The Witch

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Witch. A halloween based short story by S.R. Remus

Submitted: November 09, 2013

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Submitted: November 09, 2013

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The Witch

By: S.R. Remus

 

As the sun sets across the eastern Maryland forests, darkness creeps across the landscape. Tall, lush green trees grow black in the night as stars start to speckle the landscape above. A seamless horizon of dark land stretches seemingly into the starry night. A cold, chilling breeze brushes across the tops of the trees, causing the old, tall, lumber to creak and crack through the still forest night. As the night stretches across the landscape, a small flicker of light, in a small cutaway of the forest, throws massive shadows high into the sky.

“Double, double, toil and trouble, eyes of newts, and hearts of frogs,” an eerie voice shrills in the night. “Cast the spell across the land, of the deepest heavy fogs. Remove the life and heart from all who come near this sacred forest part,” the voice shrills out again. The light casting shadows, throws out a shadow of a large cloud of smoke, and a faint shadow of a hunched over figure, near a large black cauldron. A fire burns fiercely underneath the black cauldron, the wood cackles and shoots sparks outward in all directions, a shadow prances across the light, dancing around the cauldron in a tight circle.

The figure stops, and turns outward towards the forest surrounding the cutaway. Slowly the figure rises, standing straight; it slowly raises its hands to a black cloak covering its entire body. With one swift grasp of the cloak, the figure quickly removes it and tosses it to the sky, reaching its hands upward as the cloak floats slowly down to earth, the figure shrieks, “Enfuriosa enflamagada!” The black cloak rips across the sky into a giant flame, in an instance the cloak falls to the ground slowly, covering the figure in a fine smoke gray ash. Gently the ash falls, first sticking to long straight brown hair, then down across the outstretched thin, feminine arms and hands, the ash collects gingerly on a silk black dress that hugs the figures hourglass shape, stopping just above the knees. The ash collects at its final resting spot in front of the figures small, smooth feet. The figure drops her head straight, peering into the forest, emerald green eyes pierce deep into the night. Without hesitation, she shrieks loudly into the night, kicking the ash back into the sky, she continues to dance around the cauldron.

Across the dark night a fine mist slowly creeps through the forest, gradually the mist thickens, rolling into a deep fog across the land. The fog rolls between the trees of the forest near the cauldron cutaway, the smoky haze gradually fades the light from the fire underneath cauldron. The mysterious female cackles and shrieks, and with the blink of an eye, the entire forest cutaway falls into a deep, soulless night.

 

Part 2

The encounter

 

A beautiful young woman adorned in a long lavender cotton dress, outlined on the bottom with fine silver lace thrills races up the stairs of a large walkway towards a mansion off in the distance. Her black flat shoes slap each step with a tender clap, as she sprints towards the mansion. As she reaches the final expanse of steps, she stops suddenly, turning gracefully back looking out across the land. The horizon dotted with treetops as night gently cascades towards the young woman. She looks out, her smile, as pure and white of a dove seemingly casts out across the remaining sunlight, her cheeks are dotted with a rose blush, light auburn hair is tied neatly in a bow behind her head, and her eyes are a soft crystal blue that invite the sun to dance across her soft pale skin. Behind her, a white mansion that stretches to the heavens, large etched marble columns support a large granite patio overhang directly above the young woman. The sides of the mansion are strewn with large glass windows, the sun cascading through them. The young woman turns and runs into the mansion, large oak doors slam shut behind her.

“Father, father,” the young woman shouts sprinting through a long hallway. She passes by grandiose paintings framed in gold, the hallway path covered in a flat red rug nearly stretching the width of the hall, stopping just short of the white and gray swirled marble walls. She stops at the entrance to a round room, adjusts her dress quickly and walks hurriedly towards a large red velvet chair positioned offset to the right of a fireplace. “What is it dear, you know better than to interrupt my quiet time,” An old voice bellows toward the young woman as she approaches the chair. “I know father, but I saw the most awe inspiring thing in the forests over east Maryland, I saw faint light swallowed up by a quick rolling fog as the night rolled in. It was truly terrifying at how quick that forest subdued to the night.” The young woman excitedly tells her father about the light, the fog and the rush of darkness. “I told you, you need not concern yourself with that part of this land. We are far better off staying away from there. It is riddled with creatures and those who would stop at nothing to get their hands on our money and land. We will not have this conversation again, from now on stay out to the west, with our people, on our land. Shouldn't you be preparing for the engagement tomorrow?” His voice is loud, stern and direct. “Father, I wasn't anywhere near there. I simply watched from our stair steps, it came out of nowhere, the fog swallowed the dark forest so quick, it was almost magical!” The young woman, obviously still excited by what she saw quickly change her tone. “Father, I am prepared for my engagement, the celebration of Prince Andres’ love for me and our soon to be wedded bliss is truly what I’ve always wanted.” The young woman sighs and spins as if imagining her dancing with Andres in tomorrow’s ceremony.

