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Fantasy Speculative Drama

Monday

“I don’t want to hear another word. This is not appropriate behavior for a young witch who is about to go through a Ceremony of Maturity.”

“I don’t care! This is an old barbaric ritual that no one should be forced to do in today’s day and age. I’m almost fifteen! I should be able to choose what I want to do with my life. And no one told me it’s this Friday, I already have plans! I’m going to a concert.”

“What do you mean you have plans? What concert? Are you going again to the human’s event? Why is this the first time I hear about it, Miranda?”

“I don’t have to tell you every little thing that is going on in my life! I’m practically an adult! And I like humans, they are fun. They let me tell jokes and they laugh on their own without the humoring charm.”

“Oh, this is even worse than I thought! Are you saying that you are interacting with them face to face physiologically without magic?”

“That’s right! And they still like me! Without any charming spells. Just me, as I am!”

“And after that, you call our customs barbaric? They live like animals, completely guided by their own emotions and free will. How can anyone have a productive life when there is no structure, no order? Have you ever thought about that?”

“Mother, you are forgetting that their lives are much shorter than ours! They can’t afford to try different spells before they find the right one! So, humans go with what they are passionate about. Do you remember what it feels like? When you are not influenced and just feel things on your own?”

“No! And I’m not interested in knowing! What’s next? You will decide what you are going to do as a mature witch based on a whim? That’s insane!”

“Yes! You don’t want to listen to me. I want to be a comedian. I like when people laugh and clap. I can feel their joy, their energy and it’s better than any mood-enhancing charm ever!”

“So, why can’t you do it in our world? No one is stopping you!”

“It’s not the same. They all sit there and look half-dead because they have no idea how to laugh on their own unless someone tells them that they should or if they are charmed. The performers in our world are not skilled in comedy, they are skilled in charms that brainwash our people and make them believe what they are told!”

“Watch your language! Brainwashed. Clearly, those humans are a bad influence on you. And what’s so bad about being able to influence others, to lead them to a happy place? Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn how to do real magic? Especially when it comes to manipulating the feelings of the living being. So many sciences are involved. If you want to follow that path, you would get the first pick because hardly any female ever is interested in doing such important hard work in their first living century. And you are so smart!”

“You are not hearing me! I don’t want to charm living beings into obeying me just because I was privileged to be born into the World of Sorcery. I’m not like you, mother, I want to feel things on my own.”

“You know what this is? This is a perfect example of why they should be lowering the age for the Ceremony of Maturity from fifteen to twelve! We have more and more young witches and wizards rebelling against traditions. This can bring our world into non-existence. And don’t you dare to huff at me! I’m not that old you know, I’m only a hundred and forty-five. Most witches don’t even have kids until they cross the three-hundred mark. So, I know what it's like to want something new and exciting. Miranda, honey, you are just scared. This is the first Friday the 13th after your birthday. Why don’t you come to the ceremony with me and see for yourself that there is nothing to be worried about? And if you decide you want to wait until the next Black Friday, it’s perfectly fine.”

“And you will be ok with that? If I just watch and don’t participate in the dance? Because dance is what converts us, correct? Mom?”

“Ahm, yes, that’s right. If you are not participating in the dance, you are not a part of the conversion process. But you can always change your mind, even once you are there. After all, everyone knows the dance ritual since they are old enough to walk.”

“But… What about my concert? I really wanted to go with my fr… with humans.”

“What kind of concert is it?”

“It’s a touring comedy show. The main character is one of the most famous artists who ever lived! Please don’t look at me like that and don’t sigh. You know it makes me sad when I upset you. Mom, don’t make me feel guilty. Or I’d rather miss the dance and still go to the show.”

“Fine, what time is your show?”

“Seven in the evening. I think I know where you are going with this… I should be back by ten. What time does the ceremony start?”

“Midnight, so we have plenty of time.”

“Isn’t it like over five hundred miles away?”

