A Witch's Tear
Each tear caught from a witch's eye is a seed that, when midnight planted, blooms into a ghost. Once summoned, this apparition will be bound to the seed from which it has grown and be rendered visible to the conjurer alone for the duration of three questions or three hundred seconds. Whichever comes first. But let aspiring necromancer or thaumaturge beware - the type of ghost you get depends on the nature of the witch's tear shed. For example, to speak with the ghost of a slain friend then the tear the witch surrenders must come from the dust of a haunted house. To speak with the spectral remains of a great leader of men then the witch's tear has to be born in response to a joke that has made them cry.
But if the invocation be performed with sole intent to commune one final time with a lover lost then those tears absolutely have to be derived from a broken heart.
All this Rosa Surfs explains over bourbons at the Admiral's Grave right before she informs me that I don't deserve a single one of her tears.
See, thing is, Rosa's a witch herself, one who rides a Fender Bass instead of a broom in her band Banana Split Lady (they play surf guitar covers of old Siouxsie and the Banshees tunes). We go back to the days of 688. I was a wannabe narromancer who just got kicked out of the Navy's occult engineering division. She was a riot-witch on the run from coven drama in Missouri. We were both new to Terminus and got along amiably enough. Back in the 90's we ran into each other regular like when I was picking up extra bucks working as a door mage at an old shipmate's fetish club where she was spinning as DJ Night Terror. We were friendly but not friends, exchanging pleasantries and shoptalk at the after parties. Over the years though we got close. Bullshitting on the phone, meeting for drinks, trading war stories and spells.
Now fast forward to a little over ten years ago. 3:23 am. A rave over at the Red Door down on Spring Street. Elvis texted Ramona and I in for a 911 situation that required our expertise. Turns out some bitch weasel of a dealer cut his X with raw black magick and now there were 13 kids demonically possessed. Each talking shit in backwards Hebrew and vomiting flies. If the cops got word of this the club would be shut down and we both owed Elvis a favor. Won't get into the whole story here but jump to the end. Rosa and I are baptizing the previously mentioned bitch weasel dealer in the men's room shitter while outside Elvis and his door staff barroom brawl the damned and I ain't talking Dave Vanian. At one point the demonically possessed 'Bruhs' burst through the men's room doors along with the binding spell I was bolstering it with ready to tear those fucking with their link to this mortal plain to pieces. Luckily it was just as Rosa spit out the last words of the exorcism as the room flooded with white light.
When the light receded the eyes rolled back in our attackers and were used to look confused around the men's room. Rosa yanked the bitch weasel dealer out of the shitter by the hair while he gasped for air. Elvis, roughed up but still standing thanks to his army training and love of Jesus to give his punches against the damned some extra zing, yanked out bitch weasel.
Rosa looked at me laughing, drenched in sweat, eyeliner streaked down the cheeks, and in my euphoria I grabbed her by the back of the head, pulled her tight to me, dropped the deepest kiss of my life on her lips while letting my hands grab a fistful of ass.
We deserved it. We survived demon ravers and did it without losing a single life or with 5-0 being called in to fuck up the scene. We were meant to be Rosa Surfs and I. Narromancer and Riot Witch. Our adventures, like our love making, would be legendary.
Or so I thought until Rosa broke out of my embrace and punched me in the face before storming out of the men's room shitter. Shocked I picked myself up off the bathroom floor to chase after her. I reached her in the parking lot pushing through the still discombobulated ravers shaking off the last dregs of a possession high.
"What the fuck?," I demanded grabbing her by the shoulder. She knocked my grip aside with a circling of the inside of her hand. She snatched my wrist and turned it an angle it shouldn't be turned at.
"Don't." Is all she said before releasing her grip to stomp off.
"Psycho-cunt," I shouted after her and she shot me the bird before disappearing into the crowd. That was the last I saw of her. Until tonight. Sure we were in the same room plenty of times. But she worked up a blinding sigil to keep me from seeing her whenever we shared some vicinity. You'd be surprised how many witches have had to do similar to cloak themselves from no end of stalkers and exes.
Only reason she agreed to meet me was strictly as a favor to Ramona Cliff, who in turn, was paying me back for when I fist fought a Trauma Golem for her boyfriend's soul last November.
So here we are. I study my drink unable to meet her eyes. I haven't touched it yet but having it on hand grounds the courage to the moment.
"I know I don't deserve your tears." Is all I can manage when the silence gets too awkward.
"Then what are we doing here?"
"I, look, I also know a simple 'sorry' ain't going to make things right between us but for what little it's worth, I get it now."
I'm waiting for her to say 'Get what?' but instead I can feel her staring at me. Waiting.
"I get why you punched me in the face and why you never talked to me again afterwards."
I wait for her to either say 'bullshit' or 'go on' but getting neither continue.
"But not at first." Now I'm gulping back the bourbon, "at first I blamed you. Blamed you for sending me 'mixed messages'. Blamed you for putting a good man in the friend zone. Blamed you for being crazy and frigid and a thousand other things that weren't true. Years later. Feigning what the kids call 'woke' I blamed the situation. Blamed the adrenaline. The moment of victory. Later still I blamed myself for not being good enough for you to kiss me back. But all of that blame was bullshit. Excuses. I forced myself on a friend and insulted her when she resisted. You hid yourself from me but I never made any effort to reach out to you..."
"... until now." I repeat forcing myself to meet her eyes, "Look, I'm not going to tell you I'm a good man now. Not going to tell you I'm an enlightened one either. In fact the man I was is never far away and every day I have to fight him, whether sitting in traffic or dealing with work or just when my mood swings out of control. But I'm trying. You're too smart for me to bullshit and I know you know I ain't lying. I'm trying because I understand at last what I've been and what I've done and more importantly what I can do to be, if not a good man, then a better one."
"Again," Rosa replies unimpressed with a sip of her drink, "what are we doing here?"
"I don't deserve your tears but I'm here for someone who needs them."
At this Rosa arches a brow and I explain the situation.
The next night and I'm back at the hacienda. It's five minutes before midnight. I'm in the backyard I've just mowed with the Moms. She's been getting worse. We're afraid the cancer is metastasizing from the lungs to the brain again as she's been experiencing moments of aphasia or suddenly staring off into space. Not tonight though. Tonight the Moms is the Moms and wondering why I've drug her out into the backyard this close to the witching hour.
I hand her an eye-dropper and give her instructions on its use along with a single word.
She seems confused at first but complies. She empties the contents of the eye-dropper into a patch of freshly dug up earth whispering the word.
As far as I can see at least.
But the moms is all gasps and tears.
A ghost summoned by the tear of a witch can only be seen by the one who planted it. The tear Rosa gave me was the one she shed that long decade ago after I broke her heart rejecting years of friendship to make her another bed to conquer. The ghost the Moms is witnessing is my father. Her utterance of his name confirms it. The tear was true. Rosa gave it to me. She wasn't ready to be friends again but she was willing to help a fellow witch, even one she never met.
Unable to see my father's ghost and wincing at the pain of knowing he's here but beyond my witness, I leave him and the Moms to reconcile one last time.
The tear of a warlock once shed and captured can only summon one type of ghost - and that's the ghost of a chance to make that tear count.