read the author’s introduction to the story here.
This is a story about witches. Well, actually, it’s about children vs. witches. Mostly, the children are very normal, just like you more or less. I assume you are familiar with what you are like. As for the witches, they are nearly all rotten and terrible, but there are a few good ones in the mix. You may also find peppered through this story: robots, monsters, multiple explosions, and even some giant chickens. Who knows?
By the way, I’ll be popping in from time to time to check and make sure everything’s going okay. I know some narrators like to pretend like they aren’t there, but not me. Nope. I’m right here.
Despite the good time I’m setting up, I should warn you that this story starts on a bit of a dark note. You see, the worst, most rotten witch of them all, dies right there in the first chapter, and in quite a lot of detail. I know, it’s not a very nice way to start a book that I just promised was going to be filled with fun and adventure and weird food— wait, what? I didn’t mention weird food? There’s weird food. And it all has to be this way for the story to start.
I won’t hold it against you if you need to just skip ahead to the second chapter. There’s more — lots more, and if you’re brave enough, you should give it a try.
Enjoy. I’ll be back soon.
Zemelda Rottentooth was extremely disappointed about her death. For a witch who deeply enjoyed seeing things through to the very end, feeling the first twinges of her failing heart just two weeks before her 100th birthday was very disappointing indeed.
She was 99, but looked at least twice that age, as a lifetime of evil deeds is bound to do to a person. Every inch of her paper thin skin was covered in scabs, liver spots, bruises, and dark purple blood blisters. Her wiry white hair barely concealed her scalp, and it stuck out every way imaginable because she never bothered to brush it or comb it anymore.
Why bother? She thought. No one cares what an old witch’s hair looks like anyway. She had similar thoughts about bathing. “Too much work, far too much work. An old witch should have a good stink on her,” she would say to herself. She was in the habit of muttering to herself under her breath. She didn’t keep much company except her snake, Ergot, and snakes are not picky about the company they keep as long as they’re fed on a regular basis.
She had visitors from time to time, and of course there were the witch meetings, those couldn’t be avoided. But she was The Town Witch, and she could smell however she wanted. But there were no visitors to smell her or talk to her on this night, and so, she talked to no one but Ergot. “They can all go pound sand if they don’t like the way I stink.”
She started to laugh.
She started to cough.
It took a very long time to stop coughing.
When she finally did stop she found herself on the filthy stone floor of her work room. She looked up to her bubbling cauldron, and then to the strange machine with whirring gears that sat upon her table. The room was lit by a fire and candles only. She had electric lights, of course, but Zemelda was committed to the witch lifestyle. Fire was the first magic, of course, and nothing else would be proper for creating spells, hexes and curses.
“Curses!” She screamed through a throat that was much more raw than it had been just a few moments ago.
There was another spasm of coughs, which she ended by spitting something black and red onto the floor. She looked at it for a long moment, and then she felt something happen in her chest.
Her heart was just about done. It skipped once, twice, recovered, and pounded erratically in her frail chest. Zemelda knew that her time was just about up. She looked around. Scrolls on sheepskins with dark red writing on them, books piled high and dripping black candle wax, animal bones from magic rituals and dinners she never bothered to clean up. None of that would save her now.
Her eyes landed on an old black and white photo of two teenage girls and a boy in Halloween costumes. One of the girls was dressed as a cat, the other as a witch. The boy was dressed as Superman, but his underwear were pulled up too high. Another coughing fit took her and she fell to the floor, and she knew somehow that this was it. There was nothing in her house that could save her, whatever was coming next was coming now, and there was nothing she could do about it.
Some people would have cried. Some people would have been scared. Not Zemelda. She turned her head to look through the window at the half moon that caught every wrinkle in her rotten, horrible, and mean face.
“You! You!” She screeched at the moon, for even the moon was mocking her, it seemed. A half moon two weeks from her birthday meant that her 100th birthday would have happened by the light of a full moon. On Halloween no less, although her birthday fell on Halloween every year. She had been cooking up some terrible surprises for the rotten brats of Storybrooke.
But it was not to be.
The children were terrified of her. The men reviled her, the women who weren’t witches despised her, and the women who were witches were jealous of her. Animals fled in terror whenever she came around, except of course Ergot, but only because there was a chance he might get a meal if he stuck around.
In short, she had enjoyed a long and very successful career as the Town Witch of Storybrooke.
But now it was all coming to an end.
There would be no 100th birthday.
There would be no full moon madness.
There would be nothing for Zemelda from that moment on.
Zemelda sneered up at the moon, tried to curse, but clutched her chest instead. With a gasp that everyone in town would rejoice to hear, Zemelda Rottentooth let out a final loathsome breath and fell to the floor dead.
Chapter 2 (Preview)
The next day, there were three words that were spoken more than any other in Storybrooke. Those words were, “Have, You,” and, “Heard,” precisely in that order. No one in Storybrooke had dared to say Zemelda’s name out loud for years. They might write the letter “Z” on a scrap of paper or just raise their eyebrows in a dark way that had somehow come to mean “Zemelda.” Even now, with rumors of her death spreading like wildfire, people couldn’t bring themselves to say it out loud.
Everyone knew that her birthday was in two weeks, so there was no shortage of suspicion that this was a trick. Zemelda was not above faking her death in order to pull off something supremely nasty…
Find out what happens next! Chapter Two is coming right up!
Kelly Raine is an artist, writer, and educator. He teaches children and likes the idea that he is pitching in to make the world slightly better. He wears a lot of black and wakes up very, very early.
© Kelly Raine, 2017 All Rights Reserved.