Friday, January 27, 2006

Short Story - The Witch

The Witch
“Where's the book? Where is the book!” The old witch scrambled around, sending piles of books and rubble spilling to the floor. Papers with half-spells jotted on them floated in the darkest corners, watching the chaos from their protected nooks. The cauldron cursed and muttered as the witch shooed it out of the way. She stopped, finally, hair waving in wild, electrified tendrils around her head, propped her hand on her hip and said in a huff, “Alright, who’s got my spell book?”

The trunk tried to slide behind a bookshelf, only too late remembering that it was dragging a corner, its leg lost decades ago to a spell that called for a chunk of hardwood.

“Aha!” crowed the witch, diving at the trunk, attempting to pry its jaws open. “Give it to me!” she croaked out, heels buried in the floor, fingertips digging into the trunk’s leather binding. The trunk shook itself back and forth in defiance, although rather awkwardly due to its missing leg, and slammed it’s lock-latch down for reinforcement.

“Give it to me or I shall hack you open with the axe!” The trunk looked towards the door to where the axe leaned glistening against he wall, sunlight pouring through the window and shining off its blade. The axe wiggled a bit, slicing through a stray dust mote, then leered at the trunk and glinted some more for emphasis.

Shivering, the trunk popped its lock-latch and creaked open its jaw. There, nestled among old afghans and hats and spare capes, was the spell book. Just as the witch reached for her prize, the trunk dropped its lid half-down, the threat to snap shut on the witch’s fingertips apparent.

“Ive had about enough of you, you dusty old thing. Ought to put you outside and let you rot, that’s what I ought to do. And I would, too, except that I’ve somewhere to be.” She crooked one gnarled finger at the trunk, narrowing her eyes in malevolence.

She turned then, the run-in with the trunk all but forgotten. “Broom!” she bellowed, smoothing her cape and setting a musty old hat atop her head. Up popped the broom from behind the couch, where it had been snuffling after a newt freed from its jar during the commotion. It flew to the witch, dodging here and there, barking in excitement.

“Door!” she bellowed again, causing it to fling itself open. She grasped the broom roughly about the neck, then jumped on and gave it a shake to calm its ridiculous energy. The witch pushed off and flew out the door, which snapped shut directly behind her. The door, as it happened, was exceptionally conscious of letting drafts into the cottage.

“Oh dear,” the wand worried, hovering by the window. “It would appear she’s forgotten me again.” It thought of chasing after her, but decided to sit and wait instead, until she realized her error and returned. Wands, after all, are much slower than brooms, and it didn’t see the point in wasting all that energy hustling about.

“Cauldon?” It turned towards the cauldron, who slumped over further and grumbled disagreeably to whatever the wand was proposing. “What do you say we prepare a nice cup of tea for her, hmm?”

And so they settled in to wait, and set about making tea and cleaning up the mess left behind in the witch’s hurry to be off. Smoke snaked up out of the chimney of the little cottage, who wished desperately that they would stop using it’s hearth so often; the soot wreaked havoc on its sinuses.


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