Enchantment and Seduction

Hi, all!

Here's a short story I wrote about the disorder, if anyone cares to read it... (sorry for the incredibly long post!)

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Enchantment and Seduction

Once upon a time, there was an enchanted kingdom far, far away that was known as Terramagos. Now, all of its inhabitants had fairy godmothers--wise and ancient sprites with magical powers that gave them advice when it was called for and an extra hand when it was needed. In a small village on the outskirts of the kingdom lived the Bolgers--a family that wasn’t like the rest. Long ago, an ancestor had accidentally offended the sprites, and ever since then the culprit’s offspring had been forced to struggle through life on their own. The current generation of the family lived in a small but comfortable cottage on the edge of the town: a mother and father, two brothers, and the littlest child, a daughter named Felicity. They all loved each other very much, but they were often so tired and so lost without the guidance of a faithful fairy godmother that they occasionally mistreated each other--not because they wanted to, but because they didn’t know of any other way to act. After all, without a fairy godmother, they had no one else to teach them something better.

Now, Felicity, the youngest child, used to observe the sorrow and pain marring an otherwise idyllic clan of people, and she dreamt about the way she wished her family could be. Although she didn’t know it, she had been exposed to a magical potion when she was very young that gave her the ability to see what was needed by the various members of her family, whether it was comforting words, help with their work, or simply a small, innocent hand to hold. Ever since she could walk, she had responded to this special sight by trying to provide whatever it was that her family lacked, trying to make up for their missing fairy godmother by ***uming all godmotherly duties herself. Her family, worn out from the continual toil and misery that comes from not receiving magical ***istance, was all too happy to have someone take that work upon herself. It was not because they didn’t love their daughter and kid sister; it was simply that they were immensely relieved to p*** their burdens on to someone else and have somebody on whom they knew they could rely.

One day, Felicity was walking in the forest near the village, collecting firewood to keep the family warm through the cold winter night ahead. She p***ed a gaggle of girls her own age, also gathering wood, but for them it seemed to be no difficult task. Their fairy godmothers flitted around, flying above their heads and making the job light and pleasant work. These other girls were richly clothed. Felicity glanced uncomfortably down at the old dress, tattered and torn almost to shreds, that she wore. The other girls were fresh and clean. Felicity felt sweat dripping from her body, a result of the heavy work in which she was engaged. The other girls were neatly put together, looking very picturesque and pure. Felicity looked with a twinge of shame at the thick calluses coating her palms and the dirt beneath her fingernails. She ran a tentative hand through the tangled, matted sections of her unruly hair. The other girls were laughing, and Felicity wanted very much to join them. They stopped giggling abruptly when they noticed her. Felicity managed a sheepish smile. One of the girls smiled back with a mischievous gleam in her eyes. She wished Felicity a good afternoon in a sing-song voice that was dripping with honey. She waved coyly and turned her back, returning her attention to her friends, who had been witnessing this entire interaction through picture-perfect smiles stretched thinly over ill-contained chortles. Felicity turned and walked away, and as she did she overhead the comrades whispering about their shared contempt for the wretched creature they’d just seen. Felicity’s eyes began to burn, but she carried on in spite of it, knowing she still had much work to do.

The firewood was scarce that day, and Felicity was obliged to travel farther and farther into the woods in search of fuel. She felt very much alone amidst the dense foliage around her, but she was glad to be alone, overwhelmed by the idea of having to interact with another human being; what if all her future encounters shared the nature of the one she'd just experienced? When she'd finally gathered sufficient kindling, it was well past sunset, and she began to feel uncomfortable in the wild woods after dark. She wrestled with her hard-earned load, fighting to drag the unwieldy burden along with her as she started heading home. As she panted awkwardly along, she realized she'd been so wrapped up in her worries and concerns that she'd lost her way entirely. She stumbled along for an hour or two with no success before she finally sat down and started to cry.

“Why, hello, little girl.” Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice startled her, and she jumped. “No need to be frightened,” the voice continued. It was a deep, smooth voice, and--though it sent a shiver down her spine--she couldn’t help but be drawn to it.

Felicity raised her head from her knees, wiped her eyes to clear her vision, and found herself staring at a tall personage who resembled, more or less, a colossal gr***hopper or locust. He towered leanly towards the sky, and his limbs were sharp and thin. His skin, if that’s what is was, was green, and he had the mysterious, unyielding eyes of an insect. He was dressed in a crisp tuxedo, complete with a shiny top hat and elaborate crimson panache. He carried a cl***ically embellished cane, and he stood there, leaning casually against a tree, staring at her.

