The Boots at the Center of the Universe

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Chapter 9 The Boots at the Center of the Universe

Now, Temple, dear, are you going to listen to the story, or are you going to fondle your fucker like a horny hermit?

No. That wasn’t a reference to Bruce. Why should I be thinking of him?

Oh, for Hecate’s sake, Temple. There was much more to my self-immolation than Bruce’s enchanted broomstick and Bruce’s famed lovecrafting skills.

Bruce. Bruce. Bruce.

Yes. I do still think of him. Of course. It would be hard not to—even if he didn’t make everything about him. There’s just something about that nattering prattle and that overinflated ego. It could easily be distributed among a thousand Bruces without losing a swing or a swagger. He’s irresistibly charming in spite of himself. A gift from his witch of a mother, I daresay.

But, Temple, this isn’t a story about Bruce. This is a story about the boots at the center of the universe.

No one knows where the boots came from or how they came into Famous Lucia’s possession. In fact, Famous Lucia herself is a bit of a mystery. She came from the other lands, the human lands.

Of course there are humans on Euterpe, Temple. Whole cities and kingdoms full of them. They mostly came over alongside the witches during the diasporas. I imagine a few slipped through portals that had been left open accidentally by some absent-minded enchantress. Some may have had their own latent powers and unwittingly opened a portal and slipped through on their own. The latter group eventually became witches, though. It’s a natural development for certain humans.

In the early days, many millennia past, we all lived together, and most humans still prefer life among the witches to life without. Some, however, went their own way for their own reasons.

But the boots, Temple, the boots. You’ve gotten me off track again, and for the love of Lamia, please put that lightning rod away or I won’t tell you at all.

Famous Lucia, Temple. Famous Lucia brought the boots with her when she came. Not just the boots. She brought an entire mountain. It was quite a hideous sight at first. Dark and jagged and foreboding. The city precariously perched on top was in shambles. The poor humans inside were wretched.

Given the circumstances, it would have been easy to mischaracterize Lucia as a wicked witch bandying about with her own retinue of abused humans, but in fact, nothing could have been farther from the truth.

She arrived and immediately sent invitations to a ball—the first of what was to become an annual event. Every witch who was any witch received an invitation, which is to say every witch received an invitation as every witch is some witch. Even forgotten witches, even witches who had forgotten themselves, we all received an invitation.

We each received a personalized invitation, and we all attended, child. Who could resist? We were all eager to peek into that desolate domain that Lucia had dragged from who knows where and dropped in the heart of our magical domain.

We were not disappointed.

As each witch arrived, she was announced in great state by a dark-visaged human in a black cloak, and with the arrival of each witch, the gloomy place lightened. Not only in color, Temple. I don’t just mean that it became less funereal. It’s not just that each witch was a small sun casting her light on the Stygian landscape. The entire tonnage of the mountain, the weight of it, the heavy, oppressive atmosphere lifted.

The cracked front gates of the city mended as little cliques of witches passed beneath them. The narrow maze of alleys unfurled into a broad avenue to make room for their passage, and dust-covered lanterns shook off their pall and began to glow. The large wooden door of the castle at the heart of the city was thrown open, and it gaped like a dark maw, but witches fear no darkness, and so we went in laughing and wondering at the strange setup of this newly arrived sorceress.

In the heart of the castle was a cavernous ballroom, and at the center of the ballroom, Famous Lucia stood on a pedestal, naked but for a pair of fabulous boots that shimmered in the darkness. That’s right—the boots at the center of the universe.

“Welcome, witches!” she said to us in an authoritative voice. “I have brought my homeland to you for healing. Will you help me, sisters?”

Of course, we all said, “Aye!”

Who isn’t up for healing a homeland, Temple?

“Aye!” we said, and we set about the task, which, to be honest, was mostly accomplished merely by our arrival.

The ballroom was enveloped in a lavender mist as all of the witches of Euterpe began to work their lovecraft, and Lucia herself stood at the center of us all, unmoving, like a statue of Venus, channeling the orgasmic energy of thousands of witches through her and out to course through the castle and the city and over the mountain, enveloping her home in the healing flow of happiness.

The glossy, sleek boots gripped Lucia’s firm calves and accentuated her naked body. She stood like a warrior-queen, with her legs planted firmly and her arms raised over her head. Her back arched, and her ample breasts hovered overhead like tantalizing fruits, but they were not for us.

We were enflamed with desire for Lucia in her magical boots. Several witches attempted to tempt her, to draw her into the orgy that was writhing and whimpering at her feet, but she was immovable. Rough Annie gave it a go, biting at Lucia’s tender inner thigh and teasing her pink pebble, but Lucia never lost focus. Moira Thistle couldn’t resist. She ensnared Lucia in her voluptuous embrace, pressed her heaving breasts against Lucia’s bare skin, traced sigils of desire with her tongue on the warm flesh of Lucia’s neck, but Lucia stood firm.

No witch had ever seen such stoicism in living memory. It isn’t what we’re known for anymore though certainly there are tales of bygone days—days before the first diasporas—when witches suffered cruelly, when it was necessary for every sorceress to be steadfast in her resolve, to endure cruelty or worse without becoming a shell of herself. Those are sad stories, though, Temple, and there are no sad stories where witches dwell today. Not in Euterpe’s magical lands.

Lucia must have come from somewhere beyond the domain of witches to have built up such a stalwart nature. That much we can be certain of, and we were all enamored of her. We all wanted to rend her repose, to draw her down into our arms and soften her stiff spine, melt her adamantine resolve, heal whatever hardness had taught her that flinty fixedness.

And you must understand, Temple, Lucia wasn’t immune to the enticements of her sisters. She wasn’t without emotion. She didn’t lack lust for life. It radiated from her. Her aching desire to join us was apparent in the rivulet of elixir that trickled down her thighs, exposing her secret longing, but she kept it to herself, even when Glory Capricorn took those dark nipples in her mouth and sucked and bit and licked, tracing the curve of Lucia’s breasts with her tongue and covering her burning skin with amorous kisses.

How she survived the surge of pleasure passing through her, how she didn’t fly into bits, how she resisted the temptation to join us, it’s all beyond me—but that is the secret of the boots, Temple.

When you wear the boots, you become the axis mundi, witchling. You are positioned precisely at the center of the universe—wherever you are. And as the center of the universe, you are immovable, unflappable, the eye of everything.

“How could that be?” you ask.

I can only hazard a guess, my dear: They must be made of transdimensional strands plucked from every corner of the cosmos. How Lucia came upon the strands, it’s impossible to say. How could one witch visit every place in existence? Every dimension? Every axis?

However she did it, she’ll never say, not until another witch comes along capable of enduring the Trial by Desire.

Ah, Temple. I see I’ve piqued your interest. I’ve hit upon something more interesting that Feargus’ wandering wanker.

You? You think you could win the boots at the center of the universe? Oh, Temple, dear. You are a silly witchling. If you’ll recall, only hours ago, you were on the verge of self-immolation owing to a warm bathtub, and that was before you were stuck with this stick of dynamite between your legs. It’s impossible. You’d never make it through the Trial by Desire.

Ah, you clever witchling. I suppose you’re right. I did say anything is possible on a planet of witches, didn’t I?

Well, darling, if you’re going to give it a go, you’ll need your rest. Put down the pecker, dear, and get some sleep. Tomorrow, we’ll begin to prepare for Famous Lucia’s Festive Fur Ball. Tomorrow, witchling.

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