Queen of the North

By: Bonnie Smith

Cold and stoic is the castle to which I was exiled. Tall stone towers and barred windows. Poppies grow around its base as a warning to the unlucky few that come across my new abode. They are a sign of evil and witchcraft. I have both traits in the eyes of my prosecutor. The guards look down on me with sinister eyes and jarring expressions. At least they will look at me. Most will scurry away at the sight of my black dress and bold expression, for fear that my evil will spread or maybe for fear I will curse them. The enormous door opens with the help of not one but three guards. I will never escape, that is the point. 

The two guards holding my chains pull me into my prison. It is dark, bleak and dusty. Dread fills my lungs as they throw me onto the ground. My dress catches on something and tears, showing the scars on my leg. I have been branded by these folk as my own have branded me. They have torn me apart and put me back together more times than most could handle. They said that I had already ruined my body with my devilish marks, that they could not ruin it any further. Some even went so far as to say that they were making improvements. Although these wounds are far healed over, they still open at my core. 

One of the men throws a key on the table a few yards away from me, cackles erupt when the rest of them see what he has done. That is the key to my chains, chains that just so happen to be held by a large weight. I begin to go along with them. I throw my head back in an exaggerated laugh. All the guards stop and stare, their fear of me is starting to show. They are finally letting me see their scarred souls. They are all scared of me, just like the rest. They all think I’m a crazy witch. If they want a witch then I will give them a witch. If they want crazy, insane, psycho, then that’s what they will get. I can laugh until my tongue falls out, I have no use for it now. 

I keep going, I don’t know how long I’ve been doing it but the guards are still standing there. Soon my laugh turns to a scream. Tears fall from my crazed eyes and down my cheeks. They start running to the door. They scurry to get it closed. As they do so I stand up. I am screaming at them, I want them to know. I will reach for them, make them think I’ve cursed them. They will worry about their fates as I rot in my vast prison. Let them barr the doors, lock me up and throw away the key.

They all think I’m crazy, maybe I am. If crazy is wanting to be like the others, wanting to have the power the men did, wanting to escape. “You had everything”, my husband said, everything but respect, opinion, and a way out. They call me a witch for speaking my language, for having the markings of my people, carved out by my mother and father, blessed by the whole. If strange tongue and body make a witch then maybe I am one. Maybe I made a deal with the devil to get out of their prison. Although the one I am in now has stone and steel, the one I was in just a moment ago was made of lies and words. I have escaped and made it to paradise, i made it to solitude, where i can practice my tradition without stares and never have to see their faces again. For now I will cry and scream and laugh, and I will do it whenever someone comes to visit, but when they leave I will go back to me, back to the woman molded after her mother. Those who only believe in the witch will see the witch, and those who know the truth will get a sneak of the real me. Today, I, Queen of the North, become a witch to all those crazy enough to believe the tales, never to hide again.

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