“No,” Roxanna shouted at her daughter. “Never, ever, give in. No melting.”
Little Pam gave her mother an eye roll.
“No! Oh, it seems fun at the beginning but then, it’s harder and harder to pull away.” Roxanna grasped her daughter’s shoulders with both hands and looked her eye to eye.
At twelve, Pam was in full parental defiance mode. Melting was delicious. All of the edges blurred. Her muscles relaxed and everything became soft and flowy. “I can control it.”
“You can’t.” Roxanna gave her daughter a little shake. “You’ve just started coming into your powers. It’s unfortunate that melting was the first one. You should have had more time to learn the proper techniques and controls. Melting is easy. It feels good. But the danger is that you go too far and won’t be able to or perhaps won’t want to come back. Is that what you want? For me to keep you in a jar on the mantle?”
That got Pam’s attention. Spending her life in a jar sounded horrible. “No. I’ll hold off melting.” The girl scuffed her sneakered toe into the carpet.
Roxanna clapped her daughter on the shoulders with a sigh. “Good. Soon your other powers will develop and we’ll work with those. Be patient.”
Pam nodded and left for her room. She flopped on the bed. Being a witch had seemed so exciting. Her mother was a powerful witch. Pam had been eager to get her own powers. Now it seemed as though everything was a no. ‘No, you can’t melt.’ ‘Be careful, that power needs years of practice.’ ‘Stop, that’s dangerous.’ Pam flung her arms out across the bed.
Especially today. It was All Hallows Eve and the witches party was tonight. Pam wanted to show off her melting to her friends. Now it would be another year before she could be a full participant.
By the time it was full dark everyone was assembled. The bonfire was blazing, and the dancing had started. Despite the chill in the air, many of the witches danced naked. Pam thought nothing of it. She’d been attending the coven gatherings since she was a baby.
Pam turned to see her two best friends, Agatha, and Emily, running to greet her.
“Look!” Agatha opened her hand. Dancing on her palm was a tiny flame. “It came to me over the weekend. Mom helped me learn to control it.” The girl raised her index finger and the flame move to its tip. “See! Isn’t this the greatest?” Agatha and Emily grinned and giggled.
Pam’s heart sank and a red wash of jealousy coursed through her. Her face grew hot. “I can melt. That’s my first power.”
“Melt?” Emily’s eyes grew big. “No one in my family can melt.”
“My mom can and now, so can I.”
“Show us,” Agatha demanded.
Pam looked around the clearing. Her mother danced in the circle. Her long red hair swung with abandon, glinting in the firelight. “My mom says it’s dangerous. I may never come back.”
Agatha, always competitive with Pam, snorted. “You can’t do it, can you?”
“I can, too!” Pam checked her mother again. Roxanna danced with her friends. “Well, just a little melting won’t hurt.” She let herself relax. Pam could feel her edges soften. The warmth of the change accelerated the process. Her mother was right, she thought. This does feel good.
Dimly she could hear Agatha and Emily gasp. “You can melt,” Emily exclaimed.
Pam didn’t nod. That would pull her out of the melt. Just a little more so Agatha would know she could really do it. Her body continued to soften. Pam could feel herself flowing. The moon began to pull at her and a low thrumming echoed in her mind. Just a little more. This was so peaceful and the thrumming, first loud, then soft, relaxed her. She could feel it ebbing and flowing within her.
She could barely hear Emily screaming for her to stop. A little more. How far can I go? She could no longer see when Agatha dragged Roxanna to the remains of Pam’s body. Roxanna held her hands over Pam’s soggy clothing and began to chant. Several witches joined her, adding their power to hers.
Agatha and Emily held each other and sobbed.
After an hour, the witches gave up. Roxanna, pale and shaking, lay sobbing on the cold ground. One of the witches covered her with her clothes. Pam was gone, soaked into the ground. The witches went home. Roxanna and a handful of friends built a fence around the spot where Pam had melted. No one would walk on it. Roxanna hoped that the child would reform and come back.
Three witches stayed behind as two friends led Roxanna away. “Think the girl will come back?”
“Nope. She’s part of the earth now. Glad my family doesn’t have melting in our lineage. I’ve heard of this happening. The melters never come back.”
The three stood around the fence. “Melt at your own risk, I guess,” the third witch said.
They all nodded.
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