The Witch Bridle

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Chapter 5

It was early Monday the eighteenth when Oona’s moving van finally arrived. The wait had been excruciating. There was virtually no communication with the movers and very scant facts as to why they were three days late.

The eighteenth was also the first day back to school for the kids. There were multiple challenges that morning, with school, movers, and errands, and Oona was nonetheless ready to take on the world and begin the process of setting up her new life in earnest. Boxes and furnishings streamed into the house through the front and kitchen doors, and also through the downstairs ground level entrances where Oona’s designated private and professional space was situated. Oona would, fortunately, have some time to herself once the kids were dropped off and the movers were gone.

Oona’s things had been so delayed that once they finally arrived, she haphazardly unpacked some of her many boxes with no strategy. In relative solitude, the new nanny watched clocks attentively as she meandered around the house. Soon thereafter, with the movers still fully engaged, Oona took her leave for a short time to drop the children off to their respective schools. There were so many boxes she doubted she could make substantial progress before the kids were ready to be fetched from school in the afternoon. Then at some point it would be time to prepare for dinner and for KC’s return home from the bank.

Oona’s new residence was the former guest room, and right next to it was the home office. KC’s husband would no longer need that space. Across the hallway was the family room which would also serve as a conference room and séance room for Oona’s use. Into that area would go the material contents of her ontology practice. In time Oona planned to take her workplace things and open a spacious office in Cambridge, near Harvard she hoped. Oona smiled to herself with the thought of that eventuality.

At 1:30PM, Oona departed in the family minivan to round up the children. Outside the weather was fair. Once they were home, Oona emphatically proclaimed, “We have so much to do now that you are home from school.”

Louis tauntingly said, “We were late to school today.”

“And you were late picking us up,” added Thankful.

“I shall get you all to school earlier tomorrow. You know there are many important things that I must do as your nanny, and I shall budget my time accordingly. I promise you I will do a better job, and for now I need your help with my things.”

“Sure,” Charley offered. “What do you want me to do?” he asked dreamily. Charley was mesmerized with Oona’s beauty. Shakira with black hair. The thirteen year old boy often imagined himself with her. Soft bronze colored skin.

“Now Louis, please take your sweater from the floor. Your room is upstairs and if you wish you may drop it on the floor there. This is not your room, child.”

“This is not my sweater,” Louis shot back. “I think it’s Charley’s.”

“No way,” insisted Charley.

The pleasantly attired nanny walked over to the garment, bent down and picked it up. She calmly asked, “Oh, really?” Oona did not wait for an answer from Louis and loudly read the embroidered name on one sleeve: “Louis,” it said. “And when you are finished with your sweater,” she pointed to a cluster of boxes on the floor and commanded, “you may take these things to the dining room.”

“Now, Thankful and Charley: please place these boxes down in the office. And we need to clear this kitchen of all the debris.” Oona took a deep breath. “Charley, we shall also move these containers to the conference room or to the guest room.”

Charley nodded absently, as if star struck. He was reduced to slavery; utterly enthralled.

In her haste to relocate, few boxes had been properly labeled and Oona summoned herself to recall the contents and packaging sequences from those rushed times of the last week.

“Thankful,” she called. “Please take this box to the guest room. It is not heavy.” Then with a measured glance around the kitchen and the few things that remained out on the breezeway, the witch realized that her plans had largely fallen into place. “A few items need to be refrigerated and will remain here.” She murmured, “The children are a big help after all!”

Charley, Louis, and Thankful helped sort and place the many unpacked contents and closed packages of their newly arrived nanny. The few actual furnishings Oona brought from down south were already placed, and there was no need to do anything further, thanks to the moving men. And those men were quite a crew. Two were very rough-looking characters, complete with cigars and tattoos. Then there was a third man, more Oona’s type and a real Adonis in comparison to the others. Quite nice, actually. They stowed the old guest room furniture in the garage, and the old computer room set-up was boxed by the men as well, to make way for Oona’s own system.

The main entryway into the “séance room” was comprised of beautifully balanced French doors. Here Charley stepped in for his deceased dad and ably managed to remove the French doors and, at Oona’s instruction, replace them with red velvet portieres. Dark maroon drapes were then unpacked and hoisted onto thick curtain rods by both Oona and Louis. With careful eyes, Oona watched Thankful unpack a large crystal ball. She watched the five year old as she carefully placed the smooth orb upon the round séance table, already richly adorned with a red velvet tablecloth. And with séance table cloths – colors do matter. Thankful stared at the glowing crystal ball, with red fire in its center and red tentacles streaming out in long pulsing waves.

