Cailleach watches Jason, her blood red eyes glowing with lust, as he removes his shirt and goes to work cutting peat turves to fuel his cottage for the winter. She touches herself as his muscles ripple in the sunshine, glistening with sweat. Yes, it will be good to take a man again, but first she must lure him from the arms of Aislinn. She closes her eyes and imagines him removing his pants and standing before her, waiting to mate. If her plan is good, she will touch him and enjoy what he has to offer. Soon, he will satisfy her lust and hunger as she eats his flesh.
Aislinn walked slowly along the road, which led to the bog. Her mind raced with hatred of Cailleach and fear for Jason, for she knew of Cailleach and her ways. She stood in silence when she reached the border of Cailleach’s home, her nose flaring at the stench of the rotting vegetation. Her eyes could not help but tear as she looked at Jason’s empty truck with its front door wide open. She looked at the sky while the moon slowly set and she waited, her arms crossed over her chest.
“Come on into my home,” Cailleach’s invitation filtered, like a creeping fog from the darkness of the trees several moments later. “I’ve been expecting you. You took a bit longer than I thought. You’re losing your touch, Aislinn—getting old, perhaps?” Aislinn took a step and the tip of her toe touched the spongy moss of the bog.
“Ah, just a little closer, if you don’t mind. Come join me,” Cailleach spoke in an expectant whisper. “I would like to show you my hospitality. We could have a nice chat about things—girl to girl, if you know what I mean.”
Aislinn stopped and withdrew her foot. “You think me a fool, witch?”
“Of course not,” Cailleach’s voice came from the trees, barely audible.
Aislinn took another step backward, her eyes searching the darkness. “I’m well aware that I have none of my powers if I’m in your territory. Why don’t you come out and see me. We could go sit by my fireplace and discuss things—a bargain, perhaps?”
“I see that you’re alone, dear Aislinn.” Cailleach’s voice came from a different direction. “I thought you had a baby—and a fairy child. What of Aibhilin? That is her name, isn’t it? Ah, such a lovely child. Children are so tender.”
“She’s well looked after.” Aislinn retreated another step and looked over her shoulder. “Aibhilin is a good baby sitter.”
“By a half-dead dog,” Cailleach chuckled, her laughter filtering through the trees and lingering in a sinister echo. “Perhaps you don’t know that Aibhilin is being ripened for supper as we speak. She should be quite tender after the poison has done its work. She’s not dead, you know? We’ll eat her in small pieces. She’ll take a long time to die. It’ll be lovely. Are you sure you don’t want to join us? We aren’t stingy. I don’t mind sharing a meal with you.”
“No thank you, bitch,” Aislinn cursed.
“Such nasty words,” Cailleach scolded, her tongue making a clicking sound.
“You’ll die for this!” Aislinn took a step forward.
“I don’t know how the dog got away, but I can assure you, the fairy won’t,” Cailleach’s voice came through the trees from a different direction with a sneering hatred. I should send one of my children to look after your child. The dog was to be their dessert. They would love to add a fresh girl baby to the menu. In fact, my oldest is half-way there as we speak.”
Aislinn turned on her heels, spread her wings and took to the air, Cailleach’s shrill laughter echoing in her head as she flew as fast as she could.
“Mama,” Cailleach’s oldest daughter asked as they watched Aislinn disappear.
“Yes, dear,” Cailleach answered, the snarl of hatred still in her voice as her breathing came in short gasps. “I know you’re hungry and so am I. Come, let’s go feast on the tender fairy. No need to wait until she cures. We’ll eat her now.”