warm moonlight

warm moonlight



CW: forcefem, drug, witchcraft, food You look away, nervous. The starlings nesting in the tree outside the tower's eastern window are chirping. In your mind, it’ll serve as an excuse. She won't be offended. The sun is rising. “Do I really have to eat the whole plate?” “Yes.”

Her voice rings in your ears. You look down at the “meal” your mentor has prepared for you. “It’s just a bunch of roots!” “No, there are dried mushroom stalks as well.” Sensing your hesitation, she continues.

“This is what you want, right? You came to me seeking knowledge of witchcraft. This is the first step. You will need to be feminine. Only women can practice witchcraft.” Your anxiety hasn’t left. “What… will this do? Exactly?” you quiver.

“I will explain again, but only once more. Take notes.” With her pointed stare you understand that she isn’t giving a suggestion, and hastily pull your notebook and pen from your bag. You nod eagerly, and she begins again.

“In this state, you are unable to channel magical energies. We can change your body and mind to better fit magic’s… tastes. This is a way to begin. It will be a long and drawn-out change. You will be touched forever by the necessary rituals, and once you begin, you cannot stop.”

She leans towards you and meets your eyes with hers to bring emphasis to her next words: “This is what you want, right?” Your thoughts rattle around in your head. After a long pause, you finally answer. “I- yes. I want this. I need to learn. I need your knowledge.” "Good."

You look down at the untouched plate. Surely, eating a few roots and mushrooms will have no real effect on who you are. “This is probably symbolic,” you think to yourself. “Eating weird food isn’t going to change my personality. I’m doing this for a reason. I’ll still be me.”

You reach down and tentatively pick up what you assume to be a dried mushroom stalk. Your mentor, sitting on top of the table nearest to yours, smiles reassuringly as she watches you. “After this, there’s no turning back. Be certain. One bite, and the change will be permanent.”

After another pause, you gather some amount of confidence, and you take a bite. You chew the morsel, trying to not pay too much attention to the flavor or texture. You swallow, thinking to yourself that the stalk seemed much more dry than it was. Your tongue feels slick and oily.

Your mentor, watching as you process the peculiar meal, chimes in. “These are special. There is one species of root here, and two species of fungi. All local. Each of these species has the same common property: they produce the substance you now feel coating your mouth, and..."

As your mentor speaks, your mind begins to feel hazy. You feel a tingling sensation on your tongue. She continues to speak, but you find yourself having difficulty listening as she lectures you. A warm feeling rises in your chest, and your heart beats harder. Your stomach knots.

She interrupts her own lesson, seeing your distress. “I see that you’re already starting to feel different.” Your heart starts beating faster. “I think this might be a bad idea-“ She interrupts you. “Remember. There’s no turning back now.”

You feel your mind being pulled in different directions. You suddenly realize the danger before you. Panic sets in. A voice screams in your head. "Something is different. What's different? What's changing?" The haze continues to grow thicker, obscuring your thoughts.

You feel your body relaxing on its own. You feel much warmer now. More calm. Everything is okay. There’s no danger here. You lean back, feeling a wave of euphoria wash over you. It startles you, and you jerk forward without thinking. You feel yourself being held back.

At some point, she had moved behind you and draped her arms across your chest. You tense up again, but her embrace encourages you to relax. She begins to pet your hair, and your head falls back against her stomach. Why does this feel good? You barely know this person.

Something is wrong. She leans forward to meet your ear with her lips. “Shhh, it’s okay. This won’t hurt you. It will just change you. Let your fears go. It won't be anything particularly serious. Not yet. The more serious things will come later."

Your feelings are overwhelming enough with only one bite. As you continue to hesitate, the haze in your mind starts to shift, and move. The movement rises into a constant buzz in the front of your brain, shaking apart your thoughts as you have them.

A muffled voice echos in your mind. “This is bad. There isn’t a way out of this. What do I do?” You look down at the unfinished stalk in your hand. Your mentor traces little spirals in your short hair. Her touch creates warmth. "I should just do what she says. It’s too late.”

“It’s already too late.” Those words ring in your ears. You feel something slipping. It’s okay to change, right? It isn’t bad. “A- and, I have to eat the whole plate?” you ask, resigned. “Yes.” Your face burns, and your eyes fall downward. You finally reply. “Okay.”

She takes her hands off of you and sits back on the table. The second bite is as terrible as the first. The third isn’t pleasant, but is less offensive. As you work your way through it, the haze in your mind continues to grow, drowning out your thoughts. This isn’t so bad.

Eventually, the flavor and texture becomes less and less noticeable. The tingling sensation in your tongue spreads to your throat, then your face, and then your body. It radiates from your stomach, unwinding your muscles as it travels. You wish she were still holding you.

It’s a simple process. Pick up a piece. Take a bite. Chew, swallow, then take a moment to breathe. When the plate is empty, you’re left grabbing at the plate, confused. What were you supposed to be doing? Dazed, you look to your mentor, who has a cheeky smile across her face.

“All done! Good girl.” Alarm bells go off in your head. “What? I’m not… a…” “A girl? Yes, you are. You are now.”

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