In my defense, it wasn’t my fault. I was provoked. Tempted. Literally pushed to do something I would never have thought of by myself. (I did already say that it was in my defense, didn’t I?)
Would you leave an explosive right where a child could get to it, explain all the “Boom” it would cause and then leave the child with a box of matches and a warning to not light it…and expect the child to listen? Well, there I was minding my own business when Miss Lumi came and set a jar in between us. (Read more about it here). She said it was filled with moon dust and could right wrongs (or wrong the rights) depending on its mood. It was chaos packed in a container, just waiting to be unleashed. Like a Genie in a bottle… At least that’s what I picked up in between the blah blah that she told.
One had to be smart to listen to what she said and pick up the crux of the matter. Otherwise you could drown in the torrent of words that she let loose every time she opened her mouth. You could be halfway around the world before you realized what hit you. Miss Lumi assured me that all witches were like that; she wasn’t special at least in that talent.
I had just had my heart broken the hundredth time despite convincing myself that this one was THE one. We had it so perfect; nothing could go wrong. Well, to cut a long story short, everything that could go wrong, did. She got to know about my mystical lineage that made me (the only male born to a long line of witches) a wizard. She insisted that I had be-witched her (pardon the pun) otherwise someone like HER could never have fallen for someone like ME. (What did she even mean by that? Like a boy-girl thing?)
Then as she hurriedly packed her stuff in my over-sized suitcase (which she didn’t have the decency to ask if she could borrow), all her clothes exploded out of the box as if it was alive and spewing out all the garbage she had tried to feed it. Her hair straightener short circuited (though it wasn’t plugged in at the moment) and gave her a shock that straightened her hair out permanently, though not in the direction that she would have liked. She ran out of the flat while her incredibly large collection of high heels flew around the whole place like bullets ricocheting out of a machine gun. Well, what did she expect after going on and on about how I wasn’t good enough for her. Anyways, that was the last time I saw her.
But something good came out of that too. Since she never returned to claim the avalanche of ladies wear, I had a Garage Sale and earned me some money. Not to mention that such a sale drew so many more ladies to me like bees to honey. Ah! Those were some awesome fun-filled days and nights….But, I am getting distracted here. We need to take it slow, get used to each other before I spill the beans.
So here I am with a jar full of possibilities that Miss Lumi kept turning from time to time to ensure that it got its fair share of moonlight. It reminded me of a pretty lady on the beach turning herself this way to get the perfectly even tan. The force inside the container strained towards the side that faced the moon…yearning to kiss the silvery face of her lover. I stared at it fascinated till Miss Lumi got a hint of my unholy interest and decided that the moon dust had had enough of moonlight for one night. She picked up the jar and headed towards the kitchen to make us some tea while she was there.
I left soon after a cup of Chamomile tea brewed while Miss Lumi muttered special spells over it. She promised me that I would sleep like a baby with absolutely no worries about my non-existing love life. I couldn’t tell her that my mind was already working overtime trying to figure out how to get my hands on that special jar. I was sure that I had finally worked out a permanent solution to all my problems. And even if it wasn’t going to cure me of my heartache, it was certainly interesting enough to keep me distracted.
The Universe must have been on my side for the next morning brought Miss Lumi to my doorstep. She had to leave suddenly for a few days and being a fellow occult practitioner, she had no option but to entrust her priceless possessions in my care. I think I hid my excitement pretty well when she handed over the keys to her place. I waited impatiently while she sat in her car and drove away. The dust had barely settled down before I found myself almost magically drawn towards her front door. My hands shook a little as I tried to fit the key in the lock. I had never been all alone in a witch’s den. Who knew what other-worldly beings shared her living space?
Sorry to leave you hanging in suspense here, but I just realized something. Here I am telling you my life story and taking you along on what could very well be a suicide mission and you don’t even know my name. (I wish I could create the usual thunder and lightning that we use for special effects every time we announce our true names to the world, but I had slept through that particular class. Maybe you can be a good sport and just imagine that bit, yeah?) I am Miss Lumi’s best friend’s great grandson, Faegan Moody Rock. Yeah, you heard me right. Don’t even think of asking me why I was named thus. Needless to say, it has always been a bone of contention between my parents and myself. I would never have told you my name if you had not been afraid to join me on this dangerous journey. You could very well be the last person to know who I am! Anyways, in case of an emergency, you can always call me Mr Rock. That sounds so much cooler now doesn’t it?
<Return to the story>
The sticky preventive spell at the door seemed to turn the air around me into jelly, forcing me to consider the wisdom of my decision. But the silvery moon dust seemed to call out to me with its siren song and I knew that I could climb the highest mountain or swim the widest ocean just to be with it. Though for the moment it was just a blob of air that I had to manage. I took a deep breath and did what I always did when in the swimming pool – wave my arms around wildly hoping that the motion would keep me from drowning! It worked and I was finally free to explore the interior of this mysterious house.
For someone who has never been inside a witch’s sanctum sanctorum, there is plenty to see. However, just like in glass shops you can see but you can’t touch. If anything is broken it’s not just considered sold, it is soul-ed. Pardon the pun but there are too many beings that have been trapped here since ages, just waiting to be released on unsuspecting human beings. Luckily, I wasn’t the overly curious type. I was a man on a mission and nothing could detract me from it. I bee-lined straight to the cupboard where I had seen Miss Lumi keep it.
