River Mist Tales: The Witch Doll

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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The Witch Doll

The first time Nessa saw the witch doll, it stood, vibrant and alluring, in a clothing shop window, giving the display a dose of Halloween fun.

She grabbed your attention, the witch doll, in high contrast to the clean lines, solid colors of the designer clothes, the witch wearing patterned flowing patchwork, pieces of plaid and linen print of bright yellow mushrooms.

Nessa smiled, remembering a coat her aunt Tildy wore, patch upon patch, full of red hearts and blue squares. Her memory continued along, walking her aunt’s overgrown cottage path, recalling the overflowing baskets of mushrooms Tildy collected, orange, brown and bright yellow.

The second time Nessa saw the witch, she was surrounded by several unusual dolls, depicting cunning women, part of a display for a newly released novel.

Again the witch captured attention, standing taller, more severe in her expression, more life-like in her posture than the other dolls.

As readers clamored for an autograph from the author, Nessa was lost in a web of images spinning a vision of an abandoned cottage, a jealous rage, words chanted in anger, sister against sister.

Jostled by the crowd, Nessa abandoned the forceful day dreams which had left her feeling confused, a step out of place, out of time.

Without another glance at the witch, Nessa left the bookstore, arriving home in the blink of an eye, unaware of how she had managed to walk the two miles with such ease and speed.

The third time Nessa saw the witch was at an open air flea market, she was surrounded by bottles filled with strange herbal concoctions, talismans created from twig, glass and metal, and various other tools and supplies any alchemist would envy, or cunning woman use.

As Nessa passed the heavily curtained booth, she heard a laugh float out from the shadows, more a cackle than a cheerful expression, followed by a woman’s voice calling her name.

Nessa stopped, turned, greeting a woman wearing plaid and bright florals, her wavy hair pulled back revealing a softly crinkled face, the woman’s smile pulling Nessa close, her voice a gentle whisper, promising a solution to the tragic enchantment haunting her, imprisoning her aunt.

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