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The Witches Hammer 1.1


Did I really have you convinced that I used magic to secure a man's affections? I couldn't even produce an edible apple, ensnaring another person was still well beyond my capabilities, in those days. No, I was restricted to much more mundane tactics, though I won't pretend that the perfume I dabbed my love letter with didn't include some magical oils known for inciting lust. For the most part, however, I relied on my own wiles, which I put to good use when Abdul accepted my invitation to come over for a date.

It wasn't the wisest choice, perhaps, since my cooking skills hadn't evolved enough to allow me to multitask. When the stove caught on fire because I was distracted by flirting with Abdul, he didn't react well to the flames. I don't know what he was so upset about, he wasn't the one whose ancestors had been burned at the stake, and you didn't see me panicking. Still, it most decidedly put him out of the mood for romance.

Oh, I got him back in the mood, eventually, but it took more effort than I've ever had to put into grabbing a man's interest, before. I must be a masochist, because the more he resisted, the more I wanted him. In the end, he broke. He's a man, and therefore weak. It really was inevitable.

With no spell to use to snare him, I fell back to the oldest trap we women know. When things got heated, and we stumbled to my bed, he told me he didn't have any protection, he hadn't expected the night to move so quickly. "Don't worry," I assured him, "I'm on the pill." I lied.

Don't give me that look, I told you already that I do that.

Romance hadn't distracted me completely from my job. As my skills grew, so did my reputation, and the calls I received were for more difficult hauntings than my initial efforts. I met the challenge, and thrived. Not even poltergeists possessing dining chairs could phase me; I was on my way to becoming the best ghost hunter in the area, better even than those with years more experience.

In time, I began to suspect that my plan for tying the elusive Abdul to me had succeeded. It became more difficult to keep my meals down, and I found myself growing dizzy and faint at the strangest of times. Still, it was too soon to be certain, and I didn't want to spring my trap until I knew. A false alarm could send him running when I was forced to reveal that I wasn't pregnant after all, and that was the last thing I wanted. I visited a clinic discreetly, and they drew the blood that would give me a sure answer.

Ghosts didn't stop haunting the town just because I thought I might be in a delicate state, though, and I wasn't so delicate that I would turn down work. If I was going to have another mouth to feed (or possibly two; I hadn't stopped to ask Abdul about his job, in my haste to get him in bed), I needed all the savings I could get, since ghost hunting didn't pay well at the best of times.

It was in the middle of a job that the clinic called with the results--I was, in fact, pregnant. I wanted to share the news with Abdul immediately, but first the need to finish the job and then common sense overruled my glee. I needed time to plan before I dropped the news on him. If I didn't handle the situation carefully, I could lose him instead of binding him to me once and for all.

A few days later I finally called him. I told him nothing over the phone, just that I'd like to see him, and invited him to come over for tea and a chat. Perhaps he was remembering what happened the last time he accepted my invitation, for he agreed very eagerly.

When I knew that he wouldn't run immediately, I told him the truth... or, rather, the truth as I wanted him to believe it. "I must have forgotten a pill or two, I swear I thought it was safe." Oh, I spun my story carefully: the illness, the doctor visit, my shock at the discovery. I played the innocent and frightened single mother-to-be to a tee, I thought. It was my best performance, and to this day I haven't equaled it.

To my everlasting shock, he didn't seem upset in the least. In fact, he was almost excited about the prospect. "I won't leave you and our baby," he promised me. "I will always be here for you, no matter what, you don't have to worry about anything." I waited for a proposal of a more formal sort. It didn't come; he was simply being a good man.

I reminded him of my other charms, in case he had forgotten that there would be benefits for him, too, if he kept me around. He didn't reject me, but the desired proposal still didn't come.

Finally, it became apparent that if I wanted a ring on my finger, I would have to propose it myself. When I did, he accepted it with as much eagerness as he had the sex, my invitation, and the announcement of my pregnancy. It occurred to me that I had snared a man with a will weaker than most, and while that was disappointing at the moment it could only be a good thing, later on.

