Female. 18-26. 402 words. Bella: "Ajuoga’s Spirit.” From Gruoch, or Lady Macbeth.

By Paul Pasulka

Kate, I am - human-born, that is. In that you and I are alike. Ajuoga’s spirit, sleeping through generations, awakened in me. You know, I always knew I was different. I didn’t know how. Or why. My parents knew there was something. The bayou hags would slither into the marshes when we - when I - passed and the creatures of the swamp came out as if to say, ‘Hey, Bella’. My grandfather suspected. No one told me.

You and I are similar in another respect - human cruelty. My grandfather and my father did surely try to exorcise my spirit. They tried to pray it out of me, starve it, beat it, even burn it out of me. I begged. I pleaded. I promised to be good. To change - to... what? I know they would have killed me, if they could have. Even though every strike of the lash, every burn on my body made me stronger, I still I didn’t understand.

Until one night. I had been chained in the outhouse, lying in the excrement for days. But, like a sweet little fairy tale, the animals of the night brought me wild berries, mushrooms, things I couldn’t recognize. I ate them and I began to see. And on that night I awoke, more awake than I had ever been before. I could see the moon rise with every hue of light. I could see - feel - every crevice on it’s stunningly, brilliantly cold surface. And then - there she was - great and fierce and black and strong and radiant. And on that night she enfolded me, or entered me - or was me, and in that instant I was released. Body and soul.

Hekate, I respect you. You are the omega and you are truly the alpha bitch. You have risen to heights - plumbed depths? -  no witch ever has ever dreamed of, even in their foulest visions. No human witch, that is. It’s true, I am young, and I do fear you. But if you harm a daughter of the earth, the earth will swallow you up and spit you out mangled like a piglet in a tornado. Beelzebub’s smite will seem the caress of a kitten.

I came to you - No, I was sent to you because you can teach us more about the human vermin that anyone else. For myself, I admit I was in favor of simply eating your brain.  But I was wrong.