Once, long before, you wondered why the witch–your witch, now–was always covered in bruises, why her skin was forever a tapestry of slowly fading marks, all those purples and yellows hiding the warmth of her skin.
Once, you wondered why.
But then you died.
When you were alive, you had assumed the obvious. She had never cared to cover them, to conceal them, and you couldn't conceive of her as a being that anyone could hurt without her willing consent; so you assumed it was simply a kink that she didn't care to keep secret.
A year after you died, she went to your grave. Not for the first time; she had visited before, at the funeral and after, bringing flowers and tears. But this time was past midnight, the witching hour, when all was dark and silent.
She brought dolls and shovels and a casket.
You remember being exhumed, remember her carefully lifting your bones out of your coffin to lay them in the velvet-lined casket, wiping away the last bits of rotting flesh with gentle and decidedly gloved hands.
You remember how she brought you back to her home.
These memories have the flavor of dreams, of stolen fragments. You know you weren't there, weren't aware, for any of them; so they must be hers, right? Fragments bleeding over the walls she erects to keep herself distinct from her ghosts, things she wants you to recall.
It's strange to feel them in your mind, to feel her body moving around you; it's even stranger when she lets you take over, lets you speak or move.
You usually wander out onto her porch and watch the sun set; some of her other ghosts dance, or bake, or paint.
All her ghosts have different flavors of joy and sadness, different feels, but all they come to her the same way.
Each of her bruises is an entrance, an invitation, a gateway; each a place where one of her beloved dead has been called to share her body and taste life again.
There is one for you, one for each of her departed friends; bruises for people gone long before you knew here, and bruises for people you have only known through your presence in her body (for it has been so very long since your death, now).
She never says goodbye, not really.
Not to anything she loved.