And silently the child-witch spoke: I know I can do things with you, Mister Crystal Ball. There is something which sees inside me, something besides my eyes. Help me see things Mister Crystal Ball. Help me do things – Please.

“Crystal gazing, my child?” Oona interrupted. “Scrying, perhaps?” she lightly asked her “little witch.” She smiled her long luscious smile and her lipstick glistened slightly in the soft, artificial light.

Thankful, as if still in a daze, said nothing to Oona, and she thought to herself, I know I can do things. I can see things without crystal balls, just like when Daddy died. And Oona can help me learn too.

Hearing her thoughts, Oona calmly replied, “Yes child. I shall help you climb toward your full potential.”

Charley suddenly burst in on their private exchange, and approached his sister. He playfully whispered into her ear, “Aren’t you creeped out by her?”

Before Thankful could react to Charley’s goading, Oona mildly admonished the teenage boy, and implored, “Please be good, Charley, and gather up the completely empty boxes for outside.”

Elsewhere Louis was busy all about the house. He looked through the remaining boxes with great care, and occasionally removed objects for placement into carefully selected spots. From one shallow box he removed several small boxes of very smelly candles; then another small, insulated container which held several jars and packages of dried herbs, some with strangely written symbols.

As Monday wore on, the children fastidiously followed each of Oona’s instructions and gestures for proper placement of objects. Charley did his jobs and watched the others at times, though in fact, Charley struggled to take his eyes anywhere else when he was around Oona. Always with an eye for Oona. The boy was hopelessly enthralled with her black hair and black eyes, her deep tan and her flawlessly shaped body. The boy believed he was in love.

Thankful rummaged through one box after another and suddenly pulled a strange edifice and waved it in the direction of Oona. “Where does this big pink rubber worm go?” the young girl innocently asked.

Thankful’s brothers looked over to her – everyone was in the séance room – and they froze as their little sister waved what was one large and flexible double-headed dildo. Oona speedily fetched the sex toy out of the child’s hand and placed it back into the open box.

“Wrong room,” Oona muttered, and she briskly exited the room with the hastily closed box under one arm, across the hallway and in the direction of the old guest room – her new bedroom.

Louis, poked through another open box, and stopped in shock as he slowly and carefully removed what appeared to be a blackish, mummified left hand. Thankful screamed when she saw it, and ran from the séance room. Charley ran over to Louis’ side, and crowed, “Cool; really cool.”

“It is not a toy,” Oona sternly explained as she returned from her bedroom. “That is my left hand of a thief,” she said proudly and in spite of it.

Louis placed the hand respectfully back into its box; never once did he take his eyes off Oona. He and his sister went on to empty the last cartons throughout their nanny’s new suite, which now consisted of very comfortable private quarters, a fully furbished large office, and an even larger conference and séance room. Charley organized a few remaining boxes in Oona’s office space, and the kids proved time and again to be of enormous help for their nanny. Everyone worked diligently as one team, and the afternoon eventually turned into evening.

“Where do these things go?” asked Charley.

“Those are my conjure-bags, and my medicines,” she blithely responded. “Over there is cinquefoil,” she pointed, as if in a dream state. “The five points of its leaf signify power, wisdom, love, health, and money.”

The kids sounded a collective “Ooh.”

With her perfect teeth framed perfectly within her perfect and full lips, Oona smiled beautifully, first at Charley. “This here is Wolfsbane, a highly poisonous flowering plant with toxins that can easily soak through your skin. Be very careful with it! Wolfsbane will kill quickly, usually within six hours. These should go in the Kitchen, and away from the children.” She winked.

A moment later there was an ear-piercing scream from young Thankful. “Ew! Ew! Dead cat! Dead cat!” There in a small opened Igloo cooler was a black cat, frozen in death and now mostly exposed, laid to rest under a couple of cold packs and half-melted ice. It was shrouded in what appeared to be a heavy duty zip-lock plastic bag.

“Thankful: Please put that in the freezer upstairs.”

“Are you crazy?” shot Louis. His mouth dropped open a little as he waited for Oona’s reply. His words were rash and, though he surely harbored no dislike for his mentor and nanny, he sounded disrespectful.

“It smells,” added Thankful.