Her father stands up from his chair slowly, watching his daughter spin, drifting off into her imagination. “I’m glad to hear that my daughter, your marriage to Andres will resolve our people to this land for another generation, I am truly happy for you.” He gently walks to his daughter, kissing her forehead. “Come my dear, we must get to rest if we are to be up early for the engagement.” He grasps his daughter’s hand and they exit the massive circular fireplace room, gently down the hallway they walk, discussing details of the engagement. The two separate hands at the far end of the hallway. They exchange good night hugs, and enter their chambers for the evening.

The young woman is sleeping soundly in her four post bed, lace netting encases the bed, and a cool crisp breeze flutters in through an open window on the far side of the room. The breeze grows colder, a voice carries softly through the room “Come to the forest and find what you seek,” the young woman, shivers in the cold, but remains captive in her slumber. “Come to the forest and find what you seek,” the voice caresses across the down comforter and circles around the young woman. Suddenly a loud shriek from outside the open window, the young woman flies to her feet tossing her sheets and comforter to the side of her bed. She glides across the floor in a hurry, flinging her window open wide. “Come to the forest and find what you seek,” the voice caresses the young woman as she stands by the window. Staring out towards the dark forest, she sees a faint flicker of light in the distance.

The young woman, flies through the mansion, stride after stride, her feet barely tapping the ground before floating into her next step. The large wooden doors fly open effortlessly as the young woman, fueled by adventure, excitement and adrenaline sprints off into the night. She moves with graceful agility, barefoot, graciously carving her path through the forest in the direction of the flickering light. Her feet carry quickly over snapping twigs and leaves. Leaping like a gazelle over fallen logs, and brushing through thistle bushes as if they are not there. Her breath stays calm, as she makes haste towards her goal, like a cheetah closing in on its prey, the young woman is intently focused, keeping her gaze fixated, a flickering like glows greater as she approaches a round cutaway in the forest. The forest opens up to a fire, popping and snapping in the dark openness, the stars, disappear beneath a thickening cloud of smoke emanating from a large black cauldron. The young woman’s pace swiftly comes to a gentle, cautious walk. She circles the cauldron, looking intently for the owner of this scene.

“You’ve come to the forest for what you seek, a soul to steal and a heart which makes you weep, bring me your one true love, and I’ll grant you back your life to keep.” A cloaked figure glides, smoothly across the ground, appearing to the young woman to be flying effortlessly towards her. Terror strikes the young woman; cold chills raise the hair on the back of her neck, her smooth skin now chilled with goose bumps. “Who, who are you?” The young woman stutters softly, her voice, hard to find as the mysterious cloaked figure approaches within arms distance of her. “Bring me what I ask, and I will let you return to your life of luxury, you’ll never again to approach my home, or you’ll spend the rest of your nights empty hearted and alone,” The mysterious figure removes her cloak, now standing eye to eye with the young woman. The young woman is taken aback by the startling request, not from the terrifying images of witches her father had used to strike fear into as a little girl, but by someone, who the young woman felt, rivaled her in beauty. “I will not repeat my request, meet me here with your one true love tomorrow night, or never see him and your father again.” The mysterious figure places the hood covering her head, raising her arms towards the starry night; she drops them to the ground, leaving the young woman standing alone, in the forest cutaway, no fire, no cauldron and no witch to be found.