“Who are you?” she asked, a timid quiver underlying her tone of intrigued fascination.

“My name,” said the creature, “is Pozzo.”

Felicity nodded to demonstrate her bewildered comprehension.

“I suppose, though,” added the newcomer, “that what you’re really wondering is not so much who I am as what I am. I am a Humbug,” he explained, bowing low and doffing his hat. “At your service.”

Not wanting to seem rude, Felicity could only nod.

“Now, you look like you’re in quite a pickle, little one.”

Another nod in response.

“Where’s your fairy godmother?”

Felicity started to answer, but her eyes began to sting again and a lump caught in her throat before any words could get out. Pozzo the Humbug bent low, his face now level with hers as she sat on the damp ground.

“Oh...” he said, stretching out every word, “...you mean to say you haven’t got one?”

Fighting back tears, Felicity nodded again.

“Well... that’s not fair.” Somehow, Pozzo managed to preserve his noble grace even as he sat down next to her among the fallen, rotting leaves that blanketed the forest floor. “How on earth do you get anything done?”

No words in response.

“Tell you what,” said Pozzo coaxingly. “Let me help you out.”

Felicity looked at him intently, wondering what would come next.

“I’ve trained a little bit in sorcery and white magic,” he offered. “Now, let me see...”

The Humbug spoke or chanted words meaningless to her, moved his hands deliberately through the air, and turned back to the young girl beside him.

“Go on, try it now.”

Felicity wearily fought her way to her feet, reached down to grab the bundle of sticks, and found that it was no longer so heavy or awkward to manage. In fact, it was easy, even pleasant, to carry. Then she remembered that she still didn’t know how exactly to get home, but as she turned around, surveying her options, she noticed a path she didn’t remember seeing before. It glowed with soft blue light, and she came to understand that Pozzo had commanded the way home to reveal itself to her. Still too upset (and now too dazzled) to speak, she smiled a genuine thank-you to the mysterious stranger and started down the path.

“I’ve shortened the distance that you have to travel, too, little one,” he called after her. “Oh, and just one more thing.” Here, he reached into his jacket pocket, and his skeletal green hand emerged holding a pair of dainty scissors. He approached the girl, who stood motionless, and snipped off one of her chestnut locks. “A small fee,” he said, with a re***uring smile.

Felicity turned away, confused by what had happened but grateful for the help. When she got home, she noticed that the wood she had gathered that day burned warmer, brighter, and longer than was normal.

Over the next few weeks, the mysterious Humbug began to visit her with increasing frequency. He always approached when she was alone, and she never told anyone else about him. She found herself more and more eager to spend time away from her family and friends, hoping that he would show up. He never disappointed her. He was always there when she wanted him (and sometimes even when she didn't). He was there to help her milk the cow, to give her a hand with the dishes, to make her work enjoyable when she mopped the floor. He even created beautiful outfits out of thin air when she wanted to attend festivities hosted by her peers, and she found that people talked about her less and less behind her back. She found herself growing rapidly in popularity, and girls who used to tease her or ignore her suddenly wanted to be seen with her. Felicity was very happy with the way that things were going. This must be what it’s like to have a fairy godmother, she thought to herself as her problems seemed to melt magically away. The only thing Pozzo ever asked in return was another lock of chestnut hair for each favor that he did.

One day, Felicity’s mother fell extremely ill. Her brothers and her father didn’t know what to do, but they trusted Felicity to see that everything got resolved. After all, she was the one with the gift of perceiving others’ needs; and besides, lately she seemed to be especially powerful, completing even the most irksome chores as though she had some sort of magical aid. They didn’t know how to help their ailing mother, but they were sure they could lay that burden on Felicity’s capable shoulders.

Felicity wrung her hands and fretted over this great responsibility. She could speak soothing words to her feverish charge, but she had no idea what kind of medical care to attempt to provide. As she sat alone in the cottage with her restlessly sleeping mother, Pozzo showed up once again.

“What’s the matter, small one?” he asked with nonchalance.

“My mother is sick, and she’ll die if I can’t cure her.”

“Then do it,” he purred.

“I don’t know how.”

“I do, dear one,” he cooed.

“Then show me!” she begged.

“But how will you pay me, my pet?”

Felicity sent a hand up to her hair and was aghast to find that she had already given Pozzo all of it. She had been too satisfied with the help that he provided to notice that she now had nothing but clumps of hair cut rudely and close to the scalp.

