I had to meet the dark lord again. I stood in the kitchen at midnight, small candles lighting the room, while clenching a tall, white candle with my right fist.
I held the candle high and chanted the spell, “dark entity, come to me. You cannot hide in the night, as I cast you upon the light.”
“Salve,” he greeted, “I’ve been practicing my English more, so we don’t have to converse as much in Latin.”
His voice sounded so eager, as if he had been waiting for my call. Yet still, I could only hear his voice — no face or body in sight.
“Quaeso,” I begged, “please — show me yourself.”
“Minime,” he denied, “no.”
“Have you been watching me, still?”
He didn’t answer.
“Did you cause the thunderstorm last night?”
“I can’t control the weather,” he said.
“But I can influence it.”
“Are you really going to try and stop any man who comes towards me?”
“Just slow him down,” he added.
“Ugh,” I growled in frustration. “You’re only hurting yourself, you know.”
“You do? You’re just going to spend the rest of time watching me, torturing yourself?”
“No!” I shouted.
“I don’t think we could ever be together. But I still admire you from afar.”
“We can’t?” I furrowed my eyebrows, “why ever not?”
“What does it matter to you? You said that you don’t want to be with me.”
“Well it’s not really my choice, is it?”
“Yes, of course it is. I can’t make you love me.”
I paused for a moment. I was genuinely confused, “but you’re a powerful god.”
“And you’re a powerful witch.”
“You can get anything you want.”
“So can you.”
“Then why torture any man who comes near me?”
“I can’t help it, okay!” He was pouting now, like a baby. “I want you to find the right man. I want you to be happy. Maybe one day, I’ll find the strength to turn away from you. But for now, I can’t help it. I’m trying to get over you, I’m trying as hard as I can.”
“You can’t help nearly blinding a man? You can’t help causing a thunderstorm?”
“I got upset, okay? No, I can’t help it. All of that rain — those were tears. I wasn’t stopping you from your date at all. I wasn’t attacking your new boyfriend. I was crying.”
“You were crying?”
“And screaming and throwing things.”
“Like… like, a temper tantrum?”
“I suppose. So, like I said. Go ahead. Don’t worry about me.”
I paused again in order to process it all. He had come to the conclusion that he couldn’t have me. So he was just watching me, upset and defeated, yet unable to keep his eyes away.
Finally, I said, “it’s not fair that you keep watching me but I haven’t seen you at all. Don’t you think?”
“You don’t want to see me.”
“Of course I do,” I said softly.
He appeared in front of me from thin air in his black cloak.
“Are you invisible underneath that?” I rolled my eyes.
His voice sounded vulnerable now.
“Lift your veil,” I commanded.
He lifted his hand to uncover himself — and there he was. My heart sank. The lighting was dim, but I could see his face quite clearly. It wasn’t the ugly face I was expecting, to be honest. He looked like any other man. No… actually… he looked quite handsome.
“Well?” He asked, “shall I cover up again?”
“No!” I shouted, wide-eyed, “you look handsome,” I told him.
“I’ve been told,” he replied — unexpectedly.
I forrowed my eyebrows, “if you know you’re handsome then why were you so scared to show me yourself?”
“Because it’s you.”
My face turned red. I wasn’t sure why, though. This was perhaps the strangest moment of my life. Growing up, hearing ghosts and talking to animals, I thought I had already reached peak-strange. But this was a whole new level.
I slowly walked towards him. He remained seated in the chair and continued gazing at me with humility. I thought that he was controlling me, but it was me who was actually controlling him.
I wasn’t so much of a physical person. As a teenager, I’d kissed many boys in hopes of feeling something — yet all that came out of it was numbness. And then there was Arthur, my best friend, yet that exactly all he was to me — a friend. There was something different here, sitting right in front of me.
I cautiously held his arms, and then squeezed them, permitting him to hold mine too. I was looking down on him. I stood in front of him while he remained seated in the chair.
My greatest fear was that if I were to kiss him, it would leave me feeling nothing — complete numbness. Was I really going to do this, was I actually going to kiss a god? What if he was actually a demon? Could this be the kiss of death?
And without another thought, I rushed in and I slammed my lips against his. And then I pulled back to take a breath, and then kissed him against much more softly. And then I had to take another deep breath.
This wasn’t numbness. This was wondering how I could have gone so long without doing this sooner. This was the urgency of craving more. There was not a sliver of guilt or even hesitation. This was right, this was absolutely right.
“Get up,” I told him, and so he stood up.
