The Infinite Matrix

Stories Columns Archive FAQ Home

the sleep of reason

by Michael Swanwick

with illustrations by
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes


76. [Plate 68]
The End of the Witches

There is no place for witches in the modern world. They are a superstitious holdover from the ignorant past. We know better now than to believe in witches, magic, miracles, or counterfactual events of any sort. Prayers go unanswered. A mountain's worth of faith will not move a mustard seed. There is no Santa Claus. A mother's love will only last until she dies, and sometimes not even that long.

The truth is bracing. It sets us free.

So in the waning hours of the night, the witches sadly mount their brooms (Freud taught us what that meant!) and fuck off into the cold, depthless light of false dawn. Since time before remembrance, we've been entertained by tales of their cruelty, of children imprisoned in gingerbread houses, of midnight hag-rides, of huts on chicken legs and wicked spells that cover the land in eternal winter. But now it's good-bye and good riddance! We don't need them any longer.


like swanwick?
like goya?
so do we.

keep 'em sparring!
send money.

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

More options on the Contributions page.

T H A N K S !


The modern world has no place for such superstitious, inefficient avatars of evil as witches.

Who needs metaphors? Today we have the real thing. We'll take our evil straight, thank you, without the leavening touch of whimsy.


[ Previous ]   [ Next ]

This is the 76th of 80 stories by Michael Swanwick written to accompany Francisco Goya's Los Caprichos. For a listing of the most recently available stories, go to The Sleep of Reason.

home | stories | columns | archive | faq | talk