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Hex
written by "Janifer, Laurence M., 1933-2002"
... And Rudi had gone. Gloria dropped the doll and closed the drawer, and sat back, smiling gently. It was wonderful to be able to help people. It was just wonderful. Find work. Find a job. Go to the employment agency. Start looking for work, right now. Get a job. It will be nice to have a steady job. Nice— Somehow, Mrs. Wladek fought off the voices in her mind. It was so easy to succumb to them and to drift into the terrible things they wanted. Mrs. Wladek did not want them at all. A job, indeed! But it took effort, all the same, to concentrate on herself instead of the work, the job, the employment agency. It took effort to sit down on a bench in the park, near the building where the case workers were, and plan out the next step. A witch, certainly. The girl was a witch and she had put a hex on Mrs. Wladek, and that hex had to be removed. How? Mrs. Wladek thought first of the old woman in the store. Certainly a gypsy woman would be able to take off a hex. Mrs. Wladek remembered gypsies from the old country, laughing people with the strange gift, witches themselves but always available for a price— The gypsy woman. Mrs. Wladek stood up and began to walk toward the park's exit. She forced her legs to move, creaking, one step at a time, thinking to herself: The gypsy woman, the gypsy woman, the gypsy woman—and trying to ignore the voices in her head that went on and on: It would be good to find a job. Go right away to the employment agency. Right away— There were those who laughed—Marya Proderenska thought—and there would always be those who laughed, but that did not injure her; for scoffers she felt only a vast contempt. Had she not been shown in a dream that the power was hers? Had not each of her husbands, even the third who had contracted the fever and died with great suddenness in three weeks, admitted to her that she had a power beyond that of any...

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