Their eyes were fire and the breath flamed out the witches’ mouths as they bent to probe the caldron with greasy stick and bony finger.
‘When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?’
They danced drunkenly on the shore of an empty sea, fouling the air with their three tongues, and burning it with their cats’ eyes malevolently aglitter:
‘Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!’
They paused and cast a glance about. ‘Where’s the crystal? Where the needles?’
‘Is the yellow wax thickened?’
‘Pour it in the iron mold!’
‘Is the wax figure done?’ They shaped it like molasses adrip on their green hands.
‘Shove the needle through the heart!’
‘The crystal, the crystal; fetch it from the tarot bag. Dust it off; have a look!’
They bent to the crystal, their faces white.
‘See, see, see . . .’
A rocket ship moved through space from the planet Earth to the planet Mars. On the rocket ship men were dying.
The captain raised his head, tiredly. ‘We’ll have to use the morphine.’
Sunday, November 07, 2021
The Exiles is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. You can read it online at this link. It begins,