Witch Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a Halloween story I made up to entertain a group of friends a few years ago. It is more of an Ozark tall tale than a story, but it started me desiring to write once again after 20 years. It was not written originally to be shared with anyone other than my friends, so it is certainly not professional.

Submitted: September 28, 2013

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Submitted: September 28, 2013

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witch hits pole.jpg

Witch story

By Eddie Davis

 

Have you ever noticed those Halloween decorations that show a witch crashed into a telephone pole with the broomstick embedded in the pole?  Well, believe it or not, they actually commemorate an actual incident from only a few years ago.

 

It seems that down in Taney County, not far from Branson is a valley called Sleepy Holler and on the side of a steep, tree-covered hill, hidden from the road, lived a very old, very mean witch.  She was the last member of a long line of witches, and she looked the part too – she was old, withered looking and scary to behold.  She was quite a witch too – she had been born in 1861 and kept herself alive by a nasty concoction of a witches’ brew that she had to drink once every twenty years.  The potion kept her as limber and alert as a woman in her early forties, but the side effect was that it made her uglier and uglier each time she drank it.

 

She lived alone up on that hill in an old, run down log cabin that was the oldest building in Taney county, if anyone had been brave enough to check, but the people around her left her alone.  She liked it that way, as she hated people and hated technology even worse.  Her mother, who had also been a witch (and who had died just shy of her 300th birthday when she forgot to take her anti-aging potion one time), told her never to trust machines or technology.  She told her they’d get her in the end, if she ever did, and the witch remembered her mother’s words and avoided technology like the plague. 

 

For the first hundred years of her life, she was pretty content to live alone (except for her old witchy Mom for the first 25 years, and her pet crow Edgar).  None of the locals messed with her, except from time to time for a hillbilly wanting a love potion or for her to cast a hex on someone or remove a curse.  That was the way she got money to buy the few things that she needed, and she’d go into Branson about once a year to buy things, and then retreat back up onto her land, where she’d practice her evil magic.

 

She never rode in a train or a car, as that was far too technological for her and she didn’t want to be jinxed by the experience.  For getting around, late at night, she’d ride on her broom, or, if she had to go somewhere in the daylight hours, she’d walk.  She was satisfied with her life without electricity, telephones, television or even in-door plumbing. 

 

But when they began to build Table Rock Dam, all of that changed.  She watched in disgust as the White River was dammed up to form the large lake, and in her heart, she knew it was the beginning of the end for her.  That is not to say that she didn’t try to stop the march of technology – she’d fly out to the dam site at night on her broom and cast spells that would mess up the concrete or make the bulldozers not start.  She’d try scaring the workers with strange occurrences, but she learned that she could not put a hex on all of them – only on the ones who weren’t Christians, and even then she was careful as she didn’t want the county sheriff to figure out who was doing this.  So many workers dropped rocks on their feet, or smashed their thumbs with a hammer, or got bad cases of diarrhea.

 

Yet it was all in vain, and that only frustrated her more and more.  In spite of her efforts, the dam was completed and soon the fishermen came.  Again she tried to drive them off, by hexing the fish and prowling around the campgrounds that popped up after the dam was finished, but it did little good.

 

She grew more upset and frustrated.  Teens began sneaking across her land, and her pet crow Edgar would spy on them.  Edgar could repeat short phrases of speech and the witch taught him to repeat bits of what he heard when he was spying on trespassers.  Then she’d go and scare them off without much effort, usually one of her witchy laughs was enough to do the trick.

 

But there was one young man who just kept coming back.  He was a skinny, gawky kid named Isaac, but due to his love of gothic horror stories and especially since he looked like the cartoon character in Disney’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, he became known as Ichabod or “Icky” as everyone around called him.  He’d convince a group of teens every few months that if they sneaked over the barbed wire fence around the property and creep up the hill late at night, that maybe they could get a picture of the old witch which legend said lived up there.

 

The old witch grew so tired of having to scare off groups of stupid teenagers every few months.  She knew she couldn’t turn them into toads or make a tree fall on them, as that would mean that there’d be their parents and the police tromping on her land, and with them news people with those horrible lights and cameras and microphones.  She couldn’t stand that, so she was forced to just try her best to scare the kids off.  For about 6 years she fought with those darn kids, but to her great joy, finally Icky went off to college up in Springfield and the trespassing dwindled down to a rare occurrence.

