Chicken bones and cranberries

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Chicken bones and cranberries

Eddie Muller, a valiant[1] boy indeed, was not scared of anything. He went fishing at midnight, climbed the tallest of the plum trees (provided that the plums were ripe), and even collected blackberries at the cemetery, all against his mother’s advice. He was the one to hold a dead rat in one hand and a ham sandwich in the other. He was the one to skin the rabbits and gut the fish, whistling. And, naturally, for keeping an eye on the witch’s belongings, Eddie Muller was definitely the guy for the job.
On the other hand, why keep an eye on it? Who would even want to touch the old rags, splattered with eggs, tomatoes, herring guts, and other garbage? Eddie was the only one excited about the job as the witch’s junk keeper. As soon, as the last wondering villager satisfied his curiosity and departed for supper, Eddie started to dig in the dirty dress.
He dipped into the pockets, but found nothing but a few sunflower seeds in one and a piece of red string in the other. Disappointed, be shook the dress, and that is when he found the treasure! Priscilla’s necklace of chicken bones and cranberries fell to the ground. Eddie could not believe his luck; now, that was a trophy! He looked around to be certain that nobody was watching him, then shoved the odd-looking necklace into his pocket, and danced a little.
When the mayor finally arrived with a group of aspiring witch hunters, it was way past supper time. Some of the villagers came back to the market place with lanterns and blankets; they were full with good suppers, but still hungry for an exciting witch story. The mayor thanked Eddie for watching over the witch’s belongings and then assured everyone that witchcraft does not really exist. He explained that the events which unfolded at the market were nothing but the work of a very skilled illusionist. Those, who saw Priscilla turn into a bat, did not find the mayor’s words very convincing[2], but nobody dared to argue with the most important man in town. The mayor put the witch’s rags into a box and left, wishing everyone a good night. The villagers grumbled a little, but soon enough they all went back to their homes, to give their witch stories a new twist on how even the mayor fell under the powerful charm of the mysterious shape shifting sorceress.
Eddie skipped joyously all the way to his mother’s house, holding the necklace tightly. He was delighted to own a real witch artifact[3], but deep down he wished to go hunt for more enchanted things.

Counting losses

Priscilla has not been a bat for years. The bat spell was not particularly useful, besides, it had an unpleasant side effect: it made the witch screech occasionally for an entire month after the enchantment was undone. Not to mention that painful acrobatic stunt that Priscilla had to perform to dispel the magic. Too much for her aging bones. Animal shape shifting often requires doing somersaults and wheelbarrows, and the bat spell was no exception. It took Priscilla a while to return to her usual witch form, and now every bone in her body was aching, especially her arms. Wing flapping can be a burden on the body that is not used to such exercise. Priscilla’s eyes, burnt and blinded by the sun, itched and hurt. She wished for a bucket of cold water to stick her head into.
Now the witch was also missing her dress, her cloak, her leather boots, and, most regretfully, her necklace of chicken bones and cranberries. Dirty, bitter and terribly tired, Priscilla wrapped herself into a quilt and sat by the window, looking at the glum purple sky above the ancient forest. Revenge was the only thing she could think of. She wanted to get that pesky dog that recognized her despite the enchantment, and sacrifice it to the idol of shape shifting. Otherwise, Priscilla would never be able to turn herself into a decent-looking human being again. That is what the spell book said, and a self-respecting witch always goes by the book.
Humiliated[4], banned, and exhausted, Priscilla was thinking of the ways to get back to the town of Bluebells to find that dog first, and, hopefully, retrieve her treasured necklace.

[1] Valiant: courageous and determined.

[2] Convincing: causing someone to believe that something is true or real.

[3] Artifact: an object made by a human being, often of interest.

[4] Humiliated: feeling a painful loss of pride, self-respect or dignity

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