Friday, September 30, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Weird Kids: Hedge Witch

On this thirteenth birthday, Joshua’s grandma snuck him into his grandfather’s library. His grandfather wouldn’t have minded had he been alive, but Joshua’s parents might.

“You can have any three books in this library—any at all—provided you read three that I choose first and give me some proof you’ve read them.”

“What? Like a book report?” Joshua loved reading, but hated book reports.

Grandma laughed. “No. I’m sure you’ll have some ideas what to do as proof once you’ve read them.”

Joshua worried about his grandma. She had given him a handwritten book of spells.

It didn’t include any nonsense about meeting with the devil at a crossroad at midnight, but it definitely had spells and incantations.

He set it aside for a few days.

And then he punched a school bully out of school. The bully told Joshua he was going to press charges. If there was any chance a forgetfulness spell Joshua had seen would take care of the situation … well, Joshua would do it.

He gathered the ingredients, practiced the incantation, and tried very hard not to feel silly. The next day, the cast the spell on the bully. To Joshua’s surprise, it worked. Of course, the bully couldn’t even remember his name, but still.

Joshua put the book away for a few weeks just to be on the safe side. Once it was clear he wasn’t going to be blamed for the bully incident, he practiced magic with a fervor.

Joshua had always enjoyed werewolf stories and motifs. After mastering dozens of spells, he came across one to make himself a werewolf.

It seemed like the perfect project to prove to his grandma that he had read the book, too. He had to master spells and potions throughout the book in order to pull it off.

Weeks of preparation went into the project. He set the day before the full moon as his goal for completion. His werewolf charm would let him change whenever he wanted to and with some effort he could stay human on the full moon.

Still, it was traditional.

He asked called his grandma and asked if she could come by the next day. She agreed and he set the spell in motion.

When she came over, he stopped holding the transformation back.

Instead of changing to a wolf, though, he changed to a hedgehog.

Grandma busted out laughing. “Oh, Joshua. I can’t tell you how many witches I know who have become werecats the exact same way. In a few more books, I’m sure you’ll figure out what you did wrong.”

Joshua sighed. He was pretty sure he knew what he did wrong. He ambled off to play with Pete, his pet hedgehog.

Being a werehedgie wasn’t nearly as bad ass as a werewolf but he decided it was still pretty awesome.


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Friday, September 9, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Weird Kids: Zedula's Acolyte

One day the prophet of the goddess Krabbit brewed a pot of what we shall call tea. He—his name was Zedula—did this every day and so it’s only barely worth mentioning.

However, just after brewing the pot, someone knocked on his door so hard that the pot tipped over and spilled all over the floor.

Zedula said words which were, fortunately, forgotten.

He picked up the pot and poured the last drippings on the mud floor before starting another pot boiling.

Someone knocked again.

“Go away. No new messages from Krabbit today,” he shouted.

“Can I come in?” a voice said.

“Are you Zedula?”

The voice paused. “No.”

“Are you Krabbit?”

“No, most certainly not!”

“Well, then. You may not come in. Go away.”

The voice returned daily to disturb Zedula’s tea. Zedula developed excellent hand eye coordination and eventually saw the knocks as a sort of tea timer.

After a few weeks, Krabbit visited. She is invisible but showed herself to Zedula as an older Ztedot to Zedula to make their visits more pleasant.

“Hello, Krabbit,” he said. “Just in time for tea.”

Just then, Zedula’s tea timer knocked.

Krabbit’s eyes grew wide.

“Please put your eyes back the way they were,” Zedula said. “They’re quite disconcerting that way.”

Krabbit’s eyes returned to normal Ztedot size. “What was that?”

“Someone who keeps knocking on my door and demanding an audience.”

“Can I come in?”

“See? Exactly like that.”

“What do they want?”

“Well, in mostly. After that, I’m not sure.”

“Humor me?”

Zedula poured Krabbit and himself cups of tea and then shouted, “Oh, alright. Come in you gigantic butt rug.”

Krabbit maintained her composure. Mostly.

A youngish Ztedot walked in and promptly abased himself before Zedula. The Ztedot kneeled down and began chanting something which sounded suspiciously like, “Oh wise and powerful prophet of Krabbit.”

“Hey, now. You’ll set us off our tea if you keep that up,” Zedula said.

“I didn’t know you had company, prophet,” the Ztedot said. “I can come back tomorrow.”

“No, no. Please don’t. Besides, the only reason I let you in was because—uh, Karulo asked me to find out what you wanted.”

Krabbit smirked.

“I want to follow in your footsteps. To be your successor one day.”

“I’m pretty sure you’re doing it all wrong,” Zedula said.

“Please teach me. I’ll do anything you want.”

“What I want is for you to go away and stop knocking my tea over. It seems what I want and what you want are at irreconcilable odds.”

“I—I could make your tea!”

“That would take all the fun out of tea.”

Krabbit put a hand on Zedula’s arm.

“What?” he asked her.

“Let him study with you,” she said.

“But why? He’s the exact sort of person… Krabbit put me here to avoid dealing with.”

Krabbit froze the acolyte momentarily.

“It will blow his gasket a little too much to hear this too early. I think you’ll do a better job of teaching me to deal with the Ztedots if you have someone who treats you the same way they treat me,” she said.

“Oh, alright.”

Krabbit unfroze the acolyte.

“Ok, what’s your name?” Zedula asked.

“I’m Merrapput, oh holy one.”

“First lesson: never call me that or any of the other bizarre things you’ve been calling me. Krabbit calls me Zedula. You are no better than she is.”

Merrapput looked shocked. “I—”

Krabbit smiled. “I see you’re too busy today, Zedula. Tell my friends to prepare for a rough winter.”

“Good bye, lady friend of pr—Zedula,” Merrapput said.

“Good bye, Seedling.”

The next day Zedula addressed the Ztedots with Merrapput by his side.

“I have spoken,” Zedula said with sarcastic gravity, “With Krabbit. She says it will be a tough winter.”

Later, Merrapput asked Zedula when he’d spoken to Krabbit.

Zedula rubbed his head. He had the sneaking suspicion Merrapput was a little oblivious.

“You know Krabbit is invisible,” Zedula said. How do you know she’s not occasionally inaudible?”


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