alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2014-10-24 07:58 pm

little witches (freebie for the October Bear In Chair Prompt Call)

Everyone knows Cassandra.
Everyone knows Cassandra is a freak.
Cassandra is a freak who knows too much.
Freaks who know too much are scary.
Scaring everyone.

My cat Tarma ran outside.
Tarma's an indoor cat for a reason.
The little blue car ran over Tarma.
I saw it happen.
I screamed.
I don't know what happened next.
I know I was holding Tarma,
trying to calm her
so she'd stop scratching me,
with not one scratch on Tarma
but her blood on the asphalt.

Cassandra lives three streets away.
She was waiting on the doorstep
when I came,
Tarma in her carrier
in my hand.
"Miss Kate,"
said Cassandra.

"I don't know what happened,"
I said.
Cassandra knows too much.
She might know this.
"Can you help me?"

"Tell me what you know,"
said Cassandra,
and I did,
what little I could tell,
while the teakettle came to a boil
and Tarma got to know
the black kitten
Cassandra calls Andy.

Cassandra poured the tea,
some honey and some milk,
just how I like it.
"I can't help you,"
she said.
"I'm a water witch
who sometimes sees too much.
I'm no healer,
and it's a healer you are
and a healer you'll need."

"What do you mean?"
I asked.

"Miss Kate," Cassandra said,
"you can choose
not to use
your gift,
but you need to know
how to use it
and how not to,
and I'm no healer
to show you how."

"I'm going to go
to medical school."

"That won't help you,"
Cassandra said.
"The white man's ways
are not kind to little witches.
Learn our way first,
from Aunt Helen or Aunt Meg.
They're healers.
They can help.
Then go to be a doctor,
if that's still what you want.
But don't tell any white men
what you can do.
They'll use you,
use you up,
discard you,
and forget you."

"Not my father,"
said I.

"And take a women's studies class,"
Cassandra said.
"Your father will never
knowingly betray you,
but he has no way to know
that telling the world
what his daughter can do
is betrayal.
You'll be asked to heal
every cancer patient,
and that will be too much,
and someone will want to charge
for your time and strength,
and that will divide
the rich from the less fortunate
in yet another way.
Don't tell."

"Everyone knows about you,"
protested I.

Cassandra smiled,
a sharp unpleasant smile.
"It's harder to exploit
a seer who can lie
than someone who heals
with a touch,
and hasn't learned
how not to."

"Tell me about Aunt Helen
and Aunt Meg," I said.

Everyone knows Cassandra.
Everyone knows Cassandra is a freak.
What everyone knows must not be so.

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