The Witch Bridle

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Chapter 8

It was a short time after the Group of Three left the séance room when Thankful started to quietly explore the three rooms which comprised Oona’s new residence. The child’s brothers were upstairs at the TV, and Mom and Oona were out with Stinkly for a walk. Alone Thankful felt empowered, as if a small burst of electricity ran through her body to guide her through the ground level space for the few minutes she had. Oddly, the main light of the suite blew out when she flipped the wall switch to the séance room. Then, even more strange, was a reddish glow she noticed from the one cardboard box which remained unopened on the bedroom floor near Oona’s dresser.

Unopened and undisturbed. Be brave.

How the young girl wanted to enter that room and open that box. But Thankful hesitated. She feared she could never be so clever as to undo all the tape and twine that surrounded that box. And even if she could, it would never go unnoticed. The little witch froze momentarily when she perceived a small power surge from Oona’s office. From Daddy’s old office. Thankful remained where she was, then followed a pulsing pale light which drew her into the office. A small lamp glowed in one corner of the room. “Maybe Daddy is welcoming Oona,” the girl thought.

Thankful knew there was something in her own body that told her it was truly so: that her father greeted her new nanny. Feeling his presence, Thankful settled down to play as a typical five year old would. So she gathered a small number of colorful pebbles from Oona’s massive mahogany desk and arranged them in a circle on the floor. I hope Oona doesn’t mind if she catches me here.

But what if she does mind?

“I don’t know what I’ll do,” Thankful confided in herself and whispered with a look of concern on her flawless five year old skin. “So, I’ll just play for a minute.”

But suddenly a red light flashed boldly from near Oona’s desk. PRINTER MALFUNCTION FILE CORRUPTED it pulsed. Thankful could read with no problem and everyone knew she could. What she could not understand was that the blinking printer was not plugged into an outlet. She went a little closer to make sure.

Something alive stirred in this room; there was someone or something with her. It was at the same time powerfully weird and alluring.

“I’m a witch,” Thankful blustered to the empty spaces around her. She played with the small pebble objects on the floor. She took one, then six, then nine pebbles, and finally two more. All of various colors, she counted them all out and rearranged them now into an oddly shaped quadrilateral. Thankful hummed a strange tune which she never recalled hearing before, but which was somehow strangely familiar.

“One plus six plus nine plus two spells sixteen ninety two: 1692!” Thankful nodded happily. She could count too. “And one plus six plus nine plus two makes the number eighteen too,” she sang. Thankful rocked with the rhythm of her words. As the child-witch rearranged the pebbles into three equally straight lines she sang, “Eighteen in three same-sized pieces makes six plus six plus six.” Then suddenly the young one heard the wind howl outside. Just as suddenly she felt an icy cold draft on her bare legs. The girl knew it was time to go. Mom and Oona will be home soon. Then, as she started to rise up from the floor a large noisy bumble bee came as if from nowhere, and flew right into the girl’s face.

Thankful collected her senses, and summoned up the courage to gather up the small stones and return them to Oona’s desk. Nothing else seemed to be out of place and even the bee seemed to have vanished. Still she frantically ran into the hallway and upstairs. And how she always hated bumble bees! She ran as fast as she could to relative safety upstairs where she stayed with her brothers for the rest of the evening.

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