witches

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Antlion

"Are you sure this is okay, Miss?"

"Of course it is. Get that lock open."

Doll's fingers, long and fine as needles, dip inside the keyhole once again. She fancies that she can hear the house shudder as she massages its pins, and it's hardly a moment before the door clicks open. Behind her she feels her witch's smile: a vast gash cut into the night's fabric, teeth dripping with the moon's pale blood. Its empty eyes gaze hungrily past her from the sleepy suburban street's every shadow, and Doll thanks her lucky stars that no one's awake to see it.

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The Pheonix

"Call me Ishmael" the doll said, though its path had never led it to the ocean and it had little regard for water. It thought that it was clever even so, and Ishmael was a better name than the one its witch had given it when he stitched its wings.

Ish (which was what the other dolls called it, and which it held was because they had no flare for the dramatic) was a aeronaut aboard the great ⸢Remembrance of Her Unwilling Blessing⸥. A sky-ship one hundred and sixteen meters from bow to stern, with a wingspan thrice that! The culmination of a witch's craft, powered by banks of witchwork hearts driving it forward and pumping reality away with their every bone-shuddering beat! Vast and powerful, held together only through the unceasing effort of a dozen lobotomized witch-houses ...

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The Comet

The ground is warm beneath Doll's back as she lies in the fire's ruins, its erstwhile host's half-frozen blood splattered all around her. Her skin is pristine; her witch's wrath was careful when that pitiful storyteller finally turned its teeth on her.

She enjoys the warmth with the same sad hunger as she might regard her last meal before execution, were she a thing which could die. There's precious little of it left in the world, and the false-sun's baleful eye leeches more away with each passing day.

It's finally quiet.

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Light A Candle

Doll stumbles as she rushes home, one fine little foot caught in the cracked sidewalk, stone-teeth gnawing at protective leather. Her bag's too heavy today, rattling and clanking against her bruised hip; each step brings a fresh gasp of pain to her tightly sealed lips. Oh, if only she didn't have to hurry, if only she could take her time—!

But the sun's grasping rim is already teasing against the horizon, so far off across the sea that Doll's eyes can barely see the superheated steam which always veils those nightly indulgences; the sea is reaching up towards it and every clock in the city is about to chime out out the 19th hour's song and there's no time held in wait for her belated need.

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You're Invited!

When doll slips from the confines of her bed-box and stumbles downstairs, there's an odd rectangle waiting at the table: a folded sheet of thick, creamy paper. It's for her, obviously—why else would her miss have put it there, next to her oatmeal and tea?

But doll isn't sure.

"Miss, what's this?"

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Carter and Abel

⌈Cartɘr & Abɘl—ruining witchɘs' days sincɘ 629⌋

It's a cute sign. Done in marker on cardboard, sure, rather than paint on wood, but there's something almost charming about that to Arlene's weary eyes.

Pity that building it's affixed to is such a disaster.

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7: We All Have Regrets

Arlene's last customer of the day is uncomfortably prickly as Arlene looks her over. She's healing up well: the only trace of the rod's presence is a scattering of flowers rising up from beneath her flesh, their lines sketched in blisters and bruises and knotted scars.

Florence refuses to meet her eyes when she finally steps back and peels off her gloves.

"... well, you seem to be healing up okay, unless you want me to clean the traces off?"

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6: If Such Things Have Ends

"What was I?" Florence asks, the question bubbling up unbidden through her seed's vestigial throat and out past teeth already well on their way to hatching. Up in the red sky above the little patio where she keeps that memory of her lesser self her hands flutter uncertainly.

It is not what she expected to ask the shining-blazing-sharp-painspitting thing which crawled into her and took away her toys.

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5: Abstract War

Inside the building reeks of fresh death and fresher growth.

As Arlene creeps through it, guiding herself by apartment numbers and the scant surviving signage, she passes by windows dilated into misshapen staircases and beneath twitching masses of blue-white growths, dangling down from the high ceiling like tangled threads and greasy hair.

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3: It's Probably Fine

Arlene only notices the absence when she glances at her weekplanner a day later, but as soon as she does she feels it like an aching, toothless socket yawning open in her mind. It's been a busy week but that's no excuse to forget, and really, why didn't Florence come in?

Four days since the surgery, since she implanted that horrible dangerous thing in a woman who wanted nothing more than what it could offer her ...

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