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Long ago in a village isolated from the world by dense trees, lived three sisters. The sisters stood as a landmark of the small village; their pure black hair and matching eyes drawing attention to their pale skin that seemed to glow with an ethereal light.

Submitted: June 01, 2016

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Submitted: June 01, 2016



Long ago in a village isolated from the world by dense trees, lived three sisters. The sisters stood as a landmark of the small village; their pure black hair and matching eyes drawing attention to their pale skin that seemed to glow with an ethereal light.

The eldest was known by her excited determination; her hair tied back constantly in a tight bun except for sweeping fringe that framed her bright eyes and smile, her name was Sunny.

The middle sister was often acknowledged as the odd one out of the group, her personality cold as ice; her long wavy hair held in a simple braid to hang near the base of her back, her name was Krystal.

The youngest of the trio was treated as the baby of the village, bubbly and intuitive she charmed all she encountered; her hair arranged in an intricate crown that she often filled with flowers and other plants, leaving her blunt fringe to rest on her forehead, her name was Wendy.

The sisters who were left without a parent to watch them lived together near the dense wood that surrounded the village. They were respected as medical geniuses, often curing illness within the town. Their lilting voices and powerful brews saving even those who appeared to be on death's door.

Together they were loved and celebrated within the village, knowing everyone and gaining their trust in a heartbeat. Even the healthy felt more at ease in the presence of the sisters. The constant smoke from their chimney filled the village with a sweet soft scent.

The fate of the small village changed when the church set up, clearing away the old trees that had been there for centuries. Strangers had filled the small town. They used the fallen wood to build homes and a tall building; they went through the town telling all of the church and inviting them to see the Sunday service. They had gone to every house before a man in a neat suit and heavy dark circles under his eyes walked to the final home an old house with a chimney with a trickle of purple smoke floating from the chimney. The heavy door opened to reveal the eldest sister, she smiled kindly at the stranger in the door inviting him in and asking if he would like a drink.

“Thank you Miss, my church has just finished building across the village.”

“Oh that’s what all that noise has been?” Sunny held the polite smile on her face, laughing lightly while handing the man a glass of pale liquid.

“I’m sorry if it’s been any trouble. The congregation has been traveling through this fine village, inviting you all to come and join us for our Sunday service. I’m sure that a lady as lovely as yourself must have a husband; is he here?”

“No, my sister’s and I are all unwed. Thank you for your inviting us; if any of your congregation find themselves ill, you’re always welcome to visit us and we’ll help free of charge.”

“Thank you Miss. I hope to see you and your sisters for the first mass of the church on Sunday.” The stranger quickly excused himself on the premise of preparing a sermon, introducing himself as Reverend Edison.


On Saturday as the sun began to fall from the sky; Sunny sat in the old chair near the fireplace which had been there as long as she could remember; it had been where her father would sit and tell her stories of magical creatures that guarded nature and the tricks he had learned from them. After throwing another handful of light petals and roots into the fire with another log, Sunny sat with her legs curled near her body, listening for the two sets of light footsteps that would soon pass from the woods into the cottage. One set delicate and planned, one irregular and sharp.

Krystal and Wendy walked through the door together, Krystal carrying the heavily bound leather book that had been passed through their family for generations and Wendy with baskets of strongly perfumed plants filling her arms and extras woven into her hair.

“We’re home!” Wendy boomed even though Sunny was hardly five feet from the door; Krystal shook her head lightly at her younger sister’s enthusiasm.

“Did you find everything?” Sunny inquired rising from the old chair.

“You know we did. We even found a bonus! There was a field with a Rafflesia arnoldii in it.” Krystal who was returning the book to it’s shelf nodded in agreement with Wendy’s words.

“It was gross, but we managed to nab a petal.” Wendy held up the smelly plant to show Sunny.

“It was over by the new part of the village, growing on a vine by a tree stump.”

“I’m sure that’ll come in handy, although it’s an odd spot to find one.” Sunny said. “I put soup on the stove for when you returned it just needs to be heated up again,” Sunny mentioned before taking the baskets from Wendy who nodded smiling as her youngest sister continued to talk about all they had seen while gathering their plants her eyes bursting with light.

The trio sat around their small dining table, the soup that had been warmed now in their mismatched bowls. Idle chatter (mostly between Sunny and Wendy) filling the room.

