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Norah

United States

Defined by poetry. Lives by prose. Just a girl on the path to becoming a writer.

Message to Readers

I'd love some grammatical help! Do the sentences and paragraphs flow? Do you have any questions about the story?

The Thread Master

July 11, 2015

GROUP: Flash Fiction

The witch was something of a legend in our village, a bedtime story used to frighten the children. She dominated our nightmares for years, our parents singing us to sleep with this gruesome rhyme: "Don't go out to the woods my love, or the witch will catch you and eat you for her supper. The cauldron is boiling round and round, she grinds all the pepper up: ground, ground, ground" We grew older, and the story of the witch faded from our minds as we became more adventurous. We dared each other to step foot into the woods and soon we were leading expeditions into its depths. From there it was only a matter of time before we found the witch.


    She lived in a house with no door, only a doorbell, and she spun thread. All day she sat, her long bony fingers pulling and twisting the wool taut. The wheel rotated, the sun set. She watched with her bright eyes as the last strand whirled around the spindle, around and around and around. Her rooms were littered with spools upon spools of string, the piles stacked to the ceiling. At night she wove, seemingly tireless, as her feet worked the pedals and her hands flew through the air. At dawn the loom would clatter to a halt. Then she would rest, if only for a moment, and inspect her work. The cloth seemed to be made by an infant. It was full of gaping holes and there was no consistent pattern. Nevertheless it had a certain meticulous quality to it, and the fiber shimmered in the light.


    We found the cottage out past the creek, under the live oaks. It had no door, only a doorbell set into a rusted silver plaque. Curious, we peeked in a window, and as the sun set we witnessed the old woman spinning. We rang the doorbell, then ran off in a fit of laughter, hiding behind one of the trees in the grove. The woman stumped out from behind the house, although we could have sworn there was no door. She looked around, her eyes spending much too long on our hiding tree, then she placed a package on the ground. She slowly stumped back around the house, and only then did we rush for the package. We ripped it open, disappointed to find only some messily woven cloth. We left the package on the ground. We were too young to realize how important it was. Those textiles were magic. They were the map to our lives.


    The old woman picked up the packages with trembling hands and stored them in one of her rooms, where countless other cloths resided. One day the children would be brave enough to claim their lives for their own, but not yet. For now the witch sat and spun and wove somebody else's story, and she would do so until the end of time. 


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