|Sugar Cravings by Madeleine Swann|
Deep in the forest inside a cottage made of sweets lives a witch of eternal youth. Niall, a local villager, ignores dark rumours to offer himself to the witch as a lover. And though he doesn’t know it, as a sacrifice. (M/F)
Abandoning her plan to pick herbs she turned to go inside when a figure by her cottage made her yelp in surprise. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Niall looked horrified and a blush crept over him, “I was just, I just…” he trailed off lamely.
“That’s all right,” Beatrix smiled. “Did I forget anything?”
“Oh, no,” Niall looked as if he were chastising himself for his foolishness and Beatrix allowed a tiny smile to creep into the corners of her mouth.
“Would you like some ale?” Beatrix asked, heading for the chocolate front door, “I’ll bring some out.”
“Thank you,” Niall took the tankard she offered on her return. After a few sips of amber liquid he visibly relaxed. “You know, I was curious. I mean, I’ve never met a witch before.” He looked up to check he hadn’t offended her but Beatrix smiled, his presence was a welcome distraction. She noticed the delicacy of his fingers despite years of hard labour. She motioned for him to come closer.
“Niall?” she said innocently, her voice a question as she fetched a smaller jar.
“Hmm?” he grunted ineloquently, as young men often did.
“You are to be married this year, are you not?”
“Oh yes,” he flushed, a smile upturning the corner of his mouth.
“To pretty Molly, is it not, whose father owns the biggest farm?”
“Yes,” he replied, his eyes glistening with pride.
“You will be well set, will you not, once the marriage is done?” She felt a pang at cuckolding Molly – sweet, mortal Molly who sometimes collected potions for her aunt’s inflamed knee – but in truth the idea of Niall running his eyes over her while Molly waited at home made her blood pump faster than it had for many summers.
“Tell me,” said Beatrix, glancing up from scooping powder into the smaller vessel, “have you seen what Molly hides under her skirts?” Niall didn’t answer. “Oh, I’m sorry, you village folk aren’t too fond of… activities before wedlock are you?” Niall’s mouth was now opening and closing like a carp. “I do hope your marriage doesn’t suffer because of your naivety,” Beatrix continued.
“What do you mean?” Niall asked angrily.
“Oh Niall, I meant nothing by it,” Beatrix soothed, placing her free hand on his arm. His brown eyes searched her expression warily. “Simply that there are so many ways a husband and wife can bring pleasure to each other, and it can make a marriage all the stronger.”
Niall was silent, a misplaced statue. Bella curled herself into a ball beside a tree and purred rhythmically.
“Tell me then,” said Beatrix as she slowly screwed the little jar lid closed, “has Molly let you touch her in private?” His face reddening, Niall’s eyes tried to settle and couldn’t. Beatrix noticed a small movement in his crotch area.
“Such questions are… ungodly,” he mumbled, his words lacking conviction.