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Preston Dennett has worked as a carpet cleaner, fast-food worker, data entry clerk, bookkeeper, landscaper, singer, actor, writer, radio host, television consultant, teacher, UFO researcher, ghost hunter, and more. But his true love has always been speculative fiction. His stories have appeared in Andromeda Spaceways, Cast of Wonders, Grievous Angel, Sci Phi Journal, and several other venues, including several anthologies. He has also earned twelve honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future Contest. He currently resides in southern California where he spends his days looking for new ways to pay his bills and his nights exploring the farthest edges of the universe.

"You need what?" I asked, unsure I'd heard her correctly. I'd done love spells more times than I'd care to say, but a hate spell? A stunningly attractive woman stood before me. She had a rather plain look, but there was something indefinably gorgeous about her.
"You heard right. A hate spell. You are the Great Wizard, Melton, are you not?"
"Yes, it's just that nobody's ever asked me that before. Can I ask why, Miss?"
She smiled in a way that would make me do anything for her. She'd make a great wizard's wife, I thought. I should ask for her hand.
"Milena. Yes," she said. "Everybody takes one look at me and they fall in love with me. Nobody ever sees the real me. It's my curse. I can't take it anymore. I get proposals daily, from complete strangers!"
I coughed awkwardly. "I see. A hate spell, then. Hmmm... I'm sure there is one. I thumbed through my spelling book until I found it. I looked at the ingredients. "Yes, I can do it, but it will be expensive."
"I'll pay it."
"Two hundred silvers," I said. "In advance."
Milena smiled. "One hundred."
I stomped my foot. She knew I couldn't refuse her charms. "Anything for you," I grumbled.
She handed over the silvers. "When will it be ready?"
"It will take me just a few moments," I said. "You may watch, but do not interfere."
I gathered some wormwood and started the stove. Inside the cauldron went one cup of Pegasus pee and one cup of Unicorn urine, brought to a boil. Next, a head of hag hair, two troll toes, and a handful of gnome nuts. Then twenty banshee boogers, twelve drops of Sasquatch sweat, and a whiff of fairy farts.
After a moment of cooking, it reduced to a dark liquid. I chanted the spell over it, poured it into a bottle and put a cork in it.
"It stinks," Milena said.
"Well, it is a hate spell." I handed her the bottle, eager to be rid of it. "Careful, it's quite potent."
She thanked me and began to walk out.
"Melina!" I blurted. "Will I see you again?" My heart ached to see her leave.
She looked at me and rolled her eyes. "Let's hope not."
Two moons later, I stood behind the counter organizing my batwing bottles when a vile creature hobbled into the shop and up to the counter. She was covered in warts and had an awful hump on her shoulders. She reeked of flies. I instantly hated her.
"Don't you recognize me?"
I reluctantly looked. "Oh, Milena," I said, forcing a smile. "So, did you like the hate potion?"
She grinned, displaying brown teeth. "Well, it was surprisingly sweet," she cackled. "And it had a wonderfully nutty taste. But it gave me gas, and... well, look at me."
"I'm sorry," I said. "No refunds. And I did warn you."
"No, you were right. The spell worked. Everyone hates me. It's exactly what I asked for. There's just one thing I hadn't anticipated."
"Which is?"
"I hate myself, too. In fact, I loathe me."
"I see."
"I can't live like this anymore. Is there any way you can reverse the spell?"
"I can, but I'm afraid it's very expensive."
"I'll pay," she said.
"Five hundred silvers."
She glared venomously at me. "What is this spell?"
"It's called a dispell," I smiled innocently. "For some reason, it's my most popular item."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Author Comments

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment that inspired this story--usually I can--but this one sort of dropped into my head from wherever that place is that stories come from. I just reached blindly into that unlit, twisted cave in my mind, and this is what came out. I can say that I love fantasy, and I adore a good "spell" story, particularly a humorous one. And I do actually know a lady who suffers from the same affliction as Milena, though perhaps not to that degree. "Dispell" passed through a few incarnations to reach its present form. Then I sent it out to find a home, and it found one in the very first place I sent it!

- Preston E Dennett
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