WARNING: This chapter contains nudity, disturbing content, and strong language.
“Lydia! Hey, beautiful,” Abel says by way of greeting. I roll my eyes unambiguously. I know what Abel wants, and it’s not just a piece of ass.
“Not tonight, Abel,” I groan. “I’m tired.”
“Hey, don’t blame me,” Abel replies as he shoves past me, right into my apartment without being invited. “Dad wanted me to come talk to you.”
“Sure he did. Oh, and come right on in, by the way.”
“Hey, this is technically my place. Well, my dad’s place, but since I’m helping him run it, I can come and go as I please. But seriously. You’re behind on your rent, babe. I’d hate to see a pretty little thing like you get kicked out on the street. You’d never make it out there.”
A lot he knows.
“You’ll get your rent,” I retort. “It’s not my fault the money I make sucks. All I got tonight were a bunch of crumpled ones and fives.”
“Again, not my fault. But if Dad doesn’t get some sort of payment from you within the next two weeks, you’re gonna be evicted.”
“Thanks for the great news, Abel. That’s just what I wanted to hear after a long night.”
“There’s more news.”
“I can’t wait.”
Abel sighs. “I’m trying to do you a favor here and let you know what’s up.”
“You think I don’t know my rent is past due? I told you, you’ll get it. I’m working on it.”
“Well, maybe we can work out some sort of agreement.”
“Come on, you don’t even know what I’m offering.”
“I don’t give a damn what you’re offering. I don’t want it.”
“I can get payment some other way, babe. Dad would never know. I’m the one who balances the checkbook. He’s as good with numbers as he is with tools. Which, as everyone knows, is shitty.”
“Abel, stop it.”
Unfortunately, Abel doesn’t stop. He keeps inching his way toward me, a look of seduction on his face.
Except it’s not seducing me in the slightest. If anything, it’s creeping me the hell out. Oh how I wish I could use my magic to get him out of here! What’s the point of being a witch if I can’t use my powers whenever I see fit? And this seems like a necessary situation. It’s obvious what Abel wants. You don’t have to be a psychic to see that.
“Abel, I’m warning you,” I say in a menacing tone. I’m not one to back down. “Back the fuck off.”
“Hey, it’s either this, or I tell Dad that you don’t have your rent again and probably won’t get it in the two weeks he’s so generously giving you.”
“I’d love to. How about you do that for me?”
I’ve been backing away this whole time, until I end up toppling over the dining table. Abel sees his opportunity. He straddles me, prying my legs apart as he tries to wrestle me out of my shirt.
“Stop it!” I shriek. I struggle beneath him as his disturbing erection grazes my thigh. I knew this guy was a filthy pig, but I never thought he’d take me by force.
I’m about to spit an incantation into his face, but I can’t. It’s just too risky. I can’t expose my secret; witches aren’t supposed to exist, and knowing this guy, he’d run right to the press to get his fifteen minutes of fame. How would I ever explain that one? It’s impossible.
Besides, I know he’s serious about me being kicked out, and I truly have nowhere else to go. Plus I do have some forms of revenge other than fighting back.
With a sigh of resignation, I give in. I lie there, supine, immobile, allowing him to have his way with me. I’m just grateful my table is plastic and not wood, or my entire back and ass would be covered in splinters.
Thank God it’s quick. It only takes him two minutes to get off. And thanks to my “profession,” I’m on birth control. When he stands up, panting like a dog, he gives me a snide grin, obviously pleased with himself.
I want to puke as I struggle to sit up and wriggle back into my underwear. The same underwear that was being ogled earlier when I was spinning around a pole.
“Thanks for that, babe,” Abel says sardonically. “I needed that. And I know you did too. Don’t worry, I’ll tell Dad you paid up. And since you took it so good, I’ll even throw in the next month’s rent free.”
“How kind of you,” I reply sarcastically.
“Don’t mention it. Oh, and by the way, that other news I mentioned? You’re getting a new neighbor across the hall.”
“Joy.” I hope it’s some other poor soul he can torture and deflower.
“Yeah, so just an FYI in case you hear some movement across the hall. Anyway, I better get down there and take care of those books. Thanks again.”
With a maddening wave, the sneer still plastered on his face, the bastard leaves.
I waste no time in bolting to the bathroom to puke. I grasp the edge of the seat when the acrid taste is out of my mouth.
I feel even more disgusting than I did earlier at work as a stripper. That’s pretty sad. If only Ebony had been here; Abel would never have tried anything if I wasn’t alone. Or maybe he would have; my sister was gorgeous, so I’m sure he’d be down for a threesome. Gross, and illegal considering our sisterly relationship would become incestuous.
I could have easily helped myself, but at too high a cost. I honestly believe that’s why Ebony is dead; one thing she never exercised or practiced was discretion. I’m convinced that she was found out and in a cruel twist of irony, thanks to the Salem witch trials centuries ago, someone burned her to death.
