There’s an old legend that says if you come across a witch’s hat some place it shouldn’t be on Halloween, tip toe around it and leave it be. It’s growing. Spell by spell, hour by hour, a new witch is coming to life in the shadows protected beneath it. She’ll be fully formed by nightfall. Mark the spot, come back to it as you trick and you treat, and you might just catch her flying off on her broom.
Her voice fell to a whisper. “Be careful, he’s sensitive.”
A grumble filled the air. “Because I used to be an ogre. I used to fight! I could eat a village in two minutes flat. Broke records, I did, until I met that witch with twitchy wand. Now look at me, I’m a dang marshmallow!”
Deep in her dreaming, she found the forest she once knew as a child. The pixies who told her stories, the goblins that played hide-and-go-seek in the gullies, even the mean old witch who lived in the hollow tree – they were all still there.
“Of course we’re still here,” said the pixies. “This is our home. You’re the one who left!”
“You abandoned us for your growing up, didn’t you?” The witch’s voice still sounded as hoarse and bitter as she remembered. “Didn’t you ever realize that growing up and friends like us are not mutually exclusive?”
She sat down on a fallen tree as the realization washed over her. “I never did.”
“At least you’re here now,” said the goblins, hugging her knees. “We’ve missed you so.”
She adjusted her hat and cloak, shooing away a slug who wanted a nibble. It was not the first time that lazy, no-account wizard she called a husband turned her to fungus to avoid losing an argument. In fact, she should probably be thankful he didn’t turn her into his own toenail fungus this time. Ugh, the memory still made her shudder.
She whispered a few rhymes and turned back into her usual form – short, squat, and rather dumpy. The epitome of attractiveness for someone in her third century. Her nose had lost its customary wart, but she could pick up a new one in town later. Or not. It gave her an idea for her revenge.
She crept up on her husband, tapped him with her wand, and turned him into a hairy wart she stuck on the end of her nose. Then she spent hours sniffing skunk cabbage, just to drive his allergies wild.
As for him, he passed the time planning his counter-revenge, and pretended not to have a small glow of pride and love for her cunning. After all, this is what he married her for. Romance might last a century or two, but pranks are forever.
He threw down his pen, disgusted with himself. Everything he wrote today felt so bleak. Where were the goblins, the dragons, the boggarts, and the banshees? Hiding in the folds of tomorrow, he bet.
He had an idea.
Running to the kitchen, he grabbed a moon shell and filled it with water. If he held it just so in the light of the moon, sometimes he could scry the future. Why wait ’til tomorrow when he could get a head start on its writing today?
She looked out at the world with her good eye, the one that could see past illusions to all the things unsaid and unseen, and it made her sad to see that people hid the best of themselves deep inside where no one could ever harm them, and no one ever saw.