“…cleverly mixing myth with modern life, I would rate this as the best full-length story written by a Singaporean that I’ve read.” – Leong Chong-yu, author of The Man with Ropes in His Face and Other Stories
“THIS BOOK IS THE BEST I EVER READ” – Miera Atiqah
A demon, newly summoned by a witch, travels with her to the ends of the rainbow.
Which is an adventure, which is great and all, but some demons would rather just stay home and watch television, being as Hell doesn’t have cable. Some demons – oh, all right, this demon – really do not have the time for leprechauns. Or elves. And especially trolls with guns. Large guns.
A blend of slice-of-life and urban fantasy, Witch-Girl is the story of a demon discovering life on Earth… and the girl that brought him here.
Oh, and the leprechauns really want their gold back.
Excerpt: Chapter I – The Summoner’s Method
“All things bleed,” she says, “it is the nature of things.”
The demon appears in the summoning circle and narrows his eyes at the summoner.
“Hey there,” the witch-girl says, the lilt of her voice drawing the words out into, almost, a melisma.
The demon, in the briefest of movements, leans slightly backwards, then corrects himself, perhaps off-put and instinctively hiding his surprise; surprised, perhaps, by her nonchalant greeting, perhaps by the similarly casual manner of her dress (a black t-shirt, dominated by the design of a large pink heart).
“Why,” the deep voice of the demon booms, “hast thou–”
The witch-girl raises a hand, palm outwards, her fingers glistening red with fresh blood. “Modern English, please. I know you guys only talk like that for the theatrics.”
The demon considers her for a moment, then shrugs, causing his bat-wings to undulate with the movement. “Okay. Why hast– have you–”
Her raised hand moves higher. “Hush, now.”
She looks down and to her right. “I’ll need a wand,” she absently murmurs.
The demon watches her as she walks the few steps to a desk. He does not appreciate the fact that he has been summoned into what is, undeniably, a living room. Cellars, musky studies, great halls… Now, those are proper places to be summoned into. One shouldn’t be summoned into a room with a television. The disrespect! Oh, look at that, a calendar! With three days circled in red! The very model of a domicile!
She bends over the desk and a struggling thought flares into realisation. “Sweet Lucifer, she’s not wearing pants!” She walks back to him even as he continues his muttering: “I mean, it’s fine if she’s not wearing robes. Sure, I can live with that. A t-shirt, okay. But at least put on some bloody underwear. I don’t need to be looking at her bloody vagina as she–”
She raises her hand, holding up a ballpoint pen.
The demon sighs. “Sorry. I mean no disrespect.”
She dismisses the apology with a flick of her pen, then proffers one of her own: “Sorry about this, but you know the rules. It won’t hurt.”
She raises her pen like the conductor of an orchestra.
It does not sparkle, it does not glow. It does not even taper to a point. It is a pen, a cheap pen such as one stolen from a bank or a hotel, common as a twig on the forest floor. The pen disappears from his sight as his eyes close of their own volition.
The seconds tick by as the demon feels his body jerk, convulse. He is not doing this. He is trying not to do this. His body does not obey.
In his rising panic, he spreads his wings, their extended span violating the confines of the summoning circle. He feels this with a searing pain. His wings retract.
He is on his knees, panting, when her voice rings out. “Done!”
His eyes open. There is the brown of wood in front of him; the floor. At the edge of his vision, the wet blood of the summoning circle; his cage. A drop – sweat, tear – falls down, splutters on the wood. He looks up.
She is holding… a piece of meat. It is bloody, dripping darkness. And… pulsing.
It takes a moment for realisation to transform into engulfing panic, sweeping over him and carrying him along as a wave on the shore pulls away seaweed. It carries him to his feet, it causes him to look down –
Where nothing is. His chest is as it should be, muscles clearly defined across taut skin; his legs, with the extra joint, the inverted knees like a satyr’s, intact, unmarred.
Puzzled, he looks back to her.
“Yes, it is your heart.” She nods enthusiastically, like a child attempting to convince.
She is talking. Into the swirl of his confusion, she talks about her apartment; this trivial little place which they are in right now. She is telling him about where the bathrooms (two) are, and where to get rid of the trash, and how the water in the shower is liquid murder. There is not much food in the fridge, she says, for which she apologises. But there’s television.
“Did you get all that?” she says.
“I believe so.” He wonders why he is supposed to know this, this litany of the mundane. What exactly is going on here? Is this some newfangled modernity?
“Okay.” She walks into another room, leaving him perplexed and confused, returns with a cooler; a small block of a thing, perhaps intended to chill a six-pack of beer. She opens it, shows him the heart – his heart – bloody and red within its white confines. She shuts the cooler, places it down on the floor between them.
And then the feelings – the panic, the confusion, the terror – are all swallowed by the horrified fascination of what he is about to witness. His jaw drops open as –
She reaches down between her legs and slowly works a finger inside herself. Her eyes close. Her mouth parts. A soft little moan escapes. She withdraws her hand, then – slowly – puts two fingers into her vagina.
From between her legs, from the slow purpose of her hands, a single drop of blood falls to the floor.
“What are you…?” the demon begins, but forgets his question before it reaches its conclusion. He watches in vague horror as she withdraws her hand, bends forwards – two fingers red and shiny with fresh blood – and scrawls a pentacle upon the cooler.
“Do you understand?” She picks up the cooler.
“Yes,” he says automatically. His subconscious throws up the relevant answer, even as his conscious mind is silent in an attempt to comprehend what he has just been witness to: “I am to house-sit for you.”
“I know it’s a bit demeaning, but I have some really valuable stuff here.”
“I understand.” He really did not.
“Alright.” Her foot slides forwards, smearing the blood of the summoning circle, setting the demon free. “I have to take a shower now.” Cooler in hand, she turns to leave.
“Yes?” She half turns.
“You…” He takes a deep breath. The idea is almost too strange to voice out. “You summoned me with…”
It has just happened. And yet it feels entirely unreal.
“Just say it.” She turns back to face him.
“You summoned me with… menstrual blood?”
Then her eyes light up; her intended shower, the heart of the demon in the box in her hand, all forgotten with this new circumstance: An audience!
“I did!” she happily chirps. “Isn’t it just brilliant? I don’t know why nobody else does it! It’s much easier than killing someone. The way I see it, uterine lining, it’s half a baby, so that has to count for something. Of course there’s the matter of timing, but…”