Tell Time: 5 minutes
Scare Rating: 2 of 5 Frights
Scare Rating: 2 of 5 Frights
Brenda’s scowl dropped from her countenance at the label. For a very brief moment, she looked pained by the remark. But that emotion was quickly supplanted by a new one, represented via an icy blank stare at her husband.
“How can you be so mean-spirited and vicious?” Marc continued. “How can you escalate a disagreement over whose turn it is to do the dishes into such a monstrosity of an argument? You don’t always have to play for keeps!”
Brenda slowly strode toward Mark, gently took his hands into her own and looked into his eyes. She grabbed his attention by the throat so that she wouldn’t be misunderstood.
“Don’t you ever call me a witch again,” she said, quietly but also firmly and clearly. She then dropped his hands, turned and silently walked away.
“What a … witch!” Marc uttered under his breath as she went into their bedroom and shut and locked the door behind her.
He had a lot of time to think about their heated exchange that night, as he tossed and turned on their couch in the living room.
“I was right!” he thought to himself. “I’ve done the dishes for the last five nights straight! She should’ve offered to do them, instead of making me bring it up to her. She’s the one who made it a fight in the first place, and once we were fighting she is the one who took it to a whole other level. Calling her a witch wasn’t nearly as bad as the things she said about me.
“I don’t know why that word gets her so heated, anyway. But it does, and I knew that when I said it. I said it to get back at her. I knew it would hurt her just as badly — worse — than she had hurt me. And this time, I wanted to hurt her.
“I probably shouldn’t have done it. We should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. And if I have to be the only one in our marriage who does this, as a way of modeling good behavior, then I suppose that’s my role in our relationship.”
Marc picked up his phone and sent a text.
“I was wrong to call you a witch. I apologize. Please forgive me.”
Marc fell asleep, exhausted, fairly quickly after sending the note. But it was a fitful sleep, and he broke out of it quickly when he felt the cool, firm hand on his shoulder.
“I brought you some coffee,” Brenda said. She was kneeling beside the couch-bed, holding a steaming mug of rich-smelling java.
“Thanks,” Marc replied, letting a half smile. He sat up, stiffly, and stretched, before eagerly taking the mug from his wife and taking a sip.
“That’s delicious,” he said, after he took his first drink of the warm brew. “What is it, Sumatran?”
“A little bit of that, with some of your favorite spices,” she replied. “And some of my favorites, too, like eye of newt and bat wing and wolfsbane and witch hazel. It’s my special brew.”
“Hey,” Marc said, picking up her sarcasm. “I said I was sorry about calling you a witch. And I told you I wouldn’t do it ever again. Can we just get past last night?”
Brenda took his hands in hers again, and raised his cup up to his mouth to help him take another swallow of the warm liquid. As he did, he felt a burning sensation run down into his chest and into his stomach.
This wasn’t from the hot temperature of the coffee, it was something else entirely. He became certain of that as he felt his throat constrict. Panicking, he struggled to breath, and finding he couldn’t, he tried to scream. But no air would pass in either direction.
Certain that she had his full attention, Brenda spoke.
“Of course I’m a witch, darling,” Brenda said, using the same calculating blank expressiveness from the night before. “But you can’t call me that name. You are not one of us, so you have no right.
“For centuries, your kind used that label to persecute us, to reveal us, and to try to obliterate us. Witch hunts and witch trials and applying the name with scorn to any woman that had moxie enough to stand up for herself or to stand up to you.
“I won’t stand for it. Because I don’t have to stand for it. I have the power to do something about it — you know that now. And I have the evil hatred burning inside of me. You know that too, don’t you?”
Marc’s hands trembled, then started to shake violently. He looked at them, and at the cup they held, large boils had spread across the surface of his skin, which was shifting from angry red to bruised purple to a necrotic brown. As he looked on, he could see his body dying and rotting.
He dropped the cup, which shattered on the floor. Amidst the ceramic shards were indeed tiny eyeballs, and what looked to be matted hair from some feral creature.
“Of course I forgive you,” Brenda said.
“But I cannot forget.”
This is a rough-cut draft of a brand-new Fear Naught Tale. To read more spooky short stories like this one, check out Fear Naught Tales: Spooky Stories to Read and Tell!