this on Muyiwa's food and call the harlot's name three times, as soon as he's finished eating the food, he'll forget about her.”
She collected the paper from Mrs Koleshowo and skipped away from the meeting with a quick thank you. Within a few minutes, she was awake in her bed. She looked at her left hand and saw she still clutched the paper. She fell asleep with a smile on her face.
She awoke with a burst of energy the next morning and raced down the stairs to see Muyiwa fiddling around in the kitchen. "Good morning, Mom," he said, happily kissing her on the cheek. "Good morning Muyiwa, don't tell me you want to grab cornflakes again. He laughed, that loud laugh that transformed him into his father. "Let me whip you up some eggs and coffee. It will take 5 minutes," she said, smiling.
"You don't have to Mom, you still treat me like a baby. I'm okay. I'll grab brunch at work."
"I insist," she said tersely, and Muyiwa knew that was his cue to let her have her way.
"Alright Mom," he said and went into the living room to watch the morning news.
Within 5 minutes, two sunny-side-up eggs, two slices of toast and a steamy mug of coffee were ready. "Eleanor, Eleanor, Eleanor," she whispered as she sprinkled it all over his food. She placed the food in front of Muyiwa and watched him wolf it down."
"Thank you Mom," he said, "it was delicious. I'll see you later." He grabbed his suit and was halfway out the door when he turned to her and said, "Mom, I've been thinking, is it alright if I have Eleanor and her daughter over here on Friday, for dinner, that way you can be formally introduced and we can start talking about the wedding?"
'Wedding? What wedding? She only just moved here three months ago, and you're following her around like a lost puppy, a used woman. You need a young, clean girl, not that slut,' was what she wanted to say but instead she said, "That sounds great Muyiwa, we'll talk about it when you get home."
She clenched her fists as she watched him walk out of the house. Her only son, who was content to sleep at home all day playing video games, living off the allowance she gave him. Suddenly this woman moved down the street, and he got a job and was acting responsibly. Definitely the powder hadn't worked, but she didn't let that derail her.
She got to bed that night and got into position. One foot and one knee against the wall pointing north. Instantly, she was the black cat again, clattering garbage cans rushing to the witch’s coven. She got there and met Mrs Layekanmi finishing a story,".... so that's how I made her forget where she parked her car, she's still wandering around now after three days looking for it,"
The other cats burst into laughter as she scowled into their midst. "How nice of you to join us Mrs Ogunmakin," Mrs Ogunbiyi said slyly, "how did you find the forget me powder."
"It didn't work," she spat out, "as soon as he ate the food, he continued babbling about her."
The other cats scuttled around. "Not possible, didn't work? Not possible," they whispered.
"Unless," muttered Mrs Solanke, "we mixed it up. Maybe you were to say her name seven times instead of three."
The other cats continued muttering among themselves.
"Very well," said Mrs Ogunbiyi, "we'll conjure up something else."
They stood around the circle chanting, "Eternal flame, burn for me, give me powers I can see, eternal flame burn for me, give me powers I can see,". The green flame erupted once more, burning brightly before sputtering away to leave a shower of tiny black coals.
"The black coals of pain," shrieked Mrs Otedola gleefully, "pour this on her doorstep and if she leaves her house to go to your Muyiwa, she will feel pain and turn back home." Mrs Otedola gathered them into a scrap of paper and was about to hand it over to her when Mrs Ogunbiyi asked, "You are sure she is not a witch, Mrs Ogunmakin? You know our spells will not work against another one of our sisters."
"No, she is not,' she answered, snatching the paper with her slender paw."But if you insist I will try the witches salute on her before I use the coals," she muttered. She spent a perfunctory few minutes listening to their old stories of glory, pretending to find them funny, before wandering off. Armed with the coals of pain, the end to Muyiwa's dalliance with that, Eleanor was in plain sight.
That evening, she walked over to Eleanor's front door and knocked. It was opened by her eight-year-old daughter, a precocious thing even more beautiful than her mother.
"Come in, Grandma," the little twat said.
"I'm fine here," she replied, please tell your mother I would like to see her."
She stood out in the cold and wrapped her shawl around her as the beautiful Eleanor emerged, all yellow, smooth skin and white teeth, a used-up woman never the less.
"Good evening Ma," Eleanor courtesied.
"Eleanor please do you see anything at the back of my dress?" she turned her back and wagged her tail. A fellow witch would instantly see the tail and return the greeting. Instead, Eleanor spent the next two minutes haplessly looking for a stain on the back of her dress. "There's nothing here, Ma," she announced.