“No worries. Your father can meet us there – he will come straight from work and we can fly. Perhaps I can pick you up after your show so you don’t have to take human transportation all the way home – will save us a good hour.”

“Really, you’d do it for me?”

“Of course! Despite you thinking that I’m a wicked witch, I love you, Mir. I want you to be happy.”

“Ha-ha, you are funny today, Mom. I love you too, but please don’t call me Mir. I will see you later!”

Wednesday

“I can’t believe your mother let you go to the concert. She is always so strict!”

“I know, right? I was also surprised. Hey Shelly, what are you going to wear?”

“Well, what people usually wear to such events, something nice.”

“Hmmm, I have never been to an event like that.”

“Miranda, you are blowing my mind. What cave did you come out from?”

“Well, we don’t live in a cave, it’s more of an underground residence, it’s quite spacious actually. Why are you looking at me like that?”

“I was kidding! Do you really live underground?”

“Oh, well, ha! I was kidding too. You know, I like to joke around… so what do we wear?”

“Well, what you have on is sort of fine. You are always a bit more overdressed than most of us but it must be because of your native traditions, right?

“Right! You should see my original family from that hmmm Charming Island. They dress way over the top.”

“It’s interesting! How come I never heard of that island? I even tried to google it and ask my teachers – nothing!”

“Oh, well, I told you, it’s very small and hard to find so… but do you think a red top and a long black skirt are acceptable? I have to go with my parents to a family gathering after that – there is a dress code there.”

“Yeah, that sounds great. How bout I will wear a black top and my red capri pants! This way we will be the same but opposite.”

“Oh, that sounds amazing!”

“By the way, I have never seen you in pants. You have such a great figure and you always hide it in your big skirts.”

“I don’t know. Most of the girls I know don’t wear pants, I guess.”

“Another tradition?”

“Yes, something like that.”

“Don’t take it the wrong way, but I hope it doesn’t mean you wear multilayer underwear and underskirts like they did centuries ago. Hey, I have an idea! Do you want to try one of mine? At least you will see what it looks like on you. Who knows, maybe you will start a new trend in your community.”

“Pants? Me?”

“If you don’t want to try on pants, how about shorts? It’s hot here, you may be more comfortable, you know… What are you worried about? Here! Take these yellow ones. They are old so if you like them, you can keep them.”

“Thank you. They are very pretty. I like yellow – it’s the color of the sun.”

“See, the shorts fit you perfectly! They are a little too small for me after the last family vacation. I gained like ten pounds on the cruise. There was nothing else to do on the ship but eat.”

“What do you mean? Why would it make you gain weight? Did you grow?”

“No. You know, I can never tell when you are kidding or serious. I ate a lot so I gained weight, that’s how it works, you know. Not everyone is blessed with such great genes as you are. Your mom must be very pretty.”

“She certainly paid enough for those charms.”

“What did you say?”

“Nothing, I can’t believe how long my legs look in your shorts. And you are right, this is very comfortable! If you don’t mind, can I keep them in your room and wear them here when I come to see you?”

“Don’t think your mom wouldn’t budge on the dress code, ha?”

“No, probably not. My parents are strict.”

“I’m so sorry, that must suck for you. Come here, I will give you a hug! And no worries, I will take care of your ticket, you can pay me later. See you Friday?”

“Friday! I can’t wait!”

Thursday

“Did she agree to this?”

“Yes, she did. Why isn’t she excited about the ceremony, like any other witch her age? She can start practicing magic. The whole world will open up to her but she’s acting as if she wants to be one of them.”

“In what way?”

“Hon, she keeps talking about doing things ‘for real’ without the spells. She wants to be a performer but not influence her audience in any way.”

“Does she not know it’s not possible? You can’t perform in front of a large crowd if it’s not controlled. Doesn’t she understand how dangerous that is?”

“I’m not sure… maybe we should let her try and she will come back on her own once she falls hard a few times. She thinks humans are so nice but if they ever find out what she is and who we are, they’d lock her up somewhere because she is so different. You are her father, why don’t you talk to her?”

