A small, white room, with a merry, crackling fire in the center. The fire appears to rest upon nothing in particular, while consuming only itself. There are two empty chairs: one is silver, and one is white. Next to the silver chair is a small mandolin.
Although there is no door, a WOMAN enters the room. She is seven feet tall, covered in robes and pelts of a thousand different shades, with hot eyes and an argumentative jaw. She is THE WHITE WITCH. She looks about the room, and appears dissatisfied. She looks like the kind of woman who is always dissatisfied, but has found something in particular to be dissatisfied about in this room. She shrugs.
THE WHITE WITCH kicks off first the left, then the right of a pair of impossibly tall, steel-grey high heels. She sits back in the white chair and sighs in contentment, wiggling her toes.
She tilts her crown low across her forehead, shading her eyes.
WHITE [to herself]: Let them have it, then. Let the children have the whole sorry lot of it, and may fortune attend them. Run a country with four principle executives, no established means of collecting tax revenues, no standing army, no police, no public services, talking Animal separatists, a rebellion on the Ettinsmoor border, no major exports, and no established trade with the wealthiest country in the known universe due to ridiculous racial prejudice. Let them re-establish the terms of our non-aggression treaty with the Merpeople. See if I care. I hope they do. I hope the little brats all speak fluent Mermish and find mutually acceptable terms of agreement.
WHITE: Then I hope all their hair catches on fire.
She continues in this vein for some time (perhaps for five minutes, perhaps for fifty years), until another woman — this one dressed all in green (and quite appropriately too, for she is THE GREEN WITCH) — appears in the same corner as the first witch. She blinks rapidly. She is a mere 6 foot 7, but is resplendent in a floor-length kirtle of Lincoln green. It should make her face look sallow, but it doesn’t. She sees THE WHITE WITCH sitting in her chair and lets out a short shriek of recognition.
GREEN: Jadis? It is you, isn’t it? It is!
THE WHITE WITCH leaps up from her chair.
WHITE: Darling! Hail from the sisters of the wastes of the North!
GREEN: Oh, Darling! Hail from…oh, just hail from everyone, I suppose.
The two embrace and air-kiss one another; a small snake emerges from each of their mouths. The snakes air-kiss one another. THE GREEN WITCH sits in the silver chair opposite THE WHITE WITCH.
GREEN: I just can’t believe it’s really you.
WHITE: How long has it been?
GREEN: Oh, Lord. Shudder to think. You had that army of spiders at the time, if I remember aright.
WHITE: Has it been that long? Can you believe how I was wearing my hair back then? All those knives.
WHITE: Turkish Delight?
THE WHITE WITCH produces a small, gleaming box stuffed with fat, glistening drops of candy from underneath her robes.
GREEN: Jadis! You didn’t!
WHITE: I still have a few tricks left.
THE GREEN WITCH waggles her fingers gleefully over the drops, then selects one and tosses it into her red and open mouth.
GREEN: I can’t believe you’re still here, darling.
WHITE: Has it been long out there?
GREEN: Absolute ages. A millennium, at least.
WHITE: Well. You know how it is. I can’t change being crushed by a lion. If someone out there tried to bring me back, then it would be different, but as it is…
She trails off as she realizes the implication of what she’s saying.
WHITE: A millenium?
GREEN [soberly]: At least.
WHITE: And no one’s…
GREEN: They called it the Golden Age, after the Long Winter, after you…went away.
THE GREEN WITCH attempts to gently pantomime being crushed by a lion, then gives up.
WHITE [stiffly]: Oh.
GREEN: Not me, of course, darling. I never called it that.
WHITE: I’m sure.
GREEN: You know how people are.
WHITE [briskly]: Well. Darling. I’m sure I didn’t have time to notice what people were calling my reign in the least. I was more than a bit consumed with matters of state at the time. Although I suppose you can be forgiving for not thinking of such things, having never actually ruled Narnia yourself.
WHITE [buffing her nails against one of her furs]: After all, you did manage to keep a single man very nearly subdued for almost 23 hours every day, all while digging a great many holes throughout Underworld. I’m sure any day now the Narnians are going to start tumbling through those holes, and they’ll be awfully cross then.
GREEN: I…I turned into a snake.
WHITE: Did you?
GREEN: Huge snake. Color of poison and everything. Big as…big as ten snakes, that snake I’d turn into was. Fangs like I don’t know what.
WHITE: If you could turn into a snake, why not just kill Rillian like you killed his mother? Why waste all those years digging?
GREEN: It’s not easy, turning into a snake. People think it’s easy, but it isn’t. There’s a lot that goes into turning into a snake. You have to…have to figure out what to do with your arms, and so on. Snakes can’t have arms, so you have to do something with them.
WHITE: Oh, I’m sure I don’t mean to discount your accomplishments. You came awfully close. And you must have been an absolute tyrant all those years you ruled everything that lived in the dirt. Earthworms must have absolutely trembled as you passed.
THE GREEN WITCH says nothing, but tosses a small handful of green powder on the fire, which produces a very sweet and drowsy smell. She picks up the mandolin and begins to play, rather badly, a tune that gradually comes to resemble “Tonight You Belong To Me.”
WHITE: Oh, but I’m forgetting. You almost managed to glamour those two human children and a suicidal swamp-dweller, right before they escaped you completely and brought your entire kingdom down around your ears. I only ruled the entirety of Narnia and the Lone Islands for a century; I only kept Father Christmas and all his servants out of my kingdom for a hundred years; I only conquered the seasons themselves and cast summer and spring and autumn out of my domain.
THE GREEN WITCH crossly flings the rest of the powder in the fire, then slides down further in her chair.
GREEN: Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask, Jadis darling, how is your sister these days?
Now it is THE WHITE WITCH‘s turn to slide down lower in her chair, and cross and uncross her feet rather miserably, and select another Turkish Delight, and chew it resentfully. There is silence. One sees THE GREEN WITCH grow visibly sorry, and look for a way to make amends.
GREEN: Do you know, I’ve always wondered what the Deplorable Word is.
THE WHITE WITCH smiles and leans in conspiratorially.
WHITE: Would you like to hear it?
GREEN: Would I.
THE WHITE WITCH whispers a single word into THE GREEN WITCH‘s ear. THE GREEN WITCH smiles a violent, fierce smile before her face — then her entire form — is frozen utterly. After a moment, she shudders and blinks and begins to move again.
WHITE: Tingles a bit, doesn’t it?
GREEN: Wonderful. Just wonderful.
WHITE: Shall I say it again?
GREEN: Oh, would you?
The process is repeated, to great satisfaction on both sides.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.