Mantula Part Twenty: Wormy Witch Woes

Mant-20From: Doug Lansing

Subject: More good

Date: August 6 2014 11:53 AM

To: Maximilian ‘Raymund’ Kolbe

There was a female panhandler on the road. I gave her my $100 bill. It seemed to cheer her up, which actually seemed to cheer me up too. Go figure. As you probably already know, I didn’t change. Glenn didn’t change either. I am not sure doing good will change anything in our predicament, but if you can think of any other way to help others, let me know. Maybe there’s more we can do.

PS – What can you tell me about an evil old witch-type woman with worms all over her body? It seems Glenn and I both are having bad dreams starring her. It can’t be a coincidence.


From: Maximilian ‘Raymund’ Kolbe

Subject: Re: More good

Date: August 6 2014 12:21 PM

To: Doug Lansing

CC: Dymphna Gurrll

Have a lot going on today. Good job giving money away. Attached are some images I have of old women. Tell me if any of them ring a bell. More soon.

Maximilian Kolbe

Patron Saint

“God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.”

I stared at the screen dumbfounded. Here I was finally being nice to the guy and he cops attitude back at me. Saints are complicated, I’m sure, just like the rest of us, but they certainly weren’t all likeable. This one seemed kind of like an asshole to be honest. Could be he wasn’t always that way I suppose. But I didn’t know him in person, and I didn’t know him back in World War Two, so I got the ass.

There were four attachments in all. Two were old black and white images of a woman with wispy white hair and a generous smile across her antiquated mouth. I could tell immediately she wasn’t the grandma I was looking for. Another was an old woman in a black shawl seated in a high-back recliner. She sent a chill down my spine the minute I laid eyes on her. It wasn’t that she was hideous to look at. She was thin, had black hair tied into a tight, conservative bun at the back of her head and scowled at the camera. The next photo was similar to the first. It showed the same woman seated on a rocking chair, rather like Whistler’s Mother, with a painting hung on the wall nearby. And I recognized the painting.

Not only did I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, this was the nasty green witch I saw in my dreams, but I now knew what to do next. The painting on the wall in the photo, I remembered, had nearly killed me just a few short weeks ago. Diana Sturgis chucked the thing at me when she caught us peeping on her. This old witch was her mom, her grandmother, or something – not that she seemed too worried about hurting that painting in her anger.

Glenn sprang to the counter in the kitchen and started hitting his beak against an old pizza crust he’d left there for just such an occasion. He glanced over at me while he pecked at his meal. “I know I can’t read your mind anymore, but I’m getting to where I don’t have to. Something’s up. I can tell by your body language.”

(Story continues below)

ManQuail Meme!

“Remember that woman we watched strip, when we snuck a ride in her car? She has something to do with all of this. I’m going to go back there,” I told him.

“Does she have something to do with the witch?” he asked.

I started heading for the window. Suddenly I wanted nothing more than to see the beautiful woman who managed drones once again. “You don’t have to go with me, Glenn.”

“Hey, man. It’s like I always say, birds of a feather flock together.” ManQuail swooped down to the floor and joined me near the window. “I won’t be happy if she tries to kill us again, I’ll say that now, but we have to stick together. Besides, it would take you forever to get there on your own. Get on.”

I did as he asked, secretly happy Glenn would be joining me on another adventure. As we set off on our way, the first drops of a new monsoon began to fall on the hot asphalt roadway outside of our crappy little apartment. Gray skies formed overhead, a perfect setting for witches.

Published by patrickwhitehurst

Patrick Whitehurst is a fiction and non-fiction author who's written for a number of northern Arizona newspapers over the years, covering everything from the death of the nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots to Barack Obama's visit to Grand Canyon. In his spare time he enjoys painting, blogging, the open water, and reading everything he can get his hands on. Whitehurst is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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