Marcy cheerily skipped through the brush. Her empty basket pleasantly smacked against the fronts and backs of her knees. Once the last bits of her understanding of time and place slipped from her swinging fingers, a small, shoddy hut appeared in the forest.
Marcy had no choice approaching the cottage and knocking on the splintered door. The moldy threshold escorted her in and the door courteously closed after she crept in. Marcy’s eyes explored the strange dark room, crammed to the brim with weird crap, and fixated on a massive iron cooking pot in the center.
“Hi! Anyone home?” She called out sweetly. Suddenly something materialized right behind her and spoke as if a shiver; quiet and cold. “Yes,” the soft word slivered inside her ears and trickled down until it echoed in her skull, freezing her with fear. The entity hoisted her up high and cast her into the cooking pot with insidious ease. Marcy screamed in pain as her tiny body struck the hard iron, in terror as a fire began to blaze underneath and in horror when she saw the demon towering above her.
It’s dissonant cackles tore apart her ears with each shrill, shredding shriek. The demonic laughter battled her terrified cries for volume. The demon was so big it took up the whole room, was awkwardly cramped upon the ceiling and bent against the piles of mystic clutter. It was the color of blood, had long, spiny wings, talons, a crown of horns, grotesquely skinny and every inch of them was covered in eyes- including the gaping chasm lighted by a deep internal glow where the enormous laughs escaped. Marcy noticed how as humor shook the monstrosity some of its countless eyes popped out and rolled onto the floor. New ones immediately sprouting in their place. Creating an ever changing collage of eyeballs sporting bright colors and patterns.
“Cut that racket out!” Someone yelled and both screamers went silent. Marcy felt an emptiness in her throat, the panic bubbled in her brain but didn’t overflow since she could not move nor talk. A teeny woman wearing alligator skins and dead grass had come out from farther inside the house. She looked so unbelievably old Marcy thought she shouldn’t be allowed to be alive. The annoyed corpse berated the demon and Marcy realized the ancient stranger was a witch. And the way she snapped at the demon made the boiling girl think perhaps she was its boss.
Hm a boss. Marcy, as it happened, was unemployed. Marcy did the only thing she could do, think, hoping maybe the monsters could hear. She thought with such an intensity the fat vein on her forehead bulged, her skin got hot and angry and it was hard to breath. Hey! Hey!! HEY!!! Her thoughts grew louder than any scream she could ever push out. Marcy’s mind grabbed the magic house and gave it a good shake. The witch whipped her little bobble head around to stare accusingly at Marcy with fat, wobbly, green eyes.
“I could hear ya before you don’t need the dam dead’s attention.” But she had gotten it. The witch came over and to inspect the catch and her entire face curled into a wide, wrinkly smile. “Ahhhhhhhh!” The witch mused. Her voice was high pitched and cracked all over. “What a most delicious morsel of meat has dropped into my cookin’ pot!” The witch pinched Marcy’s taut cheeks. “A scrumptious chunk of child fortune has gifted me!” She nabbed Marcy’s nose. Fear pierced the girl from each shrivelled poke.
Then the witch began to sing, surprisingly lovely for a woman whose voice resembled a crocodile’s and had teeth to match, and the room became alive with a golden glow. All the ingredients the sorceress desired made their way to the pot and the demon’s littered eyes tucked themselves anywhere there was space. Marcy sat and cooked while listening to the witch’s song.
“I’m the witch which collects calories
Valerie, welcome to my magic menagerie
Oh I don’t care much for riches
Only want to use my kitchen
Which consists of caught, cooked and cut up children
Their souls are so sweet
A treat that keeps me on my feet
Not to mention the delectable meat
Flesh so rich and tender
It’s a splendorous endeavor
To have my rotten insides soothed
Let’s see if this girl proves my practice true!
I always lick my fingers
When I have little ones for dinner”
Marcy wondered how she could postpone the witch’s feast. May I sing with you Valerie? She thought as clearly as she could. Valerie paused and curiously contemplated Marcy’s request from the brain plane. Then Marcy felt her speech return. She had to think of some rhymes fast.
“Witch which desires to devour me
Listen to my preserving plea
A beg deserving, if you please
For I will not cower from your accursed arts
Or cringe when you binge on quick hearts
I won’t be crude nor bratty nor rude
I ain’t even a fatty
So, come on, let me out of this stew
I’ll wash your dishes, clean your home
A proposition is my poem
I’d garden, launder; and never roam
And you wouldn’t owe me a single fee
If you’d simply hire me”
Marcy gave Valerie her biggest puppy dog eyes and tiniest kitty cat smile. The witch grinned with a gloating glee.
