(900 words) Agnes stood at the edge of the assembled villagers gathered around the old stone bridge. On the bridge stood Matthew and Tobias, both blacksmiths, and Thomas the cobbler with his half-witted son, Jacob. The latter wore a leering grin as the two pairs of men lowered two women, tied around with ropes, into the scum-covered river Lud that formed a pool below the bridge. A cheer went up as they were dumped unceremoniously into the water. “Now we’ll see as they’ll sink or no!” laughed Susanna, the village candlemaker, then all fell silent as bubbles rose from the submerged bodies.
Oswald remembered his mother’s advice. “Never accept food from strangers.”
“Why not mother?” he’d asked.
“Well, if you buy it from Mr. Barmwell, the baker, you know he will have checked the ingredients and made sure they were all tip-top and wholesome. If you buy food from a shop, well they have important people who will have made sure the food is healthy and safe to eat.”
“But a stranger, well, they could have put poison in it, or worse!”
Oswald scratched his head. “What’s worse than poison!”
“Ah, well, there are potions that would turn you into a giant cockroach, or make your arms shrink to nothing, or turn everything you say into a scream of pain, or ….”
“No, I won’t mother,” Oswald interrupted hastily, not wishing to hear further horrors.
But now the wicked witch, for such was she, held out a crumb from the most delicious-looking cake Oswald had ever seen.
“My mother said I mustn’t accept food from strangers.”
“Ah, one little crumb can’t do any harm, surely?”
Oswald, hesitated, then took the crumb from the old woman’s wrinkled hand and popped it into his mouth.
(400 words) - Aspects of the cottage were unusual to say the least. A large white, winged-devil gargoyle hung to the left of a handwritten sign - Haunted Cottage. Julie and I exchanged glances. “Welcome, you found the place then!” A short woman in her sixties with a mop of long, incongruously-black hair answered the … Continue reading If Two Witches Were Watching.. (400 word version)