Old Magic in a New World – Writing Warm Up

Here’s a quick writing warm up I did, inspired by one of my “warm up characters”.

I’ll go into this type of writing practice in a later post, but I hope you enjoy my quick scene!

As a disclaimer, the practice of modern witchcraft is questioned as authentic in this piece. I know this can ruffle some feathers, but I want to make it clear that I have nothing against Wiccans, neopagans, modern witches, or any other term you might use to identify as. This is a work of fiction and does not reflect my opinions on those in the pagan or occult community, neo or otherwise. Please take this as a creative writing piece where I explore a character, not a stance on a way of life and religion.




The girls in the corner booth weren’t witches. Despite the tarot cards tossed across the table, thick makeup, and black clothing declaring “daughters of the witches you could not burn”, they were as human as they came. If they had even an ounce of magic in them, they would’ve felt the warlock watching them.

Not that Colvus was surprised. It was rare to find a fellow magic user in the modern world.

He missed the good old days, back when magic was more whispers in the dark and less peace and love. When he was a boy, coming from a magical bloodline actually meant something. Now, every normal human with a grandmother who claimed to be a witch in the 60’s was a self-proclaimed “hereditary witch”. But, oh no, they wouldn’t cause anyone harm, or use their magic for “evil”. They were good magic users.

It made him sick.

He gulped his black coffee to feel something other than anger, ignoring the burn down his throat as he watched the girls giggle over the cards spread across the table. It was a disgrace. If they did that when he was their age, they would’ve been burned alive. Their whole families would’ve! Nowadays, they acted however they wanted with their pretty pewter pentacles and fake crystal rings. It was a free country and the worse thing that would happen to them would be a couple of dirty looks.

We should teach them a lesson.” The voice of his familiar cut into his thoughts.

Colvus considered the suggestion as he put his lips to the cup again, hiding his murmur. “Not right now.”

He almost forgot the creature was there. It was an easy thing to do. The demon had been with him since he first touched magic over ninety years ago. The weight of him on his shoulders was almost nonexistent after carrying him for so long, even as uncomfortable as it was. Tiny talons dug into his shoulders as the salamander-like spirit leaned over to lick the rim of the cup still poised in the air.

“You’re no fun.”

Of course he was no fun. He was the voice of reason; the spirit was invisible and had no consequences.

The fake witches let out another shrill burst of giggles, each high pitch laugh a knife between his ears, interrupting his thoughts.

Disgusting, he grimaced. They’re laughing on the graves of great men and women, playing at witchcraft without knowing anything about the power they were trying to tap into.

Colvus hoped they got burned by it.

“More coffee sir?” the waitress asked, distracting him from the scene in the corner.

She was the reason he was here, with her crooked smile and always on her toes to fill a half empty cup. He owed her a favor, even if she didn’t realize it.

“Please,” he smiled, holding his mug out. “You’re always so good to me, Danielle.”

She gave a flirty smile, but it was lost on him. He was over a hundred and fifty years old. A twenty something wasn’t his type. Sure, he still looked like he was in his late thirties, but that didn’t get rid of the fact that he needed someone a little more grown up.

“Only because you’re my favorite customer.” She winked as she went back behind the counter.

“Her?” The spirit in Colvus’ ear scoffed. Colvus tried to wave him away like he was shooing a fly. “Don’t ignore me! Why her?

“She’s the last descendant of Torvald.” He murmured, looking down at his book. “If I’m ever to pay his bloodline back, it’ll be through her.”

“She’s not even touched by magic,” he snorted. The great red salamander crawled down his arm and curled up on the table to watch the human behind the counter. “Are you sure she’s Torvald’s bloodline? He was more powerful than you at one point. I expected better from his blood. ”

Colvus gave him a cold glare, turning the page of his book, but not responding.

The spirit smiled with green eyes the same color as the warlock’s, his thick forked tongue coming out and flicking at him. “Fine. I will give her a gift. But you will pay for it later.”

As if he didn’t know that already. That was the rule of his spirit. Favors were repaid with favors, even if they were done for other people.

Colvus watched the spirit slid down the table with the ease of the amphibious creature he resembled and moved with an uncharacteristic speed for his thick tube body up to the counter. It always impressed him when the spirit worked. In all his years, he didn’t understand how demons pulled the strings of the world they lived in, no matter how many books he read or mentors he found.

Not that there were very many books or mentors left these days.

Colvus frowned at that and took another sip of his coffee, watching the spirit’s porous hands weave red threads from thin air, one leading up around the girl’s throat, another heading out the door. With a tug, the girl coughed, more tiny threads coming out of the spirit’s hands now. He braided them carefully with the other silk-like strands in his free palm, the gossamer glowing brighter with every jerky movement. When he was finished, he gripped the thread going out the door, took a smoky breath, and pulled hard.

Whatever happened on the other end, Colvus couldn’t be certain, but he knew the spirit started something in motion. With another firm tug on the braided middle strands and a determined nod, the spirit slunk back to him, his gaze hungry as he eyed the giggling girls in the corner and curled back up on Colvus’s shoulder.

“Is it done?” Colvus asked him, turning another page.

“What do you think?”

He nodded and went back to his coffee, still aware of the spirit’s focus on the girls.

“Do you think you could take another apprentice again? It’s been so long.”

He didn’t respond, the request was one the spirit already knew the answer to. When Colvus stayed quiet, the spirit sighed out a puff of sulfur.

“Too bad. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a decent sized lunch.”

Colvus still didn’t speak. Maybe it was his old age, maybe it was the growing suspicion that he was the last one of his kind left, but he was tired of letting his spirit have his way with humans. What was the point anymore?

“Here it goes.” The spirit caught his attention again.

A man, maybe in his early twenties, walked in and went right to the girl behind the counter. Colvus couldn’t make out the conversation, but it was clear she was a giggling mess by the time she was writing something on the boy’s hand. Colvus looked at the spirit quizzically.

“You got her a boyfriend?” he asked, ignoring a glance from one of the patrons as he talked to what the human would see as an emptiness above his shoulder. “I meant get her a new job, not help get her laid.”

The spirit hissed a giggle with a smile. “You should’ve been more specific.