Flash Fiction: The First Witch Bottle.

So, one of the classics of protection spells is to put a certain number of bent nails in a glass jar and place it somewhere, or bury it, ect. Its often called a Witch Jar. Some variants have pins and tacks, and sometimes calls for the urine of the person being protected.

And I’ve seen it specified before in old books that the nails be NATURALLY bent, that is, nails that failed and bent while being used to try and nail wood together.

And I was pulling nails out of some old wood I was reclaiming this weekend, and I have a stack of old jars I need to clean up and put away in the shed where I was working. So as I was pulling nails, i was chucking them towards the jars, getting a few in here and there.
And I had this sudden thought about jars of stuff, and how they get collected, and how the first protection jar was made.
“EDGAR! I was cleaning up the drawer in the kitchen, you KNOW which one, and what is THIS!”
Edgar looked at the small glass jar in his wife’s hand. He knew exactly what it was, but since he had been told specifically to stop using her drawer for “random half assed shit you need to get rid of” he wasn’t about to tell her anything as darn fool stupid as the TRUTH.
“Why, Abilene, my sweet. That there is a witch jar.”
Her eyes narrowed. “More of that old world knowledge your grandmam passed on, is it?”
She often accepted stories of his grandmam and her herbalist ways, as his knowledge helped greatly, and having been raised in a town, she had no woodcraft or herblore to inherit herself. And it helped that the knowledge came from a man, to avoid those superstitious fools who would be quick to cry witch should she seem to have knowledge without a “proper” source. But he had hidden behind it before to cover his own foolishness, and this seemed like more of the same.
“Edgar. This is… ” She peered through the cloudy sides of the jar, counting. “Six.. Seven .Seven bent, rusty nails, in a jar.”
He nodded, his face serene in spite of the panic in his heart. “Of course dear. You know seven is an… important number.”
Things were always “important”. Never “magical”. Not even “spiritual”, as the Parson could find ways to take offense, in Christ’s name, to the suggestion.
“And nails?”
“Cold iron! And a memory of our Lord and Savior, who’s symbols you know an evil witch could not abide the touch of.”
“BENT nails.”
“Bent in service! A symbol of something useful, made useless through a clumsy blow, and made useful again. Powerful important.”
Abilene looked again at the seemingly insignificant jar with new wonder. She tilted it back and forth gently, watching the thin layer of dark liquid swirling in the bottom, black rust in a dark brown liquor. She leaned towards it, taking a long sniff.
“Edgar…. why does it smell like piss? Did you… did you piss in the jar?”
He swiped out and snagged the jar from her open hand, tucking it into a pocket. “Nevermind that now, my love. Its been sitting long enough, to finish the protection I need to go…. bury it?! Yes! Bury it. in the yard. In a corner. And digging it up after would be bad. VERY bad! Thats what grandmam always said.”
With out another word, he spun and headed out the door towards the garden.

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