“She won’t listen to me. Let’s stick to the plan and hope it works like a charm!”

“That sense of humor of yours! Mir gets it from you.”

Friday Evening

“That’s a lot of huma… people here!”

“Of course, it’s a concert. You look very grand today. It’s some skirt!”

“Sorry, is it too much? It’s traditional for our family gathering so I kind of had to.”

“Don’t you ever apologize! Look around, you are like an exotic bird in a flock of sparrows. You are unique.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“Of course! You have your style, you stand out but otherwise, you are normal. Not like those freaks we see sometimes when you don’t know what to expect from them. Shhh! They are starting.”

“He is much shorter than I imagined.”

“But he has a good voice, right?”

“Everyone is laughing and clapping. On their own.”

“It’s true, he knows how to charm the audience.”

“What did you say?”

“I said he is very charming, you know? Someone who has a lot of charisma and knows how to make people like him before he even speaks. Miranda, are you ill? You got so pale!”

“No, no, I’m fine.”

“Did you like the concert?”

“I think so. I didn’t understand some of his jokes.”

“Well, from the little you told me about your life, it sounds like you don’t have a lot of exposure to things outside of your community. Even your school is different. Not sure how you would be able to apply to colleges if you don’t study world history or physics.”

“We study those sciences but just a little differently.”

“What school did you say you were going to?”

“Shelly, I didn’t. But I told you it’s very small, we have just a few students there.”

“You sound mad, did I upset you? I’m just trying to understand. So, is that like homeschooling? Sort of like Amish do it?”

“What is Amish?”

“Miranda, where did you come from?”

“You know what, I have to go. I can’t be late for my family thing.”

“But what about the milkshakes? You wanted to try some after the concert.”

“Maybe next time, I’ve got to go.”

Friday Night

“Miranda! Over here, hon!”

“Mom!”

“What’s the matter? Were you crying?”

“No… oh, I don’t know. It wasn’t what I expected. It was scary.”

“Did anyone upset you? Because, if they did, I would cast a spell on them so fast…”

“No! Not like that. It must be so hard and scary to live every day not knowing what will happen tomorrow. This performer must have worked on his jokes for months and then he comes out every night to a live audience and there is no guarantee they will laugh. I felt really stupid, I couldn’t understand most of what he was talking about but everyone else laughed and clapped. I was just sitting there in my big skirt and my big hair. Shelly is right! I am a freak, and I will continue to be one unless I become one of them.”

“Miranda, you are excited, I can see that. Hold on tighter to the broom, the east wind is strong today. What are you saying? I don’t understand what you mean by ‘becoming one of them?’”

“Mom, easy on the incline, you know it makes me queasy. I think I need to submerge myself into their lives. Go to school in the human world, maybe get into some art college. You know? Be normal for once!”

“Mir, it’s not possible and you know it. You will never be one of them and if you try to suppress who you are, it will come out in the most awful ways. Do you remember, when you were little, you thought that Harry Potter stories were all about us, like they were written by an insider? I told you then that they were as close to reality as we are right now to the moon. The only truth in those books was that anyone who was born into a sorcery family must give in to their powers. Otherwise, untrained, they will surface again and again in the most unfortunate times. That’s when humans get scared, they will call you a freak, a crazy person, and lock you up.”

“But why does it have to be like that? Why is it us and them? Why can’t there be a blend?”

“We tried it once and humans sent us to the fires or exiled us out of their society. No, we can’t take that chance. Witches’ lives are too precious. Humans will never accept someone whom they can’t understand or place in a clearly categorized niche. And what happens when you get older, want to have a family? Will you be prepared to outlive your mate?”

“People fall in love every day!”

“Do you know how many heartaches people live through? What if you love someone who doesn’t love you back? What if you commit to a human and they betray you? It would never happen in our society. We all go through a compatibility test, we know who is the best match for us. The mating ceremony takes only a couple of hours once in your life! Look how happy your dad and I are. I know we haven’t been together for centuries as some, but sixty years is still significant.”

