I wasn’t born a witch.
The coveted practice of earth magic was learned and taught; a continuous cycle, like all of life, to women born of the Knighton name. My great-great-grandmother, Victoria Knighton, began teaching earth magic to the women in my family with or without magic in their veins.
Witch magic lives in our ancestry, traced back to the days of the Salem Trials. Unlike my older sisters, the twins, Matty and Meredith, I seemed to be on the branch that it didn’t reach. Maybe the magic ran out by the third kid. Who knows? Well it sucked for me. I had to learn spells and casting the good old-fashioned way, like a person learning a foreign language before the days of Rosetta Stone and apps like Babbel. I didn’t have the luxury of just learning how to call up my magic. I was forced to make magic my bitch.
It took over four years to perfect the three wish spell mushrooms. They were my biggest seller, and this year’s crop was delivering huge red-hued Portobello-shaped beauties. The profits allowed me to buy this sizeable secluded piece of land and build the home of my dreams, a nice earth-friendly space that honored nature and ingenuity.
When you can give people things they want in a consumable form, people keep coming back for more. Compelling people. This hidden haven in the forest was the perfect way to escape those that would seek to take advantage of my product or enslave me.
The witch, Beatriz, lived in the forest on the west side of my property. She seemed like a wonderful neighbor and friend. She was never interested in my gardening. That is, not until a few months ago. She casually picked and ate one of my mushrooms a few months back before I could stop her. She came to visit while I was working in the garden. I know that the first time was innocent, yet I was still pissed. A person with manners would have, at least, uttered two teensy, tiny, little words…May I, before helping themself.
I bit my tongue, literally, to keep from freaking out and choking her. I wanted to yell at her to spit it out. I barely managed to keep my face stoic. Inside, oh yeah, I was losing my shit. She smiled brightly, oblivious, and said she would make a mushroom omelet and thought the color was fantastic as she turned to make her way back home.
Once cooked, the spell weaved into the mushrooms dissipated. The majority of the mushrooms were standard and bought by local restaurants and grocers in the small town of Forestdale. The unusual color was a big draw. The color was the secret. It was what bound the spell to the mushroom in that precise manner.
My unique magical mushrooms are for winners. That’s not entirely true. My magical beauties exist for losers with money who needed a W. I did not need influential people gaining even more power. They would use it to subjugate the less fortunate like they already do.
An uncooked consumed mushroom cut into three pieces gave you three wishes. The effect was immediate and temporary. You had to make the most of the opportunity as it presented itself.
Passed over for a plum job position, suddenly a spot would be available. Had low sales numbers last month, guess who was going to break this month’s record? Have you lost an acting gig to a more voluptuous, less talented actress? Guess who suddenly gets explosive diarrhea on set? You get the point.
After that, it was up to you to see your wish through. I guess it was more like fast-tracking than actual wish-granting—Tomato, tom-ah-to. In this case, my frigging mushrooms.
Smart people only needed one. Fortunately, most people weren’t that smart and wished for finite things. Or they wanted the mushroom to do all the work. I wasn’t selling genies in a bottle. My ‘shrooms were a goldmine operation that kept on giving—the cash cow for my quiet, simple life.
Unfortunately, she stopped asking and began helping herself. I wasn’t aware until I would go to harvest them, and some would be missing. It was only going to be a matter of time before she discovered my secret.
I went to her cottage and kindly asked her to stop stealing my mushrooms. I explained that I sold them at the farmer’s market along with my other vegetables. I depended on the income, and because the mushrooms were large, they were the most profitable vegetable.
She seemed a little put off initially but said she wouldn’t take anymore. She didn’t stop. It looks like she enjoyed the fact that a simple act of taking something of mine annoyed me. Well, most people I know don’t like their stuff stolen.
Fucking klepto-narcissistic witch.
“Stay off my property, and I don’t want to see even one of your witchy feet in my forest,” I screamed as I chased her off my land for what seemed like the 100th time.
Over the last few months, things have escalated. We have moved on from screams and threats and no longer speak. Beatriz has tried every trick in the book to get her grubby hands on my mushrooms. We ended up destroying a few trees as we flung spells at each other. That was truly sad. Earth witches respect nature.
I think Beatriz unintentionally figured out what they were. No one loves mushrooms enough to go through the effort to steal them unless they get you high or magic, like mine.
She is probably trying to figure out how to reverse engineer the spell to make her own. I can’t let that happen. Having a monopoly on my mushrooms allows me to get a ridiculous sum of money. Remember, it took me four years of literal blood, sweat, and side effects to perfect them.
Out here, everyone is laid back. Most were earth witches like myself and were friendly and left each other to their own devices. I didn’t feel like I needed to enchant my property with a protection spell. That would have stirred their curiosity immediately.
You would think there would be some solidarity—honor among witches. We are from different covens, sure, but that didn’t matter much these days. All she had to do was keep her hands out of my garden. She could have asked for a mushroom. Of course, it would not have been magical. She could have eaten mushroom omelets until her cholesterol spiked for all I cared. Beatriz was not well acquainted with boundaries, subtle warnings, or common manners.
I saw the branches sway at the edge of my property near my magical mushroom garden as I passed by the window. My footsteps slowed. There was no breeze. That freaking witch next door can’t keep her witchy little hands to herself! I fumed.
Her invisibility spell was almost on point. However, she had yet to tangle with my transformation spell. My eyes bulged as I watched as several of my fattest mushrooms were plucked and floated in the air. It was all I could do to remain indoors instead of rushing out and punching her in her currently invisible face. That’s ok. Two can play this game. This latest theft was the last straw.
I recite an incantation that will turn those three mushrooms into golems who will torment her for 48 hours straight as soon as she steps foot off my property. If she survives, at this point, I could give a flying broomstick; that should teach that thieving daughter of a …well, you know.
I laugh happily to myself. Beatriz would never expect a simple earth witch like me to know dark magic spells. People tended to underestimate witches that looked like me. Satisfied, I settle down for a peaceful evening of reading my latest book, boyfriend. My preemptive strike using the golems should end the property battles and Beatriz’s theft of my prized mushrooms.
I admit to myself as I settle into bed, I’m a little worried that she may be what I feared most. The whole reason for moving to Forest Haven was to be discreet and hidden from power-hungry people. She may be the herald of a bigger problem to come. Resigned to not lose any sleep over her tonight, I close my eyes and drift off. I will deal with whatever comes next.
Nobody crosses this witch.