Working with Circles

This is an observation stemming from some comments overheard years ago by a self-proclaimed ‘black magician’ about how stupid ‘white magicians’ were to believe a ‘protective circle’ of chalk would do anything to protect them.

Fair comment. Here’s a story dealing with that.

The sky was grey and pretty mundane. Julia was wrapped in her all-weather coat, with hat and gloves to shelter her from the cold. A short lady with white hair and a slightly wan vegan complexion, she was also a White witch. She had trudged up to the heath on foot to do her bit to save the planet, armed with a thermos of tea, to answer a challenge by a Dark magician moving into the area. She marked a circle about herself in birdseed and sat on her handy rambler’s walking stick/seat device, sipping her herbal tea. Shortly her self-proclaimed opponent drove up in his Audi, screeching to a halt in the nearby carpark. David hopped out, talking on his mobile to a stock-broker, before snapping it shut and fixing his gaze on Julia.

He radiated power and authority, the confidence of a man who has climbed high on the bodies of his former colleagues, and by stepping outside common social morality he had unlocked an incredible drive to succeed at all costs. David advanced, smirked once, and calmly began to insult her. Saying how ignorant and outdated she was. There was no place for her in the modern world and the new supermarket development was going to proceed despite her protests.

Julia did not reply. She smiled and shook her head, sadly. This irked David, who narrowly resisted the petty impulse to pick up some mud and rub it into her face. She had been a considerable pain in the side of the development, and David had been asked to intervene personally.

David started pacing around her, looking down his nose at her. The verbal barrage continued, and he attacked her confidence, her self respect, and sought to frighten her with threats to friends and family. Julia did not respond, and if the tirade shook her she gave no sign. David looked around carefully, saw no witnesses, and viciously kicked Julia to the ground. Then he dragged her to the edge of the ravine, and forced her head over the edge.

‘Now see here, bitch, I really have no issues with chucking you over right now. However, I’m willing to give you one chance to get the fuck out of my business. You know that if you try going to the police they won’t believe you, and even if they do, they won’t be able to protect you. Frankly, my even being here is a waste of my time. So all I want you to do, is repeat after me: “I’m a stupid old lady who shouldn’t meddle with things she doesn’t understand.”‘

Julia thought of resisting, but that would not have helped anything. It was a shred of humiliation and defiance, neither of which mattered in the grand scheme of things. So she repeated his words verbatim.

As David walked away, he kicked the birdseed circle in passing. ‘You idiots really should get it through your heads that this nonsense is a waste of time. Ciao.’ He climbed into his car, and vanished in a cloud of dust and petrol fumes.

Julia lay there for a while. Her leg was very painful, and the mud spatters were cold on her face. Her glasses were cracked, but mercifully still functional. She got up with difficulty. As she did, she tried not to scare the birds flocking to feed on the seeds, a rare mercy in a cold world. Of course the circle wouldn’t protect her. It was just birdseed in this case, as the birds needed feeding. In a sense it was the sheister’s trick of misdirection, as Dark practitioners had a bad habit of focusing on things and not paying attention to the whole picture. Look at the circle. Look at the old lady inside it. Look at the sacrificial lamb. Don’t look at the Women’s Institute, the sewing circle, the local press, or the small microphone pinned to her blouse. Even if David exacted his vengeance on her personally, she would still have won.  She was willing to suffer and die for the greater good she believed in.  She doubted that David or his ilk would ever make that sacrifice, which is why they would fail in the end.

The tragedy was, as Julia limped home to her cats, that the two sides would never understand each other, and that all this suffering was necessary. It all stemmed from a fundamentally different outlook, and there was no compromise possible. But who said life was all roses?

One moment. This story could end there, but I wanted to be honest with you. Things did not happen as described. David was canny enough to spot the microphone and left Julia to die in the ravine. She did. Her suspicious death was hushed up by David’s colleagues, and the supermarket was built with only slight delays to schedule. The local shops were forced out of business, and the community became dependent on the supermarket: A standard Dark side ‘hook’ tactic. David became very wealthy and powerful indeed, but died alone from a drug overdose. Or maybe it was a car crash. Or suicide from work related stress.

Forget the Harry Potter finale. There is an ancient war of ideologies going on in the real world, and the casualties rarely receive any recognition. Don’t cry for Julia though. She died a good death. A soldier’s death.