When old Mrs Bishop passed away in her house two doors down from me, a surprising number of ladies appeared in our tiny village. They claimed to be here for the funeral of their “poor friend Sarah” but they could be heard gossiping and cackling with laughter all the way up the street in the days before the service. None of them seemed particularly upset at her passing and I had never seen any of them before in my life. Mrs Bishop had taken me under her wing when I was just seven. I spent every day after school in her house while the doctors and my father attended to my sick mother. She taught me about gardening and how different plants and herbs could be used for healing. My father called it “alternative medicine nonsense” but my mother took comfort in the gifts I brought home and it kept me out of the way of the carers that surrounded my mother’s bedside.

My mother passed away when I was twelve, and my father sent me to live with Mrs Bishop for a few years. He had always been a hands-on dad, but I was approaching puberty and he had no clue how to deal with me. Whilst living with Mrs Bishop she taught me the importance of being a woman, how to meditate and clear my mind, and how to make my own candles. She would put herbs or scented oils in them and taught me which scents would help with relaxation, focus, calming and energising. I found it all fascinating.

When I was sixteen I moved back in with my father. He expected me to take on the cooking and cleaning in the house, so I found myself unable to spend much time with Mrs Bishop. I missed her company. Strange things reminded me of her; cabbage, for instance. I would be in the kitchen preparing dinner for my father and I would hear her voice in my head.

“Cabbage is important for your diet, child. It will help prevent you getting sick like your mother.”

I was twenty five when she passed. The funeral was a quiet affair. I attended on my own; my father was too ill to go too. After the funeral, there was a reading of the will. I wasn’t going to go but I was asked to attend. All the strange ladies were very attentive. My attention was caught when I heard my name.

“To Miss Maria Bradbury, I leave my house, garden, money, and all of my possessions, on the understanding that she will take on my precious healing work. I also leave her my most prized possession: My walking staff”

The ladies in the room hissed in shock and glared at me as I accepted the staff from a man stood before me. An almost painful tingle spread from my hands through my whole body. As I trembled with shock, an old woman turned to me.

“Welcome to the Coven, Witch”




I was sitting in this slightly dingy all night café playing idly with my phone, when a girl slid into the seat of the booth opposite mine and I caught a flash of ink on her thigh through the slit that went all the way up her long leopard print skirt. I tried really hard not to stare but my eyes kept straying back to her legs. I was just curious, that’s all. About the tattoo, I mean. I wasn’t checking her out. Not that she wasn’t beautiful,but…just…you know. When she caught me looking I guess I should have been more embarrassed, but she wasn’t so why should I be? I took the opportunity to ask her about it.

I caught a glimpse of a tattoo on your thigh, I was just trying to get a better look at it.”

Is that some kind of chat up line? You haven’t even asked me for my name” She laughed and tucked her skirt round her leg, covering the tattoo completely.

Oh, yeah, sorry. My name’s Jake, what’s yours?”

Ceri. With a C and an I and only one R.”

Hi Ceri with a C and an I and only one R, I couldn’t help noticing your tattoo. What is it?” She laughed again and was about to reply when the waitress interrupted us to ask if we would like to order any drinks. After ordering a couple of cokes, I turned back to Ceri and waited expectantly.

It’s flowers. They circle my thigh.”

Can I see?”

You really are very forward aren’t you. Do you ask many random girls you have just met if you can see their thighs?”

Okay, when you say it like that it sounds bad.”

Ya think?” She rolled her eyes at me and looked up as the waitress approached with our drinks. I waited for the waitress to leave, and looked at Ceri. She had dark hair piled high on her head in a messy knot and these soft warm brown eyes that I don’t think could ever look stern. She was dressed simply in that leopard print skirt with the slit all the way up, a fitted black t-shirt and this black jacket with a leopard print lining to match the skirt.

So where did you get it done? I have a few tattoos myself. I tend to use ‘Inked Up’ on Sunnydale Boulevard. The girl there is particularly good with the needle”

Uh, this guy I sort of know did it for me. He doesn’t have a shop or anything, he’s really exclusive. Referrals only, that sort of thing.”

Is he really that good?” I couldn’t help sounding sceptical. It must take one hell of a long time to build up a reputation that good.

He’s better. There’s something special about a Magus tattoo. I can’t tell you what, but trust me, there is.”

A what tattoo?”

Magus. That’s his name, or at least, that’s what everyone calls him.”

I’ve never heard of him. And I know pretty much all the tattooists in town.”

Well, like I said,he doesn’t have a shop or anything. Look I better get going. I was meant to be meeting someone but it doesn’t look like he is going to show. It was nice meeting you Jake.”

You too Ceri. Here,take my number. If you ever feel like talking tattoos or something,give me a buzz.” She took the napkin I had hastily scribbled my number on and shuffled to the edge of the booth. As she did so, the slit of her skirt fell open and I could clearly see her tattoo. It was indeed flowers that circled her thigh. It was really nice work too, but that wasn’t what made me gasp.

The tattoo was moving. The petals were opening and closing in some kind of dance of nature and the leaves fluttered as if by a breeze. I stared, open mouthed,totally speechless. She glanced down at her leg.

Well, I guess now you know why Magus tattoos are so special.” She winked at me and stood up, straightening her skirt to cover her tattoo. She chuckled quietly as she blew me a kiss and walked out of the diner. By the time I thought to get up and follow her, she was nowhere to be seen. 

Illusion – Flash Fiction


Professor Inlusio hesitated outside the door of her classroom, preparing herself for the lesson to come. While they were still young compared to a lot of other children in the school, the students in her next class were the most intelligent and resourceful in the whole school. She would be foolish to underestimate what they had planned for her the second she opened that door. Their tricks were getting more inventive each week. The other professors thought she was crazy and would have put a stop to it a long time ago. They were always warning her that some day something would go wrong and one of the children, or her herself, would be hurt. But that was life, sometimes people got hurt. When teaching combative and survival skills, you can’t gloss over the risk. It wouldn’t prepare them for was they could potentially face out in the world.


Taking a deep breath, She pushed up her sleeves, gripped the door handle, and pushed open the door.


Chaos erupted as the students yelled and jeered and stamped their feet. I bucket of ice water tipped over above the professor’s head as she pushed the door open. Paper planes zoomed round the room, darting in and out of the students and diving towards Professor Inlusio before breaking away at the last second. A piece of chalk hovered in the air in front of the blackboard writing “Prof Inlusio is a…” and, worst of all, a burning fireball flew straight for her head.


The attack was over in seconds. With a smile, Professor Inlusio removed the Illusion spell on the fireball with a flick of her right hand, turning it back into a ball of crepe paper. Her left hand evaporated the water above her head and a few muttered words dropped the paper planes and piece of chalk to the floor. The students gave a collective groan of disappointment then fell silent, waiting for a reaction from their teacher. Professor Inlusio cleared the blackboard then turned to watch the disappointed students settled at their desks.


“So! A fireball illusion today. I don’t recall teaching you that; you had help. Kai, I suppose that was your brother Blaize’s influence? Fire is your families dominant element isn’t it?” A boy with messy auburn hair in the back row smirked in acknowledgement and and nodded. Professor Inlusio smiled.


“Tell him I said nice try, but he still can’t get fire past me. The secondary distractions were new too. Distraction is a good way of confusing your combatant, should you find you need to defend yourself. It was a good effort and cleverly done. Now, since you decided to use a new element, Lets take a look at fire illusions and their uses. Please open your books to page 571.”