The strange noises in the empty house seemed to recede as the pounding of my heart filled my ears. There it was; sitting so innocently on the top shelf of the cupboard, just slightly out of reach of prying eyes. Hidden under the label of Mable’s Jams & Jellies, lay a treasure that many would give a tooth and nail to possess. Right there, at that very instant, my life flashed in front of my eyes as a series of has-beens and could-bes. From here on, I knew that things could never go back to the way they were before – for the better or worse. Was I ready to take the plunge? Would I listen to Mum’s “look before you leap” this time? Will everything…
Oh! What the hell! When have I ever thought about my actions that I need to start thinking now?! My hand snakes out as if it has a mind of its own and latches on to the container. While I had been debating with my halo-ed and red-tailed consciences, my body decided that it was time to assert itself before I flipped out completely. I rehearse in my mind the delicate phrasing of my demands and imagine myself sprinkling gracefully the moon dust in the appropriate symbol to follow my instructions. Never mind that I had skipped out on that class as well; I had fobbed off enough from my neighbor’s answer sheet to at least know the protocols.
As soon as I got the tight lid off, something flew out of the container, nearly toppling me with its energy.
“The force is strong in this one”, chuckled the red-tailed devil.
“But are YOU strong enough to control it?”, fretted the white clothed one.
I ignored both at the risk of looking insane and instead try to follow the silvery path that the mischievous being has left behind. It was not that difficult to do since the silver shined in the gloomy dark like neon signs pointing out which way to head. I chased it through the different rooms (how did so many rooms fit inside this small house?) before finally cornering it in the passage between the huge library with marble statues and what nots and the odd shaped football field that someone had tried to fit inside one room.
I thought of all the ways I could gather up all of the moon dust in once place before finally coming up with the most practical solution. As I loomed large in front of it, the moon dust took on the shape of little girl cowering in fear. I couldn’t help but feel like a villain. But remembering Miss Lumi’s warning of how deceitful these things could be, I steeled myself before pointing the muzzle at her and pressing the trigger.
Whoooooosh! And the vacuum sucked up the last little particle till the bag bulged with its content. On retrospect, I think that was not the wisest idea I ever had. While it had been resigned to its fate of being trapped inside a container, the taste of its short-lived freedom had left it wanting more. It seethed in anger and built it up tight before finally throwing a tantrum like a toddler would. I was left coughing and unbelieving when the dust cleared out. It had disappeared and I was left with a flaccid pipe dangling ridiculously from my right hand.
The decent thing would have been to clean the house and lock it up before heading back to my place to rehearse my apologies to the wicked witch who had always looked out for me. But so heart-broken did I feel (yet again) that all thoughts of decency fled my mind. As I stomped down grudgingly the never-ending steps of the stairs, my mind filled with dread at what I could have loosed upon the world. Screaming tires, bursting glass, frantic people running about and adding on to the chaos, buildings on fire, dogs whimpering in fright, cats digging in deeper in the garbage can and covering themselves up in their temporary bomb shelters…I could see it all. And I had been the firestarter. It was all Miss Lumi’s fault. Why did she have to go and tempt me like that?!
When I reached the bottom step, I found a sturdy pair of brogues in my line of vision. My eyes traveled up absent-mindedly till they collided with sharp grey eyes twinkling from behind a big round spectacle frame. Miss Lumi was back! And I had had no time whatsoever to cover up…it just wasn’t fair! I squirmed like a ten year old caught doing something that Mum had told was not meant for good boys.
If the silence stretched longer, I feared I might break down and cry, so I cleared my throat and tried to put on my best I-dont-know-how-this-happened face and launched into an explanation. When I was done, I expected her to scream and rant. Maybe cast a spell to turn me into a rat or something equally disgusting. I expected thunder, lightning, screeching bats…the works. Instead, all was quiet on the western front.
I looked up to see Miss Lumi smiling at me. How could that be?
“It was all a dream, my dear,” she said quite pleasantly given the circumstances. “You fell asleep at the bottom of the stairs while on your way out. I must have made the tea stronger than you could take. You must forgive me. But if you’re quite yourself now, maybe we can call it a night?”
I was speechless. I had managed none of the feats? It was just a really vivid dream? I shook my head ruefully before heading out home. I looked back once when halfway there and saw Miss Lumi standing by the doorway, with a silvery ball hovering around her shoulder. She waved at me before shutting the door firmly. I dragged my feet the rest of the way wondering at how real the dream felt.
When I reached my door, I realized that I was still clutching something firmly in my right hand. And it was not my key. No.
It was the flaccid hose of a vacuum cleaner.
And I also realized that I never did get around to telling you what wrong I wanted to right…maybe that’s a story for next time?
This story, the first time that I am attempting anything like this, has been inspired by tales of Miss Marble the friendly neighborhood wicked witch. In conversation with Michael, the yarn spinner of this series, I was tempted to take up the gauntlet and explore the mysteries of the moon dust. This was supposed to be an attempt at that. Alas, it proved too elusive to figure it out in one tale. Maybe there are more stories that need telling? What say?