The Town's Witch


by Ariel Johnson

She dresses in tatters of old cloth, wears her hair long and tangled, and lights her house with flame that is wild and not contained within glass, and so they call her mad.

She wonders, sometimes, if they’re right, but why should she change? The town around her has changed; the dirt roads were cobblestone, then paved, as horses were replaced by automobiles. Now there are speeding vehicles of shining metal, and she drops the curtains and retreats, startled. Traffic lights flash on the cloth and penetrate, but with lesser force.

Reality is held back from this house by the cloth and wood it is built of.

She locks her house with old fashioned, rusty contraptions, but no one ever breaks in; those that have lived in the town know what she is – or think they do – and so they do not disturb her often. Those who are new to town could never find her within the mythology of it.

But sometimes, something is needed. It used to be births or sicknesses or injuries, but now they have sterile doctors wearing rubber gloves and masks to do that, and so she slips further away from the people’s reality. Still, things are needed that technology as it is now cannot provide, and so instead they go to the madwoman.

Sometimes, when a mirror is shattered and luck is broken, when a child’s shadow slips off and runs into the woods on its own, when demons come knocking at a door, they call on her. And that is when she speaks the right words and heals the luck, when she mixes the right plants to call the shadow back and fasten it, and casts the right seeds to hold back the demons.

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Writers Bio

I'm a student who's been writing for several years now, and is just beginning to submit short works to magazines.
I have a love of surreal work that is not always helpful with certain kinds of writing, but shows in my shorter pieces.

I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spend my spare time reading and writing.
When outside of the house, I belly dance and take fencing classes.


Inspirational ImageImage by Frank Tuttleby Frank Tuttle

Pieces Inspired by this Image

'Her Nose in a Book'
by Emelia Ambos

'The Book of Love'
by Clint Wastling

'The Keys'
by Carol Whittingham


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