The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
The cravings wouldn’t stop. Never had she wanted leafy greens so much and her heart was set on the offerings of the witch’s garden.
She crept out during the dimmest and darkest moons and returned with her arms full of mustardy leaves.
Her husband caught her. “You mustn’t leave, not in your condition. I will go for you.”
She knew that he did not have a woman’s stealth, so she was not surprised when he had been spotted.
While she ate, he explained that the witch had tricked him.
“Tricked?” The tatsoi tasted bitter as she had swallowed it with this news.
“She made me promise an exchange.”
Men before him had made horrible trades, such as cows for magic beans, but she had never heard of such cruel negotiations.
“You said you had to have the tatsoi,” he hung his head.
“I have to have this baby,” she whispered, her heart broken.
The bargain with the witch was upheld. The woman walked the grounds at night, crying because her arms were empty instead of holding her daughter.
The cravings wouldn’t stop. As she brushed the 12 feet of golden hair that she had been growing since birth, the maiden told her princely visitor of her plan.
“You bring me a piece of silk every day for the next few weeks. I will tie them together into a ladder and climb out of this tower to grab the neighbor’s cabbage.”
“You could escape then,” he suggested.
“Why? I am cared for here.”
“By a witch! Besides, this requires too much strength for a girl,” he explained, “I will go instead. Lower your hair for me.”
“I would prefer to go. I need a break from this tower.”
“I will simply command that they relinquish the plant.”
Her voice was slow and angry. “I. Want. To. Go.”
“You are being stubborn, like that witch.”
She put her hands on her hips. “I am like ‘that witch’ in more ways than one.”
“As your prince, I am ordering you—”
His words stopped when he saw her eyes glowing. She pointed at him, uttered a chant, and his clothes caught fire.
“Put me out,” He screamed. “Cry on me and end this torment with your tears.”
She refused his order and watched him burn. She would cry after he was gone. Not for losing him, but for regaining herself.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixaby.com
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