There are only three things that magic cannot do: make people fall in love, create life, and bring back the dead. After her first two customers, Toadmila quite expected the three men to want her to bring someone back from beyond the grave. And this, she knew well, was something she could not fake, in spite of all her training.
“It's our mother,” one of the men said.
“She's... she's...” another one whispered.
Toadmila steeled herself for the final word.
“Ill,” the third man finished.
Toadmila's shoulders relaxed. This, she had been trained for. She had potions, spells, and the knowledge gathered through years of studying, all ready to be used.
“We know you can help us!” the first man warned, as if expecting her to turn them down.
“You helped our cousin John,” the second man added. “You got that girl, Jane, to talk to him.”
“He has he hasn't made any deal with you, but we know better. That girl hadn't talked to him in a year.”
“She was under a vow of silence,” the first brother pointed out.
“But we all know a vow of silence is just an excuse to not talk to any boys, let them know they're barking up the wrong tree.”
“We all thought she was going to come back home one day and say she's become one of them.”
“One of what?” Toadmila couldn't help asking.
“I don't think we should say this in front of a witch,” one of the brothers said.
They all exchanged looks.
“A nun,” the man in the middle said, taking a deep breath. “We all thought she was going to become a nun.”
“And then one day John says they're getting married,”the brother on the left added.
“We knew it was you,” the brother on the right went on. “You're the only witch around here.”
“So when Mother fell ill, we thought we'd come to you.”
“We've already tried all the usual stuff.”
“We gave her holy water.”
“And we called a priest and he chased away the demons from the house.”
“And it must have been a lot of demons, 'cause he asked for a lot of money too.”
“But she's not getting any better.”
“She's getting worse.”
“So we thought we'd come see you.”