Chicken bones and cranberries

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The idol of shape shifting

The sun was going down on the ancient forest, painting the tree tops in raspberry hues, and giving way to watercolor-like blue twilight.
The gray rocks of the circle around the idol of shape shifting were unexpectedly light and very cold to touch. The day birds stopped singing and in the evil silence, which hung like a curtain, you could only hear dry twigs breaking under Priscilla’s firm steps. Not a cricket, or a mouse, or an owl, or a nightingale; just the ominous[1] silence. Only a few little light bugs shimmered here and there, knowing nothing about the witch’s terrible plan.
The idol stood in the middle of a large clearing, tall and frightening. It was made of stone and looked like a giant werewolf on men’s legs, with two enormous arms, extended forward, seemingly to accept an offering. The full moon, proud and majestic, began to rise above the tops of black trees, re-painting them silver in its turn.
Priscilla carried her bag with the dog on her shoulder and a basket with the magical ingredients in her hand. She put those things down a few feet away from the idol; Rochester landed on a large rock nearby. “Will you just sit here and watch? Let’s get some twigs and start a fire,” said Priscilla. The two got to work and soon a large fire was made quite close to the idol. Stella was almost breathless with fear as she smelled the smoke.
The witch took off her cloak and rubbed her hands together with anticipation. She was very thorough: the magic ingredients went into the fire in precise amounts and perfect order. First, she measured the bat wings – three chalicefuls. The flames turned bright yellow in color as the fire devoured crackling wings. At the same moment, the ground before the idol began to tremble with a low rumble coming from below. Encouraged, the witch began to utter incantations and threw two handfuls of dried catnip into the fire. The rumble grew stronger, and the earth before the idol started to crack. The witch shivered with excitement as she threw owl eggs into the flames and pulled a small vial out of her basket. She broke the vial above the fire, the smoke turned purple, and the earth before the idol opened with a roar. The eyes of the stone idol became burning-red, as if it had awakened. A horrible ticking sound could be heard coming from inside the idol.
“You get your sacrifice and, in return, shift the shape back into what it was meant to be!” yelled the witch victoriously. She pulled the little shaking dog out of her bag, ready to toss poor Stella into the giant hole. Suddenly, a tremendous blow from a side knocked the dog out of Priscilla’s hands, throwing the witch into the roaring hole. It was Eddie the werewolf attacking the witch with relentless[2] anger.
Priscilla screeched in fury and despair. She tried climbing out, but the werewolf violently struck the witch with his head, pushing her back down into the hole, and soon the last of her cries died away.
The earth had fully closed within moments of devouring[3] the witch. Eddie the werewolf looked up at the stone creature and saw that the idol’s burning eyes became dimmer. It had accepted the offering.
Suddenly, the werewolf felt excruciating[4] pain passing as a wave through his entire body: from ears to tail. The magic worked. What Priscilla had asked for, was given, although to a different person. The werewolf turned back into a freckled boy, naked and freezing to the bone in the middle of a moonlit rock circle. Eddie looked at his hands, amazed. He shrugged and picked up the purple cloak that was left of the witch. It reeked of bats and cat litter and, maybe, a little lavender. Something that was left after the werewolf spell – a kin sense of smell that Eddie just could not shake off. Eddie had no other option; he wrapped himself in the cloak and sat down by the dying fire.

[1] Ominous: threatening, suggesting that something evil might happen.

[2] Relentless: unceasingly intense; persistent.

[3] Devour: to eat greedily, to destroy by eating.

[4] Excruciating: intensely painful.

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