The bastard had tried to kill her.
Him and his new girlfriend. Jessica? Janine? Maddi hadn’t really been paying attention to specifics at the time. In any case, their spell hadn’t worked quite right - not in the way they wanted anyway. Sure, Maddi had been torn into a million shreds and scattered to the winds, but honestly (and not trying to brag here) she had been through worse. Like the time she had stumbled into a fairy circle – she was still suffering from that egregious mistake.
But witches can be pretty hard to kill, she was proud to say. It had taken a little over a year of tiny manipulation of the wind’s direction to weave herself back together bit by tedious bit, but now, here she was in full-bodied glory walking up the sidewalk towards the darkened house with slow and deliberate purpose.
A glance down at the yard told her that they had torn up her herbal garden in lieu of artificial lawn grass. Typical. The man hadn’t bothered for divorce before he’d tried to kill her for her money, why on earth would he have the patience for gardening?
Climbing up the steps of the porch, Maddi now stood in front of the door. She twisted the doorknob curiously. She smirked. It was a mark of how secure they now felt at her absence that the door wasn’t even locked. If they thought there was even a minuscule chance of her return - no doubt the door would have been warded with the full extent of their magic ability (not that it would have helped).
Looking around, she put down her pack near the door. The furniture was all new, very modern-looking that clashed terribly with the rustic look she had upheld from when she had bought the place. She shook her head – she wasn’t here to critique the house. She was here to bring it down.
Maddi raised her arms and readied the spell that would make the whole place flatter than a parking lot - and then…she stopped. She stood, arms still half-raised, and thought about her options.
Then she walked over to the end of the living room and shoved the flat-screen TV off the stand causing it to tumble down and smash against the hardwood floor. Using the couch as a platform, Maddi jumped up and ripped each blade off the ceiling fan. Tiny bits of glass flew past her manically-grinning face as she began throwing the fan blades out the large living-room windows and through the nearby mirror. She let loose an uncontrollable stream of laughter as she continued her destruction, upending chairs and shelves alike. Magic had always made her feel powerful, but she had forgotten how fun it was just to smash things.
Then suddenly she stopped her assault on the living-room. She had heard something upstairs. A small cry – no, a loud and consistent crying. Wailing.
Maddi suddenly felt an odd wave of guilt pass through her. She hadn’t expected a child, although now she did recall that the timing of her absence did entertain the possibility. She considered just turning around and leaving, but finally decided to try and do the (she gagged) the 'right thing' and calm the child - though not without first letting out an exasperated sigh at her goody-two-shoes conscience.
Maddi leapt up the stairs and quickly found the source, a crib containing a small bright-eyed infant, still screaming its displeasure at being woken up. Maddi inspected the child suspiciously and then carefully scooped up the living bundle. The baby’s cries lessened slightly at being picked up, but soon returned with greater volume. Perhaps it was the way she was holding the child - but wasn’t the thing supposed to stop crying?
She cast a small thought-reading spell on the child (ah – wants food) and then began her slow and steady descent down the stairs to the kitchen. She grabbed a bottle of formula from the fridge and (after the barest hint of a heating spell to make it lukewarm) finally the loudness began to lessen as the infant gulped down the milk.
Carefully supporting the feeding baby with one arm, Maddi walked over to the door and slipped on her pack, deftly switching the arm in the process. Then she slowly walked out to the front lawn, turned back to the house, and waved a hand at it with a complicated twist of motions.
The house crumpled, not dissimilar to a paper bag. Maddi cast a quick charm on the baby to lessen the loud sounds: creaking wood rubbing together closely followed by snapping wood, – a chorus of destruction breaking through the night. Maddi sat down on a nearby bench and waited for them to return.
It wasn't long before the fire department was called and the police, who collectively were unsure of what to do with the whole situation. The officers asked her a few questions, but she was decidedly unhelpful and hard to remember.
And she waited.
She wondered what she would do when she saw them again. Would she kill them? She had wanted to, but the child certainly had thrown a wrench in that plan. Perhaps just one death...? No, no - she reigned in her thirst for vengence. She wouldn't kill them. She would simply put on a display of her powers as a threat and leave them to their own devices. Maybe a stray curse here or there as well - a "forever to tell the truth" one would fit nicely.
and still she waited….
Finally she looked at the time. It was late - far too late for them to have simply gone out for a fancy restaurant date, they would have certainly returned by now. She realized with a start that there was a chance that they wouldn't return - perhaps hearing of their house collapse and afraid of their own fate if they were to face her. She felt her revulsion rise up the back of her throat.
Maddi looked down at the infant who, she was surprised to see, was fast asleep and with a firm nod she made her final decision. With a flourish she shouldered her pack. She stepped off the sidewalk and strode with a brisk pace down the opposite street, the streetlights illuminating her cloaked form and the slumbering child tucked within the crook of her elbow.
A life for a life, in a way she thought as she melted into the night.
We’ll call it even.
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