This story is by David Rae and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I turned up at Alison’s house, and she slammed the door right in my face. Said she’d had enough of me. I knocked a few times to see if I could talk to her, but her dad came out and told me to hop it, or he’d give me a punch in the kisser.
On the way home, I followed a black cat through the Garden of Naughty and Nice. People said that was where the witches met, but I didn’t believe in witches. I just wanted to play with the cute little cat. Then I met Rosemary. I forgot all about the cat when Rosemary came up to me and said hello. Although I was broken-hearted over Alison and nearly being punched on the nose, the night was still young. So, we ended up going dancing. We had a great time, and I hardly thought of Alison once.
I really like Rosemary; she’s great. Of all the girlfriends I’ve had, she’s the best by a mile. And I’ve had a few. Mum is teaching her to cook. She helps Mum with her knitting or plays with my Sister. Then she snuggles into me, and we watch telly. What a perfect girlfriend.
I never heard from Alison again. Now that I wasn’t going out with her, I could see that Alison wasn’t a very nice person. She always had to be the centre of attention and was always telling me what to do. She kept telling Mum that she couldn’t eat this or that. She never helped, and was quite nasty to my little Sister. No one was upset when she dumped me, not even me.
Alison dancing, she’d stand in the middle of the dance floor while everyone looked at her, admiring her new clothes and her fancy hairdo. She was very pretty, and lots of boys fancied her. She’d have no problem finding a new boyfriend.
We were coming home from the dancing, Rosemary and me, and we took a short cut through the Garden of Naughty and Nice.
“What about the witches.” Rosemary asked?
“I don’t believe in witches,” I said.
It was a lovely night with a full moon. We followed the path past the flowers. The roses smelt really nice.
“What’s your favourite flower?” I asked.
I picked a handful and handed it to her.
“Doesn’t it smell great,” Rosemary said.
I never said anything; catnip pongs a bit if you ask me.
Then it started to go wrong. Up ahead, I saw Alison walking towards us. Fortunately, there was a crossroads coming up. We could turn there and that way we wouldn’t have to meet Alison and explain what was going on. No that was any of her business.
But, I looked to the left and saw Liz walking towards us. Liz, she was one my old girlfriends too. She dumped me before I went out with Alison. She was very pretty, but she was always cross. So, best if we didn’t go that way. Liz can be quite nasty.
We turned to start walking the other way. But there was Erika. Yes, she is one of my old girlfriends and yes she did break up with me. She is pretty, but she isn’t very nice
I looked about. But I was trapped. It was my worst nightmare; meeting my three ex-girlfriends in the middle of the Garden of Naughty and Nice by moonlight with my new girlfriend. Maybe we could just turn around and run. But before I could do that the three ex-girlfriends had us cornered.
“What’s going on here then?” snapped Alison.
“I’m just taking my friend home,” I said.
“Don’t you mean girlfriend,” said Alison.
“I suppose so,” I replied.
“I’m your girlfriend,” snarled Alison.
“I thought you broke up with me,” I said.
“Idiot! I only broke up with you so you would come snivelling and grovelling back. Are you going to come snivelling and crawling back?”
“Eh, no thank you, Alison,” I said.
“Like that is it,” said Alison. “You were a rubbish boyfriend anyway. You’re cute now, but you’ll run to fat, and lose your hair and have to wear glasses.”
When Alison said these words I could feel my clothes get really tight on me and the buttons on my shirt burst. And my head felt really cold. I reached up to brush my long tousled fringe that hangs down and makes me look like James Dean in East of Eden; it was gone. And, oddest of all, the whole world sort of came into focus and I could see thing clearly that were further away than a few feet. And there was something heavy on my face; spectacles.
Don’t ask me what a full-length mirror was doing in the middle of the night garden in the moonlight, but there was one, and when I looked into it I screamed in horror. I had turned into the living image of my Dad.
“Don’t look at me,” I screamed. “I’m hideous.”
I thought she would run away, but, she held on tight and kissed me on the cheek.
“You won’t get fat if you eat a healthy diet,” she said. And suddenly my shirt felt loose again and I looked into the mirror, and I was thin. Then Rosemary kissed me again.
“You won’t lose your hair. You have your Mum’s hair, not your Dad’s.”
And my head felt nice and warm, and my tousled fringe fell down across my eyes making me look proper cool in that full-length mirror. Then Rosemary kissed me a third time.
“But you will need to wear glasses,” she said, “Your eye-sights not very good. But you quite suit glasses, it makes you look intelligent.”
Nothing happened. I could still see properly, and when I looked into the full-length mirror I was still wearing glasses, but it was ok. I looked like a young Michael Cain, only more handsome and fitter. As if I was a young Michael Cain’s fitter, better-looking stunt double.
“Yeah it does look good,” I said.
Liz spoke next “Your poetry is really terrible. On Valentine’s day, you wrote me this.”
“Don’t listen, Rosemary,” I shouted, but it was too late.
Liz started reciting.
“Roses are red; Violets are blue,
I’m writing this while I’m sat on the loo,
Sugar is sweet, and honey is running,
I’m sitting here with a dicky tummy,
Silver like rings, gold like a bell,
Don’t come in here there’s a terrible smell.”
“It’s true,” I cried. “I’m a terrible poet, and I know it.”
I hid my head in shame. Rosemary would surely dump me. But instead, she kissed me on the cheek.
“What a talent for comic verse,” she said. “It’s really very good. I know you’re not great with rhyming, but your prose style is elegant and restrained.”
“Thank you very much,” I said.
“This is not over yet,” said Erika. And I shuddered. “You’ll never amount to anything. You don’t have any qualifications.”
My heart sank when I heard that. And when I looked into the mirror there, I was dressed in a pinstripe suit. I could see myself going to work in the city every day with a copy of the Financial Times under my arm. What a useless waste of a life.
I slumped to the ground.
“Go, Rosemary,” I whispered. “While there’s still time.”
But Rosemary kissed me on the cheek and said. “But you’ve only not got qualifications because you couldn’t read without glasses. Now you’ll be able to read no problem and get whatever qualifications you like.”
“Besides, there are other more important things like being a husband or a dad. You’ll make a great dad.” And she stared at me with those strange green eyes.
“If you work really hard you could get a great job,” she continued. “You could even become a librarian.”
Suddenly it was okay, as long as I could be with Rosemary. I looked in the mirror, and I could see me and Rosemary walking down the aisle in the church.
“We’re not finished yet,” said Alison and suddenly I looked at Rosemary, and she was gone. In her place was the lucky black cat that always followed me around. Rosemary or the cat, or both of them tried to run away, but I also knew exactly what to do. I picked the cat up and kissed her on the cheek.
“You may be a cat,” I said. “But I love you to bits. Cat or no cat, you’re the best girlfriend I’ve ever had.”
In the mirror there was Rosemary and me, just like normal except I had to wear glasses.
“My turn now,” said Rosemary.
A cloud passed over the moon, making the garden go dark. When it came out again, the mirror was still there, what’s that about, but the three witches were gone.
“Come on,” said Rosemary, “This way,” and we continued on our way home.
I believe in witches now.