 

Not long after Icky left for college, other people came onto her land.  One afternoon in the middle of July a group of men in a 4x4 bumped up her narrow dirt path to her house.  They got out and boldly came up and knocked on her door.  She was so surprised at their bravery that she hid from them, but they came back twice more, the following week, and finally left a letter from the county commissioner.  Her eyes bulged out in horror when she opened the letter after they had left, and learned that the county was forcing her house to be hooked up to the electric grid, or else be condemned.  And sure enough, a month later a crew began putting electric lines across the holler toward her house.  She tried to avoid them, but finally, when they came with a Sheriff’s deputy, she had to answer the door and agree to have her house wired for electricity. 

 

It was a nightmare for the old witch – the electric company crews told their family and friends about the scary old woman that lived without electricity in an actual log cabin on the side of Sleepy Holler and the news picked it up.  Soon the trespassers were even worse.  She was forced to completely redo her house to bring it up to a county fire code and for many weeks large groups of men brought the late 20th century to her life. 

 

Of course she had to hide her spell books and potions.  She concocted a story about being the great granddaughter of the old woman that used to live there back in the Civil War days.  There were so many questions and nosy people, she just about lost her mind.  Edgar went out every morning to spy on the crews upgrading her house to conform to the standards of the county.  So she knew what they thought of her, and not a few of them were rather spooked by her.  But it gave her little comfort. 

 

She was able to learn that the reason they had taken such an interest in her was that Icky, who was by then a Senior at SMSU, had written a story about his attempts to meet the witch of Sleepy Holler, and the Springfield and Branson papers had carried the stories, which had led to the County Commissioner to check for himself if the old lady was still there.

 

When the county was done, her poor old log cabin had been replaced with a small wooden house complete with electricity and in-door plumbing.  They’d laid down a gravel drive up to her house and the old witch felt totally violated by the modern world.  The first thing she did was to turn off the power at the fuse box and light up the old candles that she had used for over a hundred years.  She fumed when she thought about Icky – that stupid brat had caused her a lot of grief. 

 

A few weeks later, she began getting mail – something she’d seldom got before.  First was a bill from the county to pay for connecting her to the grid.  Then came legal letters, a nightmare trail of fines for not paying property taxes, or income taxes, and so on.  Then to add insult to injury, she received her first utility bill, even though she’d shut off the power to her house.  There was a “minimum charge”.  The old witch had no money; she had either grown, stole or captured what she ate and what she wore.  Now she was suddenly facing legal problems for living the life of a hermit.

 

For a month she had a temper tantrum, and nobody went close to her cabin as a weird glow and terrible sounds came out of the house.  The witch had experienced enough – she had decided she going to put the mother of all hexes on old Icky.  But he was still up in Springfield, as far as she knew, as she never read a newspaper and certainly wouldn’t listen to a radio or TV.  So for about a year and a half she plotted on how to get him.  A simple hex wouldn’t do, no she wanted something targeted specifically for Icky.  Something that would end in him dying, but without anyone knowing she had done it.

 

As luck would have it for the old witch, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a new attraction that opened up on the other side of Sleepy Holler.  It seems as if the story about the old witch that had appeared in the newspapers had inspired a developer to buy a piece of land about 3/4ths of a mile away from where the witch lived.  This developer thought tourists might like an attraction somewhat like Mutton Hollow in Branson, but with the added attraction of having a real Ozark witch showing the tourists her arcane ways.  Of course he didn’t really believe she was a real witch, just a crazy old woman, but he figured that around Halloween especially, the place would make a lot of money. 

 

To add to the theme of the park, he built a year-round “haunted house” and for entertainment, in the spirit of Shepherd of the Hills, they would perform each night the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which of course would play on the name of the location of the attraction, in Sleepy Holler.  A Halloween themed Ozark crafts town with a haunted house and a nighttime drama based on Washington Irving’s spooky tale. 

 

But first he wanted the actual witch of Sleepy Holler as the craftsperson showing “Ozark witchcraft and folk ways”.  So he went to see the witch, climbing over the fence and boldly going up to the door – in the daylight, of course.Well, the old witch was in a financial pinch and the ingredients for her spells and incantations were becoming more and more difficult to find as the area around Branson grew more and more urban.  She could have got most of the items on e-Bay or Amazon, but her hatred and fear of all things technological kept her away.  Her mom had told her that as soon as she gave in to technology, it would be the end of her, and she’d probably endangered herself by agreeing to hook up to the electrical grid, so she wasn’t about to do anything like learn how to use a computer.

 

So when the developer, overcoming his extreme nervousness of being inside her house, told her about the theme park and his desire to have her as a key member of it, an idea came to the old witch, and so, to the developer’s surprise and release, she grinned a half-toothless, haggy smile and agreed to “star” as the craftswoman.