“But you don’t know if you love him or you were charmed into loving him! It’s not real, it’s like a never-ending play where we are all acting according to a script. I want to feel love for real! All these love stories… these people do crazy things just to be with the one they love. We would never give our lives for our mates.”

“Neither do humans, hon. Those are stories and they are not real. Just like Harry Potter wasn’t. Crab one, we are about to land. Look how pretty they decorated our ceremonial bluff. This will be the prettiest night ever. Oh, there is your father. Over here!”

“Miranda, you look stunning today. Did you have a good time?”

“Hi, Dad, I guess.”

“Was your flight all right? Did you get queasy again? Your mom is rough on the up and down.”

“I’m all right. Listen, Dad, I think we need to talk before we get any closer to the ceremonial grounds. I was talking to Mom about …”

“Miranda, look at me. We will go to the grounds, you will join the circle and forget about all your worries and troubles. You are the most beautiful, talented witch this community has seen in centuries, you will join us and be happy for the rest of your life. Take a deep breath, and continue to look into my eyes. That’s a good girl, join all your friends and let the dance begin! Wonderful… Look how stunning she is! And you were worried it wouldn’t work.”

“I don’t know… I mean I know we are doing the right thing here, but it doesn’t feel right that we had to trick our own daughter into becoming one of us.”

“It’s for the greater good and now she’ll always be happy, just like we are.”

July 03, 2023 23:03

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10 comments

Delbert Griffith
12:45 Jul 06, 2023

Nice tale, Ela. An inside look into witch mores and beliefs is always intriguing, and I think you did a fine job of doing that for us. Good job. If I have one criticism, it's the dialogue. I would use contractions almost every chance I had; it sounds more natural. Nicely done, Ela. Cheers!

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Ela Mikh
00:58 Jul 08, 2023

Thank you for reading. I actually tried to avoid contractions on purpose hoping to make the dialog in that other world a bit more formal but good point :)

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Mary Bendickson
16:07 Jul 04, 2023

Quick look into another world that may be right on our bluffs or underground. Cute take on prompt. Sorry she had to be charmed into fulfilling what her parents wanted.

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Ela Mikh
06:21 Jul 05, 2023

Thank you, Mary. If you think about it, isn't it true for all of us?

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03:03 Jul 04, 2023

This is a cool story, contrasting witch rituals with modern human society. Critique-wise I think maybe you could pull us in faster by starting the first sentence/paragraph with something unique, better to avoid anything averagish in the opening. I think if you started with the second paragraph that might be perfect... "This is an old barbaric ritual that no one should be forced to do in today’s day and age. I’m almost fifteen!" Then we think "What's the barbaric ritual? I want to find out.."

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Ela Mikh
06:22 Jul 05, 2023

Thank you, Scott - great suggestion. Something for me to think about for sure.

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Michał Przywara
03:28 Jul 13, 2023

This got pretty deep! I like that she was disillusioned a bit by her experience at the concert, as it added doubt and made her realize the world's bigger than she thought. The lameness of her parents' world does indeed hold *some* value - but then we get the twist, where they charm her into the ritual, and that's a hell of a thing to do. There is no room for the individual in the world of witches - everyone must conform. Not even their daughter was spared. Chilling, actually! Thanks for sharing!

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Ela Mikh
14:14 Jul 13, 2023

Thank you, Michal, very insightful. You nailed it - do as you told and you will be "happy". I see so much of that happening in our world, especially with young people. Hope we learn to listen to them more and let them find their own "worlds" instead of imposing ours

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Chris Maroney
23:41 Jul 12, 2023

Nice story! I enjoyed the different layers are taking place - coming of age, fitting in, manipulation!!! Very nice!

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Ela Mikh
02:34 Jul 13, 2023

Thank you for reading!

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