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Life Theft and Me
I can’t believe I was actually doing this. I’d heard all the stories of Madame Zelda; how she, supposedly, was a witch or an oracle or a magician or something along those lines. She was rumored to have powers to compulse, curse, or anything else you could imagine. All she was just a poor, creepy old woman who lived on the outskirts of town. She was not supernatural in the slightest. So why was I going to her? Because you’re desperate. And I was so, so desperate.
“Jared Lazzara,” just speaking his name quickened my pulse. I had known him since freshman year and had instantly fallen head over heels in love with his sandy blonde hair and deep, blue eyes (he was totally Hollister-model worthy). He was popular and funny; he was on the baseball team and in orchestra and in choir. He was absolutely perfect in every way. The only problem? He had a girlfriend. Nicole Brown. Four feet eleven inches of pure evil, and they had been dating the whole time I’d known Jared- almost four years. This was our senior year and he hasn’t so much as given me the time of day. I don’t blame him. I was abnormally tall and skinny. Not even the good skinny, I looked like a bag of bones! I was flat-chested, greasy-haired, zit-faced, and totally awkward. I didn’t exactly have guys drooling over me. This was precisely the reason I was going to Madame Zelda.
The house came into view, if you could even call it a house. It was more of a small shack which sat on the very outskirts of town. The roof was on the verge of caving in, the paint was peeling its way off the wood, and the shutters hung limply in their place. I stepped outside and walked to the door, my feet crunching on the frosted October grass.
I hesitated when I reached the door. What was I doing? This is just about the stupidest thing I’d ever-
The door opened suddenly and I jumped when I saw her. Madame Zelda. I had seen her before, but never this close up. Her wrinkled, sun-tanned skin made her look centuries old, she had a scarf wrapped tightly around her head, and her eyes were dark and piercing.
“What have you come here for?” She rasped, her eyes locked onto me.
“I-I need your help,” I uttered under my breath. I couldn’t stop the rumors from racing through my mind.
Madame Zelda squinted before telling me, “Everyone does,” and waving my inside. As she shut the door behind me, I blinked repeatedly for my eyes to adjust. It was like stepping into blackness. The room was cluttered with candles which she lighted one by one, casting a dim glow on the walls. A small, circular table with two chairs on opposite sides of it was placed in the very center of the room, on top of a large, dusty rug. The table and the floor around it were coated in papers and cards, probably of the tarot kind. Counters and pantries lined the back wall.
“Come, child. Sit.” She guided me to the table and I took a seat. She stood above me, arms crossed. “Why are you here?”
“Well, see, there’s this guy-”
“No, no. I picked up on that thirty seconds ago. I mean, why have you come here? You are not a believer, correct?”
“A believer in what, exactly?”
“Black magic.” I gulped. She smirked. How did she know the reason I was here?
As if she heard these thoughts, she spoke, “Your eyes. You are sad, no? Aching. You love someone who does not return your love.” My mouth suddenly felt dry. “What is your name, child?”
“Er, Clarissa. Clarissa Jenkins.”
“And you want me to make this boy love you as you love him.” It wasn’t a question, but I nodded anyway. How the heck did she know all this? People had been saying she was a psychic for years, it was the reason I had come to her today, but, sitting here, I felt bad. Really bad. Was she for real? I never thought she would have actual powers. Zelda, without saying another word, turned her back on me and walked to the counters in the back. I could hear glass bottles clinking together. I suddenly wanted nothing more than to get out of there as fast as possible.
As I stood, Zelda returned, a small glass vial in her hand. “Drink this,” she held the cup out to me.
“Er, no thanks. I actually have to be getting on home. Sorry to bother-"
“Sit down, child,” she said softly. I found myself staring into her eyes again, and I sat. She smiled and handed me the cup. It was filled with warm, clear liquid, and smelled like ultimate weakness- fresh cinnamon rolls.
“Tell me,” Zelda sat in the opposite chair, “how old are you?”
“Almost eighteen, why?” I took a sip. The taste was sensational, unlike anything I had even experienced. Way better than regular cinnamon rolls.
“You are awfully young, are you not?” she asked.
“I guess so,” She smiled as I took another sip.
“Do you like your drink?”
I nodded, “Very much. What is it?”
“It is a secret. It has been in the family for years.” I drained the glass.
“Do you feel it?” Madame Zelda asked suddenly.
“Um, feel what?”
“The poison settling in.”
I froze. “What?”
Zelda stood, “Soon your breathing will slow,” she leaned over towards me, “your throat will feel slightly constricted,” she took my cup, “and you will be completely immobilized.” She walked back to the counters.
“I-I’m going to leave now,” I stammered. This woman was crazy. I stood and almost fell to the floor, the room was spinning. “Whoa,” I held my arms out for balance, though it didn’t help much.
“There is no point in trying to move.” Zelda called, “You will only speed the process.” I took a wobbly step. Then another, before I toppled to the ground. She came and stood above me, stepping her bare foot on my chest as I tried to roll away. My body felt like it was full of sand- heavy and sluggish. I tried to scream but all that came out was a low groan.
Zelda grabbed my wrists and pulled me to the side of the room; she was incredibly strong. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her move the table and chairs and pull the rug off the floor. She came back and dragged me where the table had previously sat. I rolled my head around, and I saw what was drawn on the floor around me in white chalk. A pentagram.
Panic erupted through me. This woman was insane! She fed me poison and now she was going to do Satanic rituals on me! I used all my strength on concentrating to get up, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even move my fingertips. I looked at Madame Zelda. She had placed red candles around the pentagram and was lighting them. I could see her mouth moving rapidly but could hear no sound coming out.
I felt funny, like all my energy was draining. I could feel it leaving my body.
I realized that I had not gone blind, my eyes were shut. I opened them and I didn’t see Madame Zelda. In her place, I saw a girl about my age. She had beautifully tanned skin and long, flowing black hair. She was skinny, but her hips and breasts made her curvy. Then I saw her eyes, they were dark and seemed to stare right through you. ..Madame Zelda?
She turned to me, a small mirror in hand. “I want to thank you, child. It’s not every day I get someone as young as you.” She walked over and kneeled down beside my head. “You should keep me replenished for a long time.” She held the mirror in front of my face and my mouth opened in a silent scream.
This wasn’t me. It couldn’t be me. The person staring back at me had to be at least seventy or eighty. She had deep wrinkles, thinning white hair, and rotting teeth. But I still knew what my face looked like. This was me, just…much, much, older. Zelda stood up and walked out of my line of vision. “Well now, child,” she spoke, “fortunately for you, I’m not going to kill you. Murder is too messy. But, unfortunately, it seems like you are well on your way do dying on your own. Yes, yes, you are much too old, eighty-six, at least. It won’t be long now.” I heard her open the front door. “And I would rather not be around when the Grim Reaper comes for you. He doesn’t seem to like me very much.”
She shut the door and left me in the darkness to die alone.