A short story idea from my Witch of Atlas. In this world, magic is real, some people are witches, and the Fey–magical creatures from other worlds like unicorns, elves, pixies, and tiny green chipmunk creatures called chiumbo.
* * * *
Angela and Eric walked down the street hand in hand, pausing to look in the shop windows along the way.
“We’ve still got forty-five minutes before the movie, if anything catches your eye,” Eric said.
“Thanks, sweetie.” Angela beamed up at him. She bumped into another woman’s shoulder. “Oh, sorry!”
“It’s fine, I–Oh, God!” The woman stared at them, rubbing her shoulder where she’d bumped Angela. “Oh God, Oh God…”
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” Eric asked.
“No, I’m fine. You aren’t though. You’re cursed!” The woman rubbed her forehead, gold-brown eyes watering, and drew in a shaky breath. “No, I can fix this… I can fix this.”
“What do you mean?” Angela shrank against Eric, who wrapped his arm protectively around her. “Cursed?”
“Someone put a love spell on you,” the woman explained. “I’m a witch. I can lift the curse.”
“A love spell isn’t a curse.” Eric asked. “It’s love, after all.”
“It was love at first sight, right?” The woman persisted.
“Yes, very much,” Angela nodded vigorously. “I’ve never been so in love.”
“That’s the spell. Why do you love each other? Really think about it. What hobbies do you have in common? Values? Religion? Sports?”
They both stared her.
“I know you don’t want to hear this, but you need the curse removed. It’s lying pretty loosely, because it wasn’t focused. One of you tripped a curse, a spell that made you fall in love with the next suitable person. But the spell will go bad just like any other.”
“Go sour?” Angela shook her head. “But I love Eric. That won’t ever change.”
“I’m afraid it will. You could only have days,” the woman said.
“Then… can you come back then?” Angela asked.
“Once the curse goes sour, it moves too quickly. By the time you noticed something was wrong, it could be too late.”
They all fell silent, recalling murder-suicides from the news, splashy stories about the dangers of love spells.
Angela drew in a deep breath. “Okay… I’m ready.”
“What?” Eric asked. “So easy? You can give what we have up so easy?”
Angela blinked up at him, startled. “I’m not giving up. She’ll take the spell off and we’ll start over. It’ll be even better.”
“Oh… Okay…” Eric nodded, straightening and bracing himself like he was readying to take a blow. “Okay.”
The spell was lightly set, just as she’d said, its malevolence unfocused. She drew on the strongest blessing she could, wielding a white knife and cutting through the dark strands of the curse. The ropes wrapped tighter around the man, which she didn’t find surprising.
Still, they parted under her efforts, and finally the nets fell away from both of them.
They blinked, stunned as if stepping from a dark room into the bright afternoon sun. Angela stared at Eric, her hand pressed to her mouth, and then turned and ran away.
“I…” Eric stared after her. “What have I done?” He walked off in a different direction than Angela took, slowly, looking dazed.
Left alone, the witch sighed, feeling relieved and sorry.