Wednesday is the best day of the week. JANE CROW would tell you that’s because it’s her day. Meet CHIMERICAL TALES’ resident witch in today’s serial…
I’ll tell you right off, I lie a lot, so I’m sorry if I remember some of the details of this wrong. Or if I remember them right and just tell you something completely different. Or if I can’t tell the two apart. I’m sure by the end of this story I’ll have something to apologize about, so let’s get it over with now.
There, that’s out of the way. Now the story.
To begin with, I’m a witch. I know that’s a lot to believe, because we do a pretty damn good job of keeping a low profile and staying out of your day to day business. I’m sure you want to hear about our secret passwords and magical hidden trains and all that Harry Potter kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
See? I totally pretended I made that quote up. If you believe me, get thyself to a library.
There are two types of witches, so let me clarify things. There’s the nice suburban wiccans, who have harvest festivals and knit scarves with goddess imagery. They’re cool. I have no problem with them; blessed be.
That’s not what I am. I’m one of the creepy Stephen King hidden people with magical powers that may or may not come from some ancient pact with Satan or Pan or Nyarlothotep. The kind that if you cut us off in traffic, we curse you with premature ejaculation or really bad wi-fi. Well, at least the bad witches. Am I a good witch or a bad witch? Damned if I know, that’s why I’m going to tell you this story.
‘Scuse me a minute, I’m going to get a soda, this is going to take a while and my mouth is dry. Probably a blood sugar thing; I’m not just a witch, I’m a diabetic.
Okay, thanks for waiting.
So to start with, my name’s Jane. Jane Crow. A crappy name for a blonde, but there’s a witch’s tradition about taking a name based on the first omen after your birth. It keeps people from knowing your True Name, capital T, capital N, which can give someone power over you. No, I’m not going to tell you it.
My mother was a witch, and from what I know of her, a fairly kick-ass one. She died in a car accident when I was two. I was taken in by her sister Catherine, where I got to be mostly ignored in favor of my cousins Charissa and Chloe. It wasn’t that Aunt Cat didn’t love me in her way, but she’s a big shot in the Invisible Coven, and for years no one thought I was even a witch.
Needless to say, growing up as a muggle (the actual term witches use is “useless piece of non-magical crap”) isn’t fun in a witch house. Char was particularly fond of practicing her spells on me and Chloe, while not actually causing boils and cramping or souring my cereal milk, was perfectly content to watch and sympathize after the fact.
Aunt Cat tried several times while I was a kid to determine if I had any aptitude for magic. It’s rare for a child of a powerful witch to fail to manifest any power, but even the wisest and most experienced witches and warlocks in the Coven found no sign of any mystical potential. My aura was a total blank.
There’s not a magical school, either, so when it was time to leave the home torment behind to learn, I headed to a far more insidious and soul-crushing institution: public high school.
Remember how I said I didn’t fit in at home because I wasn’t a witch? Well, you might think that meant I would fit in at Theodore Roosevelt High School. No such luck. I have a serious love of reading and made the mistake of actually wanting to learn. Add on top of that the fact that I’m reasonably smart (I broke into the school office once and read my file; I scored in the ninety-nine percentile on both verbal and mathematic acuity and my IQ was estimated at 165) and you have a clear recipe for being disdained by the other inmates.
Things didn’t turn around for me until college. I attended Princeton, which got me out of Aunt Cat’s house and actually surrounded me with interesting people who didn’t mind hanging out while I read Proust. A few even tried to pick me up by starting conversations about involuntary memory, and if they were cute raven-headed Neil Gaiman/Robert Smith types, I usually let them.
(See, there I lied. I let quite a few James Spader types take me out too. I liked the attention after years of puberty solitude.)
The big change, though, happened during Christmas (sorry, “Yule”) break sophomore year. That was when I finally had my Carrie moment. Stephen King again, not Sarah Jessica Parker.
That was when I finally became a witch for reals.
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.