“Such a speech fuels my cackles
I have a demon in my shackles
What more a servant could I desire
Than one who has a soul of fire
I ripped this flame from another plane
Your kind can only reach when you’ve gone insane
If a mortal’s mind has broke
They can meet the demon folk
Since their reality no longer fills up their mind
There are many spaces they can slide inside
I can slip in no matter my health
Now ocular wealth always stocks my shelf
Each eye counts countless worlds
Knows unknown knowledge; what a profit!
Records time till it’s full and hurled
From its socket to my pocket
I sell em’ to ya if you can cough it”
Valerie broke her song and stirred the pot with a little stick. “They’re a watcher,” Valerie informed her food. “A kind of devil who sees everything. Great for get togethers with the girls! They supply us with the richest secrets.” She gave the grimacing monster a playful hip bump, and both protruding hip bones smacking against each other made a sickening CRICK. The demon looked so unbelievably sorry for itself to be serving the witch. “But watchers are husks,” she went on. “Got no emotions in ‘em so the constant stream of information don’t drive them ‘round the swamp! They’re used by other demons ya see. But this one here made a deal with me. If I pumped them full of feelings they’d be my personal helper.”
Marcy spied her bare basket neatly packed into one of the thick piles of witchy things as if it had always been there. She knew her rhymes were weak. So Marcy matched Valerie’s casual banter, hoping to exploit what the witch had bragged about. “You have control over a demon and all you do is have them do housework and sell its freaky eyeballs?” Valerie raised a brow defensively. “You could be eating way more if you let them go out. And the poor thing’s all stuffed up in here!” Marcy gave the demon a look but it was too slow to receive. “And this place…” Sigh, “Is a wreck. Don’t tell me this is where you have those get togethers? You may not care about your quarters but I assure you, others do.” Valerie looked meanicingly at Marcy but she knew she’d caught her off guard. The sorceress was unbalanced and all she had to do know was knock her over. “Face it, I shouldn’t be begging you- you should be begging me; for help.”
The silence stung as Marcy worried she had gone too far. But the demon finally realized it could benefit from this situation and added, “i’ve told you to let me hunt for you… i have.” The demon seemed new to human speech.
Valerie briefly broke out of Marcy’s uncomfortable capture to sass the demon, “I don’t want you so far away. I don’t know what demons your age get up to at night.”
“i don’t… know my age. i can’t break the contract by leaving,” The watcher reminded.
“Hmm,” Valerie mumbled crossly. Her fist sized eyeballs squirming around the room
she quickly was becoming more conscious about. “What makes you such an expert?” She muttered at Marcy.
“I’ve always had an eye for inferior design,” said Marcy. Inferior was the right word, right? “Maybe not as many eyes as this one, but hey.” The demon stood confused for a few seconds then laughed at the joke Marcy felt shameful of. The demon seemed delighted to be told a joke and acknowledged in a friendly manor.
“Please, Valerie, can you keep her?” it asked. “i’d like a friend. i have all these things in my head now. i want to show someone… myself.” Their painful looking facial features attempted a sweet smile.
Blisters and burns blossomed all over Marcy’s skin, but she tried her hardest to do the same. The twin gins grinded away the witch’s resistance, and after staring at their strained expressions almost minute Valerie finally cracked.
“Oh must you two twist my wrist like this?” She scoffed as she squished out the fires flames with a swift fist then swatted sending Marcy soaring out of the pot. The watcher, however, was quick to catch her by her dress with its talons. “I thought cha said you wouldn’t be rude! It was in your cute lil’ song and everything.” Valerie shook her head. “Come into my house and tell a witch how to run her life. Mmnm.” Marcy was so, so, SO grateful the sorceress was so susceptible to her tricks.
And, as she promised, Marcy worked for the witch doing the chores and advising her on architectural decisions. Valerie always followed Marcy’s advice and the humble hut soon evolved into a lavish murder mansion; where many a child came to die.
The demon, now referred to as Demon Number One by Valerie, was happier than ever and able to go wherever they pleased. They would often bring Marcy along on their otherworldly adventures. Marcy helped the watcher learn how to deal with its newfound emotions and they became best friends.
It didn’t take Valerie very long at all to become accustomed to having two servants, and then starting to respect them. She rather enjoyed having them around and her indulgent exploits were always met with satisfaction.
Marcy, now referred to as Demon Number Two, set up a pretty good life for herself at the expense of others. She hadn’t been looking for, well, this but she was content nonetheless. She didn’t look back, she didn’t look forward.
And they all lived happily ever after.