“Hey, Sunshine?” Krystal had said in the middle of her sisters’ conversation about the best wood to burn for the night, they’d been torn between pine and oak. “Why are there so many new buildings in the village anyway? The entire east end of the forest was destroyed. I saw one and it looked like a church, but there hasn’t been one here since what happened to Father.”

“Well, my dear Ice-Krystal, thank you for reminding me.” Sunny took a deep breath preparing internally for her sister’s reactions. “There is a new church. They invited us to their service tomorrow.”

“No,” Krystal’s voice was definite and abrupt. “I hope you told them no, we aren’t going anywhere near that place.”

“What’s so bad about a church?” Wendy looked between her sisters questioningly.

“They’re the reason for our father not being here anymore. They mu-”

“Krystal, please.” Sunny cut her the middle sister off, looking back to Wendy. “Back before you were born, a group of misguided people made a mistake. They called themselves a church, and they thought they were doing the right thing, but it wasn’t. There is nothing bad about a church.”

“What did they do?” If Sunny could have gotten away with it she would have screamed with frustration, but her parents had raised them all to be well mannered. Even if one might not guess so. So instead she took another slow breath while wondering what she should say to quench her sister’s curiosity.

“They killed him.” Krystal’s words were sharp and much faster than whatever Sunny had finally opened her mouth to say. “They found him working in the garden, dragged him to the center of town to proclaim him a witch, and murdered him.”

“Krystal would you please quit it?”

“What’s a witch? Why would they do something like that, did Father hurt someone?” Wendy’s voice was softer than usual, that matched with the quivering tone was the tell tale sign Sunny had learned meant her youngest sister was doing her best to keep from crying. The older two sisters looked at one another trying to find the words to explain to Wendy, the death of their parents had always been one of few subjects they never dared to speak of.

“Well a witch is someone who does things other people can’t explain,” Krystal started looking at Sunny pleadingly for help.

“They do things like bewitch people into thinking things, and doing others,” Sunny said matter of factly.

“Father never hurt anyone though.” Krystal made sure to emphasise this.

“It’s just that they didn’t understand how he did what he could with medicine, it scared them.” Sunny said as she reached out placing her hand over Wendy’s.

“Then why doesn’t Krystal want us near them? And if they thought Father was a witch for what he knew how to do, wouldn’t that mean that we’re witches because we do the same things?” Sunny pulled her signature smile sure to make Wendy relax.

“Because she’s just a grouch who can’t let things go,” she sent a swift kick to Krystal to stop her from complaining. “And don’t worry about it Windy Wendy, nothing bad is going to happen.”

“But aren’t we witches to?”

“Maybe, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing anything wrong. Now let’s clean up and go to bed the sun’s almost down.”


Days passed as the sisters dodged the unresolved tension, Krystal becoming increasingly cold as her older sister would mention bumping into Reverend Edison while bringing Mrs. Lee her medicines. She took her aggression out while grinding a handful of dried aspen instead of confronting Sunny. The oldest hardly noticed her sister’s pent up frustration, filling her free time with meeting the Reverend and the time with her sisters speaking about him. Wendy, as blissfully unobservant as she had always been, couldn’t place the tension that seemed to slowly fill their once happy cabin. The youngest had taken to spending more time in the village playing with the few children there avoiding her sisters unspoken argument and acting sorry when Sunny would scold her for staining her shirts with grass and mud; insisting that she should know how to keep clean at the age of 14.

Whilst Wendy was playing in the village one Sunday afternoon, looking for the baker’s son Kenneth who had found an awe-inspiring hiding place, she heard a pair of men exiting the church say Sunny’s name. Wendy had always been told by Sunny she had been too curious for her own good, manners didn’t matter to her as much as knowing what she wanted to. Lifting herself off of the dusty ground where she had knelt to check in the hedges, Wendybegan following closely behind the men tuning her ears to their conversation.

“--must be under some sort of spell,” the taller one said.

“I’m not sure Millard; if I didn’t have Lorrane, I might try to court one of those girls myself.”

“I have followed under the reverend for decades. Yet I’ve never seen him act so strangely. I swear with the Holy Father as my witness, those sisters are witches.”

“Perhaps they are, but what are we to do about it? They’re the best doctors we have ever seen.”

“I say we burn the lot of them. Good doctors or not; how can we be sure they aren’t bewitching our children when they cure them?”

“You have a point there. The one that wears flowers in her hair has been getting rather friendly with little Richard hasn’t she?”

“She surely has; I refuse to raise my children in such close proximity to the Devil’s henchmen. No matter how thick the sheep skin they wear is.”

