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By A Dark Moon

by Faith Allington

Don’t be friends with a witch, that’s what they say. They call old Miss Winnow a witch, but she’s not like that. Always a scrap of meat for the strays, a lock of hair for nesting birds. They think every witch looks like her–spindly as a leafless tree, silver moon eyes. They think she can see in the dark, although I reckon that bit’s true. She saw through that boy who hurt the Dennison girl, didn’t she? Though folks blamed her, saying she made it happen, on account of the girl’s father. They say her cats are familiars, but she’s a brewer. Cats chase mice away from the grain and keep you warm as velvet besides. It stands to reason, if anyone in this village ever listened to reason. Not even Miss Winnow listens. I try to warn her, but she just smiles. Better to live quick and free than to bow your head and die slow inside. By the time I find out, it’s too late. Ma and Pa hold me down until everything is charred. Don’t they see? She’s not a witch, or she’d have saved herself. My heart cracks open. Everything I touch turns to smoke, choking my lungs. The flames have not died out, but they’ll see that, soon enough. I’ll show them all what a witch can do.

Faith Allington (she/her) is a writer, oddity, and lover of mystery parties. Her work is forthcoming or has previously appeared in various literary journals, including The Fourth River’s Tributaries, Honeyguide Literary Magazine, Crow & Cross Keys, and Crab Creek Review.

Lead image: “red flame” (Photo by raquel raclette on Unsplash)