by Timothy Lane 6/25/17
by Fritz Lieber • Available for Kindle • Norman and Tansy Saylor are a typical small-town college faculty couple. He’s a sociology professor — and she’s a witch helping to protect her husband and his career. Norman accidentally discovers this one day when he comes across various supplies he recognizes from his own research in the subject. When she gets home, Norman explains to her why this makes no sense and persuades her to stop, and to destroy all these little protections she had woven about him.
No harm comes to him until he comes across one last charm hidden in a locket. Had she forgotten it, or deliberately left it in for his protection? He destroys it — and immediately receives a phone call from a student who just realized how the professor is victimizing him. This will be followed by s number of other little incidents over the next several days. For example, he accidentally cuts himself with an obsidian knife he keeps in his office at school. For some reason, the wound keeps bleeding.
Finally, one night Tansy confronts him by noting,”What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours.” Norman assents — and then learns that she has taken his curse upon herself. She disappears, but he receives a series of short notes from her explaining, in a disjointed fashion because she never has much time to write, what he must do to save her. This takes him to a seaside hotel where he performs the spell one midnight. He is rewarded when his wife’s living but soulless, body is brought to him and chillingly tells him, “You were too late. You were a minute too late.”
Norman decides that one of her rival faculty wives has stolen her soul. He needs to find out which one, and recover his wife’s soul. But there’s a complication, of course. Tansy is younger and more attractive than the others — whoever stole her soul may plan to replace it herself. This will lead to some very interesting magical moves.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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