“My love?” Wizard had arrived home from the seminary, with no greet. He followed the sound of water to the bathroom, the door wide and the floor wet. The water continued to pour into the clawfoot tub, crested over the ceramic edge and splashed to the floor.
Witch sat, ghost faced pale in the tub, belly full of infant.
“My love,” he knelt in the puddle next to his wife. He looked to her face, still beautiful, her hair still night sky black but her eyes, they were gone. The rich green of fresh grass gone to a pale grey. Her peach lips still plump and sensual but her evenings cooking meals had faded. Her bosom still full and enticing but her welcomes to Wizard had stopped. She still looked as Witch once had, but the witch he loved, was gone. Her mind captured in a bird cage and Wizard doubted it would ever return. She was gorgeous and missing, a gazelle with no soul.
Witch had never spoken the admission of her trade with Master Mage but Wizard suspected she had some interaction. He could only imagine she offered her Hair of Embelance and Master Mage had eagerly accepted. Wizard was astonished though, that her Hair Embelance remained. It shifted from the solid black to an arctic blue often but without reason.
“Did you see him?” Wizard would inquire.
“No, I obeyed you.” Witch would lie but those words only worked as her voice worked and soon both were gone. The love and the lies faded to mumbles and cries.
Wizard pondered the truth, it was not so apparent for him. The trade had not worked, as Witch’s hair still changed but it seemed only from the turmoil in her mind. He touched his hand to the infant swell on her naked body. A small foot pushed into his palm and his heart pulsed with excitement but quickly turned to dust. No matter the love he felt for the infant, his wife was gone. The tears wet her hair more than the over flow of bath water. No meditation would give Wizard the answer he looked for. Only one could give him the answer and if his wife gave her mind to Master Mage, she would never know this infant. She would never know the love for this infant.
But if Witch had been truthful in her admission, that the goat’s milk in her tea had brought forth the infant, then Wizard would be safe. If Witch had been false, Wizard would pay. It had been the trade he made with Master Mage himself. He recoiled from the dark memory of that visit.
It was after he could watch her suffer no longer. The physicians told him it was the energy required to grow the infant. That once the infant was born, Witch would be his sparkley green-eyed wife once more. He had wanted to believe the physicians but had to be sure. When he had approached Master Mage, he was given no answers. When he was forced to follow through with his threat of shattering the precious bureau, Master Mage had bound and slammed Wizard’s body against an invisible wall. Near crushed his own spine under the power of energy from the monstrous mage, Wizard regretted his arrival in the chamber. Even the memory of that day hurt his body. He had wanted she had not befouled his wish.
His offer had been basic and accepted just as quick. The trade with Master Mage haunted the corner of his own mind. It would depend on the truthfulness of his wife. He spent his evenings waiting for the conversations to return with Witch. For the spark to return to her eyes. The passion to become real once more and his best friend, his lover to flourish. His only hope, was to wait for the birth. That would be when the trade would be complete, and he would know then that his wife had been honest. She had obeyed him and then his own trade with Master Mage would be void.
Her screams were the first real emotional response Wizard had heard in nine months. Witch was translocated through the Seminary of Thaumaturgy to where the infirmary was. The physicians circled her to assist in the delivery of the impending infant. Wizard held her hand strong, he believed in his core she had been truthful. The infant was coming and he held his lovers trust. Time soon for her to return once the energy feeding infant were in his own space and out of Witch.
Wizard was certain her mental ailment would dissolve as the swell of her belly faded. The love of their infant would grow and Witch would return back into her mind, Wizard was certain. He smiled to his beautiful wife as she screamed in his face. The pain apparent in her resounding yelp but Wizard was joyous.
“Witch,” he tightened his hold on her hand as the grey shifted to white in her eyes. They did not fall to him, instead they rolled in their sockets as she screamed once more. “Apologies my love, for I had believed you to disobey my command. Proven wrong, at this time of our infant’s arrival. I apologize, my love.” He kissed her hand as the physicians spoke labor demands to her. Wizard never told Witch of his own visit to Master Mage, she had been an empty shell. It was redundant at this point, Wizard thought to himself. His trade had been dependant on if Witch had approached Master Mage. Wizard was sure she had not. His hand firm in hers, he watched the physicians ready her.
“The infant, it is twisted,” said one.
“It will not come until it is corrected,” said the second and pushed one out of the way. His expert hands on the swell of Witch’s belly. Pressure in one direction, a lurid shriek from Witch and a positive reaction from one physician.
“Excellent,” physician two moved around Wizard’s wife with expertise, “now, we translocate to deliver.”
Wizard attempted to translocate with the physicians and his wife.
The infant’s body was turned and ready to emerge.
The physician commanded Witch to push the birth.
Witch blinked, the haze of confusion subsided. She saw her husband affixed in the hall.
Wizard could not translocate, the dirt earth floor commanded his energy. He compelled to not.
Physician commanded Witch to impulse, the infant was near.
Witch cried as the infant’s crown was released from her energy.
Wizard could no longer see his wife, his sight taken. His mind turned to a tunnel and his cheek hit the cold dirt floor.
Witch watched in horror as her husband’s body collapsed. The semblance of Witch returned as the counter spell took affect.
Physician held the infant.
Wizard was reabsorbed by the Earth’s energy; but his cheek grew warm.
Witch cried an animal scream as her husband’s energy lay dead on the dirt floor.
Physician offered the infant to the witch, she sobbed heavy.
Witch held her infant wizard, thaumaturgy required balance.
His eyes were closed but he knows he’s alive.
The air stings his lungs, but he knows it’s fresh.
The blood is wiped off his body but he knows it’s his mothers.
Wizard is no more, the memories of his wife fade. Wiped clean with his mother’s kiss.