 

The Witch’s Request

Morning caresses through the open windows of the young woman’s room, she gently stirs under her covers, sliding gently out of her bed, lost in her mind of a dream gone bad, her sole focus is now on Prince Andres, her soon to husband, today is the day of a wondrous celebration of their love. The engagement festivities will begin for all the people of the valley to enjoy. Quickly, the young woman begins to make ready, carefully dressing in the finest, softest, cotton maroon dress, handpicked and delivered via horse drawn carriage by Prince Andres himself. Her hair maids meticulously braid her hair down the center of her back, small white bows carefully placed at each braided intersection; she looks the part of a future princess.

A loud clanking knock echoes through the room of the young woman. Quickly a maid responds, cracking the door gently, a gasp, the door pushed wide. Standing in the frame, adorned in a large metal suit, a knight, a long sword slung across his back, a thick worn leather strap securing it across his chest and over his shoulder. “I hear the most beautiful woman of the valley has found herself a prince to wed,” the voice is caring, yet masculine. Slowly, the knight raises his metal gloved hands to his helmet, releasing two latches around his neck; he lifts off his helmet slowly. His aqua blue gaze is fixated on the beautiful young woman as she stands, trembling. “Lord Stefan, how did you know? There had been no replies to all of our inquiries; we heard of the ambush, there is no way,” her voice falls silent as the knight walks smoothly towards her, his metal suit is silent, it doesn't’t make a sound, he is graceful in his armor. “My dearest Charlene, I am a resolute soul. We escaped, albeit barely and once I heard of these festivities I had to meet the man who had successfully stolen your heart from me. I must say, I am relieved that Prince Andres is a good man. I just wanted to announce my presence prior to the festivities; it will truly be a glorious day.” Without hesitation the knight replaces his helmet, snaps the fasteners and makes haste out of the room, gracefully not making a sound.

The gala celebration brought hundreds of villagers to the mansion grounds that day, laughter and joy filled the valley. Prince Andres and Charlene walked down the steps of the mansion to the edge of the forest; a cool breeze chilled the two lovers. “Come to the forest and find what you seek,” a familiar eerie voice echoed across Charlene’s ears. “Andres, my love, I have something dreadful to tell you about, I thought it was a dream, but alas there is something terrifying about last night.” Charlene’s voice was cold and unsettling. “My dearest, are you okay? Please tell me, there is nothing that terrifies you that I cannot protect you from,” Andres was reassuring, grabbing Charlene’s hands, looking intently into her eyes. “I, I ventured into the dark forest last night, toward a far off flickering light. I ran, so far and so fast until I made it into a clearing, and, and that’s when I saw her.” Her eyes watery, a single tear streaked down her cheek. “My dear, I’m confused, you went to the dark forest at night, saw who? What is going on my love?” Andres now captivated by his bride to be, gently caressing her cheek, wiping away the tear. “I encountered a witch Andres,” tears now flowed like a small stream of pain down her face. “She wants the heart of my one true love or I will never see you or my father again. She wants me to bring you to the clearing I met her in last night, tonight.” She wraps her arms around Andres, sobbing gently into his shoulder. “Charlene, my dear, we need not fear a witch, we will go to this clearing and I will confront this she devil and exclaim to her how foolish it is to threaten our livelihood, her magic will not persuade us to do anything. It is but sheer foolishness that she even pretends it exists.” With such certainty in his tone, her grabs Charlene’s hand tightly. “Take me to where you met the witch.” Andres’ voice is reassuring. Charlene grasps Andres hand tight and cautiously, the two lovers walk into the dark forest towards a dim flickering light.

What seemed to take Charlene minutes the night before, now was seemingly taking ages. The two lovers, hands held, struggle fighting branch after branch, tripping over logs and brush, the forest, as if knowing the fate approaching, making an effort to turn them around, away from the witch’s request. The dim light in the distance grew slowly, the forest path grew denser, begging the two to turn around, but they denied the request of the land around them, finally, the familiar crackle and pop of the fire filled the air and into the clearing the two lovers stumbled. The black cauldron and fire lay exactly where it were the night before in what Charlene had thought this morning was a terrifying dream. She and Andres now stood a few paces inside the forest cutaway. Andres slightly in front of his lover, as a mysterious cloaked figure emerges from behind the cauldron.

