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Last Day as a Witch

Abigail Guerrero

To whom it will concern,

It hasn’t been easy for me to sit down and write what will likely be the last chapter of this grimoire, but if I can help at least one young witch with the information I am about to reveal, I truly feel it will have been worth the risk.

I won’t elaborate on the reasons why I’ve never longed for a partner because the truth is I don’t know it myself. All I know is I'm repulsed by witches, warlocks, demons, spirits, and ghouls to the very same extent. This was never a problem for me when I was a child because, back in the day, I was only expected to do the initial training and learn to cast some basic spells. The struggle began, if I still remember correctly, on the Halloween Eve of the year I turned fifteen, when my madrina visited my home and most graciously pointed out the terrible fact that I was unpartnered at my almost elderly age.

Of course I told my parents I wasn’t sure of wanting a partner⁠—I was, in fact, pretty much convinced of not wanting one; I was just trying to be polite⁠—but they begged me to try, and it’s always hard to say no to the people who put a roof over your head and a broom in your hands. That was the start of a series of disastrous attempts to find someone for me to tie the knot with.

A few weeks later, they sent me to live at my madrina’s home, expecting I would eventually bond with her nephew, Eduardo. I spent that whole winter learning how to cast joint spells. And yes, I’m well aware that joint magic is stronger than the basic, individual one. I know that one witch can make an animal understand their words, but two witches can make an animal follow their orders. That one witch can manifest the number a dice shall fall on, but two witches can manifest the next day’s weather. That one witch can see a person’s aura, but two witches can read their minds. What I yet don’t know, after all this time, is why would anyone want, deserve, or even need that amount of power.

You now must think I’m wrong.

Yes, I must be the wrong one because, after all, I’m the one who’s leaving San Isidro to go live the rest of my life among the mortal people. But here you are, reading this cursed testament, either because you want to know what happened then or because you want to know what happens later.

So I’ll tell you what happened later.

Eduardo discarded me by the summer of the year I turned sixteen. The reason he gave to my parents is that I hadn’t invested properly in the joint magical training. The real reason was that he wanted us to go to the closest mortal town to curse the people’s crops and then ask them for cash to dissolve the spell. And I refused, of course I did. Messing with mortals who couldn’t even understand magic seemed needlessly cruel to me.

And yet, Eduardo wasn’t nearly as cruel as Estefanía, the witch my parents invited to move with us in the spring of the year I was seventeen, after most of San Isidro’s warlocks had already passed on me. Estefanía’s parents were even more desperate than mine, and at first, I thought that it was a good sign. Maybe she was just like me, a witch who didn’t care about power, joint magic, or finding a partner. Well, she wasn’t like me at all. It turned out that she was insane, and her family was justifiably afraid of her. She used to curse the small animals that came in through the window when my parents were not home. Birds and squirrels and such. She would transform their feathers and fur into needles until their skins fell off. And when she got tired of practicing her hexes on the poor little creatures, she packed her things and prepared to leave, away to the mortal world. Now, I know that I had no evidence that she planned to do the same to human beings, but I did what I thought was the right thing to do at the time.

She’s buried under the old shed behind the house.

But wait, don’t leave yet, this was not the great secret I wanted to reveal. It gets better, I swear.

Ever since Estefanía ran away from home—because that’s what our families think occurred—and until the fall of the year I was eighteen, I remained unpartnered, repeating the same basic, comforting spells that I already knew all on my own. Those were good times, but they didn’t last. Worried that I would hit the magical wall still alone, my parents decided that anything was better than nothing and took me to the Yearly Summon Festival to get me a demon, spirit, or ghoul. As long as I had a partner before being twenty years old, my magic should survive.

We came home with Samael, a demon who was not only not a bad guy, but who was actually a good friend. A friend who came to this world looking to be free, not to help prevent an unpartnered witch to stop being a witch. Who was I to keep him captive? That was practically kidnapping, wasn’t it?

So I let him go a few months later, in the winter I turned nineteen.

Tired and defeated, my parents gave up and accepted my fate. I would become a twenty-year-old witch with no partner, I would lose my magic, and I would be forced to move into the mortal world to live among them. To become one of them. And even when everyone seemed to think that it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me, I never had a problem with it.

I was happy throughout my last year as a witch, happy when I cast my last little spell, happy when I woke up on my twentieth birthday—my last day as a witch.

And I was happy one day after when I discovered my magic hadn’t gone anywhere.

Yes, my magic is still here, inside of me. I can still talk to the animals, and see people’s auras, and manifest what number my dice shall fall on. I will leave San Isidro, anyway, as I’ve learned over the years that this place is not safe for me, but I’ll hide this grimoire somewhere I know young witches and warlocks will find it, and I hope you will share the secret with as many others as you can. Tell them that there’s no reason to be afraid of being alone, tell them that absolutely nothing happens when you grow old unpartnered.

Tell them that their magic doesn’t go.

And if they refuse to believe my words, bring them to the Santos’ property when there’s no one home and make them dig under the old shed behind the house.

Best charms,

Mónica Santos, a witch to this day

Abigail Guerrero is an aroace and ESL author from Mexico. Her work has appeared in Bloodless: An Anthology of Blood-Free Horror, Un Río de Muchas Voces: Una Antología de Letras del Puerto, Toil & Trouble, and All Existing Literary Magazine.

Twitter: @_gail_guerrero

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