"That's great," Mr Ogunamkin smiled, "I was just taking a stroll when I stopped over and say hi. I thought that car splashed something on my dress. Oh well, have a nice evening." She deftly shook the hot coals of pain onto Eleanor's doorstep, pretending to wrap her shawl around herself.
Eleanor watched her walk away for a minute, then she called out to her, "Mrs Ogunmakin, please wait. Let me walk you home."
"That's unnecessary," she said curtly. "I insist Ma, it will be an opportunity to talk to Muyiwa about tomorrow’s meeting at work."
Mrs Ogunmakin smiled, "Very well," she said. The idiot was going to spend the night in pain, she thought gleefully. She watched as Eleanor stepped over the doormat and walked over to her. They walked together silently for the two minutes it took to get to her house.
"Are you okay dear?" she asked Eleanor.
"Very well Ma," Eleanor replied.
As they arrived at her doorstep, Muyiwa bounded out. He had seen her from the window. "My two favourite women in the world, " he said, "How is Layla? Let me walk you back before she starts missing you." Mrs Ogunmakin watched Muyiwa and Eleanor walk off into the sunset.
She was brimming with anger. Hot coals of pain her ass! She ran to that night's meeting brimming with anger.
"Sisters you have failed me, it didn't work, are we now a coven of old weak witches if twelve of us can't even get rid of one idiot!" "And you are sure she is not a witch," asked Mrs Delano. "She didn't respond to the salute, I tried it, I swear!"
"Hm, the only other thing is if she's an accidental witch, under the protection of a powerful witch," said Mrs Ogunbiyi. "Nonsense," Mrs Ogunmakin said, "the accidental witch protection is only valid for a mother and daughter, and Eleanor's mother is dead. Our spells are no longer strong, our eternal flame is weak, maybe we need to recruit fresh blood into the coven."
The other witches shrieked. A coven was always twelve witches. Was Ogunmakin talking of replacing some of them? Ogunbiyi strolled around them, "Gather around my sisters and fill your hearts with revenge. This night we beseech the eternal flame for a spell so powerful that it will rid our friend of this pest that troubles her."
"Eternal flame, burn for me, give me powers I can see, eternal flame burn for me, give me powers I can see," the witches chanted for almost an hour after which the flame erupted leaving a sickly, shimmering greenish-yellow powder.
The other witches shrunk back. They all knew what that powder meant: death. " The shimmering powder of death," said Mrs Ogunbiyi, " sprinkle this over Eleanor's food and you'll be rid of her forever."
Mrs Ogunbiyi skipped away from the coven, humming a tune, wagging her tail all the way home. As soon as she was awake, she put her diabolical plan in action. Muyiwa would invite the harlot and her daughter for dinner, to 'talk about the wedding'- ha! There and then she would be rid of Eleanor forever.
That night she had made Muyiwa's favourite: fried rice and chicken. Eleanor helped her set the table and serve the food. "I just want to say thank you for having me and my daughter over Ma, it means a lot to us, I know it's hard to see your son with someone who has a child but please know you are now my mother and I will be daughter you never had," Eleanor said to her in the kitchen before dinner.
"Enough of that," she answered her tersely.
She watched as Eleanor consumed the rice on her plate and even asked for another helping. She watched Eleanor continue to laugh and talk all through the dinner. She remembered what Mrs Ogunbiyi told her as she left the coven, "Bisi, if this girl is a witch, even an accidental one, the spell will reverse instantly on you. Don't say I didn't warn you."
The warning echoed in her ears until suddenly she couldn't feel her legs, her arms, her neck. "Help me Muyiwa," were the last words she said as she collapsed to the floor.
She woke up in the hospital to hear the Doctor saying, "She will never walk or talk again, she has severed her spine at C2 and she will need round-the-clock care, she must have fallen awkwardly at the dining table, I'm very sorry."
She saw Muyiwa clutching Eleanor in one corner of the room, helping him wipe away his tears. She understood now why he loved her so much. Even her posture radiated strength. Why hadn't she let go?
Muyiwa, Eleanor and Layla came to the bedside, and she quickly shut her eyes. She didn't want to see their pity. After a few minutes, they turned to leave, saying they would be back. Layla was the last to leave the room.
"See you soon, Grandma," she said, turning around to wag her glistening tail.
Abidemi Abudu is an avid reader and part-time writer of short stories.
Copyright © Abidemi Abudu, 2022. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form on by an electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author/Alolitmag.