“I don’t know,” she answered. “But you have to help! She’ll die if you don’t!”

“Hmmm...” the Humbug muttered craftily. “I think I have an idea.”

“Tell me!” she shouted, jumping out of her seat.

“Well, now, turtledove, what do you know about Shakespeare?”

Felicity opened her mouth to reply, but before she could make a sound, the Humbug continued. “Have you ever read The Merchant of Venice?” Again, he proceeded with his speech before she had a chance to answer. “I propose a deal much like the one Shylock offers Antonio in that play. From now on, since your hair is gone, I will ask, in exchange for the humble services I provide, a pound of your flesh for each little errand. Sound fair?”

Felicity paused for a moment, unsure of what to think. Then she looked at her mother as she lay, laboring to breathe, on a shoddy, barren mattress that reeked of poverty and sickness. Still, she hesitated.

“Do this for me,” said Pozzo in a hungry whisper like an icy caress, "and I’ll give you your own magic wand. No more worries, no more cares. No more blisters. No more aching back. Come, my doll, my pet, my pretty little thing, it’s well worth the pittance that I’m asking.”

Felicity’s mind was made up. With a curt, determined nod, the agreement was sealed. He handed over a small, innately carved baton and beckoned for her to try it out. She held it up timidly and looked questioningly at her insect-like friend. He drew close and whispered in her ear. His voice was intoxicating as she listened to the flow of strange and powerful words. Following his instructions, she lofted the wand in the air and began to slice it with graceful movements as the same honeyed words dripped from her own trembling lips. As the incantation drew to a close, her mother’s breath lost its labored quality, the inhales and exhales becoming normal and natural. A flush of healthy color returned to her mother’s sallow face, and it was clear that unhealthy unconsciousness had given way to a wholesome sleep. Felicity looked at the wand in her hand, then glanced at Pozzo with wonderment and new reverence. The corners of his lips were drawn into a tight smile, and a peculiar gleam filled his multi-faceted eyes. His gaze still fixed on her, he turned and began to walk out the door.

“Wait!” Felicity called. “What about...” Her voice trailed off.

“The payment?” he offered.

She gulped and nodded. His tight smile grew more intense.

“Already taken care of,” he said.

The days and months rolled on, and Felicity began to rely more and more heavily on Pozzo and the magical wand he was teaching her to use. She was puzzled, though, in one respect: though he always ***ured her that her debt of flesh had been settled, she never felt any different. Perhaps that’s not entirely true; she did feel ever a little more empty after dealing with the Humbug, but she couldn’t perceive any physical changes. She also noticed that she needed more and more of his help; the old tasks seemed harder and harder to perform without the aid of magic. She seemed to be weaker, slower, stupider. Those around her noticed the change as well. Her friends and family became concerned. When they asked her what the matter was, she always brushed them off, saying it was nothing so as to guard her special friendship with her guide and mentor. Finally, one day, her mother and her father brought her to a wise healing woman in the village. Felicity, uncharacteristically sullen, complained and protested the whole way there, but she found herself nevertheless seated across from the healer in the end.

The healer asked her all sorts of questions, probing into Felicity’s past, her thoughts, her feelings. She somehow seemed to sense the role of the Humbug in the young girl’s life, even though Felicity herself would never admit it. Finally, after many long hours and minutes of talking through painful subjects and unpleasant ideas, she told Felicity something the girl very much did not want to hear.

“You need to end your relationship with Pozzo,” she said.

Felicity was taken aback that the healer knew the Humbug’s name, but she didn’t question it or stop to ask why or how they had met.

“It will be harder than you might think.”

Somehow Felicity doubted that; the very thought of abandoning her best and closest friend was unthinkable and overwhelming.

“You may think he’s there to help you, but he’s not. He’s draining away your life and your spirit. Things are getting harder for you, aren’t they? That’s his doing.”

Here Felicity interrupted. “But what about the magic wand? That lets me to do all sorts of things.”

“No,” replied the healer. “Let me see it.”

Felicity grudgingly and resentfully handed her the baton.

After a brief inspection, the healer continued. “Just as I thought. There’s no magic in this stick.”

“Then how do you explain all the spells that it’s worked?”

“It never worked any spells, my dear. Whatever you accomplished with this wand, you accomplished on your own. Pozzo only told you it was magic so that he could continue to drink of your youth and vibrancy. Hasn’t the wand been less effective lately?”

Felicity nodded reluctantly.

