‘Vile bairn, who are you to question such as I?’
Agatha knew it was a hag as soon as her gaze fell upon her. She knew also that this wasn’t the front yard she had been standing in, rather a pocket in time filled by those most foul. It was beyond any doubt, there was not another thing neither could be.
The pocket in time she stood in was grey. The hag relaxed against a medium high dead tree, a noose hung from an upper branch; vacant. The sky was close, the paddock she stood in was filled with dead long grass, and the bones of a thousand beasts.
‘Here child,’ demanded the hag. Reluctantly Agatha stepped forward.
The Hag was creases and crags, as scrawny as a weed. She was bent near double, her skirts, filthy and much patched, scraped the ground with every bow legged step she made. Her foul stench slid over the girl, its grotesqueness clinging as oil. Its eyes were black and bottomless; eyes that had lived too long. Eyes that had witness foulness beyond measure. Her gazing reducing Agatha to something less important than the dust on her feet.
‘What do you want?’ Agatha asked.
‘What do I want?’ Replied the Hag in a voice without emotion; a susurration filled with tones of one employed to fulfil a task, ‘pain, hurt and torment of course.’
‘Why?’ But the Hag did no more than turn away from her without another word. She walked to the left of the hanging tree, and began to look to her left, and then right at the ground before her. She stooped, and then picked up a stick from amongst the dead grass and bones, returning to Agatha with an air of one submitting to a task of the holy. Facing Agatha, it cast the stick to the ground, hefted its skirts, and urinated upon it.
‘That is foul.’
Once more raised, the stick drip, drip, dripped the piss of the Hag onto the ground before her. It then without flourish raised its hand, and the first spell was cast at Agatha.
‘You will remember all of this, forever. It will wake you in the night, and distract you in the day. People will call you “mad”, and they will be right.’
‘Oh yes,’ said the Hag. ‘For the spell has not yet begun, and you may, in time, chose to relish this point, as the last point prior to the madness and horror that will come’
Oh yes again, and from now forever,’ said the Hag, ‘all will be suffering and worse.’
Then the folds of the spell hit Agatha with a force of unadulterated pain, searing through her tender alabaster skin, slicing through the meat of her body, wrapping itself around her soul, then for the first time in the pocket of time, Agatha howled with a pain brought down from the centuries.
That, only the first spell from the Hags compliment of thousands. Spells filled with foul horror and pain, mastered by no other than the Hag.
Click upon the picture above, who knows what may follow?