Silent, shape-shifting cats standing by, the haggard old woman peers deeply and scries.  The sealed secret chamber rustles with soft sounds of folded and refolded velvet sleeves, as the woebegone princess hands over coins.

The future makes it better.

The smoky mirror clears and starts its slow reveal.  The witch’s arthritic claws wave in the air, while she mumbles indecipherable chants for ghostly ears.  “Now, child,” she smiles, with a lop-sided leer, “watch closely, listen hard, and I will show what tomorrow yields.”

But the princess already sees more than she wants, resents the cruel manifestation; wants the witch drowned.


This piece of flash fiction was written for Friday Fictioneers: a story in 100 words prompted by a picture that Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts every Wednesday. Here’s the link to the stories and this week’s picture is below, copyright Janet Webb.


18 thoughts on “Scrying

    • Thanks, Aquileana – although, sadly, as the princess saw, “The future makes it better” is a line that will often end up being ironic 😦

      I’m glad you thought the story well penned and best wishes to you, too 😉

    • That’s good because I wanted it to have a slightly poeticised fairy tale feel – kind of Angela Carter-y, maybe.

      Btw poeticised is a word, right? I’m getting red underlining on it… Pfft well if it wasn’t a word before it certainly should’ve been 😛

      • Doh! Is your computer cursed with American English? Because Google search says that “poeticised” isn’t a word but “poeticized” is. But both of them are turning red in my WP browser. Hmph. Drat these computers.

        Anyway — the fairy tale feel really works here. Loved it. 🙂

      • Nope WP didn’t even want to correct my English English to American English – the option it offered me as a correction was “politicised.”

        Hey now I come to think of it I really did want it to have a slightly politicised fairy tale feel – thanks WP! 😉

    • I’m glad you liked the drawing of the scene. And, yes, as you say, I wanted there to be lots of “swishing” at the opening – not sure why, but it just felt right: kind of mysterious and clandestine 🙂

    • Thanks, Alicia. Yes, I wanted it to have an eerie feel – well, a fortune teller who can’t manage an eerie atmosphere is going out of business pretty sharpish, I’d expect 🙂

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