Past the village fence and down the winding forest path sat the witch’s crooked house. The villagers came to her with their ailments, their wants, their petty vengeances, asking for cures, for spells, for curses.
She gave cures without conditions or promises, spells only after long consideration, and curses never at all.
Once, the villagers came only in the dead of night, but now she found them knocking on her door in daylit hours, pleasant and open with her as they were with the butcher.
“Your house is rather spartan,” a woman remarked whilst the witch made her a salve. “I thought a witch’s house would be all cluttered, like in the tales.”
The witch had nothing but a handful of ingredients, a set of clothes, and a rolled-up blanket. She knew better than to burden herself. Keep things light; own no more than you can carry; that was the old way.
They said times were different, safer. The king himself kept magicians in his court.
But the witch remembered the roaring crowd and the smoke of burning torches. She knew how fast things could change.
She had seen too many storms to trust a sunlit morning.
Word Count: 197
This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge! Photo credit to Susan Spaulding.