I fill the tub with water and add bubbles, eager to wash off any remnants of Abel’s vulgarity. As I sink down into the warm water, I continue to think of what I need to complete the resurrection ritual.
I’ve made up my mind. I did that long ago, when I first heard the news of my sister’s death. Contrary to what’s portrayed in the media, witchcraft is not the same thing as telekinesis. I can’t simply look at an object and will it to move toward me. I can’t change my clothes at the drop of a hat or in a shower of glittery sparkles.
Real witchcraft is using the earth and nature as sources of power. A witch draws those elements and can summon up great power. Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as ancient incantations like the ones in the spell book (or more accurately, grimoire) I’ve hidden in a locked trunk under my bed. I wish there was a safer place to put it, but I can’t risk Abel or his father coming in here while I’m gone and finding it.
I extend my leg up in the air and swirl it around, examining it for any traces of Abel.
I scrub my skin until it’s raw. I hate myself for being so weak, for allowing that cretin to even touch me. Thankfully, I know of a way to get him back. The best part is that he’ll never see it coming and will have no idea why it’s happening.
I’m not one to practice dark magic. But if the time calls for it, I’ll do so. I’ve never had to use it that much before, but what Abel did is unforgivable. And the fact that he was so smug about it, like he’d accomplished some great feat! The nerve of him!
I splash my leg back down and grit my teeth in fury. Sometimes I hate that I’m a witch. It makes me feel even more helpless, knowing that there really is something I can do about circumstances, but at the same time I can’t because it risks the exposure of all of my kind.
I’ve heard various stories on how witches came to exist. Some say that mortals sold their souls to the devil in order to gain power and immortality that shouldn’t be possessed. Others say that few were blessed to have special abilities to help others, and they passed those powers down to their children. And even more say that somehow a select group of people was blessed with the power and embodiment of nature itself, thus allowing them to draw energy and power from it.
The one story that is consistent, however, is that magic was always meant to be used for the greater good. But as with all things that aren’t meant to be toyed with, some magic possessors turned dark. Instead of using their magic for the greater good, they used it for the betterment of themselves. That’s why witches got such a bad rap so many years ago.
I still practice the ancient arts, things like placing a penny in every corner of a room to bring good luck to someone I care about, or even playing around and seeing what shapes I see in tea leaves.
But some of the things I do, which are just as old, are considered dark magic. But I don’t consider myself to be evil. I only use those measures when strictly necessary.
Like right now. I rise from the tub and wrap a towel around my body, staring into the mirror.
As I dry my hair, I go over how I want to put this to work. It doesn’t matter that Abel will give me an extension on my rent; what’s to stop him from doing this all the time now? Every time he gets horny, he’ll undoubtedly take advantage of my moment of stupidity and weakness to get what he wants, or threaten to throw me out on the street. And as bad as this place is, at least it’s a roof over my head.
I could always tell his father, but he’s as bright as a burnt-out light bulb. Besides, it would be his son’s word against mine. That would hinder more than help my predicament.
I finally stagger into my room to throw on some pajamas, which I didn’t grab earlier due to my haste to scrub the filth of Abel off my body. I must remember to do the same to my kitchen table, considering I eat there. I heave a shudder at the thought.
I step into something and find the hiding place behind a dresser drawer. I discovered it a couple of days after I first moved in; the third drawer down has a faulty stopper, so if you close the drawer in a certain way, you can stash things behind it. It’s too small to fit my spell book, but perfect for my retribution on Abel.
I withdraw the straw figure, its eerie eyes staring up at me. I haven’t used this voodoo doll that much, but this calls for it.
I take a pin from my nightstand and stuff it into the doll’s head. At this moment, Abel will be feeling an acute headache forming. But that’s just child’s play. For what he did, I need something more serious.
I ponder what to do next and settle on poking the doll’s crotch. I can imagine the pain he must be enduring now. I can’t help but chortle at the image.
I laugh even more when I poke the doll’s ass, and then finally race into the kitchen and fill a glass with water. I cast an incantation while pouring water over the doll’s head, causing Abel to piss himself. It’s all I can do not to burst into loud guffaws.
I make him squirm for a little while longer before finally putting the doll back in its hiding place and crawling into bed. I’m extra exhausted now, and still not feeling the best. Maybe Abel will catch on that karma is biting him in the ass. Or, to be more precise, his tiny dick.
I don’t bother covering up. It’s too humid in here, anyway. Instead, I cover my face with my arm and stare at the vintage ceiling with its intricate, ancient design.
I feel somewhat better knowing that I’ve punished Abel for his actions, but I still can’t help the regrets swimming around in my head. Finally, without bothering to wipe away a stray tear that falls from my eye, I drift off to sleep, apprehensive about what tomorrow will bring.