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From Chapter 4, In which we are invited to a ball inside of a cemetery:

As each of her two elder daughters turned nine, the mother continued her explanation, she took them to their first Sabbath, where they vowed to love and honor Satan and all things foul in a ceremony equivalent to the one nuns have when they commit to love the Lord and his church. Instead of wearing a bride’s white dress, a decked veil, and pearls and flowers woven in their hair, however, the two girls wore black gowns and bones of dead animals in their hair; and to complete the ceremony, instead of kissing a crucifix, as a bride of Christ would have done, they bent and kissed the Devil’s second mouth, the one in his posterior. The Devil found them agreeable and pretty, and after eating their offerings—a chubby unchristened baby each—he gave them a swarm of flies and a black toad as their familiars, to serve them in every matter in return for blood.

One year later, around the time the youngest turned six, the witch reckoned that the little girl was old enough to be introduced to the pleasures of infernal partying and began preparing her for the occasion of her first Sabbath. They walked to Third Street in Santa Monica and the woman bought for her a black dress and a pair of shoes at a pawn shop for twenty cents.

“It was a complete waste of money,” the woman interrupted her own story with a growl.

Getting new clothes made the little girl shiver with excitement. To her innocent eyes, the raggedy dress looked like an elegant gown, even if it was half-eaten by moths and had a few holes through which you could insert your fingers. She liked her new shoes especially. They happened to be her very first. Unlike her sisters, who had secrets to hide, she ran barefoot. If you have no secrets to hide, you can be spared a pair, was the mother’s reasoning behind it. Glass, nails, or hot pavement were not a real concern because, with the years, she had developed thick soles full of calluses. The new shoes were one size too big, but the mother wouldn’t pay for any better. It didn’t matter. The little girl squirmed with happiness the moment she tried them on. A little uncomfortable at first, she learned to walk in them gracefully, and before you could say la fée carabosse recoule, recule, recoula! she was running in them, jumping in them, clapping and dancing. Had she known what a princess ballerina looked like, she would have felt like one, but never had she seen any real dancer.

The mother had, however, and thought that her daughter looked ridiculous. When the little girl approached to say thanks with a curtsy, as she saw her sisters had done earlier for their presents, a silk ribbon for Victoria and a Japanese paper doll for Rosa, the witch gave her a box in the side of the head that caused her to stumble.

“You look like a monkey!” Victoria scowled at her when, back at home, the girl tried on her new garments.

“You look like a monkey’s butthole covered in vomit!” added Rosa.

It was an unfair comparison, to be honest, since neither one had ever seen a real monkey.

“SHUT UP!” their drunkard father yelled from the bed, where he had been sleeping. “Shut up or I’ll give you good reason to cry!”

Sabbath

Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle

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