The Witches | Minerva Cerridwen

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CW: blood, gore, glorified evil (in the context of fantasy witches)
(but it’s also a queer love story)

The witches washed their hair in blood
Smeared each floor with slimy mud
Their teeth to pointy daggers filed
Their smiles alone made fear run wild.
And smile they would, at every curse
At every draft to make life worse
And at their stories, tales of old
At night by light of fire told.
Young Dobra didn’t think them fair
When those who helped people with care
Would find their hearts devoured, while
Their severed heads were drowned in bile.
Young Vreda, on the other hand
Though always Dobra’s closest friend
Admired the heroes of that age
And let her evil powers rage.
When Dobra asked: “Won’t you be good?”
Vreda said: “None of us should
for weaklings know a dreadful end,
don’t reach the glory I intend.”
Next morning during witching class
Vreda invoked a spell quite crass:
From Dobra’s face tentacles grew—
In shame, the girl withdrew from view.
By dearest friend her trust betrayed
That night she had a promise made:
Not once again she’d harm a soul;
To ward off evil was her goal.

Until their graduation rite
The girls refused to reunite
But then called Vreda: “Dobra dear,
before you disappear, please hear:
I should have told you long ago
I wouldn’t cause my friend such woe.
To me, appendages are neat
A gift to make you look more sweet.”
Now Dobra was with silence struck
But pulled her friend into a hug
How could her judgment be so wrong
And curb affection for so long?
When Vreda asked her on a date
She knew this had been long delayed;
They pledged to make a whole fresh start
Both greatly changed by time apart.
Since Vreda’s spell had hurt her so
Dobra had vowed to comfort woe
To cure the sick and bless the kind
To make each evil deed unwind.
Vreda’s vile sins became more cruel
For her own sorrow was their fuel:
What use was goodness when it made
One cast away their wicked mate?
And so each kept to her own view
And neither from her aim withdrew
To cause more pleasure or more ill
As they lived, wedded, on the hill.
The neighbors loved Dobra quite dear;
All countries viewed Vreda with fear
So they were happy, come the day
A farmer spoke of his dismay.
“Though Dobra blessed my crops last year
I wait for magic to appear:
they still look average at best
so I feel cheated and distressed!”
The witches met each other’s eye
And giggles spoiled Dobra’s reply:
Though she had blessed, her wife had cursed
And all to balance was reversed.

Minerva Cerridwen is a queer writer from Belgium. Xyr novella The Dragon of Ynys came out with Atthis Arts in 2020. Find more of xyr short stories and poems via

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