20071007

Witches End

by Robert Clay

Mrs. Milliband was old, older than anyone we knew, and she lived in a big Munster-like house with a sprawling garden, filled with strange twisted trees and wild-eyed cats that prowled this mini Serengeti in the middle of our urban landscape. We were just kids, so of course, Mrs. Milliband was a witch, and we imagined her dark boarded rooms as being filled with cobwebs, bubbling pots of terrible brews, and shelves, lots of shelves, crammed with jars wherein unspeakable glistening things floated in murky oily fluids. So one day, we crept onto her grounds, terrified and fascinated, to rub the grime off a window and peer inside in search of horror, and we found it. No pots or jars, no cobwebs to speak of, just letters, dozens of them scattered on tables and chairs, with one still clutched in her dead withered hand where she lay on the floor, jaw slack, still open but unseeing eyes glistening wet, as if they had been crying forever. We learned later that the letters had been written long ago in some distant muddy trench by a young soldier, before he was consumed by war, leaving his new wife alone, to read, and spend a lifetime dying of a broken heart. After that, I never believed in witches again.

6S

Robert Clay, author of Testosteronium, is a Seafarer now stranded on land. He lives in Cornwall in the UK.

10 comments:

mgirl said...

The saddest kind of horror. Great description, I can picture the everything.

Anonymom said...

Horribly wonderful. A perfect October 6S!

Jason Plett said...

Superior work, very stimulating.

austere said...

Shades of Faulkner/ A Rose for Emily?

Lovely.

Jp said...

Very nice. I liked this one alot. Good descriptives, poignant, overall very well put together.

Anonymous said...

Hits hard. Well done.

Quin said...

ah... the saddest kind of sad. sorrow and being condemned for your pain.

Pam said...

Quin said what I was trying to figure out how to say here. This is a wonderful piece.

Madam Z said...

I feel like crying also. This is an eloquent, moving story, Robert. Now, if only we could find a way to "never believe" in war again.

A said...

Witches don't need you to believe in them. They do just fine the way they are. I hope that poor woman had some pleasure in her imaginary life.