“Beware the wickedest witch, who creeps amongst the wares. Her eyes are dull and evil and black, to match her wicked hair. She rides amongst the gold that surrounds her wicked broom. She’ll stalk and steal your inks and pens so she may write your doom.”
It was a nursery rhyme that most of the children grew up reciting on the playground. It was common to sing it while playing hand games and jumping rope. No one knew the terrible truth about the Wicked Witch of the Wares—but some would soon learn.
Kae sat alone at the table, tapping his pen against the crudely drawn doodle on his paper. A cacophony of swirls and jagged lines came together to make a poorly crafted mushroom. Kae was happy with his scribbles. He smiled to himself as he added more lines to the paper.
“What are you drawing?” A raspy voice called from behind him. “I didn’t know you could draw, Kae.”
Kae turned around to see the ominous figure standing closely behind him. He didn’t recognize the person. Startled, he replied. “It’s…it’s just a mushroom.” He wondered how the person knew his name.
“Is that the best you can do? The other children made me believe you were much better than that.”
Kae squinted his eyes, trying to focus on the face of the voice. She was a short woman with raven hair. Her black eyes stared directly into his eyes, coldly, like a basilisk snake. Cold fog fell from her mouth as if she was frozen on the inside.
“You’re, you’re the Witch of the Wares,” Kae shrieked. “I didn’t know you were real.”
“Well that’s mean, Kae. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?” The woman was expressionless, as she mocked him. “You’re supposed to be a nice boy.” She stretched her hand forward, exposing her withered, bony hand. Kae stepped back, tripping over his feet. Her sectioned fingers grabbed his pen, keeping him from hitting the ground.
“Ahhh,” Kae exclaimed.
The witch lifted Kae up to his feet, and pulled the pen from his hands. “You should be more careful, boy. If you can’t trust your own two feet, what can you trust?” She clicked the pen and stared at its ballpoint as it continuously appeared and disappeared. She laughed to herself, but her eyes widened.
“Thank you,” said Kae, “but can I have my pen back?”
“What pen?” The witch slowly slid the pen into a fleshy, skin-laden pouch she wore across her shoulder. Her sack tumbled as it disappeared within.
“My grandmother gave me that pen.” The witch laughed, loudly, in Kae’s face as she slid his drawing off the table surface onto the ground. “Can I please have my pen back?”
The witch bit into her bottom lip and turned her back. Kae watched helplessly as she disappeared amongst the surroundings with his pen, her laugh slowly fading behind her.
He stared blankly into the distance, heartbroken. His pen was stolen by the witch. She would use it to write his doom. He wouldn’t be able to finish his mushroom.
He picked the crumbled-edged drawing off the ground and placed it on the table. He pushed the papers edge trying to flatten it back down. His drawing was still intact. However, a strange sentence appeared on the bottom of the page—a strange sentence that he didn’t write. “Daemonium fabulas autem timet.”
To be continued…