“That’s because you’re weakening, dear. Every time you give a little of yourself to Pozzo, you lose that part of you. You’re slowly destroying yourself, putting Pozzo in control. You’ve been struggling not because the wand isn’t strong enough, but because you’re robbing yourself of the incredible resources in your hands.”

“What resources?” Felicity retorted. “I don’t even have a fairy godmother.”

“That’s because you don’t need one, dear.”

“What?”

“I said that’s because you don’t need one. You’re strong enough on your own. Yes, others have the advantage of a wise guide and helper along the path of life, and yes, it’s unfair that you haven’t had that opportunity. However, you need to realize that the real strength and power lies within you. Be your own fairy godmother; you can do it. Now, I want you to walk out that door, throw this ridiculous twig away, go home, and rest up. I’ll come visit you ere long. But above all, don’t even say hello to Pozzo. Don’t encourage or embrace him in the least. He’s not going to go away, and you’re not the last girl he’s going to trick. But even when you see him and feel that he’s with you, you can’t take the chance of letting him back into your life, even for an instant. I’ll be there every step of the way to help you through this, but it’s ultimately your decision. Make the right one.”

Felicity rose heavily to her feet, her head spinning with the wise woman’s words. She collected her wand, fastened her cloak against the cold, and walked out the door. Pozzo was right there, leaning against the cottage, waiting.

“Why, hello, little one,” he crowed. “And how are we this fine morning?”

Felicity opened her mouth to respond, but she glanced behind her and saw the healer watching.

“Remember, not a word,” she admonished sternly. “Not a single word--unless that word is goodbye.”

Trembling, frightened to leave her one true friend, Felicity turned away from the Humbug and continued walking past him.

“Where are you going, my dove?” he called after her.

Shaking more with every step, she continued on her way, fighting with all her might the urge to run back to him then and there.

“Where are you going?” he yelled.

Still no answer from the trembling girl.

“*****!” he screamed. “Stupid, ugly, terrible *****! You fucktard! You fucking moron! Get your worthless *** back here right now, you little *******! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I own you! I made you! I’m the only one who will give you what you want and make you what you want to be! Get back here, you idiot *****!”

Felicity’s knees began to buckle, and soon she could no longer move forward. She fell to the ground and started to sob.

“Just where you belong, *****--in the muck and the gutter! Who’s laughing now? You need me! You’re weak! You’ll never get along without me! You miserable, pathetic failure! Crawl back and grovel at my feet! You are nothing without me--NOTHING! You're a worthless piece of ****!”

Felicity’s tears throbbed in her head, and the pain became so intense that she wished she were dead. She thought of using the wand to cast some sort of mortal spell, but as she reached for the baton (which she now knew to be powerless anyway), she felt a steady hand touch her on the shoulder. She jumped for a moment, expecting a stream of abuse from the Humbug. Instead, she saw the healer, who said nothing--only caught her gaze and helped her up before returning to the cottage where she lived.

“Goodbye!” Felicity called to the old woman. “And thank you!”

The Humbug sneered and snarled as the healer walked past. Felicity looked at him, hesitated, looked back at the healer, and finally returned her gaze to the Humbug.

“And you,” she said.

He brightened, grinned with malicious glee, and straightened up to look more impressive.

She swallowed hard. “Goodbye.”

The Humbug looked perplexed, and a low growl began in the depth of his throat, but he made no move to follow. It was in his nature to enter only where he was invited. Felicity simply ignored him and continued walking towards the river, where she broke the pseudo magic wand and cast away its pieces.

“Goodbye,” she whispered as they drifted away. She paused. "Thank you, and goodbye. Forever.”

TrueImage,

WOW!!! ♥ This is deep, meaningful, and POWERFUL!! :) Yes, we invited the monster in... And it's up to us to say goodbye. We CAN do this! ♥

Thank you so much for sharing! You write beautifully! :)

Love,

Jen

Aw, thanks, Jen!

like i said before--you write just like emily bronte--wow! you are a great writer....really....

this is an amazing short story!

love
maureen

Thanks, Maureen! I’m very flattered by the comparison!

That was amazing. You are a beautiful writer :)

Allee

Thanks, Allee. :slight_smile:

You need to get this on an ED website or something. It really hits home and you write so beautifully.

You know, tone the language down a bit, and this would be a great story for pre-teen girls to read about ED and the damage it can cause!

Kudos!

Aw, thanks!

Your words will stay with me in my moments of need. This is an incredible story. I agree with the others that you need to put this out there.

Thanks so much, and I’m glad it helped!