We had a private ceremony. I didn't have any friends close enough that I would ask them to attend, and either Abdul had none either or he had none that he wanted to know the circumstances of his marriage. I was, after all, that strange woman who lived in the swamp, hunted ghosts, and made no secret of the fact that I was a witch. As much as it burns, I could understand why he wouldn't want to celebrate our marriage with his loved ones.

I didn't stay that strange woman living in the swamp long, though. My tiny shack didn't have room for a crib, and Abdul expressed concern over whether the stairs would be safe once the children began crawling. He wanted us to move to his small house in town, and so it was decided. It couldn't be that bad, I convinced myself. It was just a house.

A respectable house, at that, situated in a very nice neighborhood, with very nice neighbors. They greeted Abdul's pregnant young wife warmly, and brought over food and their hand-me-down baby clothes. It was all a little...stifling.

I tried to spend some time stargazing, to distract myself since it was too dangerous to run about hunting ghosts in my gravid state. All I could see were the city lights, and our neighbors houses. It wasn't at all like my little home in the swamp.

Since I couldn't work, Abdul picked up double shifts in an effort to keep us financially stable, and to save for the expenses that having a baby would bring. I spent a lot of the time that he was gone sleeping, Hexen loyal by my side as he always was. The pregnancy was more tiring than I had ever dreamed it could be, and I found myself wanting to call my mother for the first time since I had left home. I wanted to ask if it had been like this for her, as well, if she had been frightened as her time drew nearer. My pride didn't allow me that comfort.

Summer turned to fall, and in a blink the day of Samhain was dawning. I awoke feeling more energetic than I could remember being in the entire course of my pregnancy, well enough to take a stroll through the yard and enjoy the brisk autumn air. There was something in the breeze, something thrumming in the ground beneath my feet. Even this most hallowed of days had never felt so alive to me, before. Something important was going to happen.

I even brought out my tools, checking for any spiritual activity in the area. There was nothing related to ghosts; the energy must be something else. As the day wore into night, I became more and more certain of the fact that, in spite of my due date two weeks in the future, my child was coming tonight.

It was just after the sun set that I was proved correct. The pains of labor were like nothing I had ever felt before, leaving me barely able to call an ambulance. Thinking us safe for another two weeks, Abdul had picked up another shift at work, as usual, so it was up to me to make sure that my child was brought into the world safely. He arrived partway through my labor, and together we welcomed our first child into the world.

And our second, as well. Our daughters were perfect in every way, absolutely beautiful and absolutely mine. I have never loved another creature like I loved those two small, perfect babes. Cassandra and Cressida would never lack for love, and I swore they would never known a home where they were not safe to be whoever they wanted to be, whether they chose to follow my path and embrace the magic in their blood or not.

Still, in the midnight hours, when I had woken up to feed and care for my daughters, the bustle of the city around us made it hard for me to rest again. I sat up late in the night, sometimes watching them sleep, and sometimes just sitting at the kitchen table, wishing fiercely for my little shack in the swamp, where there had been no nosy neighbors giving me parenting tips, and where Hexen was free to run and play. Where my daughters would have been free to run and play and feel the mud between their toes, as well, in a way that they never would be able to in our well-manicured lawn. In my breast, a true hatred for our nice little home in town grew.

I tried to tell myself that I had nothing to complain about as I laid beside the husband I had fought to gain, listening for any sounds that would tell me that my two precious daughters needed me. I was free to practice my magic, and soon I would be able to return to my job hunting restless spirits. My life was exactly as I'd wanted it to be. And yet...

A bonus picture, for proof that the twins were actually born on Halloween/Spooky Day. Unlike Constance, I didn't have to lie to make the story better. It worked out perfectly all by itself.


Jun. 2nd, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
I love the fact that Cassandra and Cressida were born on Hallowe'en. That's awesome. My aunt was born that day too. :)