And then I reached in to kiss him again, but he was so tall that I had to stand on my tiptoes.
“Carry me,” I told him, “carry me to my bedroom.”
He dutifully nodded, tossing me over his shoulders and whisking me away.
“Throw me on the bed,” I told him, and so he threw me on my bed.
And everything just blurred together after that. I fell into a deep trance and I wouldn’t have even been able to remember what happened. It was all so hazy.
I woke up the following morning and he was gone. I impulsively jolted out of bed as if I had been shocked. I looked around my room, questioning my surroundings, questioning reality.
It was time to go to work.
I rushed throwing my clothes on, washing my face, and brushing my teeth. I wasn’t late at all, however I felt like I needed to rush. I was anxious.
As I quickly fed my cat, Heka asked, “Mama? Do I have a new daddy?”
“Wh-what!?” I chuckled, wide-eyed.
“That man,” she continued in her squeaky voice, “is he Dada?”
“No,” I furiously shook my head, “he’s… he’s…” I had to stop and ask myself… what is he? “He’s my friend.”
“Oh,” she replied, and then went on to scarf down her morning meal.
“Bye, sweetie,” I waved to her.
Walking through the woods, I attempted to slow down my pace. I wasn’t sure why I was walking so fast.
He popped out from behind a tree and I screamed!
“Goodness!” I yelled, “you scared me!”
“Where are you going?” He asked.
“I should be asking you — where did you go?”
“Only for a brisk walk.”
“Why?” I furrowed my eyebrows at him.
“I needed to clear my head.”
“Are you anxious, too?”
“I’m not anxious,” I denied, looking at him oddly.
“Then, where are you going?”
“I’m going to work,” I stated as if it was obvious.
“You’re going to the bakery?”
“That’s where I work,” I told him with sarcasm.
“To see your friend?”
I paused… “I’m going to work… so I can work.”
“To work with your friend?” Now he was sounding absolutely childish.
“Are you talking about York?” My face beamed slightly red and I had no idea why.
He stared at me silently. I knew what he was thinking — he was wondering why my face turned red. I had nothing to be blushing about. I looked guilty to him, but there was nothing to feel guilty about. This was really getting stranger and stranger.
I asked him — “do you want me to quit my job just because you’re jealous of a coworker?”
He kept staring at me and now his face was turning angrier.
“This job is my life — this is how I pay the bills.”
I knew he was being silly. I knew he was about to say ‘sorry’ and take it back.
But then he said, “there’s plenty of other jobs out there,” like a child. Like a God… Damn… Child.
My jaw dropped, “are you serious?”
Even still, he continued, “so he’s just a friend, like I’m just a friend?”
“You’re crazy,” I blurted out — and then instantly covered my mouth in regret.
He disappeared into thin air. He was gone. Just like that. I took a breath of relief.
Weeks went by and I didn’t see him again. I went about my life as if our night together had never happened. I told myself that he was crazy. But I missed him. I kept wondering why he disappeared just like that.
I had to admit that the bakery had become rather awkward. I knew that there was nothing between York and me, but there was so much tension that I couldn’t escape. It was making me feel guilty. Yet I had no reason to feel guilty!
I needed to tell someone what I was going through. I couldn’t keep this to myself anymore. So badly, I wanted to vent to Olivia, but I knew she’d never understand. So I vented to my cats.
“I’m not leaving my job, ever,” I told Oats and Heka, who were both laying down, cozy, in my bed. “So what if I find another job? What if there’s another man who asks me out, and then I have to leave that one too? This is going to be a pattern, I can already tell. This must stop before it gets any more out of control.”
The two of them slowly blinked at me, as I continued to pet Heka.
I went on, “sure, it’s a tough job. Yes, I’m exhausted all the time. There’s plenty of bad days — days when I come home crying into my pillow because I’m so stressed out, days when I’m so tired from overworking that my entire body trembles and I can’t walk straight, days when it feels like my boss sees me as nothing but a soulless, coin-making machine…
“But there’s plenty of good days too! There’s days when I meet fascinating costumers, when I have interesting conversations with my coworkers, when I feel the smoothness of the dough against my fingers and I’m so focused on baking that I tune out the entire world…” I sighed.
Finally, I collapsed onto my back in defeat.
After a moment of taking a few breaths, I popped back up again — “of course not! Of course I’m not going to leave my job because of him. I already lost a friend because of him, and now this? No, no! He’s gradually trying to take control of me! I won’t let it happen, I won’t!”