Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Two

A Witchy Brew

Alexander M Zoltai
Dedicated to
Adrian G Hilder


“But, I’m not a witch.”

That was the third time Melody had said those words in this conversation with the professor.

He countered with, “You still haven’t explained how you know certain things—“

“Intuition is what I’ve said and what you don’t want to believe…”

“Fine, let us, just for the sake of argument, say it’s intuition. How did you develop such finely tuned intuition?”

“I didn’t develop it, I’ve just always had it…”

“Nobody just happens to have well-developed, precise intuitions…”

“Mr. Johnson, why are there so many things you disbelieve out of hand? You’re supposed to be a professor of philosophy. Is it normal for a philosopher to disbelieve in intuition but believe in witchcraft?

“This interview is over.” He stood up abruptly and walked out of the cafe.

Melody stared after him and sighed… She was glad his interview was over. But, she knew he’d involve other people.

Her problem was still bubbling…

Mr. Johnson’s wife had been scared out of her wits when Melody had warned her about a possible fire in her house.

Mrs. Gloria Johnson had invited the philosophy students to her home for tea.

Melody didn’t know why she’d mentioned Gloria’s heating system and asked if it was malfunctioning.

The professor’s wife had asked her how she knew and Melody said, “I just wondered…”.

Then, she told Mrs. Johnson that she should have it checked because of the fire hazard.

Melody hadn’t felt she had to tell the woman that all her intuitions were, as far as she’d checked, able to be backed up with rational reasons for her seemingly magical perceptiveness.

When the fire was on the local news, Melody had a premonition that trouble would brew up swiftly.

Mr. Johnson had brought it near the boiling point.

In the early part of his interview, he’d mentioned his discussing her with the bishop…

Melody decided to do some research.

She’d lived in Cornwall for three years, attended Truro and Penwith College for one year, knew nothing much about witchcraft—just that she was nothing like anything she’d ever heard about witches.

But, she thought more knowledge could help if Mr. Johnson and the bishop decided to get nasty.

A quick Google search let her know that many witches called themselves Pagans—she searched further…


She met Mary Worth—member of the Pagan Federation—at the Cafe.

She was reading from a pamphlet Mary had given her about the Federation’s “Three Principles”:

“Do what you will, as long as it harms none. Recognition of the divine, which transcends gender. Acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity.”

She’d never been what folks called religious. She wasn’t even sure if she was spiritual.

“Mary, would you call Paganism a church?”

“Well… I think so; but, some Pagans have a problem being put on par with organized religions.”

“Like Catholics…”

“Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews—many Pagans feel those folk just don’t get what it means to be spiritual.


Back home, she did more Internet searching and found a curious quote by a man named ‘Abdu’l-Baha:

“If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division it would be better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act.”

Well, she’d stayed away from all the religions she’d bumped into—if that was a “religious” attitude she could only call that an amazing spiritual idea.

She continued her research…


A week went by with no attack from the bishop or Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Melody found out many curious things about witches:

The word “witch” apparently came from an original meaning of being strong and lively.

There was the The Merry Maidens stone circle at St. Buryan—the local myth about the creation of the circle suggesting that nineteen maidens were turned into stone as punishment for dancing on a Sunday.

Then, from a superstitions page on a sacred texts site on the Web:

She read that the dying would be kept in a state of suffering if any lock were closed in their dwelling—the howling of a dog is a sad sign—a raven croaking over a cottage fills its inmates with gloom.

And, one particular quote made her ponder for quite a long time: “It will be understood by all who have studied the peculiarities of any Celtic race, that they have ever been a peculiarly impressible people. They have ever observed the phenomena of nature; and they have interpreted them with hopeful feelings, or despondent anxiety, according as they have been surrounded by cheerful or by sorrow-inducing circumstances.”

Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were merely “impressible” and had been surrounded with too many “sorrow-inducing circumstances”.


The pot nearly boiled over three days later.

A local politician was quoted in the paper: “I fear for the normality of our youth when a philosophy student scares a faculty wife by predicting a fire in her home.” The paper said no names were to be mentioned until an investigation could be conducted—an investigation ruling out foul play…

Melody wanted to start a war…

She drank a cup of camomile tea, tried to breathe deeply and slowly, played her favorite music, and wondered how far this would actually go…


The next day—a knock on the door—a man in a suit says: “Detective Constable Burns, CID, Ma’am.”

After ninety minutes of repetitious questioning, he left with: “We’ll be in touch…”

The pot began boiling furiously…


Melody decided to get proactive.

She visited her friend Angel Tremayne and laid out her plans, asking her to come along and video the whole thing.

She called the bishop’s office, under an assumed name, and scheduled an interview, for a fictitious up-country media company, to discuss the purported witch from Truro and Penwith College.

Just before she left she said, “You know, Angel, I’m not into Paganism, or any religion; but, I have to stop these prejudiced fools…”


She and the bishop spent about 15 minutes with banal questions and answers about the Church’s position on witches and its history with Pagans, then Melody said: “My Lord, would you care to comment, only for my personal guidance in my spiritual journey, on a quote I’ve been pondering?

“By all means, my dear…”

“It says, ‘Do what you will, as long as it harms none. Recognition of the divine, which transcends gender. Acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity.'”

She nodded to indicate the end of the quote…

He smiled and said, looking straight into Angel’s camera, “That is a fine expression of what I, myself, strive for.”

Melody said, “Thank you, my Lord, for confirming the creed of the Pagan Federation.”

The pot immediately stopped boiling…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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10 responses to “Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Two

  1. The Story Reading Ape July 29, 2016 at 11:12 am

    NICE one 👍😃😄


  2. Alexander M Zoltai July 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Thank you—it was a bit of a challenge :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Story Reading Ape July 29, 2016 at 11:24 am

    But a great ‘twist’ at the end Alexander 👍


  4. Alexander M Zoltai July 29, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Deep thanks—Melody just had to nail that guy :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Story Reading Ape July 29, 2016 at 11:44 am



  6. Alexander M Zoltai July 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm



  7. Jane Watson July 29, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I think this is a fascinating story with an even more fascinating twist. I love it. It tells me to keep an open heart and mind about the mysteries of life :-) And don’t label people:-)


  8. Alexander M Zoltai July 29, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Dear Jane,

    Mr. Hilder may have given me the seed idea for this story; but, “the way you live your life” inspired my treatment of Melody


  9. Adrian G Hilder July 30, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Interesting trip through a spot of witchcraft history and I think a moral to the story too 😃
    The part of Cornwall you refer to is a place a I’ve visited almost every year for the last 12 years in the summer – just not this year.
    I’ll be in Rome in a couple of days time… no witchcraft there 😉


  10. Alexander M Zoltai July 30, 2016 at 10:47 am

    O.K.—rather neat that I “happened” to choose a part of Cornwall you’re familiar with :-)

    Do enjoy Rome!

    Going over to post the story in Wattpad :-)


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