The Witch’s House
Chloe N. Clark
There are dishes in the sink again piled like teetering Jenga blocks when they crash, there will be something close to exclamation, to fiery crashes My mother always told me: be kind, be good, be caring My mother always told me: trust in other people, until they prove to you why you shouldn’t My mother always told me: revenge is a dish best served on sparkling clean plates He spends most nights away from home, and I like to fall asleep to silence, to the sound of no one in this house but myself Someone told me once that I slept like I was lost in space, arms flung out to catch the debris from dying stars, and I think they meant it as an insult, or a you-need-to-take-up-less-room, but I heard it as the highest compliment because I’ve always wanted to spend my nights arcing past planets, tasting the solar system There are books on the table pens, pads of paper, dice from some game and none of it is mine. Am I the only one who has been told to not take up space? My mother always told me: be kind, be good, be someone to be counted on My mother always told me: believe in other people, until they let you down My mother always told me: the most important part of war was to kill your enemy with kindness He leaves his dishes in the sink, his life cast out over the table, says that he likes ants as they crawl over the sink A book I read once said that a homemade remedy for ants is to clean with vinegar, the smell of it keeps them from being able to find their way home through scent and they get lost and frightened and try to remember if they’ve ever been loved at all. There are spells I’ve been taught things to incant, objects to place in bowls: a bit of paper with some writing on it, half eaten apple, or some dice maybe once played with. My mother always told me: be kind, be good, be true My mother always told me: forgive other people, until they go too far My mother always told me: use this power only when you must
Chloe N. Clark is a teacher and writer. Her work appears in Apex, Flash Fiction Online, previous issues of Liminality, and more. She can be found, tweeting about all things cake and sci-fi, at @PintsNCupcakes.