Rain falls heavily upon a cabin hidden within a grove of tall fir trees, it is a simple wooden structure with a thatched roof and an arched door way. Stalks of ivy cling to the wall. Thunder resounds from the surrounding peaks into the valley.
From the round window in the front Morg Ana sees Mary Ray, the minister’s wife, running through the trees to the latched gate, clutching a headscarf to her bust. Her face and eyes are red from crying; her dress and hair are disheveled. She fumbles with her scarf and pushes the stuck gate open with a jolt. She falls into the yard, landing in a puddle. She sobs loudly, struggles to her feet, and stumbles bent over to rap on the arched door.
Morg Ana opens the door slowly, holding the heavy wood so that a small line of light falls onto Mary Ray’s face. A fire cracks in the house and a boom of thunder echoes. A black cat with orange eyes slithers around Morg Ana’s skirts and croaks at the wet stranger’s feet. Morg Ana looks down from the woman to the cat and makes a low hiss. The cat thumps its tail on the floorboard and sways into the recesses of the house. Morg Ana smiles and looks to the stranger again.
“You may enter if you wish.”
Mary Ray mutters a hasty assent, a mix between “thank you” and a sob, and tramples into the cottage, wiping water from her clothing, and is mortified by the puddles forming beneath her dripping skirt. Morg Ana glides slowly to an open fire pit in the center of the room, over which a large black pot is suspended from a ceiling rafter. She twirls her wrist around the steam. The orange flames deepen into a blue and green stream, sparkling and crackling. The flowing steam balloons into a mushroom cloud. Morg Ana turns to her guest, who is trying to hide the puddles she has made by dragging her feet across the floor. Morg Ana stares with a piercing gaze at the disheveled woman.
“You have waited too long to come here.”
Mary Ray’s head jerks up from her futile task. She again stammers incoherent babble and begins to sob. Her legs buckle and she collapses on the floor, slumping into her wet discharge. Morg Ana sighs and walks to the opposite side of the room where dried herbs are hanging from hooks on a rack of concentric circles. She removes three pieces of a thin curling green root and puts them into the pouch in the front of her apron’s waistband. Then she takes a thick silver pot from the shelves cut into the earthen wall. Mary Ray’s loud sobs have receded into muffled sniffs. Morg Ana removes a large cloth from the shelves and hands it to the slumped woman, who takes the cloth and blunders to her feet. Morg Ana motions towards the fire and the woman follows her direction to sit in the bone-covered frame chair behind the suspended cauldron. Morg Ana dips the silver pot into the flames beneath the cauldron, and in a graceful circular sweep she throws a ball of the flames to a small pile of saplings lying on the ground beside the chair. Mary Ray shrieks as the saplings burst into a floating ball of purple-tinged flames and lavender scented smoke rises into her face. The black cat pounces into her lap; relaxed and warm, Mary Ray giggles as steam swirls and dissipates around their bodies.
Morg Ana replaces the silver pot on the shelves and takes a large ladle from the wall. She dips it into a wooden barrel by the wall and spoons a glob of lard into the silver pot over the central fire.
As the lard heats and begins to slowly bubble in sticky pops, Morg Ana crushes the green roots in a citrine mortar with a silver pestle. She sings gently over the herb:
“The angel’s blow trumpets
while the mandrake shrieks
The bella donna watches
waiting for leaves to turn green
The chalice is anointed
when the moon is full
in flight you shall be appointed
to be in eternal bliss.
Blessed Be, Blessed Be, spirit of the Bee,
Blessed Be Blessed Be, Bee with me”
The roots have been ground into a fine powder; Morg Ana pours the mortar full of herb into the lard. She quickly moves from the fire to the threshold and disappears out the door, a moment later returning untouched by the rain with eight small blue flowers streaked with a five-lined star in the petals. She is whispering to the flowers, which are glowing with faint orbs of fine golden dust.
Morg Ana folds the flowers into the mixture of fat and green powder, transmuting the smooth buttery paste into a gooey purple potion. She removes the pot from the flames and takes a hollow glass vial decorated with moonstones from a leather rope hanging around her neck. She tips it over the purple mixture and a sprinkle of silver dust falls like shooting stars. The potion fizzes, emitting a series of mushroom clouds. Morg Ana sniffs at the mixture and smiles. She pours the shimmering potion into a jar and waves her hand in five circles above it before sealing the jar with a cork stopper and piece of burlap tied with a twine string.
“Tomorrow the moon will be full, before your husband comes to you for his torturous nightly right, rub two tablespoons of the potion on your loins and into your folds. You must continuously chant, ‘I am grateful, belladonna, may your scopolia lift me.’ When your husband is within you, envision the flowers that I brought in and imagine them growing from within your chest and between your legs. You will feel as though you are flying with the birds and the butterflies. The effect will last until your husband is finished.”
