“I can’t eat another bite.” Hansel closed his trick or treat bag.
“Do you think someone cast a spell?” Gretel counted her loot again. There was more now than when she started eating.
“Let’s take it to the witch.” They set off through the forest along a now familiar path. No need for breadcrumbs any more.
The Sugar House Witch welcomed them with fresh cookies and milk. “What’s in the bag, pet?”
“Multiplicative candy,” Hansel said.
“Wish I had that problem,” the witch said. “I’m constantly losing candy decorations.”
The children finished their snack and left behind their ever accumulating treats.
In the shadow of year’s end, a tired dribble of twilight musings unleashes thoughts muddled and unrestrained. They fall on damp forest floors.
The smell of pines might clarify, might of a sudden reveal the intentions of close-mouthed colorful shedding trees.
Autumn cold settles like a fog on layers of soft loam. Earthworms transform decomposing leaf mold into soil.
The worms feel sleep coming on and burrow deeper, warmer. Their heat keeps the planet humming even as cool air portends a slowing.
Spores burst from a deteriorating toadstool. Lacy umbrellas unfurl. The Little People sip warm cider at season’s turning.
Tabitha gaveled in the annual meeting of WG&G (Witches, Ghosts, and Goblins.) “In all the years that I’ve chaired this meeting, there’s never been a time like this.”
Casper Ghost interrupted her. “You always look on the dark side. What about the Salem witchcraft trials? How about Attila the Hun?”
“You think this is better?” Tabitha sniffed. “Anyway, how would you know? You’re on World of Warcraft constantly. You need to be more serious.”
Casper turned pink. “Play calms our fears. Think Halloween. A chance at make believe might distract people from their feuds. Use your words, I say, “Trick or treat.”
“I simply must have those glass slippers.” The Prince was confident they would fit. The dancing lady was nervous.
As the clock struck midnight, as he led her to take a seat and remove the heels, as the spell began to reverse, Cinderella ran. She was oblivious to everything but getting away before her riches turned to rags.
The Prince was dumbfounded. He chased her from the hall, stopping only to retrieve the first fallen pump. When he looked up, a charlady met his gaze.
“Where did she go?”
What he didn’t see was one glinting shoe on her foot.
“Your cupboard is bare, Mother, and yours, too, Dame,” The Old Woman passed her teabag around the table.
The dog, the cat, and the children climbed up the shoe-house.
Old Mother Hubbard shouted. “What with the high price of kibble, I fear the dog will eat me.”
“Don’t even mention canned fish,” Dame Trot stirred her plain tea. “How do you manage with all those mouths to feed?”
The Old Woman opened her pantry for inspection. It was full of cereal, canned goods, and dry beans. “A charm for the cupboard and a curse on the Tory’s trickle down tricksters.”
“You threw it back? Then wish us supper.”
To please his sister, the fisherman did exactly that. Voila! A table laden with delicacies appeared.
She sated herself. “Foolish man, we could have had a different life for that wish. Ask for a fine house and all that would sustain us in it.”
“Would that make you happy?”
“You”ll have one wish left if it doesn’t”
Without the posh accent, education, and manners to go with the lifestyle, she was miserable.
Her brother asked the fish for happiness. He was six again. She was five. Valued equally by society, they thrived.
Daisy stood at the starting line and kissed her frog for luck. A long-legged young man arose from the frog’s place and cleared his throat.
“Are you a princess?” Cedric worried he was lost.
“Daddy calls me Princess.”
The jumping contest official told them they’d need to move.
Daisy took Cedric’s hand. “Daddy’ll know what to do.” She pulled him into the chaos of the county fair.
Cedric slipped through her fingers and disappeared into a fortuneteller’s booth. She handed Cedric a tarnished lamp. When he rubbed the dust away, a genie appeared and Cedric found himself in another story.
Rip woke in a frenzy. What a nightmare he’d had. Befuddled by layers of dust on the furniture, his feet numb with sleep, he left the house. How long had it been?
A trail behind his house led to an overgrown pasture. Where were the cows he kept? And if they were gone, why hadn’t the deer replaced them? He tuned his ears to the sounds of birds and heard nothing. He found the river, now a creek. Sixty years ago, there’d been a spring that gushed from a rock. Now it was silent. Hope’s season had come and gone.
Pussy was a musical cat. Sometimes the tabby played a lute and others a bagpipe. She yowled at pubs throughout the British Isles that bear the name Cat and Fiddle. Accompanists flocked to back her up.
Nine long lives she lived and nine again but cats grow old, as do we all. She retired to a barn in Cheshire, then to an old wishing well with one last request: a concert. Johnny Green gathered a band for Pussy’s last show. His father beat him. Said, “A better mouser never was nor will be.”
Pussy had nought but praise. T’was time.
Time Waits for No One has been published by Scribes*Micro*Fiction in their 21st issue.
A drabble of a selkie mother and her human daughter’s good bye.