Bikini body

Swim suit folded around my body
Tanned, bikini clad girl in the mirror
—Roxy, Seafolly, Billabong—
Is not me, she is somewhere else
Having a midnight swim in her imagination
Before I reach for the baggy tee shirt
To cover it all up again for safe-keeping

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The Witch in the Mirror – Part 30

High Street in Pemblebury was long, narrow and rambling. Lined with a mixture of new and old buildings, High Street still followed the medieval wagon track that had once led to Pemblebury marketplace. There are no more remnants of those ancients markets but the medieval traders left their mark in the way High Street still follows the twists and turns around long forgotten rock outcrops and low lying swampy ground. The road had been closed to traffic years ago and now featured six city blocks of paved shopping mall.

Many of the buildings along High Street shopping mall were new constructions of steel and glass that reached high into the sky and changed the city’s skyline so much that few medieval folk would recognise their old village now. Some of the buildings were older, however, surviving in more or less their original form for centuries. The dusty canvas awning of one of these old stone buildings advertised itself as a seller of old wares and antiques.

Crowds of Saturday morning shoppers hurried past as Josh walked along High Street, waving his hand like a conductor’s baton. He could feel the rhythm of the crowd and was trying to work out how he could use that in his music assignment.

Da da da dum, Josh hummed.

A truck roared past, shifting gears as it accelerated away from the lights. Josh waited for the lights to change before he could cross. The pedestrian signal beeped and Josh tapped his foot in time. If he could program that timing into his drum machine then he could work a fugue on the cello around it.

Beep—beep—beep.

Beep beep beep.

The lights changed and Josh stepped off the curb. A car screeched to a halt as he sauntered across. His long hair curled across his face and Josh kept his head down rather than making eye contact with the driver. At least the footpath wasn’t as busy on this side of High Street.

Josh looked up and noticed one of the girls from school walking towards him. He slowed down and began to pretend to look in the window of a shop. The last thing he wanted was to run into Anar. She was one of those kids at school that had made the past two years hell for him.

He knew it was her group that had started the rumours about him being gay—just because he didn’t play football. He had never been sporty and it felt stupid chasing a ball around the park. He much preferred being inside with a book or playing music.

The bullying hadn’t started with anything too obvious. It was just little things that people said and then they always said they were joking. He usually laughed with them, but only until he got home. Then he would bury his head in his pillow and try and stop the tears—the tears just proved that what they said was true. Maybe he really was gay.

But Josh was pretty sure he wasn’t gay. He liked to look at girls—was even attracted to them—but he just didn’t know how to talk to them. He became tongue-tied whenever a girl was around. His mouth went dry and he stammered. No wonder they all thought he was queer. But he had never felt that way around guys. He just had nothing in common with the guys in his class at school and he was definitely not attracted to them.

He repeated this to himself as he turned his head to see if Anar had gone past yet, but she had stopped. She was standing in front of that antique shop with the faded awning.

She was wearing a short skirt and tight fitting top and cardigan. He studied her face while she seemed to be deep in thought. Suddenly she smiled as though she’d had an idea and pushed the door open to enter the shop.

Josh was curious. Why would Anar be looking in an antique shop?

He moved closer until he could see her through the window. The old lady behind the counter was talking to her and Anar was looking around. He couldn’t hear what they were saying but he saw Anar nod her head and disappear into a room out the back.

He moved further down the street and waited for her to come out. A few minutes later she quickly walked through the door of the shop and hurried past where Josh stood. She didn’t notice him as she reached into her bag and pulled out a green book. He caught a glimpse of something silver glint in the sunlight. Anar was smiling as she slipped the book back into her bag.

The Witch in the Mirror – Part 29

The first thing Alyce needed to do was find a spell to break the king’s enchantment over her sister. It would need to be a powerful spell—more powerful than any that had ever been cast before on the Southern Isle.

