(Witches - they're popular villains in fairy tales, luring children into their candy houses and other evil tricks. Sarra Cannon, author of the Peachville High Demons series about some very dangerous and witchy cheerleaders, stops by today with a short tale...)
"Welcome to the witching well," the old woman said. She moved from her perch on the stones, a frail figure with long white hair and yellowing teeth.
I froze at the entrance, tossing a look over my shoulder toward my group of friends. They'd moved on to the colorful Lollipop Shop. Part of me wanted to run after them. But part of me felt drawn to this spot. There was an energy here unlike anything I'd ever felt.
"Come closer, my dear," she said with her thin, papery smile. "Don't be afraid."
I shivered as I crossed under a trellis that had been decorated with the most beautiful red roses. The air shifted around me. Colder here somehow despite the summer evening.
"This is the place where wishes are made. Where your every desire can be realized." She motioned toward the stone well at the center of the space. "All you have to do is step a little closer."
My legs trembled with each step that carried me toward the well.
"Why do you hesitate?" the woman asked. She wrapped a bony hand around my arm and guided me forward. "There's no reason to be afraid. The power you feel is the magic of the well. It speaks to you, doesn't it?"
I nodded, not finding my voice. My eyes were glued to the witching well with its dark gray stones and mossy exterior. How strange that it seemed a permanent fixture here. Wasn't this a traveling fair?
"Here you are, dear. Look down, deep down into the water below," she said, a sweetness dripping from her words like honey. "Tell me what you see."
Shivering, I knelt at the mouth of the well. With a shuddering breath, I leaned over and peered down into the mirrored depths below. My own simple reflection stared back at me, a plain girl with stringy brown hair and glasses slightly too big for her face.
"Tell me what it is that you long for," the woman said. "Beauty?"
At her words, a ripple formed in the water. I gasped as a new vision of myself appeared, smooth-skinned with shiny hair and eyes of bluest blue.
The image changed again. I saw myself wearing stunning jewels and driving a sleek white car. The vision was so clear, I could almost feel the cool leather of the steering wheel beneath my fingertips.
"No," she whispered. "It's true love that you seek."
I leaned closer as the image in the well shifted one final time.
There he was. A perfect replica of his green eyes and tousled hair. I knew the angles of his face and every movement of his body. I'd been watching him at a distance for years, but there he was in front of me. He turned and looked deep into my eyes. My breath caught in my throat and a warm flush spread up the back of my neck.
He looked so real.
"How does it work?" I said, my voice shaking. I searched my pocket, pulling out a handful of coins.
The woman smiled. "True, there's always a cost," she said. She placed her wrinkled hand upon mine and shook her head. "But coins are not the currency here, my sweet."
Confused, I put the money away. "I don't have anything more," I said.
A cool breeze blew around us as thunder sounded in the distance. An eerie smile spread across the woman's ancient face as she placed her hand over my heart.
"You have so much more than you know," she said. "For there's a little bit of witch in all of us."
Sarra Cannon grew up in a small town in Georgia where she learned that being popular always comes at a price. Now, she lives in North Carolina with her amazing husband and her teeny tiny Pomeranian, Snickerdoodle. Books and music are her greatest passions. She has never been a cheerleader, but it's possible she knows a few things about casting spells.
Giveaway! Sarah is offering one winner six ebooks, her entire Peachville High Demons series so far! Just comment below to enter.
The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM (Eastern) this Saturday. Open internationally. The winner will be announced on Sunday!
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