“Don’t you wish for something more, son of Eve?” The witch held out a hand, a dimly lit shard of crystal in her aged palm. “There’s such potential and spark in you. What do you owe these traitors? What have they ever done for you?”
He looked at the thing of power apprehensively, his own hand shaking above it, not able to quite grasp it. It spoke to him in soft tones, in a voice that hadn’t been heard since the birth of the universe. Promises of what he could accomplish. Promises of what he could achieve.
“Why would you give it to me?” He asked in a broken voice, on the verge of tears. “If it can do everything you say… why not keep it forever? Live forever? Keep your loved ones forever?”
“But I will, boy.” She laughed. “I’ll never die… you needn’t either.”
“Can it bring the dead back?”
“If they wish to be brought back.”
“And if they don’t?”
“You’d be a witch. Your will is final, every request a demand. If you wish for someone or something else to be so, it will be. Your words will be the violence that ensures it.”
The idea stung him, but the offer still stood, if only he could close his hands. He didn’t have to be like other witches. He wanted one thing. That was enough. That was all he needed. To feel her again and hear her words again. That was all he needed.
He clenched his fist, taking the crystal in his hand as the witch gave a horrific laugh. She fell to dust in front of his eyes, adrift in the wind as he stood motionless, a look of horror on his face as he opened his hand, crystal no where to be seen…
…instead, replaced with a new found awareness. He could see the rivers beneath his feet, the pulse of the soil and the hum of the air. The lines connecting everything together, and the passageways that slipped inbetween. It was enough to madden anyone, and it might have been enough to madden him, if not for the newfound certainty as he began to peel away the layers of reality and embraced the chaos and order.
Time and distance began to feel irrelevant. He was in another place, standing in a summoning circle, dolls surrounding him with a combination of apprehension and focus. He spoke words he didn’t know, or maybe he did, in another time, whispering vile incantations as he tore at the walls of heaven itself.
At his call, reality shattered, falling in shards at his feet as he made his demand. The dolls by his side reached through the rift, seizing their quarry and dragging it back through. An impossibly bright luminescence, an eldritch spiral of fire, feathers, devotion and authority. The dolls that held it burned to cinders and were replaced with others as quickly as they fell, restraining the thing as he drew out a knife and knelt atop the angel. The pain was indescribable, the magicks in his blood burning away as they tried and failed to protect him. He needed only a second.
He plunged the knife into the center of the creature, freeing its ichor and letting it flow into the channels on the floor. It shrieked in a tone that shattered the dolls in the room, instantly deafening him. It was too late for it, though. Its holy blood had infused the circle, and with his final blow, he severed its halo from the core, holding onto it tightly as he made his final wish.
He was sitting on the hill he had met the witch on, a doll next to him, singing softly to itself. Its face was familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. A dimly lit halo sat above its head, drops of blood still glistening on it. Where had it come from?
“You shouldn’t have done that, Miss,” it murmured, sewing a dress together as it sang. “You’ve given yourself such a beautiful death.”
“Did what?” He looked at his hands, burnt in the shape of the halo… and the crystal, pulsing warmly in his palm. “I was just… talking to that witch, but she disappeared.”
“You didn’t want to know what you did, Miss.” It smiled at him, a bit of ichor still glistening by its lips. “You will, when that day comes. But you have to become a proper witch before then. To bring me back.”
“Do… I know you?”
“You did, Miss. And you will, again. And again. And again.” The doll touched his face, its fingers like brands against his skin. “You’ll live forever, Miss, and you’ll die, forever. But we’ll spend this moment together, forever.”
“I…. don’t understand.”
“No, you don’t. You will, though.”