Madame Nina's Mutilated Hearts

by Shell St James, 3.24am March 10th 2021

This week’s letter is from Troubled but Tempted, a young man facing a common problem. What to do when the girl of your dreams isn’t of the same faith?

Dear Madame Nina,

I hope you can help me; I’m really tearing myself apart over this. I recently met a girl who’s fun and smart and pretty… she may be the girl of my dreams! We’ve been dating for three months, and I’m really hooked, but I’m a steady churchgoer (well, not every Sunday, but on Christmas and Easter and when my mom calls to bug me, and if I really feel guilty about something…you know how it is) 

Anyway, when I first asked her if she was religious, she gave me this mysterious smile and said, “I’m a devout practitioner.” So, I thought that was good, right? I mean, she even has an altar in her house, I saw it in another room before she closed the door. It was all set up with a bunch of candles and crystals and even a chalice. 

But lately I’ve been wondering about her religion. I’ve heard her chanting in the room with the altar, and when she came out, she had blood on her hands. When I questioned her, she shrugged, saying, “Blood was required.” What the heck does that mean? 

I slept over the other night and woke up with her standing over me, wearing a black hooded robe, and painting weird symbols on my skin with her fingers. She told me not to worry, that she was “making me more virile”. Well, I’ve never had any complaints in that department, but I have to say, she looked so hot - naked and slick with oil under that robe, that I …well, that’s beside the point.

Every time I try to find out more details about her religion, she shuts me down, saying, “It’s as old as the earth itself,” but not naming it. 

The other night, I dropped by unexpectedly just as she was coming out of the woods. She was wearing that black robe and smelled strange, like incense. She was carrying a black velvet pouch. She told me the woods are where her church is... but it was a Thursday! I admit, when she went to freshen up, I peeked into the bag. Madame Nina, there were animal bones in that bag, with weird symbols carved into them! 

More and more, I get the feeling she isn’t even close to being Catholic, like me. What should I do?

-Troubled but Tempted



Dear Troubled but Tempted,

           It sounds like this girl has really gotten under your skin…and by the way, how is your skin? No strange markings have shown up anywhere, have they? Check especially at your hairline, or on the back of your neck. Use a mirror.

Faith is a funny thing. A private, individual choice, so it really shouldn’t matter much to you how she practices, or who she worships, unless you’re planning to marry her, and trust me, it wouldn’t be happening in a church. More like in the forest on Beltane, under the light of the full moon, with a proper sacrifice. Not the sort of thing you’d do on a whim.

My advice is to go with it. Let her paint your naked body with symbols, familiarize yourself with the phases of the moon, and maybe even present her with a unique gift… how about a mini vial of your blood on a pendant! Nothing says love more than parting with your life essence. 

Speaking of which… just a word of warning. If you’re in an exclusive relationship with this woman, do not make the mistake of spreading your “essence” around on the sly. I have a suspicion that cheating on her would be playing with fire, perhaps even literally. At the very least, the consequences could mean spending the rest of your life on a lily pad.

Until next time,
Madame Nina