 

And so, a few months later, the old witch walked the 3/4ths of a mile to the new attraction and took her place in the old cabin that had been constructed to look like her old log house before the remodeling.  Each day for many weeks she sat in front of a bunch of stupid, wide-eyed tourists as she instructed them in a coarse, crackling voice, how medicines were made in the “Old days”.  She never divulged any of the real good spells, only the old apprentice level potions that anyone with half of a brain could mix up.  But the old hag was a huge hit and more and more tourists – mostly women—came to see her, thinking they were learning some real witchcraft.

 

The developer had dressed her to fit the part, in the traditional witch costume, that was not far at all from what she wore.  She was able to put in a request for ingredients for her potions and the developer’s people would break their necks to get it for their “star”.  And each night, after the Legend of Sleepy Hollow was presented at the outdoor theater, she’d walk the back road home. 

 

She didn’t realize how popular she was, and they didn’t realize that she was the real deal either.  She’d sit there as they’d ask her stupid questions, pointing those nasty little digital cameras in her face to take her picture.  The teenagers with their little Cell phones were her absolute worst annoyance.  They’d stand there during her demonstration talking like idiots to some friend, holding the darn contraptions up to their ears.  She HATED the cell phones the worst, and many times would mumble a spell to make the blasted things lose their signal.  She would often secretly practice her hexes on the tourists, usually simple things like making one fall over their shoe strings or pass gas loudly during the demonstration.  Several times she made doors close in front of teens that were texting on their cell phones while they walked.  She took great pleasure watching them walk into the shut doors.  This was her favorite trick to do and many times she’d belittle them for texting while they were walking.

 

Yet all the time, she was hating her “new life” and her status as the star of the attraction.  She endured it, though, for she knew that sooner or later, Icky, hearing how she’d came in out of seclusion, and now staring in an attraction that presented an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, would have to come down from Springfield and see her for himself. 

 

Then she’d get revenge.  So she prepared.  She learned that the man who did the stunts in the Sleepy Hollow adaptation was an English major who had attended SMSU with Icky.  This man played the part of the headless horseman and had a very lifelike horseman’s suit and a real horse was used as well.  The witch very deviously befriended the actor (and she’d never befriended anyone before) and though it took every bit of her acting ability, he believed her.  She casually asked him about Icky and was pleased to learn that the two men had been pretty good friends. 

 

Over the course of several weeks, she found out more and more about Icky, and even learned what kind of car he drove.  This was part of her plan.  After she learned all that she needed, she cast a spell on the friend of Icky and hypnotized him to do her will.  She had him call Icky and tell him about the new theme park.  When he told Icky about the witch that he’d tried all his teen years to see, had began working at the park, he immediately said he wanted to see her in person.  So the witch had Icky’s stuntman friend arrange him to drive down to meet her in private one evening after the park closed.  He promised he would come.

 

The witch set everything up to get revenge on Icky.  The plan was simple:  there was a long hill a mile or so north of Sleepy Holler and at the bottom of that hill was a sharp, nearly 45 degree turn.  Many cars had wrecked there, as there was a sharp cliff to go over if someone crashed through the metal barrier.  The witch cast a spell on the safety barrier to weaken it enough to not stop a car.  Through her zombie-like control of the stuntman, she had him don his costume, complete with a real pumpkin.  She had him wait on his horse halfway down the hill.

 

She believed in poetic justice and this would be a perfect end to Icky.  When he drove down the hill, the stuntman would zip out onto the road and throw the pumpkin at Icky just like in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  It would so startle him that he’d lose control of his car, crash through the safety barrier and go over the cliff.Then she’d take the spell off the stuntman, who wouldn’t remember anything, and the Sheriff would arrest him for the murder of Icky.To be careful, she’d linger on at the park so other people would see her and provide her with an alibi.  She’d send her crow, Edgar, to watch the murder and tell her what happened. 

 

She couldn’t wait to extract her revenge on Icky and the day of the planned murder attempt she was very excited and nervous.  The day passed slowly and that night as soon as the park closed, she sent the enchanted stuntman on to his position at the bottom of the steep hill.  She then sent Edgar out with the order to repeat everything he heard.

 

Shortly after sunset, Icky’s little Toyota electric car buzzed down the hill, and the hypnotized stuntman waited until he was close to his position, preparing to brake for the sharp turn.  Spurring his horse, he flashed out onto the road, Icky saw the headless figure in his headlights and threw his hands up just in time as the pumpkin sailed through his driver’s side window and smash into him. 

