Chicken bones and cranberries

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Into the witch's hands

When the sun rolled into the sky of what was supposed to be a lovely Sunday morning, Jack and Lisa ran outside to play. Their little dog Stella followed right after them, just as Priscilla expected. The witch was secretly peeking into the yard from a little hole in the wooden fence, eagerly rubbing her hands together. Stella happily leapt into the middle of the yard, and suddenly stopped, sniffing the air.
“What is it, Stella?” asked Lisa; the clever girl knew her dog very well. Stella followed her nose to the witch’s ball, smelled it, and began to bark. Oh, if only she could speak the human language! The children hurried to Stella and pet the dog. “Whose ball is it, I wonder?” said Lisa with a worried look on her face. “It must be our neighbor’s, we should give it back,” replied Jack. The boy began to bounce the ball off the ground and against the fence, but Lisa was too worried to play. She looked at Stella, who barked and sniffed the fence right where Priscilla was hiding.
“Come, Jack! Stella is saying something!” called Lisa, trying to get her brother’s attention. But the boy was too busy with the enchanted ball that glimmered with iridescence[1], and bounced higher than any other balls Jack had ever played with.
Suddenly, the magic ball flew out of Jack’s hands and went over the fence. Jack rushed to the gate, opening it, and ran outside to fetch the wonder ball. Little Stella ran faster than the boy, and leapt beyond the gate, right into Priscilla’s wide-open bag.
Priscilla let out a victorious cry (which still sounded awfully like a bat’s screech), nimbly zipped her bag, and threw it over the shoulder. “You freeze!” she yelled, pointing her crooked finger at Jack, who was running toward her, squeezing his fists, ready to fight for his little dog. The witch dashed a handful of freezing powder at the boy, and he immediately froze with his mouth open, one foot still in the air, as he ran to save Stella.
Priscilla hurried through gardens, and then tumbled down the green hills of Bluebells sheep pastures, till she landed at the southern shore of Lake Jezebel, where her boat awaited, carefully hidden in the bushes.



[1] Iridescence: a play of lustrous, rainbow-like colors that change with movement.

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