Our little group was in a spooky situation. We thought we would see a witch. The eerie trail through the dense brush seemed to be leading us to one.
Her ramshackle cabin half hidden by overgrowth was a place no normal person would live. Its back door, jammed against the tangled thicket, was where dark ghosts and demons were probably given access.
But here she was, as pleasant as a Sunday school teacher. I worried that she was luring us to a dismal fate.
“Would you kids like some biscuits and milk? I have some dewberry jelly that sets ‘em off real good.”
I figured that’s how she planned to poison us and was tending to run for it, but Jessie said, “Yes, thank you. I’ll help you set it out.”
We were committed to hexed snacks.
Jessie followed the witch right into her swampy dwelling. I braced for a scream, a sure sign that Jessie was no longer living.
That dang Warren made me jump by coming up and whispering, “Did you see a milk cow?”
“A milk cow. She asked if we wanted milk, but this is too far from town to have fresh milk.”
The heebie-jeebies had me grabbed. Nobody had seen a cow. “We shouldn’t be here,” I whispered to Eli and Warren.
The witch appeared in the door and waved at us. “Do you boys want to come on in?”
We didn’t move.
“Ok then,” she said, bright and friendly, stepping out. “We can snack on the porch.”
Jessie followed her, carrying a plate of biscuits with a bowl of jelly on it.
Eli had backed up to stand behind Warren. He was more skittish than I was.
“How could you go in there?” he asked Jessie.
The witch laughed. “Don’t you know that a woman always wants to see another woman’s house?”
Every time she talked I was less afraid of her. It was only when I tried to make sense of a woman living out here did it get all jumbled for me.
I remembered what I wanted to ask, “You said you had milk?”
“I’ll fetch it right now,” she said, picking up a pitcher.
She walked to the creek and picked up a rope tied around the trunk of a tree. I thought she might have a pet monster tied up, but she hauled a crock jug out of the water and emptied milk into the pitcher.
She served the milk in clean glasses. Eli forgot he was scared while he helped himself to dewberry jelly.
It all looked normal enough. I threw in with the others and took a swig. “The milk’s nice and cool.”
“There’s a deep spot in the creek. It’s always cool there,” she said. She ate a biscuit with jelly and sipped milk herself. She made it look dignified like my mom does when she tries to teach me and dad table manners.
She dabbed her lips with a kerchief tucked under her wrist cuff and smiled. “My name’s Marjolaine. I’m happy for your company. Let’s make acquaintances.”
“I’m Elijah. They call me Eli.”
“I’m Noah,” I said, hoping she didn’t need the information for our tombstones.
Do the kids need saving? Can Noah do it? Leave a comment.
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To read the series, click on September 2017, in the Archive list to the right and start with Tales Old Roy Told.
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