The Witch's House: Handkerchief

I awoke to breakfast in bed today.

Well, breakfast on couch would be more accurate, I suppose. Even if I would've found that little gesture pleasant on some other morning, I was more distracted by the pain in my back and the weight of my eyes than the growling of my stomach at the time. You see, I don't know if the witch's house is sentient and likes to play games with me, or if it's just one of her spells, but I'm never able to find anything that I'm looking for when I look for it... even after I discover where it's supposed to be. A few times I've managed to find bundles of sheets, pillows, comforters, etc., but whenever I actually try to get my hands on anything in preparation for sleep, they're miraculously gone. Add that to the fact that I have to sleep on a sofa that feels as though it's made of stone and to the lullaby of a banshee, and I've found myself in a perpetual state of exhaustion, delirium, and pain. Well, at least I had something to fill my stomach. Too bad I couldn't eat alone though...

Oh, and what do you know, surprise surprise! On the other side of the coffee table, there sat the witch wearing a smile on her face and eyes wide with wonder as she stared at me. She had the same meal that I did, an omelet with an English muffin and orange juice, although she was already three-quarters of the way done by the time I had gotten myself upright. As surprising as it may sound, I didn't hesitate to start eating after I had stretched out all of the stiffness. I'd been here for... oh god, uh... over a month at least. If the witch had been planned on killing me with food, or the lack thereof, I would've already noticed something by now. So, I ate. And, in the usual manner that she always does when she finds herself idle, the witch came over to me to chat about a great deal of things that I either didn't cared about or didn't need to discuss. And yet, despite how little I gave her in terms of conversation or acknowledgement, she just continued to blather on so freely.

Had this bitch really begun to believe that we had become friends at some point just because I'm stuck here with her?

I didn't so much as look in her direction, nor did I even grunt as she went on and on with her worthless drivel; I simply ate in relative silence. All of this meaningless crap; her latest experiments, new otherworldly suitors, incomprehensible talk of magic, her sick philosophies on pleasure and success, &#%@ memories that she stole from my mind that she wished to discuss. And then there were the questions that came my way, some just as unimportant as the endless drivel and others serving no purpose other than to ridicule. How good of a host was she being? How was I enjoying my stay? How did her makeup fancy her complexion on that afternoon? How much trouble would I get into for being AWOL? How much of an impact did I believe that my absence would have on my companions? How much fun did I think that she was having through it all? I couldn't tell whether or not this bitch was delusional or just completely devoid of humanity. Well, regardless of what was really going on in that psycho's head, she did say one thing that got my attention.

How would you like to get rid of that ghost that's been following you around? I can show you how to do it on your own without any of my assistance?

I looked up at the witch for the first time that morning, and the ghost himself grew silent. A smile parted the witch's lips as she confirmed that she had finally garnered my attention. She asked me to look at the edges of my hands, and that of my skin. I hadn't noticed before, but I remembered as soon as I saw it. The air warped around me like a mirage, but there was no excess heat nor energy to be found emanating from my body. She would wait until breakfast had concluded, then brought out the carcass of a boar and dropped it down onto the coffee table with her magics. She handed me a small handkerchief and a gave simple request. If I could clean the table of the carcass with only that handkerchief, then I would be able to rid myself of the ghost all the same. It didn't take very long for me to understand what she meant, and as for the specter, well, his behavior was actually quite silly. He had spent the last month berating, ostracizing and tormenting me while he believed that no change would ever come his way. No matter what I said or did, he wouldn't stop. And that look on his face while he stood there full of fear and uncertainty. Hehehe.

He looked like he did the first time I saw him.

And so I stretched out my hand and focused on the boar, and in moments the carcass had shrunken to the size of an ant. I bent over, crushed the tiny body between my fingers within the handkerchief, wiped up what little mess was left on the table, and simply deposited the mess into the nearest trashcan. And then I turned to the ghost who seemed to have suddenly lost his annoying voice. Even though he had managed to get himself caught up in the witches trap, whoever this man was in life was obviously an intelligent man. He seemed to figure out what was going to happen to him as soon as he witnessed the fate of the boar's carcass. He began to beg and plead for mercy, for me to forgive him and let him be. He asked me to turn the other cheek so that we might look to repair our "relationship". It was true that I had no means to exorcise a ghost. My hands could not grasp his presence, and I didn't know any magic nor did I have any gods to call upon to lead this soul to the next life. It wasn't his end that he feared on that quiet afternoon. No, not at all.

It was the inevitability of being sent to an even worse hell.

You see, this influence of mine isn't a force of destruction; it doesn't take lives, not directly. I now hold the power to alter the scale of things, growth and reduction. It's no different than the influence that I hold over my own body, only now I could alter the world around me. The phantom standing before me would not perish, oh no. He would meet a fate much worse than that. I would reduce him down to nothing, smaller than even the invisible specs of particulate matter floating through the air that none but the most sensitive of creatures could ever hope to see or care to see. I would make it so that, even if someone who could witness spirits came to this cabin, no matter how loudly he screamed, how deeply he cried, or however violently he flailed about hoping to get some attention from something or someone, he would be forever trapped in a prison of solitude and irrelevance. Less than a spec in the world.

No one would ever notice his suffering again.

And uh, hahaha.... Well, that's exactly what I did. I took one last look at his miserable face, and then he vanished from my perception. I knew that he was still there, and I knew that he despised me for what I did. Hell, I doubt it, but he may have even continued to watch me and hear my words as time went on. But for the first time in what felt like ages, I did not give one flying &$@# about the existence of that man's soul. I laughed so hard; a genuine laugh for the first time in a long time. I was finally free of that noise. I was finally free! It was a happy day.

The witch seemed rather pleased to be free of the ghost as well. Well, at least that's what I'm assuming made her happy.

I wore a smile upon my face earlier tonight, although it was mostly the same set of events. I still couldn't find anything to make a bed out of. Eh, well. Once again, I would be laying my head down on a cold, hard couch... but at least I had some peace and quiet. I got to my couch and came to find... a pincushion and a clean, familiar handkerchief sitting next to a note on the coffee table. It read:

Be a little creative and I'm sure you'll have a great night's sleep! Do be aware though, we're out in the woods and any sort of carnivorous insect could easily find it's way in and make a quick snack out of any small prey that it may find. That said, goodnight!

I am now laying my head down on the world's largest, softest pincushion and covering myself in the very same cloth that I had used to dispose of a pig's carcass earlier. This will be the best night's rest that I've had for some time.