The two witches cackled in front of their fiery cauldron. The Witch of the West held the ancient wooden spoon with both hands and carefully stirred the mighty concoction, muttering incantations under her breath. The Witch of the East danced alongside her, summoning spirits. Her limbs flowed in a circular motion as though she had no bones in her body and she rocked her head back, chanting mythical words. The Witch of the West joined in the chant and the two met in harmony. The Witch of the West tapped the cauldron with the spoon and smelled the mixture with her long crooked nose.
‘Hmmmm…’ she said.
The Witch of the East froze for a second and awaited the verdict.
‘Needs more blood,’ hailed the Witch of the East, ‘and the teeth of a mammoth.’
The Witch of the West, still stiff in her contorted posture, abruptly started moving again, time jerking and jutting out her arms and legs at impossible angles to a rhythmic beat which she mirrored with ancient sounds.
‘Ha… Hi….Hoo…’ came the noises from her throat as she picked up a drum from the floor of their cave and started banging it with her palm. The Witch of the East proclaimed the full set of mammoth teeth with both hands and threw several into the cauldron, one by one.
‘These pearly whites will purify the souls of the dead,’ she murmered, swaying with the beat of the drum.
‘Ra-Ha-Ha-Ha,’ cackled the Witch of the West, for no reason other than because that’s what witches do. She joined in the chant for a moment before raising a crooked finger importantly.
‘Just two more ingredients we need,’ she croaked, swilling her finger in mid-air.
‘Ho – Ha – what are they Me Hearty… Ho – He…’ replied the witch of the East, deep in trance.
The Witch of the West turned and frowned.
‘You can’t call me that, I’m a witch not a pirate’
The Witch of the East continued banging and chanting but opened her eyes.
‘Ho-Ha, Oh-Ar.’ She smirked slightly and held the spoon in the air for a moment, ‘All the best witches have many guises.’ Her drumming resumed.
The Witch of the West shook her head and searched around the cave for the vital missing ingredients.
‘Here,’ she held up a bundle of thick black hair, ‘The hair of an Arabian prince.’ She tossed it into the pot and the Witch of the East stirred it in.
‘All we need now is the blood of a vampire bat and the hex will be complete.’
‘More blood,’ echoed the Witch of the East. They cackled in unison.
The Witch of the West rummaged in the cave and returned with a bottle.
‘The blood of the vampire,’ she whispered, making her vowels as long and slow as possible.
She squeezed the contents into the cauldron. It was the mahogany red of dried blood and spilled over the sides of the pot. Both witches leant forward and their eyes narrowed. This was the moment of truth.
Bang, Bang, Bang.
The witches looked at each other with a momentary sense of alarm. The cauldron bubbled and some of its contents overflowed into the floor.
Bang, Bang, Bang.
‘Girls, what are you doing in there?’ The Witch of the West put her finger to her mouth.
‘Tara. Lilly. Open this door.’ The door suddenly opened. ‘Oh, you didn’t lock it, good girl.
There was a gasp. ‘What are you doing?’
‘What is that? Is that… Is that my Jo Malone, my Chanel, my Ralph Lauren? You’ve emptied everything. And… And… Oh lord. Are those my antique pearls? Is that hair my dye?’
Lilly looked at the floor. Tara groaned.
‘No Mum, we’re witches’ said Tara.
‘Get out of this bathroom at once young ladies. Lilly, you’ll have to be sent home. Tara, straight to your room. Where did you get that bucket from?’ Mum’s hands her on her hips and she had that special look she saved for when you were really in trouble. Lilly shuffled towards the door and Tara bent down to pick up her spoon.
‘Leave it there, its covered in goodness knows what. I can’t believe this’ Mum had steam coming out of her ears.
But before Tara could reach the door, she stepped on something soft and slimy, stumbled backwards slightly and instinctively reached out her hand to steady herself, grabbing what she at first thought was the sink. She caught her balance and let go quickly, turning just in time to see a waterfall of thick mahogany red, pour onto the brand new white bathroom floor.