If this were a Disney move, I’d be the “evil” sister.
Can you blame me? My sister, Eva, got quite a different lot in life than I did. Tall, tan, and buxom, with a placid disposition and a beautiful voice. Me? I’m short and pale, with a habit of eating too many Reese’s and a voice that sounds like a dying frog.
Sometimes, when I tell her, she’ll laugh (that tinkling, feminine, beautiful laugh) and go “Oh, Cora, don’t be jealous! We should love each other like sisters, not fight over stupid things.”
But I wonder if she’d still say that, if she were the one who got the short end of the stick.
Last night was the breaking point. We went to a party at one of the fraternities. I waved over one of my classmates, Robby, from Physics. But as soon as I did, and his eyes fell on Eva, it was all over. No matter how many jokes I made, no matter how many times I touched his shoulder – he barely gave me a second look.
That very night, after Eva went to bed, I snuck out of our apartment. I’d heard rumors – crazy ones. That a real-life witch lived in the abandoned house at the end of the street. It was something no grown-ass woman should’ve believed.
But I was desperate.
When I arrived at the house, my heart sank. The boards were rotten and splintered; the glass was cut into large, pointed shards that rose up from the frame like fangs. I could tell there was a light on inside, though, somewhere – a dim, yellow glow.
I raised my hand to knock.
But before my fist hit the wood, a voice called from inside: “Come in!”
Creeeeeaaak. I took a step inside, my legs shaking. “Hello?” The light seemed to be coming from a back room; I made my way towards it.
A woman sat on the floor, in the middle of a pentagram, wearing a hooded robe. She looked only a few years older than me, her blonde hair poking out from under the hood.
“Uh… are you the witch?” I said, rather awkwardly.
She grimaced. “W-I-T-C-H is not a term we use around here. It’s Woman of the Magical Arts.”
“I’m so sorry! Uh, well –”
“What do you seek?” she interrupted.
“I want to switch bodies with my sister.”
“An easy spell. I can do it for you – but the question is, can you pay the price?”
“What’s the price?”
She paused, staring up at me with her ice-blue eyes. “Your firstborn son.”
“I, uh – I don’t know –” I stuttered.
She broke into laughter. “I’m just messing with you. The payment is money – a thousand dollars. Cash or credit?”
“Uh, credit,” I said, breathing a sigh of relief. I fumbled for my wallet and handed her the card.
She pulled a smartphone with one of those Square card readers out from the folds of her robe. Once she swiped it, she patted the floor and said: “Come, sit with me.”
I gingerly lowered myself down on the pentagram. “After it’s done – will she know we’ve been switched?”
She shook her head. “No. I’ll cast a memory reformation spell, too, which will reform her memories and make her think she was always you.”
I smiled. “Good.”
She took my hands in hers. “Lady of Darkness, I beseech thee, switch this woman and –”
One of the floorboards, creaking from a back room. I shot up, staring into the shadows.
Thump, thump, thump.
Out of the darkness, a silhouette began to take form. A woman – old and withered, with pentagrams and symbols cut up and down her skin in white, shining scars. She stared at me with two deep red eyes, and I felt my blood run cold.
“Do you need help, dear?” she asked.
“No, Grandma, I got it. She just wants a body swap with memory reformation.”
But the old woman paced forward. She knelt on the ground beside me, and leaned in close, until I could smell the odd citrusy scent of her hair. “Body swap, again? Did it not work the first time?”
I looked at her, eyebrows furled. “What?”
“Well, you were just in here a few weeks ago. We did this exact same spell.”
I stared at her, the realization sinking in. “I… was?”
“Oh, yes.” A smile crinkled her pale skin, and her eyes twinkled.
“You were in here, looking to switch bodies with your better-looking sister – and to make sure she never remembered any of it.”