In an old small town at the top of a winding road there sits a small cottage house with boarded windows and a door that looks as though it has been kicked in multiple times. Passersby would assume the house had been abandoned many moons ago, but local townsfolk know that the house is home to the witch.
Though everyone knew the witch wasn’t scary, her house appeared to be haunted, and every fall the school kids would dare each other to survive what they called “the witches tour”. Some kids would come out crying, others laughing. One day, the witch heard a knocking at her door. A little girl, no older than six or seven stood at her door. “Here for a scare, come on in” the witch said while gesturing for the girl to come inside. The little girl entered the witch's home. The witch didn’t know why, but her palms became sweaty and she could feel tightness starting in her chest.
“I’ll start you off easy” the witch told the girl. “I’m not afraid of anything”. The girl responded back. The witch led the girl up the creaky stairs. When they reached the top of the stairs, bats began to fly overhead. The girl didn’t flinch, they kept walking down the cobwebbed hallway. The witch led the girl into her bedroom and told her to open the closet. The girl did as she was told, and opened the closet. Old skeletons started to fall, piling at her feet.
“I’m still not scared”, said the girl to the witch.
“You’re brave, I’ll give you that” said the witch as they walked out of the bedroom back down the hall into the bathroom. Inside the bathroom, the girl could see the boa wrapped around the toilet, trying to free its long body from the pipes. Again the girl remained calm, not showing any signs of fear. This made the witch frustrated that nothing seemed to scare this child. The witch rushed down the stairs, her boots clacking on the wooden floor. She flung herself into her rocking chair next to the fire. The girl followed the witch downstairs, and sat on a stool in front of the witch. The witch had an idea, and pulled out her big book of fears. The witch began to show pictures of phobias to the girl. The girl looked at them with interest and entertainment. The witch, again frustrated, slammed the book shut, and film of dust floated in the air.
“You have to be afraid of something, everyone is afraid of something” the witch told the girl with exasperation.
“What are you afraid of”? asked the girl. The witch rocked back and forth in her chair. No one had ever asked her that before. “Ghosts”, the witch said with a tremble in her voice, “they always come back to haunt you” whispered the witch.
“Are you afraid of me”? asked the girl.
“Why would I be afraid of a child”? asked the witch, but then she looked closer at the girl and the ache in her chest began to grow tighter and she could feel the sweat form on her palms. “How did you find me”? asked the witch.
“I’ve been looking for you, I need to tell you something” said the girl.
The witch sat frozen in her chair, paralyzed by her greatest fear. The little girl climbed up on the witch's lap, grabbed her face in her small soft hands, and looked the witch in the eyes. “I’m proud of you and I love you” the girl told the witch before she nestled her head into the crook of the witch's neck.
Instinctively, the witch wrapped her arms around the little girl as she began to cry. The witch cried for so long that the little girl fell asleep in her arms. The witch rocked her until she fell asleep too.
In the morning, they woke up and the little girl told her it was time for her to go. The witch begged her to stay. The little girl told her she would always be with her, and to look in the mirror if she ever needed her.
The witch hugged the little girl goodbye and watched her skip down the long, winding road until she was out of sight.
In a small town at the top of a long, winding road, sits a beautiful cottage house with a tall oak tree, and a tire swing where the school kids play. In the house lives the witch, who maybe, never really was a witch after all.