Mini Fiction Monday: The Witch Around the Corner

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

Today is an exercise in sometimes-you-just-do-it-anyway. I am–bummed. I’m feeling raw and angry and like many over the past two years I am sorely tempted to let that derail this weekly dose of impromptu fiction.

But I realized that at the end of the day, ditching out on my commitment to myself would only serve to make me angrier and upset with myself in the bargain.

So this might not be good (a possibility every time I do one of these).

And my feelings might ooze out into the story and color the edges in ways I wish it didn’t (still a non-unique circumstance).

So basically, today is no different than any previous day, except that instead of being excited to go through my writer’s workout, I don’t wanna. And sometimes, many times, we have to do things we don’t wanna because they need to be done. And if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing even when it isn’t ideal (what is ideal, even? Oh don’t get me started).

Today’s Prompts: A person who always says yes, wig

I warned you that watercolors would be foisted upon you. A picture of my sister at the piano.

Evan kept his lips pursed tightly together.

It didn’t seem fair. It wasn’t fair.

The punishment outweighed the crime. It was crazy.

He’d read fairy tales when he was a kid. He’d seen the junior high rendition of “Into the Woods.” He knew, in principle, that it was unwise to take produce out a witch’s garden.

But this was the twenty-first century. Everyone knew that witches were make believe and actually a misogynist act of persecution against older single women in the middle ages.

And yet, here he was staring down Pressly Jensen, the worst looking girl in school with a horrible question hanging between them. “Will you go with me to Winter Formal?”

He fought it. With every ounce of his being he fought it like he had been for two weeks now. Every question, every conversation, he would blurt out, “Yes.”

The look on her face when he answered her was so stunned, and then so pleased. He felt like a real sack of garbage telling her he would go, when he knew full well he would do no such thing, but that witch–

It was all her fault really.

He had just hopped the fence to cut through to the other side of the neighborhood. And no one minded if you took an orange or a grapefruit off a tree from someone’s front yard. The neighborhood was cool like that. But this yard, this garden paradise hidden in the cement blocks of suburbia was a whole different thing.

There were garden boxes full of tomatoes and bell peppers. Rambling brambles that sported bright red raspberries, still warm from the sun. Lettuces, beans, squash, carrots, radishes. A bounty he would never have expected. All of this he could walk right by.

But not the pears.

Ripe green and red pears hung amid dark, cool leaves. He didn’t even realize he’d stepped up to it until his hand was reaching out and plucking one from the branches. Just one. One pear out of dozens.

And he’d offered to pay for it. He’d apologized profusely.

But she had just smiled and said he would be eating his words soon enough.

And ever since that night, all he could say, no matter how painful the consequences was yes.

Pressly put her arm through his, since he wouldn’t take her hand, and started rambling on about what eh should wear and what she would wear and should they go with her friends in a big group or meet everyone there. And Evan wanted to die, to punch out of the humiliation of having said yes in a moment when he should have been able to laugh or shrug and declare an emphatic, No!”

He considered leaving the country, buying a wig, and changing his name. None of it felt drastic enough.

That night he went back to the witch’s house and knocked on the door. He was ready to do anything, a decade of indentured servitude, slow torture, whatever. He just needed control over his mouth back.

When she opened the door, she didn’t seem half so intimidating as she had in the dark of her verdant back yard. She reminded him a little of his Nana, if with just a little more sparkle in her eye.

“Regretting your choices already?” she asked, with a devious smile.

“Yes,” Even blurted, no need to hold it in now.

“Oh, my,” she said, a slight tilt to her chin. “You got a taste of the affirmative, did you?”

“Yes?”

“I just mean you can’t say anything other than yes, right?”

“Yes,” Evan replied with more misery than he’d ever felt in his life.

“Already gotten you into trouble, has it?”

“Yes!”

“well, I’ll tell you a secret.” The witch leaned forward in a conspiratorial manner. “There’s no cure. Because there’s no curse.”

“What?!”

“See? You needed an excuse to be more positive, and your brain gave it to you.”

“But I don’t want to go to the dance with Pressly. Do I?”

Evan thought about it long and hard for a minute. Some of the guys said that Pressly was ugly, but he had never really thought so. He liked her freckles and the way she laughed. And she laughed a lot. Yeah, she talked a lot, but most girls liked to talk. At least she was usually cracking a joke.

The witch just raised an eyebrow.

“Um, is there something I can do to make it up to you for taking your pear?” Evan asked.

“No need.” The woman grabbed a paper bag with half a dozen of those pears and handed it to Evan. “I have more of these than I know what to do with. Take some to your mom, and tell her I said hi.”

Evan blinked, took the bag, and said something he realized he said too infrequently, “Thank you.”

With that the witch, if she was one, waved her hand and closed the door. Leaving Evan to go home and tell his mom that he’d brought her some pears and ask her what he should wear to the dance.

~Anika

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