 

The witch strained her ears to hear anything from the nearby hill and she was awarded with the sounds of  squealing tires and a loud crashing sound.  She heckled in delight, imaging the scene.  A few minutes later she heard the sound of many sirens and she danced a little jig and clapped her hands in joy.  Just a moment later and Edgar flew up to her and landed on her arm.  “What did you hear?”  She asked the crow.

The crow, like a living tape recorder, repeated back bits of what he heard. 

“Caw, caw, there’s the car, down there, there’s the car down there.”

“Caw, caw, is there anyone in there, is there anyone in there?”

“Caw, caw, what do you see, is anyone in there?”

“Caw, caw, It’s Icky, it’s Icky.  It’s just awful, it’s just awful!  What a mess!  What a mess!”

“Then he’s dead!” the witch exclaimed, “Finally my enemy is dead!”

The witch laughed long with joy.  She was so excited that she decided she had to see the scene for herself, before they took the body away.  So she grabbed a broom, made sure no one was around, and took off quickly heading toward the accident scene.

 

When she got there, she was shocked.  The fire trucks and police were just leaving, because Icky’s car had not went over the cliff at all but had skidded off the side of the road and sideswiped a tree.  He stood outside talking to the police.  There was no sign of the stuntman.  The witch could not believe it.  She became enraged.  He had beaten her again, but she had had enough.  This time she was going to do it herself.  She’d turn him into a frog or a rat or something.  She fumed and flew around for a while as Icky finished filling out the police report.

 

Edgar the crow had reported what he’d heard alright, but when the fire fighters had arrived at the scene, they’d found Icky’s car empty – as Icky had went up the road to call the police and hadn’t made it back yet.  Inside the smashed pumpkin had exploded all over the car, and the rescue worker – a young blonde woman from southern California- had said that the mess was ‘icky’ as in gross and kind of sticky.  So that was why the witch was confused.

 

Finally, the police left and Icky got into his dented up little car and turned around to go back up the road.  It was, by this point, after midnight and there was no one on this road that late.  The witch saw her chance – if she could put a hex on him and that caused him to wreck that would be perfect.  If he survived, but was cursed to spend his life as a toad, that would be fine too.  Either way, she’d be rid of him.  She followed above him in the sky on her broom and waited until he got to a long straight stretch of road. 

 

It was time!  She pushed the broom down into a dive and roared in from behind him without making a sound.  Icky’s driver’s side window was shattered from his earlier wreck so she thought she could do it.  She glanced ahead and saw no one on the road coming the other way, so she pulled along side of him until she was parallel to the door. 

“I have you now Icky!”  She yelled across to him as her broom matched the speed of the car. 

Icky looked over and his eyes nearly popped out of his skinny little head.  His hair stood on end and he actually let out a scream like a girl.  The witch loved it!  Icky floored the accelerator and the little electric Toyota managed to accelerate to 60 miles an hour.  The witch sped up and kept along side.  Icky was sweating like a hog about to be slaughtered. 

 

“You’ve ruined my life, Icky!” she cackled loudly, “My Mother warned me that technology would ruin my life, and yet you wouldn’t leave me alone!  You kept trying to see me!  Well what do you think now, Icky?”  She laughed hideously and Icky turned as white as a sheet.  His hands gripped the steering wheel but he couldn’t get the little car to go any faster.

 

“Your stupid little automobile won’t let you get away from me now!  I hate your modern world with its electricity and light bulbs, your televisions and cameras.  I’ll show you!”

 

Icky had grabbed his cell phone and was franticly trying to drive and dial or text something at the same time.  The witch screamed, “Your stupid portable telephone won’t help you, Icky!  It’s too late!  I’m going to put a curse on you; you’ll spend the rest of your life sitting in a pond eating flies!  I’ll teach you!”

 

With that, she took her hands off the front of the broom, turned toward Icky and began to chant the hex that would change him into a frog.  She hadn’t cast the spell in a long, long time and had a bit of trouble remembering it, so when she finally got started, she didn’t see the truck coming the other way down the road.  The truck driver didn’t know what he saw in his headlights, but honked his horn.  At the last instant, the witch saw the truck, broke off her spell and did a sharp bank to the left as Icky slammed on his brakes. 

 

But she was going too fast to stop and at 60 miles an hour she plowed into a telephone pole so hard that it embedded her broom through the pole.  The witch was dead. 

 

As you can imagine, the incident made big news and the accident even caused the Missouri congress to pass a law to make sure this sort or thing doesn’t happen again.  For you see, as of last year, due to the great danger it causes, it is now against the law to be hexing while you are driving. 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 ecdavis. All rights reserved.

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