“No, it doesn’t smell, but it is gross,” replied Louis. “It won’t smell unless you open it.” Then the boy turned to Oona, and very intentionally and respectfully asked, “Where else can we put it?”

“Oh, never mind,” Oona finally said. “Leave it here and I will take care of it. And Charley my dear, please keep these things downstairs, over there in the office.” Then, as she saw Charley hold up a sealed plastic baggie, with dark red blood-like liquid inside, she quickly instructed, “You can put that in the freezer upstairs.” She would need a small refrigerator down in her suite for those perishable items, but for now, some things she brought simply needed to be kept in the kitchen freezer. And other things might need to be thrown away.

“What’s this weird dolly?” Thankful asked. The girl had relentlessly sorted through the last of a pile of Oona’s belongings. Over the last few hours, the young girl had uncovered a number of real oddities.

“Yes, isn’t it?” Oona agreed. With a warm smile on her face, Oona added, “That is my favorite poppet.” Her eyes reflected off to the side, “It was a gift from my Mamie.” Her smile remained as thoughts of her dear and loving grandmother danced in front of her face. “I shall always keep that in my room. And thank you my dear girl,” Oona said as she gently removed the small voodoo doll from Thankful’s small hand.

Once everything was more or less complete, Oona was tiredly satisfied there was still ample time to get ready for KC’s arrival, and for dinner. And for the kids who had worked so hard for her, the séance room was still, for now, their family room. It had not yet been transformed, and the younger kids, Louis and Thankful, splayed out restfully on the couch and watched TV.

Charley stood in Oona’s private quarters, and faced an open armoire. He studied several items, which included a skull with what looked to be some teeth still attached. It was covered with symbols and crisscrossed with ornately painted lines. God, if she wasn’t so hot, she’d be one scary chick, Charley thought. “But she is so hot.” Then, he turned in the direction of Oona, pointed and loudly asked, “Hey, Oona: Is this real?”

“Oh yes it is. Yes.”

“And this thing? What’s this called?” Charley asked. He gestured with a foot-long metal object as if it were a fencing foil. “What’s it called?” he asked again.

“Why must there be names for everything?” Oona mildly protested. “Some things are just things, aren’t they Charley?”

“I guess,” Charley admitted.

Oona quickly saw Charley’s disappointment, so she quickly added, “Well, young man: that is actually my very special witch pricker. It is very real and it is very old, perhaps over 500 years in the making.” Then she turned away from the young teen and smiled again – she was exceedingly happy at the moment – and was comforted in her belief that she truly had done the right thing by moving to Westbridge.

“Charley, dear boy, you have been such a fantastic helper, it is time now to relax with your brother and sister.” Oona smiled again and the boy’s heart raced. He turned and went over to the couch where he immediately set about changing the channel from Disney to Discovery. Oona could see from the short distance that a ritualized argument was about to begin over what to watch on Cable.

“Keep it quiet over there, please.” Oona sighed a breath of ease and accomplishment, took in a deep lungful, and turned toward her new bedroom. On the floor near her dresser was a medium size cardboard box, closed and sealed modestly. Inside was the most special of all her treasures, personally transported in her prized Porsche last Thursday: Pi Gran Liv Maji. “I shall find the safest place for this, Mamie. I promise you.”

Gran Liv was the legendary book of magick and the grandest source of knowledge for the unbounded Carib arts. “It touches any who have been touched by it,” Oona softly quoted. Precious as it was vulnerable in transit, Gran Liv itself begged for a safe space in its new home. Fearful of drawing any attention to it, the box had laid there in the open for four long days, though wrapped with heavy cord and thick tape, virtually impregnable. Gran Liv was one item she could not trust the children to unpack. Now where shall I put this most special of books? Gran Liv survived the centuries protected more by ancient magick than by any trickery, ruse, or deception. Still the Book should never be left unconcealed though the French-Caribbean beauty could still think of nowhere suitable to place it.

“I shall take a shower before their mother gets home.” Still pleasantly dressed in the work tunic she wore for the long day she had had, it was time now for Oona to shed her clothing. This day has not been a bad day at all. “Actually it had been rather good.”

“Louis, I should like the old mirror from your room,” Oona called. “You know the one, child; the one from Virginia. Sweetheart: Can we please place it on the wall nearest to the séance table?”

“Sure,” Louis responded. “It’s not magic anymore,” he glumly added.

“We shall see about that, my boy.” Oona turned and proceeded to the shower.

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