Return of the Poisonous Ones : Son of a Batch
Yes, this is merely another transparent attempt at messin' with HP's moderators and the highly touted QAP system. Actually, this is a place where friends can chat without going on the forums and getting embroiled into another hopeless discussion. Lucky for me as I am serving an indeterminate forum ban according to the powers that be.
Anyway, I'll slop along and get to the faux tale so we can begin chewing the fat without the page taking forever to load. So without further ado I present:
A Witch In Honeysuckle
I’d never heard anything about there being a witch in this part of the country until I was in the fourth grade at Honeysuckle Elementary School. Of course, this was in 1960 when I lived a ways out in the country.
Unlike many of my classmates, I didn’t get to hear the latest news as it made the rounds through the many gossips and other busybodies whose job it was to surprise and sometimes frighten the locals.
My name is Ricky Moss, only son of Kathy and John Moss who operated a small farm not far outside of town. Having never put too much stock in anything supernatural--although the swamps and bays of this South Georgia country was indeed conducive to such tales of ghosts and other malevolent creatures--the story of the witch pricked my imagination enough to want to see her with my own eyes.
“She’s almost too awful to look at,” Katie Jones gasped “all humped over with her head crooked to one side.” She was cute with her blond hair and blue eyes, but I would only notice this a few years later. Tommy Gray--a short chubby boy with red hair--agreed with Katie. “She flashed her evil eye at Joe and Becky Thomas last Saturday while they were in town. They said it was all clouded up and creepy lookin’ and scared the heck out of ‘em both.”
I thought about what the other kids had said about the witch all day during my studies, mulled the information over while half hearing the teacher drone on about history and other subjects. I had to have a look at the witch of course, simply had to. I questioned the Thomas children about what time of day they’d encountered the witch last weekend and made my plans accordingly.
I suppose I wasn’t the only curious 4th grader hankering to see the scary old crone in person, but not too close, of course. The alley along the railroad tracks and behind the storefronts--where the witch had been sighted last Saturday--appeared to be deserted shortly before 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but I saw movement and heard voices indicating otherwise.
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There were several more of my classmates secreted behind the garbage cans and packing crates strewn along the narrow alley behind the stores. I recognized both Tommy and Katie’s voices as I picked my own particular place to observe the witch in safety, but I stayed at my vantage point until the sun was almost down and the shadows had completely darkened the alley. It was only after I was almost ready to leave when I noticed someone moving along the narrow space slowly and with a strange gait.
Dressed completely in black, the figure passed right in front of the place Tommy and Katie were waiting. I could now see the stooped over form of an old woman, her head twisted at an odd angle as she leaned upon her cane during her passage. She only possessed one eye, the other was covered by a black patch held by a strap across her forehead. The ebony shawl she wore over her head obscured all but her face.
Yes, her face was covered in dark liver spots,. Moles and warts seemed to vie for space on her ancient visage as if they belonged there. Her teeth seemed to be placed at random in her mouth, her chin jutted out at an angle which never faced forward towards her destination. There was no doubt this was the witch we’d heard of, no doubt at all.
The Evil Eye
She seemed to know we were there watching her, sensed we needed to see her, to know there was such a creature after all. She stopped and slowly lifted the patch covering her eye, let us see the dead white thing which now occupied the worthless socket in her head. She drew a figure in the dust--a pentagram by the looks of it--then hurried on by, a cackling laughter in her wake was all we were left with. Other than the thoughts she instilled in us that day, that is.
The event affected all of us observers, but in different ways of course. I believe it bothered me more than the other kids at the time for a very good reason. The next afternoon, after we returned from church, I decided to confront my feelings by riding my bike down an isolated dirt road just outside of Honeysuckle’s city limits. An old unpainted house sat just off the road among the trees, blending perfectly into the surroundings, almost invisible if you didn’t know it was there.
After leaning my bike up against the small stoop, I approached the front door and gently rapped on it twice with my knuckles. In a few moments the witch herself slowly opened the door. Of course she invited me in for milk and cookies, witches always do that in fairy tales. This particular ruse always seems to work well getting innocent children inside of a witch’s lair, and this time was no exception.
You see, I had known the witch all of my short life, had loved her as long as I’d known her. She was actually my great aunt and was no witch at all. My mother had long since filled me in on Aunt Millie’s misfortunes in life. “She was once the most beautiful woman in these parts, “ my Mom told me. “She seemed to have everything going for her, was married to a very handsome man who made her happier still. Until the accident happened, that is.”
The Witch's Misfortune
“While she and her new husband were on a trip to Atlanta, a terrible train wreck took many lives, her husband’s among them. Millie was horribly mangled and most believed she would never recover from her injuries. She did though, but not without having a disfigured body. lost sight in one eye, and sustained such horrible facial injuries which caused many people to look away when they beheld her.”
So this was the witch of Honeysuckle. Millie still loved life and she loved me like I was her own. She kept me for my Mom many times when I was a small child. She loved to tell me stories using her voice to make all of the different characters come alive in my head. I finally asked her why she had began scaring the kids in the alley lately, why she dressed like, and acted as if, she were indeed a witch.
Everyone Needs Some Fun
“I suppose I just wanted a bit of fun for a change," she explained. "It began as an accident long ago when I encountered some children on my way to pick up my weekly groceries from the back of Mr. Jordan’s store. I never went up front because my appearance seemed to disturb some people and I didn’t want that at all. After that I dressed as I though a witch would, embellished my actions to add a little mystery to my appearance. And the adults know I‘m only having some fun because I scared them too when they were small.”
I promised to keep her secret around the other kids, and even to vouch for the veracity of the tales about her. Everyone needs to have a hobby of some sort. And as I said earlier, I loved this old woman. The old axiom, “Beauty is only skin deep” is wrong. It should read “Ugly is only skin deep, but beauty is to the heart.” I can personally vouch for the truth in these words.
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A tale sort of. An excuse for gabbing also. For friends, foes, and others in between. It is all this and more. Feel free to join in and comment freely. You will find joy and sorrow both, I fear.
The title says it all! Plus a not-too- short tale as usual.
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