Mary Ray rises and Morg Ana extends the jar to her.
“You have saved me from immeasurable pain.” Mary Ray receives the potion reverently, fumbling into a curtsy. She babbles an awed thank you.
Morg Ana’s lips turn up into a small smile.
“It is nothing to me. Blessed Be.”
Mary Ray tries to fold Morg Ana’s cloth neatly over the chair and scurries to the door. She smiles as the black cat brushes against her legs warmly before gingerly stepping into the wet grass and shaking dew from its whiskers. As Mary Ray steps from the threshold into the darkness she can see the potion glows under the burlap. She sings gently to it,
“The Angels blow their trumpets,
While the mandrake shrieks…
Blessed Be, Bees with me, Blessed be.”
The village is a long way through the forest, across valleys and into ravines, but Mary Ray skips nearly the whole way, stopping occasionally to drink from a stream. It is dark when she arrives at her own small cottage, a square stone dwelling with a poorly patched roof. She runs through the door into her familiar room, eyeing the small table, a scratchy cot, and a large fireplace. She searches for a place to hide the potion, deciding finally on the folds of her apron. She lights a small fire for warmth, expecting her husband to be taking a meal and a generous portion of ale in the town village. Mary Ray’s husband is the village minister, but all knew him to like the drink as much as the scripture.
She regrets not having been able to bake that day as she eats a little stale bread and stares into the fire. It is not long before she jumps, startled from her meditation at the sound of the door banging against the stonewall. Framed by the moonlight, Mary Ray sees her husband a monster—a werewolf hunched in drunkenness slobbering from disease. He growls an incoherent babble and strides over to his prey, throwing off his tall hat and overcoat, and burping a foul radiating smell. Mary Ray recoils from the familiar scene, moving quickly to pour him water from the pitcher by the bed. He undoes his pants and begins to urinate on the fire, extinguishing the warmth in a stream of putrid piss. She gasps and pushes him away, but he is far larger, and not easily thwarted. He strikes the cup of water from her hands and pulls on her shoulder. She ducks away, but he catches her skirt and pulls her delicate body to the cot. Falling under his massive chest, she wraps her hands around her secret vial and clutches it tightly in her hands. Her husband turns to heave her onto the cold dirt floor beside the bed. As he chokes and wipes his face, Mary Ray quickly rubs the ointment between her thighs while whispering the incantation, and relaxes slightly with its warm twinkle. Her husband removes his shirt, throwing it in the stinking pile of mess and pushes hard into Mary Ray’s breasts, kneading them—unconscious to pleasure or pain. He pushes his hard cock between her legs and Mary Ray looks up, her neck crooked, at the metal cross on the far side of the room.
As he enters her innermost space, the cross alters, melting into a four-legged wheel spinning and emitting silver sparks. She watches as vines grow from the dirt floor and up the stone walls. Purple flowers open instantly on their stalks and break through the hay in the roof. She thinks tiredly that she will have to mend the roof again, but is then thrown into delight as she feels that she is floating above the bed, her husband weightless on top of her. She looks down and sees his mess, but she does not smell it anymore for she thinks it undoubtedly smells of honey. She closes her eyes and sees bees and hummingbirds pollinating the funny purple flowers all over her walls. She notices that her husband is no longer moving his disgusting member on top of her, and opens her eyes to look into his face. He is sallow, and his eyes have rolled back into his head. Mary Ray screams at the corpse on top of her and pushes him off her body. He falls onto the floor heavily and she gathers the sheets to her chest. They are stained a deep red-purple. Mary Ray runs to the fireplace and relights new wood, throwing her scratchy blanket on the fire to hide her crime. As it burns, the unmistakable smells of lavender and honey fume through the air, concealing the odors of her husband’s toxic waste.
Mary Ray rushes to the bed and finds the fallen vial of the potent perfumed potion and holds it to the light of the fire. Inside she sees a small winged creature, batting its sparkling wings and beckoning with her small hands. Mary Ray removes the stopper and the fairy flits out, Mary Ray sees the small creature to be Morg Ana, transformed.
“What have you done? You vile creature, you murderess, you witch!”
“You should be grateful, girl. Never again will you endure your husband’s foul lusts.”
“I will be killed by my neighbors for murdering my husband and consorting with the witch!”
“You are free; drink the potion until the last drop, and fear no more.”
The fairy witch Morg Ana conjures a crystalline star and flies in, disappearing into the matrix. Mary Ray looks at the potion, terrified and desperate, and turns the vial over her mouth. The mixture is sticky, and falls into her mouth in dank globules. She swallows it smoothly and looks around furiously. Whipping her arms and pulling at her ears she shrieks, but no sound comes out. All of her matter collapses inward in a pop at her center, and from her fallen clothes flies a swarm of bees, buzzing frantically around the room, looking for a way out.