I always wanted to be a witch. Not some broomstick bimbo, but a proper man-witch. One with brooding horrors, infinite knowledge, and crafts of the darkest ilk. Connie could be the sorceress she’d always dreamed. Full of healing light with a cunning tongue. Enough with the Dollar Store cashier, enough with the inflatable bounce houses. No more carnivals; let us make our own circus.
It was Connie’s idea. She’d been reading her grandmother’s grimoire and said all we had to do was follow the Rules of Above & Below, that’s how you get command over the water. What’s the worst that could happen? We could do all the conjuring ourselves, but we would need the well’s water to do it. Trouble was, well water is only for drinking. It was written right there in the oldest known language. The Sacred Law; the Understanding. The Knowing. We all profit from it, but there are a few who profit a bit more. Connie said we could be that couple.
The well provides the kind of water you drink to ward off fitful dreams. That water wills the best parts of your blood toward your sincere desires. It builds upon the lusty bits of the heart and whittles at the space between. It’s the kind of water doctors sip during surgery, ball players drink on the field, drivers in a race. It’s purity, clarity, alacrity. All the things you wish to be, the well gives it to you.
First, we had to cross the forest to do the fetching. I was unsettled by the shining eyes of unknowable creatures, but Connie said they would not touch us so long as our goals were true. They were, weren’t they? Eventually, we filled the tub. Five trips of ten gallons each. It crushed us, nearly a mile round trip. We were drenched in sweat by the time the first half was full. Slowly, through midnight, we hauled. We had to be ready by 3am, the witching hour.
We boiled a few gallons to bring up the temp of the whole. She burned sage, I dropped laurel in the water; the subtle oils calmed our expectant nerves and we de-robed. I took off my charm bracelet and let her kiss it before dropping it in. Its leather quickly broke apart, leaving the dozen secrets to churn in the water. Connie removed the pendant last and eased it into the bath. A vibration emanated from the crystal when it met the well’s bounty. A flicker sparked within and built to a soft blue glow. The water was luminous; it beckoned. We joined hands and entered the bath.
Thanks to the incantation the water was roiling, hotter than imaginable, but I pushed through. Connie was soft yet firm; we slid in and out of one another. We swam in each other’s eyes and let the water toss us about. The tub seemed to increase so that we were in a modest pool though still in our bathroom. The space widened; liminal bliss invaded our every move. For what seemed like hours we enjoyed the sensation of wet skin and tasted every part of the bath.
When we finished pleasuring ourselves and the ingredients were seasoned, only one thing remained. The rules of the well must be obeyed. After drinking the first cup we felt the effects. If the dope from earlier didn’t prep us for adventure, this surely would. Connie thought we should use cups, to keep track, but we stopped counting after the second time we vomited. Connie said it would be best if we did the puking in the yard, for swifter transfer to the worms, but I had to use the sink a few times. Hours we drank and puked and drank and puked the now tepid bathwater.
I could feel the change happening. The churning of old memories within my blood, the instincts that brought us out of the forest, were coming back online. I saw it in Connie’s eyes, how she was drawn to animals and yearned to collect small things. We were finally happy, excited to sacrifice. The sun was up by the time we finished. The world appeared crisp, but now I could see the disease under the façade of life. We stood in the empty bath just listening to our breathing; oxygen is a spell all its own. My mind told me I needed rest, but my body was energized by the night’s events, so we got dressed and went into town for a meal.
Newts were all I could think to order, but I settled for the house brew. When the waitress set down our cups, she brushed my hand and her entire life flashed behind my eyes. Connie knew we shared a moment, and her jealousy ignited. I told her to relax, but she was already locking doors within her chest to keep me out. Connie’s furtive glances at the waitress were the beginning of our end. We spoke no words; we didn’t have to anymore—the grounds at the bottom of my cup told me our spell was broken.