Over the past month I have been writing a piece of flash fiction every day, using prompts from @willowandroxas on Instagram for #WillowWitchtober. I have really been feeling the spooky season this year so even though I think the challenge is mainly aimed at visual artists, it seemed like a lot of fun to write about different witches every day for a month!
When I was younger I used to scribble short stories all the time, but in my twenties I seem to have been mainly focused on writing and redrafting a few big projects so it was a nice change of pace to exercise my imagination and come up with new ideas every day. Some might even become longer stories down the track, who knows?
Here are a couple of unedited pieces I wrote this month and a few photos from my October camera roll.
“Pass it to me.”
Niamh extended her hand and Cole dropped the object he was holding into her palm. Niamh had half a second to take it in – pale blue glass, frosted white and edges smoothed by years beaten on the sea floor – before the memory took her.
A glass bowl, held in two pale, soft hands. Glass – not very practical for a sea voyage, but nothing about this young man was particularly practical. He lifted one of his hands to pluck a gleaming gold hoop earring from the collection of jewels the bowl held, but as he reached up to his ear he set down the bowl – and the memory was severed.
But Niamh was still holding the smooth piece of sea glass, and she could feel the other pieces that had once made up the bowl as if they were tugging her on strings, reaching for the shard in her hand as though to make the bowl whole once more.
Niamh closed her fingers around it, and with her other hand pointed out to the horizon.
“Set a heading!” Cole called, and the crew leapt into motion.
Calla was out of breath by the time she reached the windswept hilltop. Though the graveyard was protected by trees, wind rattled through their branches. The sound in the winter forest was like teeth chattering.
She approached the overgrown grave and lifted the bunch of flowers from her basket. Out of season, but that hadn’t been a problem for her. She knelt down in the grass and plucked the flowers one by one from the bunch, setting each stem to the ground and calling down its roots until it stood firmly before the mossy grey stone. Calla had been cultivating the moss over the past few years, and now she saw a sprout of ivy peeking out of the soil. She reached out and encouraged it up the curved edge of the gravestone, emerald leaves unfurling around the name etched into the stone.
“There you go, Gran,” Calla said, settling back into the twilight.
“Thank you, my dear.” The voice shivered through the leaves.
Claribel sat beside the fire, feeding it pinecones, her eyes glazed. It was coming up on a decade since that wizened old man had imprisoned her in this cave. Though she had used her abilities to fill the place with comforts, she had never succeeded in breaking the enchantment that held her captive.
There was still time, of course. What was ten years when you’d lived 800 already? An evening, maybe. The passing of time didn’t disturb her the way it had as a young woman. Back then the world had been filled with infinite possibilities and there could never be enough time to see them all through. But as she’d aged those endless opportunities had faded away, unimportant, as her life and her cares crystallised. No; she could wait.
Still, one did get lonely eventually. And though she was in no doubt that eventually she’d find her way out of her cosy prison and make that wizard rue the day he’d turned his tricks on her, it would be nice to have some company in the interim.
The embers cracked and threw up sparks, catching her attention. Her eyes came into focus on the burning logs in the hearth. She twirled her fingers, gently coazing the blackened wood into form, a smile pulling at her lips as the creature took shape. A head like an arrow, its eyes glowing embers. The lithe body and flicking tail that brushed over the fire, coal-black.
She held out a hand and the flame marten flowed up her arm like lava, its paws pleasantly hot, and settled in the crook of her neck.