“I’m so glad you could visit.” The door shut behind Primrose, the red nails twisting. The lock slid, the ominous metallic click echoing in the cold hall. The witch smiled. ”I love your costume.”
Primrose didn’t smile back. ”I’m sure you do.”
“Come in, come in!” If the witch knew she was being rude, she didn’t show it. ”Would you like some cider or cookies?”
“Sure.” Primrose waited, chewing on the inside of her lip. As soon as the witches’ back was turned, her hand slipped into her plastic bucket.
“I’m so glad you came,” the witch repeated, emerging with a tray of iced sugar cookies and orange cup of apple cider. ”I’ve been watching you for awhile now, Primrose.”
Primrose said nothing. She took a cookie but didn’t eat it, just folding it into her palm so the icing stuck to her fingers.
“I feel like you understand things better than most children.” A forked tounge ran over white teeth that looked suspiciously like fangs. ”Do you agree?”
Primrose’s fingers tightened around the cookie. Crumbs sprinkled the tops of her shoes and clung to her tights. ”Why don’t you say what you want to say?”
The witch cackled. ”I do adore your spirit, dear. It reminds me so much of myself.” She crossed the room and cracked the blinds, peering through the shades. ”So many children…” Her stomach rumbled. ”You see, Primrose, I’m quite an old woman.”
Primrose said nothing. She watched as the porcelain hands flicked the shades, grasping the thin metal slats greedily.
“I could use some help. A friend,” she clarified, licking her lips as she turned. ”A friend with lots of little friends. You have friends, don’t you, Primrose?”
Primrose allowed her head to dip down in a nod.
“Perhaps we can come to a deal.” The witch sauntered toward her. ”You can visit with your little friends once or twice a week. In return, I’ll make sure you’re well protected.” Lipstick stained the cracks of the lips that twisted into a ruthless grin. ”It’s a dangerous world. A cruel, cruel world.” She held out her manicured hand. ”What do you say?”
Primrose looked at the witch’s hand. Pulling her hand out of her orange pumpkin, she grasped the cold hard fingers with her own dripping ones. ”Deal.”
The witch jerked back and screamed, but it was too late. Red nails hit the hardwood with the sound of bullet fire, a rat tat tat that made Primrose’s guts twist. The porcelain fingers dripped away as the witch stared in horror at her dissolving arm.
For you see, Primrose’s class had read A Wizard of Oz just a month before. And as an expert of witches, Primrose knew she had to be prepared. As the witch screamed, Primrose shut her eyes and heaved her bucket up. Water splashed and steam hissed as the witches screams melted into the night. Dropping her bucket, Primrose ran out the back door and into the night.
That night, her parents called the police. When they went to question the neighbor, all they found was a black dress and pair of high heels soaked in foul-smelling water. The back door was open, a squashed cookie on the door sill.
Ever since on every Halloween, a woman is found missing the next water. The only clues police have are a puddle of water and an orange bucket with no candy.
Primrose never was a fan of witches.
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