Alyce sat in the library, her face lit by the flickering lamp, as she thought of all the things she had been taught about magic by her mother. The first thing was that magic was bestowed by the goddess. It was inside all living things and many things that weren’t living as well. The flowers, trees, birds, animals of the forest, all possessed their own kind of magic, just like the wind, water in a stream, clouds in the sky, the rocks and sand.

It took a special person to be able to use that magic, to control it. That was the lesson that Alyce had found the hardest to learn as a child. She remembered how all she wanted to do was make things move, but it was just too hard. It all seemed to come so easily to her sister, Alexandria. Katharine would just stand by and smile but she never helped. Alexandria was so full of excitement that she could control the wind, turn water into ice and create a fireball in her hand. But Alyce could do none of those things. Once again her mother calmed Alyce’s tears and patiently explained that magic came from inside.

Alyce had closed her eyes and eventually conjured up a tiny ball of fire. She never got the hang of wind and water but she later discovered her real talent was as a healer. That wasn’t as satisfying to Alyce as making things move. That is why Alexandria was made the queen when their mother died, because she had control of all her magic and was a true moon witch.

But somehow the prince had been able to overcome that magic with his own darkness and it was now up to Alyce to save the islands—and her sister.

She moved the lamp to the desk. She could already hear voices whispering from the Book of Shadows. It was over a thousand years old and contained the knowledge of all the daughters of the moon that had come before her.

Alyce nervously opened the front cover as she whispered a prayer to the goddess. Rain hammered against the window and the pages of the book fluttered back and forth. Slowly they settled and Alyce leaned forward to see what was written there.

To undo what has been done

By the shadows of darkness

Begotten ruthless silence

To cast your spell takes patience

Alyce stared at the page. She had no idea what it meant. But two words caught her eye—darkness and patience.

If darkness had been used to cast the enchantment it would take all the magic of the three moons to break the spell. Or Alyce could just wait until she had gained enough power to break the spell on her own. And that would require patience.

She closed the book and sat back and thought hard. The castle was well protected against the king. Defense spells were one type of magic Alyce knew she was good at. That bought her enough time to be patient. The other problem was how to build up her magic. She knew of one way. The quickest was to take the magic from a young witch. Their magic was strongest, but also most vulnerable, on the third full moon after a witch’s sixteenth birthday. It was also when a young witch’s magic ran wildly out of control before she learned to harness it and take her place as a fully-fledged witch of the Coven of the moon. But where could Alyce find a witch that was just about to turn sixteen?

There was a slower way. Alyce remembered the fairy tales her mother had told her and her sisters when they were children. The one that sprang into her mind was the story of the evil witch that had feasted on the magic of the village children. The story was meant to be a warning to children to be home and safe inside before darkness fell. But if it were true…

Alyce shuddered to think of where those thoughts might lead her. But she had to rescue her sister. Besides—she convinced herself—the village children didn’t even use their magic. Most of them didn’t even know they had any so they wouldn’t miss it if she took a little from them. A little bit of magic at a time wouldn’t hurt at all.

More time

I stood on the verandah
Watching her back out of the driveway
No more paper kisses or rainbow hearts
Scattered rose petals in the bathwater
Where soapy fingers made me say ‘I love you’
Between chocolate-coated kisses
I should have known when she couldn’t say it
When all she could do was murmur into my neck
But I gave her all the space she needed
It wasn’t my fault the blankets ended up on my side
I just wanted to feel her body against me
That was the only time I felt whole
When I stood under the stars thinking
That sometimes I need to be alone
I didn’t mean to snap at her
When she removed my paintings
They didn’t mean anything anyway, I said
But I never said I didn’t like her loud friends
I told her I wasn’t the jealous type
But she flirted with that girl anyway
Just to see what I would do
With those almonds eyes watching
Her hand slide between those thin thighs
When all I could feel was ugly
I said I didn’t care to myself
As I lit a cigarette in the backyard
Because I knew she hated smoking
And I turned my back that night
When she tried to say she was sorry
With velvet circles against my hip
Until I caved in with her fingers
Jammed between my parted legs
Forgetting that I was meant to be angry
And I said ‘I love you’ again
And she went still against my back
And I choked back the tears
When I told her she should move out
Because I never thought she would
I just wanted her to say it
And I never meant to scream at her
And breaking her pottery was an accident
And I really meant to call when I was late
But I knew it was already too late by then
When I found her bags packed in the hallway
And her note left on the dresser
‘I would have said it, if you’d given me more time.’