The witch approaches the couple, once again, seemingly gliding towards them effortlessly, appearing to hover slightly above the ground. “Bring me what I ask, and I will let you return to your life of luxury, you’ll never again to approach my home, or you’ll spend the rest of your nights empty hearted and alone,” the witch, raises her arm, extending her hand to Andres’ face. Her smooth palm firmly presses against Andres’ cheek, she pauses. “I said; bring to me your one true love!” The witch shrieks and hisses, rapidly retreating. Andres steps forward, “Listen hear you harlot wench, whoever you think you are. I am the one you seek, I am the keeper of the beloved Charlene’s heart, without me she would eternally weep,” his voice firm, carrying through the forest.

The Ending

Rushing through the forest, a shimmer of metal glistens against light from stars; fighting to light the forest floor. With grace, the metal clad figure, pursued closely by an older man, make haste through the dark forest night. The knight, and the old man, head quickly towards a visible orange glow emanating throughout the forest. The flames reach towards the sky, stretching towards the stars, climbing high, far above the treetops of the forest cutaway.

Andres and Charlene carefully circle the cauldron, the witch circling opposite the two lovers, pacing them. The witch shrieks and shrills repeatedly tossing unknown items into the black cauldron; smoke and fire erupt from above the brim, shooting towards the sky with each new addition. The witches attention is suddenly drawn away, the sound of metal clanking and branches breaking grows loud from behind where she stands. Within moments the witch stands mere feet from Lord Stefan and Charlene’s father. She quickly mutters underneath her breath and glides smoothly across the cutaway, now being stared down by the four protagonists. “I watched you two walk out here, your father and I came as quickly as we could. Who is this woman that threatens the family of the valley?” Lord Stefan turns slightly turns toward Andres. “This so called witch has threatened the family, Charlene came to her last night, once I heard of the threat, and I knew we must put an end to this foolishness.” Andres glares intently across the cutaway to witch. “I asked her to bring me her one true love, but now I can put an end to the family that cast me aside. I see you father, hiding in fear, don’t you still love your daughter dear?” The witch cackles, casting her cloak aside.

Bewilderment draws across Charlene’s face, Lord Stefan and Andres turn briefly, towards her father, both nodding slightly, the sign of men acknowledging the witch’s crazy claim. “Give me your sword Stefan; I’m going to put an end to this witch’s claims once and for all.” Charlene, extending her hands, ready to take on the witch her threatened her and her family. Stefan hesitates for a moment, and then reluctantly draws his sword, placing it into Charlene’s reaching hands. She takes a cautious step forward, lifting the blade effortlessly, impressing both Andres and Stefan. Her eyes now locked onto the witch, hovering effortlessly feet off the ground. Andres and Stefan watch intently, her father shielded behind Andres.

The witch staring down the party ready to vanquish her, smiles, floating to the ground, she winks. Without hesitation Charlene turns abruptly driving the massive long sword through Stefan’s chest, the crunching of his metal armor as the blade pierces into his flesh, gliding through him like a knife through butter. Andres turns quickly only to feel a sharp pain pierce through his back, Charlene’s father drives a small blade underneath his left shoulder blade, his flesh tearing as the tip of the blade protrudes through his chest. Blood wells in the throats of the two men, coughing weakly, slow streams of blood gurgle from their mouths. The two men slowly drop to their knees, slumping over, their lasts breaths labored, burbling amongst the blood. Charlene and her father stand tall above the deceased, turning slowly to face the witch.

“My daughters, it appears the witches of the valley will feast tonight and enjoy another hundred years of life.” The father smiles and walks gingerly over to the witch. She approaches him, wrapping her arms around him tightly. “Oh dearest father, I’ve missed you, but your plan to prolong our stay in the valley worked masterfully.” The witch releases her embrace. Charlene and the witch race to each other, hugging and embracing tightly. “Oh sister, how I’ve missed you,” Charlene exclaims emphatically. The sisters hug as the father now stands over the bodies of Stefan and Andres. He sighs, bending down to one knee, he grabs Stefan’s right arm, removing the metal sleeve. He takes his blade, still dripping with Andres’ blood, and begins to slice into his flesh. The blade slides through the skin and flesh, catching onto the bone. He grabs a nearby rock, and pounds it on the top of the blade. With each hit of the rock, the knife cracks into the bone. Finally, he pulls, the arm detaches with ease, turning slowly he tosses the arm into the black cauldron.

 

“Remember this witch’s feast, & tonight, beware what you eat.”

Happy Halloween!

 


© Copyright 2018 SR Remus. All rights reserved.

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