Copyright © 2013 C.L. Mannarino
All rights reserved.
I’m going to try something a little different. Veering away from the Clare and Shay stories for a bit, I’m going to use Pixar’s Storytelling Outline to bring you: We Witches, Three. It’s rough and mostly unedited, but it was fun to write:
Once upon a time, there were three witches: Megan, Morgan, and Marjorie. Megan, the oldest witch, was in charge of the daylight hours; Morgan, the middle witch, was in charge of the nighttime hours; and Marjorie, the youngest witch, was in charge of the two times in between–dawn and dusk. Every day, Megan would wake up the world when the sun could be seen in the East over the crests of the mountains and the tips of the tree-tops. Every night, Morgan would put the world to sleep when the sun reached the mountain and tree tops to the West. And in between those two times, Marjorie would hustle away the supernatural creatures that came through the curtain between our world and the Other Side, creatures that could only exist during the times when the world was just beginning to start and just starting to end. One day, Marjorie finished her work for the night and sat down with a huff. She rubbed her aching feet and tossed her conical hat to the floor. “I hate ferrying supernatural creatures. I hate the in-between times! If I can’t be in charge of a time that people actually care about, then I’m not going to keep doing this work at all.” And with that declaratory statement, Marjorie quit her job. She just didn’t tell Megan or Morgan what she was doing.
The next morning, as the sun was beginning to make its way over the horizon, Morgan noticed something different. As she was climbing into bed for the night, she looked around the cottage the three witches shared and sniffed the early-morning air. “Something isn’t right,” she muttered to herself. Looking around the room, she watched the small fire dancing in the hearth, illuminating the empty bed of her sister, Megan. Despite what she felt, she didn’t see anything out of place. Lying down, she told herself that this was just her imagination playing tricks on her and she’d be just fine after a good day’s rest.
But she wasn’t imagining things. Without Marjorie to shepherd the supernatural beings into place, they started to run amok. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls lurked in the shadows, wary and watching for the little witch who most often played the role of their gatekeeper. But when they didn’t see her, they grew bold, jumping out into the road and flitting about the world like poltergeists. They snuck into houses and buildings and made a great mess, taunting people on the road and startling those who were still trying to sleep. When the sun finally peaked over the hilltops, these beings faded from sight again, slithering off to hide beneath the beds of small children and the shadows of closets and the backsides of cold men and women who liked to hurt and frighten people.
As Megan went about her day, she, too, noticed something strange. There were alarmingly large messes in places where there weren’t normally. People woke up and cried out about seeing horrible night-terrors in the corners of their rooms, as if their worst dreams had come to life in their homes. People who normally gave others only bad looks began to hit and scream and curse their neighbors. But above all, they spoke of things coming to life–horrible things with fangs and bulging eyes that slithered and slunk about the shadows of their homes and workplaces. Animals trembled in their cages and charged around their territories as if the devil himself was upon them. Even though the morning sun was chasing everything away, she overheard multiple people saying that something bad was lurking about. They said that they could feel it, waiting. They called them “demons in human skin.”
As the day began to close, Megan hurried back home and scurried to the younger witch’s bed. “Morgan! Morgan, you have to wake up! Something’s wrong!”
“What is it?” Morgan asked, yawning.
“People are frightened. Animals are overreacting. Everything’s in complete chaos outside!”
Morgan blinked at the older witch and then shook her head. “That seems to happen a lot, though. Maybe you’ve been sitting out in that sun for too long.”
But Megan growled low in her throat. “This has nothing to do with the sun. Can’t you feel it?”
“There’s a difference. There’s a change in the air. Something’s not right, Morgan.”
As she listened to the older witch repeat what Morgan had said just before she’d fallen asleep, Morgan’s eyes grew wider. “Oh no. You feel it, too?”
Megan growled again. “That’s what I’ve been saying! Something’s out of balance. I can’t describe it.” The older witch shook her head and looked out the window just as the sun began to sink below the trees.
That was when she noticed it. There was just a little sparkle at first, as if someone had thrown a handful of glitter up into the air. But then it got a little brighter, a little heavier, until Megan thought she saw something resembling a curtain filling up the entire world outside of her window, shaking and shimmering in the breeze.
And walking in and out of it, there were creatures.
As the night came on and Morgan prepared herself for her duties, Megan sat at the window and watched in fright as the nightmarish creatures that so many had cried about during the day began to manifest. She sat in shock for a minute before she remembered something and turned to Morgan.
“Where is Marjorie? Why isn’t she out there?”
Morgan’s eyes widened. “Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her all day. We have to go find her–it’s her job to clean up this kind of mess.”
So the two oldest witches went searching the house, from the basement to the rooftop. When they finally found Marjorie, she was sitting on the window seat in the attic, her face pressed to the window screen and her eyes as wide as Morgan’s were just a few minutes earlier.
“What are you doing?” Morgan snapped when she and Megan stumbled into the room.
Marjorie jumped and grew very red in the neck. “I-I-”
“Can’t you see what’s happening out there? We all have a job and yours is to be out there making sure that no humans have to see or deal with these creatures in day-to-day life. Why aren’t you out there fixing this?”
Megan put a hand on Morgan’s arm to calm the witch down, but it was too late. Bright blue tears had already sprung to Marjorie’s eyes.
“Because I hate my job! I hate dealing with those creatures! I hate having the smallest time of the whole day and night to be in charge of. I want to be important. I want to be special. I want to be like one of you!”
As Marjorie sat down in a fit of tears, Megan and Morgan sat down on either side of the youngest witch and each of them put a hand on her back.
“Marjorie, you are special. And you are just as important as the two of us. You were put in charge of the curtain between worlds–the curtain that holds back all of the spirit things that can send the world into chaos.”
“It’s a hard job, though. Sometimes it feels too difficult for me.”
Morgan bumped Marjorie’s knee with her own. “Would you like it if we helped you out sometimes?”
Sniffling, Marjorie nodded.
“Then that’s what you have to say, Marjorie.”
Looking up at each of the older witches, Marjorie said, “I’m overwhelmed. Can you help?”
Megan and Morgan looked at each other and then smiled. “Yes,” they chorused. “But YOU have to be the one to round those creatures up.”
As the dark of night approached, Megan, Morgan, and Marjorie left their house. With the two older witches holding open the curtain to the Other Side, Marjorie ran about as fast as her legs could carry her and shepherded all of the nightmarish creatures back into their rightful place. By the time the moon had appeared in the sky, the world was at peace once again, if a little untidy and uncertain because of the chaos that it had experienced during the day.
Megan and Morgan closed the curtain and walked up to the youngest witch. “Now, next time you get upset over this, are you going to just abandon your post?” Megan asked as Morgan crossed her arms over her chest.
Marjorie shook her head, looking at the ground in shame. “No. Next time, I’m going to ask for help when I’m having trouble.”
Morgan nodded. “Good. That’s what I want to hear. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a job to do,” she said and walked off into the night as the oldest witch and the youngest witch went home.
From then on, each witch did her job just as she was supposed to. Night turned to day, day turned to night, and in between, the youngest witch kept watch over the curtain between our world and the Other Side. When she needed help, she asked the other witches to assist her. When she didn’t, she proudly stood guard knowing that her job was just as important as that of the other two witches. The humans stayed safe, the world stayed at peace, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Prompt: Image from writeworld