She picked berries out back and herbs and mushrooms. In the beginning, he didn’t trust it at all. “You’ll poison us!” He said, in that way he said things where he was pretending to joke, but was actually serious.
She sighed and shook her head and showed him the books she had laid out. Pretty drawings, carefully explaining what you could eat and what you could use for spells, and what would kill your cat.
She poured him tea and he narrowed his eyes as he sniffed. “Oh, Henry. I wouldn’t need foxglove to kill you. Not out here in our summer home, away from any ears that could hear your screams.”
He shrugged and conceded and drank the very good tea.
He used the mushrooms to make risotto. And broth he made the day before from roasted bones and wild onions. He stirred and stirred as she passed the kitchen, doing all of her little witchy chores, smiling at the smells.
When the fox came for the chickens, she frowned and refused to do anything about it. “I’m a healer, you handle him,” she said to Henry. He shrugged and went to the basement, where his magic was made.
Chalk on stone and salt and numbers. Symbols and sigils that made her uncomfortable. His candles didn’t smell pretty the way hers did. He didn’t like the ways hers sputtered.
She liked it when he nicked his finger. The fat bead of blood growing and finally dripping down, splashing on the mirror he worked on. Then the smell of fox hair burning.
The next day the fox sat at the edge of their garden. It didn’t come for the chickens, but it didn’t leave either. It just sat there and watched them. She didn’t like it.
“Well, this is no fix. He’s going to scare the cat,” she said, handing him a dish to dry. He shrugged. “That cat isn’t afraid of bears, I don’t think a fox will do much to frighten him.”
They looked at the huge Maine Coon, lounging in a beam of sunlight that ran across a round rug, unconcerned with plight.
“He’s not messing with the chickens. I did my part. You’re the nature lover. Go talk to him.”
The next morning she brought a blanket out and sat in front of the proud red hunter. Henry watched from the window in front of his desk in his little office in the attic. Typing out his research and occasionally checking in on her. She tossed bits of beef jerky at the fox, who was suspicious, but also hungry.
“You can’t fuck with my chickens, dude,” she said with a sigh, lighting a thick bundle of incense and laying out her tools.
That night, they ate goat cheese ravioli and he saw the fox a few feet closer to their house. She notice Henry watching and smiled. “We’re getting there. It takes time.” He smiled and took her hand.
“Is that how you charmed me?” He asked, kissing her neck. She turned her head and let him have more shoulder to kiss. “No, you were easier. I just showed you my tits.”
“There are many paths to enchantment,” he whispered into the nape of her neck.
Later that night, they woke the chickens with their moans.