10/31/14
Cauldron
By Amelia Gorman


When she was born we cursed her with a white ill thing. Our evil eyes surrounded the hump of flesh under the blanket. We rolled them left and right as something small came into the world, pale and gagging.

In her teenage years we cursed her with a red ill thing. We pricked her finger and signed her name in both books at the heart of the woods. Sixteen years of pent-up blood rushed back into her body. Our anemic child became a barbaric woman.

The next curse was a black ill thing. A melancholy rippled inside her like the pots we stirred. We wrote her name in squid ink and she felt ghostly tentacles embrace her. She was a match burnt down. She was a pile of used up coals. She sank deep inside herself and shut her door on friends and lovers.

We boiled up a devilish bone ill thing with the left side of a toad that had been eaten by ants. We nailed it to her door. She became crooked in the knees and twisted in the skull. She went to see a doctor who felt the wickedness in those bumps and hollows and threw her out.

Forty to forty-nine brought a sore ill thing. We sent an imp in the form of a mouse to live under her bed. It could grow small enough to fit through the keyhole and had no legs at all. As long as it lived she got no sleep and grew confused, tired, and bruised.

The next decade was a swelling ill thing. We made a ring out of children's hair and stolen gold and left it on the ground where she would find it. When she picked it up to wear it stuck to her finger and her joints welled up. She couldn't weave or sew to pay her rent and she took a job sweeping the mortician's beautiful house.

A rotten ill thing burst inside her on her sixtieth birthday. We sewed up a tiny garnet inside of her. The mortician who crept into her bed and caught the rot despite all his salt and formeldehyde. He left for the colony in the middle of the night, with only her still there to care for the manor.

There in the basement we built a circle out of the stones that had weighed so heavily on our last dead sister. A cold creeping ill swept through the house. It straightened her spine and slimmed her down like a melting icicle.

Now she is an ageless ill thing with us, who can throw curses on or shrug them off like scarves. She sits with us in the circle of deadly stones without fear. We roll our eyes left and right as something, somewhere comes into the world, pale and gagging.


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Amelia Gorman is a horror fan and student in Minnesota.



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