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.


Plus quick reviews for the oscar nominated ones!

Inside Out 9.4/10

All right, I’ll shut up about this one. You know both J.A. Prentice and I love it.

Spotlight 8.8/10

“Unfortunately for Spotlight, I tend to like Disney movies and hard sci-fi more than talk-heavy biopics, but of all the talk-heavy biopics I’ve seen, this may be my favorite.”

Mockingjay, Pt II 8.7/10

Beasts of No Nation 8.7/10

Room 8.6/10

The first half of Room is incredible. Once the story leaves said room, however, it takes a dip from “incredible” to just “good.”

Ex Machina 8.4/10

It’ll lose Best Visual Effects to Mad Max, and I hope it loses Best Original Screenplay to Inside Out, but this was such a refreshing example of philosophy over action in sci-fi. Just the way I like it.

Mad Max: Fury Road 8.3/10

It’s totally batshit insane, and that makes for a really cool movie. But Best Picture it most certainly is not.

Spy 8.2/10

The Gift 8/10

Unfriended 8/10

Jurassic World 7.8/10

Brooklyn 7.8/10

It’s kinda sad, and it’s kinda funny, but it doesn’t amount to anything more.

The Martian 7.6/10

A good, not great version of Castaway in space. Needs more of an emotional punch.

The DUFF 7.5/10

It Follows 7.4/10

Sharknado 3 7/10

Age of Adaline 6.3/10

The Revenant 6/10

Yeah, that’s right. The Revenant gets a D. I will rewatch this in the future before making a final judgement because it’s a movie that wants you to immerse yourself in it, and I saw it on a tiny laptop with some distractions. However, I do feel confident in saying this is a largely empty movie that amounts to little more than two and a half hours of Leonardo DiCaprio crawling around in the snow and likely grunting and screaming his way to an Oscar.

Fifty Shades of Grey 5.4/10

The only F of the year goes to the much-aligned Fifty Shades of Grey. I wanted either something so bad it was good or something that was so scandalously salacious it was at least memorable. It was neither. Just all around kind of boring. You may be wondering why I gave this a mini-review, as I said I’d only review Oscar noms. Well, it’s technically an Oscar Nominated movie. Let that sink in for a moment.

Tomorrow, we will be live-tweeting the Oscars on twitter, follow us @LivingAuthors for snark and banter in real time!