Another Witch’s Pyre


another witch’s pyre

has left the autumn mist

too tired to lift


This poem was written in response to Carpe Diem #1279 Yekaterinburg, another great prompt hosted by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. All of the poems in the link-up can be read here. And, to finish, here’s George Michael –


On Pendle Hill


The old woman’s burnished eye added a stamp of theatre.  It rolled at all angles in its sagging socket, barely controllable.  Ugliness is a sign of guilt, the crowds mutter.  Poverty is a sign of sin.  Yet there was no shame in her then as she stared down her accusers, only that ancestral shame that harks back to the nest of vipers.

I’m no judge at heart.  I’m a patient man.  So I recorded the drivel she mouthed as she limped to her fate.  “All your praying is just fighting with shadows,” she hissed.  “Grow up, children, and accept your vulnerability.”

Then we drowned her in the fountain.  Then we drowned her cat.


This piece of flash fiction was written in response to the Wordle Challenge #29 at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where all stories in the link-up were prompted by the wordle at the top of this post.  The rules are that at least 10 of the given words are to be used. This time I used all of the words, although “sciamachy” appears only by definition in the old woman’s speech.


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.