The Witch in the Mirror – Part 28

Rain was falling gently outside as Josh hurried through the door of the café. He pushed his wet hair back off his forehead and manoeuvered his cello case past the tables, careful not to bump his brand new instrument. Squeezing into his usual table in the back corner of the café he leaned the cello against the wall.

The café was dimly lit, which was exactly why Josh liked to come here. He could hide in the corner and watch the world passing by without anyone noticing him. Plus he loved the Belgian hot chocolates and marshmallows they served here.

Josh slung his backpack onto a chair to claim the table and then made his way to the counter and ordered his hot chocolate. The girl behind the counter didn’t even bother to look up at him as she took his money. He picked up the table number and turned to walk back to his table when he noticed Bea and Emily sitting at a table on the other side of the room. He recognised them from class, even though he had never spoken to either of them.

He slipped back into his chair and pulled a book from his bag. Throne of Glass. He had been enthralled by the book for weeks. He opened the book and started reading, but his eyes kept being drawn toward Bea and Emily.

He had known Emily as a classmate for years. She was kind of quiet and kept to herself. A strand of dark hair hung down over her forehead and partly obscured her face. Josh had never seen her in the café before.

He watched as Emily reached across the table and squeezed the other girl’s arm. She seemed to be upset about something. Josh looked at the new girl more closely. Her long red hair was tied up on top of her head. The frizzy hair that escaped caught the light and gave her a reddish-golden halo. He found himself drawn to her round face. Josh wasn’t usually attracted to girls but he couldn’t help thinking that Bea was one of the prettiest girls he had ever seen.

He wondered why she was upset. Even from this distance he could see tears forming in her eyes. He felt a lump in his throat and had an urge to help her, whatever it was. He didn’t move of course. Josh often had these urges but he was too shy to ever act on them.

Emily squeezed Bea’s hand and Josh looked away. He had to find out what had happened to the beautiful assassin in his book. The next time he looked up the table was empty. Bea and Emily had left.

History

Under what conditions women lived
Beaten, locked up, flung about
Servant to her lord and master
Idolised in poetry, prose
Desired and despised in flesh
Absent from history
Enslaved by a ring on her finger.

Directing the storm

Directing the storm
Of patriarchal ideals
That men and women subscribe to
Of romance, unattainable love,
Housewives keep streets clean,
With sparkling eyes, dimpled, fresh,
Waiting to bestow kisses or faint
Curiousity won’t stop them talking,
Defined not by what they do
But by their relationships to men.

Inside my world

Inside my world
There’s a girl to love
Sitting under an apple tree
Just waiting for a boy
To come tripping along
Far better here
Than locked in a tower
Where the wind blows
All her charms away –
To hold her hand
While she watches the stars
And flying at night
Leaving a trail of flames
Her wildness, his ice
Melts before freckled cheeks
Soft lips, wicked eyes
Only the goddess knows the plans
Written on that beautiful face
All the boy hears is her voice
And he has fallen
Without seeing
Inside her world
A basket by her side
Red cape, innocent look
Tilting mountains
Under the dark of the moon
A trail of blood
With arms flung wide
Hair streaming loose
Fierce and untamed
In nothing but her skin
She is in full bloom
As he bares his teeth

When we were young
We stood in the rain
Watching time split
Emotions on the surface
Seeing through his eyes
The approaching storm

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