Wendy slowed her steps, letting the men get far enough away to miss the way she turned and ran sharply weaving through the wooden homes towards the cottage on the edge of the woods. The chimney released clouds of pale green smoke today. She saw Krystal kneeling by the door plucking weeds from their small vegetable patch.

“Krystal!” said girl looked up from her work to see her Wendy running towards her. “Down . . .” she doubled over trying to catch her breath. “Down . . . in the village-- talking-- witches-- burning . . .” Krystal froze as if possessed, gripping Wendy’s arm and pulling her into the house where Sunny was sitting in her father’s chair.

“Sunny! We need to talk.”


“About? How about the fact that your new friends want to burn us at the stake?”

“Krystal, what do you mean? I thought we had this settled. They aren’t like the last church, we’re fine.” Sunny stood up on her tiptoes to look Krystal in the eye. Being the oldest yet shortest had its drawbacks.

“That’s not what Wendy heard,” Krystal snapped back. Turning to the youngest who was just getting her breath back, Sunny following suit and cocking an eyebrow.

“Well . . .” Wendy drew the word out brushing some left over dirt off of her skirt. “I was looking for Kenneth during our game when two of the gentlemen from the new church were passing and I overheard them say your name, Sunny, so I figured there was no harm in seeing what they were saying.” She ignored Sunny who tried to scold her for eavesdropping. “They were talking about us. They said that we’re witches and should be burned. Sunny, I think they were being serious.” Sunny took a deep breath pulling her hair from it’s bun and retying it, a habit she showed when she was contemplating.

“We need to go,” Krystal said matter of factly. “It’s either us or them, and I don’t believe they would be fond of us telling them to leave.”

“No, no,” Sunny was bustling around gathering her jacket. “I’ll go talk to Edison about this. I’m sure this is all some sort of misunderstanding, you two just stay here.” Sunny rushed out of the door, not paying attention to Krystal and Wendy who tried to call her back.

Sunny found the reverend skittering around the church cleaning up from the service held earlier that day. It didn’t take him long to notice Sunny standing in the entrance, brushing the parts of her hair that couldn’t reach her bun away from her face.

“Sunny, I didn’t expect to see you here,” Edison stood brushing the dust from his trousers. “Is something wrong?” He had probably noticed the blotchy flush that had filled her face.

“Wendy overheard some of your congregation speaking on her way home. She says they plan to m-murder us for witchcraft.” Sunny choked on the words.

“I assure you I have heard of no such plans.” Edison walked to Sunny taking her small hands into his spindly ones. “I can’t imagine what would give them a poor impression of you or your sisters.”

“Krystal is furious, or rather terrified. It has always been hard to tell with her,” Sunny laughed lightly. “She says either the church leaves or we do.”

“I thought you were the oldest?”

“I am, but the difference between being 19 and 21 isn’t that large. I trust Krystal’s intuition almost as much as my own.” Sunny observed the reverend’s tired thin face; he looked more ill than half of the patients the sisters would see a year.

“Please stay. I will talk to my congregation about this. Tell your sisters there’s nothing to fear,” Edison released Sunny’s hands smiling a small smile and exiting the church. Sunny stood alone in the vast hall, looking up to the stained glass window that faced the sun that was high in the eastern sky. It’s colored light shone across the pews.

She took her time in returning to the cottage formulating how she would convince Krystal to let them stay and see what Edison could do. Finding Krystal and Wendy sitting near the hearth with three bags already packed next to them was similar to what Sunny had anticipated coming home to. She tried her best to calmly convince Krystal to stay, to get her to understand everything would be fine. It ended in the worst shouting match any of them had ever experienced, not that fights were uncommon in their household. The match was cut short by a knock at the door.

Wendy who had been fighting the urge to cry as she’d been placed between her sisters, left to answer it. In the entry stood one of the village’s newer residents holding a young child in her arms. She pleaded for the sisters to save her son who had fainted after he had eaten a strange fruit that had grown in their garden thinking it was honey dew. Sunny and Krystal, who had been pulled from their fight by the woman’s cries stood behind their little sister. Quickly they collected the child, whom the mother addressed as Leo, carrying him to the small dining table and laying him down. Sunny ran her hands over the child to feel for a pulse and breathing. Simultaneously Krystal asked the mother more questions on what he had eaten as she flipped through her father’s book showing different fruits that could fit the description to see which it could be.

