Fantasy, General Fiction, Short Fiction

101-Evilmost Elm By Leila Allison

-1-

Upon arriving at her new home in Wisconsin, one of the first things the Witch needed to do was select a tree for enchantment. In past incarnations she had enchanted everything from a scrawny scrub pine barely clinging to life on a steppe to a majestic redwood in northern California. Unlike other duties discharged by her vast array of familiars, tree enchantment was a task she had to perform in person. In a way it was like picking a Christmas tree, yet instead of murdering the damn thing and dragging it home, the Witch would endow the chosen tree with eternal life. The irony was not lost on her.

Enchanted trees gave the Witch a connection between Hell and the Earth itself, and they intensified her spells. Since she had to travel to a new land every time she returned from her latest season in Hell, a new tree had to be enchanted upon her arrival. She took heart that none of her former enchanted trees were sad to see her go. To the contrary, nothing conveys malevolent grace or gleeful, malign intent better than a retired enchanted tree. And if a branch happens to break off and kill a peasant now and then, well, accidents happen.

There were many suitable candidates for enchantment on the large estate that one of the Witch’s familiars had purchased with a tiny portion of her vast wealth, while she was preparing for her return from Hell. Hemlocks, hollies, oaks and maples; even a sinister crabapple tree, twisted and deformed, a veritable leper of a tree, which seemed to actively pursue the job. But it was what the Witch did not own that she coveted. And at 3 AM on her first day in Wisconsin, she saw a young Evilmost Elm standing on the other side of the fence.

Her human familiars, those shadowy persons who worked behind the scenes and did the housework and drove the cars and saw to the humdrum of her business affairs, were also of no use when it came to buying an enchanted tree. This too had to be done personally. And although the Witch had black cats who stole baby breath for kicks, and rats, by the thousands, who could dig and fill a grave faster than any machine, thus easily capable of plucking and replanting a tree without attracting unwanted attention, the Witch was an honest Witch.

-2-

The peasant’s name was Marcie and was the only person at home. The Witch knew that the instant the rather plump blond of maybe thirty opened the door the next morning.

“Hello, Marcie,” the Witch said.

“Um, hello–Do I know you?”

“May I come in?”

“Well, it’s not a good time right now–” said Marcie, unease in eyes, which pleased the Witch.

“Excellent,” the Witch said, stepping inside. “Good thing I don’t need to be asked in, like a vampire.”

“Who are you?”

“Why, Marcie, didn’t I mention that I’m your new neighbor.”

“How do you know my name?”

“Lucky guess.”

“Maybe you should come back when my husband is home.”

“No need. I’ll get down to business. I’d like to buy the elm in your backyard. I’ll oversee the delivery, personally.”

“Really, I think you should go.”

The Witch, not the most patient of Witches, spoke a spell into Marcie’s brain.

“I’ll go when I’m fucking good and ready to go, useless twat. Unless you want to hang upside down from a hook, bled like a shoat, you will sell me that tree.”

“Five hundred?” the Witch said, smiling.

Five hundred was just fine.

-3-

At three the next morning, the Witch summoned every rat in ten counties and spoke impeccable midwest rattish to the masses. Within seconds the magically assisted horde uprooted the Evilmost Elm, tossed it over the fence, and transplanted it into the Witch’s soil. The Witch never tired of watching how well the tiny fiends worked together.

“Wonderful, my babies–wonderful, wonderful.”

The Witch gave the Evilmost Elm her profane blessing.

Then it was time to try it out, think of it as a test, to judge its connection to Hell.

The Witch gazed at Marcie’s house. “Such a pity about the husband. Going mad like that…Seems it’s always the quiet ones.”

A light came on in the house.

Leila Allison

15 thoughts on “101-Evilmost Elm By Leila Allison”

  1. Thank you
    I believe if Rats did something about their pink tails they would be as beloved as squirrels. And maybe not being seen hanging around the dumpster as much might improve their reputation, which took a big hit with the Black Death. For Witches, well Witches are Witches and I leave them to it. (But they are the world’s number one employer of Rats.)

    Leila

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year to you David! It must be 2022 somewhere in the world by now. 11:10 AM here. I’m waiting for the flat earth meatballs to explain how that happens. Wackiness abound! I was going to make a resolution which involved respecting flat earth meatballs, but it occurred that meatballs don’t rate the effort.

    Happy New Year to all!
    Leila

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Traded ignorant sociopath for what seems like a nice guy (who signed off on the Iraq invasion as did Hillary – I’ll never forgive either one) and things look no better to me, but we can hope. Keep on rocking in the new year.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Leila,
    Deliciously dark!
    I’ve never really thought of witches being in hell…Hell on earth, well History shows that was a given.
    I wonder if you had a name for her in your head. You could make a list of good witchy names. No Tabitha’s though but I know you wouldn’t!
    Maybe a Maggie but no matter what the evil evil doers do, they don’t deserve that.
    I would maybe choose Miss Ward as she was my French Teacher at school and she hated me. The feeling was quite mutual.
    I must have had a premonition that I would have this conversation because my thirteen year old self said daily – ‘I fucking hate that Missss Ward Witch. I hope some fucker burns her.’
    I was a pleasant child who held a grudge.
    …So I hope she got burnt or if she didn’t there is still time!
    ‘Pretty’ would be a good witch name. We have a witch-bitch of that name already but I think I hid the real person with the spelling – I think I might have got away with it!
    I’d probably go for something a wee bit off the wall, I think the best witch name would be Ron Bacardi as I have been enchanted since we met!!!
    Jesus fuck that was bad!! – Sounds like a line from one of those shite romances we have had the misfortune to read.
    Entertaining and a lot of fun!
    Hopefully we will get to meet her again.
    Hugh

    Like

  4. Ha! Witches invent sarcastic aliases designed to catch attention. Hiding behind a “Jane Doe” sort of thing won’t do. They taunt with every little action. No decision made yet but it will be something along the line of “Felicity Bondtale” or “Bathsheeba Boneoyle.” I almost always root for the black hat in the movies because the do-gooders are so damn dull. I hope to have more from her anon. She will never get her comeuppance.

    Happy New Year to you and here’s praying that no one blows up any more of Ary.

    Leila

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy New Year, Leila! Great witchy story to end 2021. Loved the lines ‘…the Witch summoned every rat in ten counties and spoke impeccable midwest rattish to the masses. Within seconds the magically assisted horde uprooted the Evilmost Elm, tossed it over the fence, and transplanted it into the Witch’s soil.’ Wonderful image there. This was a lot of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Jennie! Happy New Year to you! And I’d like to inform anyone reading this that Jennie will have a rerun feature coming up on the 9th. The first of the new year. You really need to check her stuff out.

    Leila

    Like

    1. Ah wow, thanks Leila! I just got back from tramping through a wood and saw the email from Diane. Such a lovely surprise to start the year! And thank you for your generous feedback – equally I encourage everyone to check out your publications (huge congratulations on surpassing a hundred stories on this site!! Just amazing!).

      Liked by 1 person

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