Old Annie

She was hiding in the trees. I couldn’t see her, but I knew she was there.

Watching.

Waiting.

Things hadn’t been the same since that last meeting out in the lane the day before yesterday. I can’t even remember what had started it. She had shouted something nasty, and I had shouted back.

I remember how it ended though. She bent her fingers in a strange way and shook her hand at me whilst muttering something indecipherable that ended with the uttering of “Sarah Brown”. My name.

I stood frozen to the spot as she spat into the dirt to seal her curse, then looked on, helpless, as she walked away, a look of triumph on her face.

‘That’ll teach thee,’ she had called over her shoulder.

They always said Old Annie was a witch, but I never believed it. Until now.

I can feel her eyes on the house.

Watching.

Waiting.


Written for: Crimson’s Creative Challenge #153 | Word count: 152

I suspect savvy Old Annie knows exactly what the local populace have been saying about her and is now using it against them. No doubt she understands the greater power lies in the fear of the curse, rather than the curse itself.

Up, Up, Up… (Crimson’s Creative Challenge #128)

Up, up, up…the steps narrowly cut into the hillside were never ending. Higher and higher we climbed, my breaths coming in ever deeper gasps. From the bottom, the hill looked like any other. So why hadn’t we reached the top yet?

‘Aren’t we there yet, master?’ I uttered, pausing a moment to catch my breath.

I hated how childlike I had sounded, but I needed to ask because I couldn’t grasp what was taking us so long. I was expected at the hilltop temple for my final test before I could ascend to the next level of my training. Being late would give the impression I didn’t care. It wouldn’t look good at all.

Before my master could answer, I carefully turned about so I could see how far we had come. I scratched my head. How…?

We had been climbing for an hour, of that I was sure. But we were only ten steps from where we had started.

‘I don’t understand…’ I mumbled.

‘The lesson is a simple one,’ my master said quietly behind me.

I turned to face him. He was ancient, with a long grey beard, braided down to his waist. I noticed, feeling terribly annoyed, that there wasn’t a single bead of sweat on his forehead and his breath was as steady as if he had just woken from sleep.

I took a few deep breaths and closed my eyes, clearing my mind as I had been taught to do. It didn’t take more than a few heartbeats for realisation to dawn.

‘This is the test,’ I said aloud.

‘Good. Now tell me what the lesson is.’

‘Rushing won’t get me to the top of the hill. I will get there only when I am ready. When I have understood the lesson.’

‘And the lesson is…?’ My master prompted.

‘Patience.’

‘Good,’ he said again. ‘Now shall we see how you have faired?’ He turned about and began climbing the hill once more.

With a lighter heart and even lighter tread, I followed.


Written for: Crimson’s Creative Challenge #128 from 21 April 2021. At 320 words I’m quite a way over the 150 word limit, so apologies for that…