A very short story about a coven forced to take to the internet due to dwindling numbers
|Senga sighed again. ‘Best git it done ah suppose.’ She shooed her cat Deon out of the way, seated herself comfortably and, with distrust plain on her wrinkled face, confronted the thing that looked unlike any rodent she’d ever encountered. She grasped it firmly and rammed it viciously forward and left. Tongue protruding from between pursed lips she clicked firmly on Video Call. An equally aged lady’s face sprung onto the screen before Senga.
‘Well met Aggie.’
‘Eh? Oh, um yes, um well met Senga. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? I think this thing’s broken.’
‘Ah kin hear ye fine Aggie. Just turn up the volume a bit pet.’
Aggie fiddled with something out of shot and suddenly beamed. ‘Well met Senga, how are you love?’
‘Aye fine, Aggie , ye know, cannae complain. Yersel?’
‘Oh you know Senga, Salsa dancing twice a week and high diving at the weekends love. Same old, same old. I expect Jane and Margaret will be logging onto the conference call shortly. Wonderful technology isn’t it dear?’
Senga sighed again. Times had changed since the nights of cavorting naked under the moonlight back in 1961. She’d done precious little cavorting at all since her Stan had passed on back in ’98.
It seemed everyone from the old days was going the same way. They had had to amalgamate covens from further and further afield until the Wiccan Wives (Greenock branch) had found themselves The First Online Witches Coven of Scotland, Newcastle and Sundry Other Provinces, but not Berwick. Going PC really hadn’t helped the feel of the thing for Senga. Seances by skype. That’s what they were reduced to. By candle, book, bell and bloody modem. At least she could go to coven meetings and stay dry these days and if she kept her needles out of sight she could get her knitting done between dispensing wisdom, vengeance and gravy recipes.
In the early days of their switch to bringing dark magicks and natty cardigans to the World Wide Web Senga had been rather thrilled to be told they had attracted several trolls to their Forum page. When LMAO turned out to not be part of the language of the underworld she had spent quite some time conjuring a rather detailed and nasty curse for demonsk8rboi.
‘Well met sisters, howyez?’
Senga muttered a half-hearted, ‘Well met Margaret’ at the slightly younger and incredibly tanned face that appeared on the screen. The one thing that bothered Senga about the ever widening recruitment area was she had only half a clue what Margaret was saying. She was from Newcastle. Senga had never been further afield than a day-trip to Edinburgh. To her Newcastle was approximately adjacent to America.
Margaret ‘s voice could have stunned a bear. ‘Alright gerls. Just to say I had a tweet from Jane, she can’t get on tonight.’
‘Why not?’ asked Aggie.
They all nodded at this and quietly let their minds slip towards the adrenaline soaked world of fast paced, low stakes gambling they all adored. They met thirteenth of every month. Unless it was a Saturday in which case they met on the Friday because Friday’s are more eldritch and the telly isn’t as good. Bingo was the trump card though.
Senga had one eye on the clock. ‘Right well, best get this show on the road then. Business this month, we’ve a mammy-to-be who wants a spell cast so she gets a girl this time (four boys she’s got, poor lassie).’
All three bowed their heads and chanted in time. As one they looked back up at their screens.
Aggie spoke. ‘Well there’s one in the bag girls, nice work. Now I’ve only a little one this month. Alice next door asks if we can help her win the Women’s Institute Victoria Sponge challenge this Sunday.’ Senga tutted. Aggie forged ahead, ‘Ready?’
Three words each, spoken in turn and Aggie smiled her thanks.
‘Hardly seems worth it pet,’ said Margaret. ‘Right girls my turn. I’m afraid mine’s gunna take a bit more effort.’
‘Soonds serious hen,’ said Senga. ‘whit’s wrang?’
On the screen Margaret shot a helpless look towards Aggie.
‘Don’t worry Margaret, Senga was just expressing concern. What’s the matter love?’
Margaret hesitated and then plunged in. ‘You know my Sheila? She’s my second youngest. Well you know her Bert died a couple years back? Well she met a new fella, from London.’ She said London the same way she might hint at The Deepest Pits of Hell.
Both ladies sucked their breath in through teeth, and in Aggie’s case, butterscotch. London could only mean trouble.
Margaret nodded her thanks for their understanding. ‘Well Sheila only went and fell in the love with him, the soppy cow. She was even talking about marrying the get. Then yesterday she caught him with that little Chantelle ratbag from down the hairdressers!’
‘Oh, that’s awful,’ said Aggie.
‘The dirty wee bassart!’ yelled Senga.
Aggie made to speak but Margaret held up her hand. ‘I think I got that one.’
‘Right girls, this is serious,’ said Senga putting down her knitting. ‘Huv ye a picture of the wee rat?’
Margaret held up a photograph of a grinning man with a thick moustache and curly hair wearing speedos on a beach. Someone had been rather carefully snipped out of the picture. All three raised their right fists, both outer fingers extended. They chanted together in voices deeper, harsher and more forceful than earlier. ‘Maleficarum! Amlleos! Illegitim! Omneos!’
They lapsed into silence. Senga was saddened to notice how much she was panting. Lately she’d been starting to wonder if the cigarettes might really be bad for her after all.
The quiet was broken by a shrill beeping from Margaret’s end. She grinned broadly and disappeared. They heard a few brief words and then Margaret reappeared . If anything her smile was even brighter, her ultra-white teeth standing out against her mahogany skin. ‘That was our Sheila. Seems she needs a lift down the hospital.’
She winked. ‘Talk to you next month ladies. Take care.’
Aggie tapped the desk before her and cast around for something to say. ‘Aff ye go hen,’ said Senga.
Senga sighed and closed the window. She picked up her knitting and stretched as she rose. She stroked Deon. ‘Nice wee bit o’ witching there son. A couple of sisters helped oot, some nasty piece o’ work got his comeuppance and, best of all, finished up in time for Strictly Come Dancin’ Results.’