Marina stood in front of the chapel with a wooden box in her hands.  She watched a scrawny teenager close the heavy doors.  

He wore a tux an inch too short; bribed at the last minute by someone in the groom’s family to be an usher, she was sure. 

The doors closing were a sign that the bride was ready to make her entrance, that the clock had struck noon. 

Pews were full.

The wedding was about to start.  

The time she’d allotted for her ritual was slim. 

Marina hustled to the top of the steps and sat down,  legs folded under her — the small box set on the cement.  

Marina opened the lid, doors in her peripheral. If they opened too soon, she would be exposed.  The entire plan would be ruined if she was forced off the leyline to the altar. 

Quickly she removed a square of fabric: silky white with a patch of lace and a single pearlescent button in the middle.  Next, she grabbed a pair of scissors with large black handles and freshly sharpened blades.

 She whispered as she cut into the square, lips moving at warp speed. 

Banish the imposter. 

Protect the lover.  

Shield the innocent.

The scrap fell to the ground in two pieces as she swapped the scissors for other contents — a bundle of herbs and a lighter.  She deftly lit the sage and stored the lighter,  thick smoke curling into the air. 

A scraping sound flitted underneath the doors. 

With urgency, Marina closed the box, tucked it under her arm, and stepped around the corner of the building. Her lips moved again as she waved her smoking bundle through the air. 

She didn’t hear the doors open, but it felt like perfection when she heard a high-pitched scream coming from the spot she’d stood just moments prior. Through a satisfied smile, she repeated her chant. 

Marina finished her sweep of the chapel’s perimeter, legs aching but stable when she reached the front doors again. They stood open, and the inside of the building looked dark as far as she could see.  

A mess of flowers littered the entry, and the two halves of the fabric she had destroyed trailed into the building. 

She doubted the pastor had left with the doors wide open, and very few clergies appreciated her cleansing their buildings; however, badly, she wanted to. 

She’d be in trouble if she entered, even though bad proposals rippled into the spirit realm, and churches were no exception. Not even the veil hid that Heather was never meant for that ceremony, and Marina had felt the dark cloud over the groom’s head. 

With no other options, she shrugged and turned away. She may not be able to change the damage done inside, but still, she was happy.  A doomed relationship had been destroyed, and as an added benefit, she had another chance to court Heather now that she wasn’t in the chapel with that prick. 

My spell worked just as planned, She thought, that or the note I left in her bouquet.

Alyson lives in Maryland where she got married, had her daughter, and began her writing journey. She has appeared in Altered Reality Magazine and (mac)ro(mic). You can find her on twitter @rudexvirus1.

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