Best Served Cold
[WP]After your grandmother passes, you inherit her cookbook. Centuries of recipes are in this book. As you open it, you discover most to be spells disguised as food. Some are remedies for illnesses, others are for love, but most are for revenge.
I am a witch.
Every female member of my family- plenty of the men too- have been magic-users of one kind or another, but witchcraft is my particular talent. Little stuff. Gardening, charms for good luck, that kind of thing.
I probably won't ever cast a fireball. I definitely won't ever summon a demon, and not just because it’s a phenomenally bad idea. I don't have the power for it.
So I was surprised when Grandmother’s cookbook came to me. I mean, sure everyone knows that the Book chooses who it goes to next, but my sister is a Mage serving the king, and my brother is an amazing Spellsmith.
And then there’s me.
I didn't know at the time what was really in there. Only that Grandmother would crack it open whenever someone was sick, or needed cheering up. My favorite cookies were in there too, and the recipe for frosting that always went on perfectly no matter how inexperienced the baker.
You can imagine my surprise when I found out the truth. The Book is centuries old, and almost every recipe in it is a spell. Some are like the frosting- little tricks for baking, or for cookies that make you feel better after a bad day.
It was the darker magic that surprised me- or really the Dark Magic, because it deserves emphasis.
Spells for love- which no honest witch will touch- spells to bring darkness, or fury.
Spells for vengeance.
No one likes to talk about it, but a witch with a vendetta is something to be feared. When our earth magic twists and the good we try to do turns into something else, people die.
Our Book holds centuries of broken-hearted spells. Tear stained pages lined with thing you need to bring ruin. Some have blood, like the witch who wrote it used the last of her life to make sure her spell was recorded, in case any of her descendants became so desperate as to turn Dark.
I know, now why Grandmother never let anyone look through the Book. Why she kept it spelled away where none of us could find it. Can you imagine a teen with that kind of power? Because the thing about those spells- if you have the will to cast them, it doesn't take much. A few drops of blood and a handful of herbs that anyone can find.
Really, it’s so easy that sometimes I want to try it, just because of that. But see, that’s how the Book gets you. It sneaks little ideas- maybe I could just try one- into your mind.
Cast one, and it has you forever. Dark Magic leaves a stain on you than nothing will wash away. After that, it’s all too easy to do it again, and again.
The Book wants to be used, and spell books take on the personality of their spells. When I hold ours in my hands, it feels old, but vindictive. Like Grandmother, I think. Like the old woman who loves you- like you know she would never hurt you, but if someone brought harm to the family- that would be different.
I didn't think of her that way until recently. Not until the last time I saw her. When Grandmother gave me a plate of my favorite cookies and kissed my forehead.
She told me to hold onto the Light. To never let it go no matter what. She made me promise, there in the kitchen, with herbs drying in the window and the smell of lavender sugar cookies in the air, with runes carved over the hearth and crystals glowing softly in the morning sun.
I didn't know what she meant until we found her the next day and the Book appeared in my hands.
See, Grandmother died suddenly, right after Grandfather, and the last spell in the Book is in her writing.