Relief — For a Little While, Anyway

For the first time in a long while, our area’s air quality is “good,” the skies are blue, and the nearby hills aren’t hidden by smoke. Even the temperatures have moderated. I actually had to put on a light jacket last night when walking our dog.

Unfortunately, the AQI is supposed to go back to unhealthy by tomorrow. But I’ll take this break, short lived though it may be.

Malice Aforethought

“Oh Aunt Millie, I really do appreciate your hospitality, and I genuinely wish I could stay longer with you and Uncle Harry,” Beth said, “but my wanderlust is kicking in and just can’t vanquish that need. Nor do I want to.”

“Well, dear, it’s in your nature,” Aunt Millie said. “I really wish Harry and I could persuade you stay with us, but I trust your judgment. If you think it’s time for you to move on, then, by all means, do so. Although I will say that I’m green with envy. Harry and I always wanted to be able to travel, but now that he’s wheelchair bound, it’s just not possible.”

“You know that if I could, Aunt Millie, I would try to cast some sort of spell to ameliorate Uncle Harry’s disability,” Beth said, “but that’s just not something I have the power to do.”

“I know, sweetheart,” Aunt Millie said, hugging her niece. “You’ve always been a good witch, unlike several of your cousins. That vindictive witch, Beatrice, is the one who laid Harry up. She is very powerful and, unlike you, she uses her powers for malevolent purposes. It’s always the evil ones who have the greatest powers and who use them for malicious ends.”

“I promise to hone my skills while I’m away,” Beth said, “and I will come back someday soon once I have found a means to reverse Beatrice’s curse, so that you and Uncle Harry will be able to travel if that’s what you want to do.”

“I know, dear, that you will do everything you can to help,” Aunt Millie said.FABE4D8B-F769-4B8A-8EEC-39763040E994“But it’s almost midnight and the moon is full, so you’d best get on your broom and fly off.”

“Thank you, Aunt Millie,” Beth said, grabbing the broom’s handle. “Just remember to keep on cackling while I’m away.”

Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (longer), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (wanderlust), Ragtag Daily Prompt (vanquish), The Daily Spur (judgment), Jibber Jabber (green), and Your Daily Word Prompt (ameliorate).

There’s a Lot Going On

A busy calendar.You may have noticed the I haven’t posted much today. Or responded to many of your comments. Or read many of your posts. But there’s a lot going on in my life right now. Some of it good. Some of it exciting. And, unfortunately, some of it not very good at all. I’m not going to bore you with the details, because you’ve probably got a lot going on in your lives right now, too.

So I most likely won’t be posting with my usual frequency for the rest of the year, at least. I do have my daily FOWC with Fandango prompt word posts set up for the remainder of the year, and I’ll try to find the time to push through one or two other posts a day, if I can.

I may also be hard pressed over the next two or three weeks to read all of the posts that those of you I follow publish. And I’m sorry for that. But it is what it is.

In the meantime, though, I want to wish each and every one of you Happy Holidays (for whatever holiday, if any, you may be celebrating) and a very Happy New Year.

And with that, I’ll see ya when I see ya!

#writephoto — Burned in Effigy

F4AD6DA9-7EA0-4185-98F1-32EC6712AF8FThere once was a time, not that long ago, when all witches were good, helpful, charitable, and benevolent. They were highly regarded by the villagers and their beneficial and healing spells and potions were welcomed by the townspeople.

But as it is with human nature, there were some witches who began to use their skills for more nefarious purposes. They would cast spells to do evil things and they would create potions that caused harm, and in some cases, even death, rather than to heal.

As the ranks of these wicked witches grew and tales of their treachery spread far and wide, the villagers that once held the witches in high regard unsurprisingly turned against them. Because, as we all know, the bad deeds of the few are almost always of more interest to the masses than the good deeds of the many.

Pretty soon, angry mobs began rounding up all of the witches, regardless of whether they were benevolent, good witches or malevolent, evil ones.

Eventually, all of the witches were subjected to trials where the outcome was always that they were guilty of practicing wicked witchcraft. They were either hanged, drowned, or burned at the stake.

There was an incident one night, however, when the last three surviving witches, who were jailed and were awaiting trial, somehow managed to escape from their cell. They were last seen fleeing, still chained to one another, through the fields outside of town. But before they could be apprehended, they seemed to have vanished into thin air.

The village leaders decided that, since they were unable to properly burn the three missing witches at the stake, they would, instead, build life-sized models of the three witches made out of tree branches and use the models to burn the witches in effigy.

But when the townspeople attempted to set the models on fire, the wood branches would not catch fire. They just smoldered, filling the air in and around the village with a putrid smell.

To this very day, those indestructible three witches crafted from tree branches stand in that same field outside of the village, a monument to, and a reminder of, the dark days when people were judged not by who they were but by what they believed.

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

Twittering Tales — Regrets

73C1AA66-DF05-46B7-A6FA-CF53020FD8D7I’ve lived a long life, a good life, a happy life, and as I look back on the life I lived, I have few regrets.

No regrets about the deeds that I’ve done or the things that I’ve said.

But I do have regrets about the things I never got around to saying to you.

And now it’s too late.

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Written for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt from Kat Myrman. Photo credit: Marc Schäfer at