I want to tell you a story about a short stout woman who lived on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea. She fished barefoot next to her shadow just before the sun found her copper face and presented her to the world. By the culture’s warped standards, she was not pretty. But she was a clever moonlight witch with a cauldron for each day of the week, including a special Sunday cauldron meant specifically to raise something dead. She knew that at the rate the world was going, she’d spend many Sundays searching for the left tooth of a hippopotamus and the right hind leg of a field mouse, the primary ingredients needed to raise the dead. Then there was the distilled water that could not be purchased in plastic gallon bottles from a supermarket shelf. Those were tainted. They’d been sitting too long and around far too many fearful souls who believed in too many gods. The energy was all wrong; so she, Alda, had to distill the water herself, a process that took several days and a large beacon handblown by a sad naked virgin with butterfly tattoos covering most of her body. Alda had watched the process many times before and sometimes joined the virgin, her clothes tossed over chairs and tables in solidarity.

(to be continued)