Minnie aged 14
Alice dragged the man out of bed by his hair, heaving him down the stairs as his head went bonk-bonka-bonk on the banister. Being a witch was no good if you didn't have extraordinary strength.
With great effort, she managed to haul him face down onto his sticky linoleum kitchen floor. The man pulled his upper-body up, swaying from side to side childishly. Alice gave him a good smack round the face and turned him to face her.
"Why did you do it?" She hissed.
"Whut?" He said, but just by default. You see, Robert Lambert was not a clever man, and bluffed his way out of situations with dumb looks and 'Whut's and the more-than ocassional beer. But this time, he was even more vacant than ever as he emptied the contents of his stomach on the floor.
"Do you not know what you did, Mr.Lambert? You killed your wife!" Alice snapped, jerking his head back from his vomit-festival.
"She was.....she was sl eeping." He frowned.
"Well, I'm glad to see you've got your story straight. She was sleeping." Alice said sarcastically. "Was she sleeping so boringly that you had to stab her to death?" Lambert gave out a loud and despairing wail.
"It was the man that done it! That man who said he'd give me two shiny pieces of silver if I gave him my shoes." Lambert wailed. "I done it! I gave him my shoes to walk around in! Oh no oh no oh noooo!"
"Lambert, do speak sense. Be glad the whole village hasn't heard of your antics. She had her fair share of adorers in this village, ones that would've considered themselves lucky to be you. How do you think they will react to this?" Alice laced up her brogues and stepped back as a spray of projectile vomit came her way.
"He stepped into my body and dropped the shiny silver coins by the bedside and he stabbed her and he were in my body, Miss. I cant do no nothin' about that! He killed my wife and I couldn't fight back!" He wiped his tears away, but smeared his face with blood.
"Are you scared of this man?" Alice adopted a more gentler tone, thinking that it was possible someone as stupid as Lambert could've been possessed and not able to easily fight back.
"He give me my coins and then he step out of my body and yank my shoes off and then....he disappeared, leaving only the cackle that jangled hollow hearts and bones." Lambert ignored her question, and flung himself on the floor, wailing. "My love!" He sobbed.
The cackle that jangled hollow hearts and bones....
Alice had only heard of that in her Daemons book. But Lambert couldn't read. And the Daemons book was strictly witch-of-the-village material only. So how could he have so clearly described it?
"Calm down." Alice patted his back as he vomited even more and more. She used her Healing Hand whisper on his back and his body became sagging, his tongue lolled out and his eyes slid shut. Using an old kitc hen towel, she cleaned the dried sick and blood off his face and out of his hair.
The door burst open loudly, the lock giving and falling on the floor. There was swearing and shouting as men and women alike stormed down the hallway. Alice straightened up and went to meet them confidently.
"He's sleeping." She snapped. "And if any of you want to know what happened, Lambert is innocent. He did not kill his wife, but whilst your here, go and tell everyone you know to lock their houses up before nightfall and never to talk to an old man in a black cape." She turned and picked Lambert up, swinging the massive bulk over her dainty shoulder. "Right?"
The villagers nodded dumbly, but one, one who dared speak again a witch's word, stepped out of the crowd, leaving a fine trail of hay behind him, and proclaimed,
"Whatever the reason, the man is still a murderer!" The man raised his pitchfork so high that it scratched the ceiling and tinkled white plasterwo rk into his blonde and fussy curls.
"I'll thank you to bite your tongue, sir." Alice said stonily. "Whatever the reason, you may find yourself in this position one day, and then where will you be? Will someone hold your head back as you are sick on the floor? Will someone clean you and help you to bed?" The man, once dominant and confident, shuffled back into the crowd, looking very embarassed. The whole crowd then turned with him, and did a synchronised shuffle towards the door, their heads hanging low. "Bunch of sheep." She whispered as she watched them go.
She gently pulled Mr. Lambert up to the bedroom, and tried to find a place to put him. Suddenly, she realised that all the warmth had drained from his body. Removing him from her hold and placing him down like he was fine china, she checked his pulse; to find there was none. Sadly, but gently, Alice laid him down next to his dead wife, crossing their palms together.
"May you rest forever in peace." She whispered, as she shut the door tightly behind her.
Cora Harrison says
Oh, my goodness, this was a shock.
I think it's wonderful that you are experimenting with all sorts of different writing and this story was very well written with an excellent ending. I loved the phrase:
eaving only the cackle that jangled hollow hearts and bones...
Are you going to write any more about Alice?
I find myself curious about her - how she became a witch and how she was accepted and had authority in the village.