“Sunny! It was Taxus baccata. We need to work fast,” Krystal said as she nudged the crying mother towards Wendy. “Wendy please take our guest to the kitchen.” The sisters all nodded rapidly going into action. The mother stood in shock as she watched them work, Wendy handing her a glass of light pink fluid as Krystal mixed ingredients into a large bowl along. She could even hear Sunny whispering in what sounded like a foreign language over her son.

“Krystal! Hurry!” Sunny shouted as the boy began to convulse on the table, quickly switching to more hushed words directed at the child. Krystal ran as she mixed the contents of the bowl, Wendy close on her tail. The youngest sister stood behind Leo with an empty bucket holding his mouth open for Krystal to pour the contents of the bowl down his throat. Sunny still muttering as she held him in a sitting position.

It ended as quickly as it had begun with Leo violently spewing the orange contents of his stomach into the bucket held by the youngest sister.

“Leo, can you hear me?” Wendy held the boy’s pale face waving her other hand in front of his glazed eyes. Sunny held another glass out as Leo slowly began to blink, eyes shifting around the room. Krystal led his hand to the glass and told him to drink.

They had been able to send both mother and son home that night, under the pretext that the Yew plant that had sprouted in their garden would be removed and brought to the cottage. The mother had nearly been in tears thanking them for their help, even if below that she felt a fear of the sisters and their abilities. The trio had refused her offer of payment, instead saying that having Leo up and moving was reward enough.

As soon as the pair had gone, Krystal and Sunny gave each other a knowing look walking towards their parents’ old room that sat untouched since their mother had died. They all gathered on the old bed, hand in hand, and slept deeply leaving the mess of the day as it was.


The morning sun woke them all along with shouting and banging on their front door. Their hands still locked together they rose and walked towards the old wooden door; Sunny taking the initiative to release her sisters’ hands and pull the heavy lumber open.

The entirety of the town appeared to have gathered on the grass in front of the little cottage. Before any of the sisters could say anything they were pulled from their home and dragged towards the center of the town.

Wendy, who had been lifted the highest, could see a large tree trunk propped straight up towards the sky.

“S-Sunny?” she called looking for her shorter sister amongst the mob. Hearing the Sunny’s voice call back,

“I’m okay. Don’t worry my windy Wendy. We’re going to be okay,” she shouted, fear evident in her voice; Krystal could be heard screaming unsavory things at those who carried her.

“I don’t think we will be for long,” the words were barely a whisper from Wendy’s lips.


Sunny felt as if she was watching the whole ordeal as a third party. She more watched than felt the rope that tied them to the stake, her hands finding Krystal’s to her right and Wendy’s to her left, locking their fingers together. In the front of the village she watched as Leo’s mother ran to the front proclaiming the witchcraft she had witnessed, telling how that night Leo had suddenly died, how it had to have been a curse placed on him by the witches. The mob began chanting in perfect synchronization. The words, “burn the witches,” filled the air. She couldn’t feel her cries for them to listen, to understand but she could hear them, hear herself pleading for them to spare her sisters. She watched as Edison stood before the crowd, relief quickly crushed as he joined in calling for his god to damn their souls and punish them for the evil they had done.

She felt the wilted petal of the Rafflesia arnoldii in the pocket of her skirt. She tried to remember how the flower would get there. Sunny watched as the reverend threw the burning torch to the tinder that surrounded them. Felt the grips of her sisters’ hands tighten as the flames rose around them. Sunny called for mercy, only to be delivered the pain of hearing her sisters scream. Sunny watched as it all faded away.


In the woods not far from a small village, three sisters awoke against all odds. The night sky above them blinding them with the full moon's rays. Wendy was the first to comment as they all sat staring at each other.

“We’re alive?” her voice was set to a new timbre, one that was unrealistically metallic. They marveled at each other as the light of the moon shifted and revealed more of their new appearances. Gone were the ties that held their hair back; leaving it to fall around their shoulders, Sunny’s just brushing her shoulders while Krystal’s fell to the ground they sat on. Each sitting in awe felt their once black shining hair and found it red as blood and dry as bone. Their eyes no longer full of life, but twinkled black like the inky sky. Their skin shone brighter than the moon, leaving them all speechless.

“I guess so,” Krystal muttered, her once cold tone now warmer as if it was thawing.

“What do we do now?” Wendy asked.

“Why don’t we go back and show them what a witch really is?” Sunny said grabbing the attention of her sisters who had been staring at their claw-like fingernails. The three locked eyes wicked smiles filling all of their faces.


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