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A Short story

By Melissa IngoldsbyPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read
Photo by Ash Hayes on Unsplash

The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own, and I knew it was that witch who disfigured my reflection in such a strange and distorted way.

“Oh God hang on, Thomas!” I cried out in a scream, my nails digging into his forearms as I desperately dragged and weakly pulled him up from the mountain. “Don’t let go! Do-don’t let go!”

“Frankie! I c-can’t!” His yellow golden eyes were frozen in terror and he choked out the words, tears forming in his eyes, long silverish hair dirty and rock covered, his hands sweaty and slipping from my other hand.

“I didn’t betray ya! That witchy woman in the cave-” I try to lunge forward and get a better hold of him, pulling him up at a painfully slow and dead weight pace. “She beguiled and tricked me!”

“I know! I know! I know it was fer your fambly!” He sobs, and I finally lift him up as he falls on top of me, both of us breathing erratically.

“Thomas, you are my family…” I say after much silence and he looks at me, exhausted and pained, but attempts to smile. I see him scratch his nose, and I worry a fight between the two of us is about to ensue.

The smile breaks to my heartbreak and he moves away from me slowly, gently pulling me off of him. My heart feels shattered by his response, and I feel my tears leaking out.


“What? What ya want from me, to forget my senses?! To not trust what I see and hear right in front of me, so? Is that what ya want?” He stands up in a shaky manner and before I can help him he glared at me, and I stop.

“What about just now? You trust what happened right in front of yer eyes just now?” I argue in a fretful sob.

“You saved me so you can save your own hide, is what it is, Frankie. You couldn’t come back without me and not be under amhrasach, you fool.” He brushes off his hair and clothes in a swift, curt, angry motion, huffing and puffing as he does it. The same way he always does it, since we were kids. My very best friend. Now, I think I lost him. “I’ve seen you give a sharp rock to kiss your mother for a loaf of brown bread, as it is, so,” he scowls, narrowing his eyes at me with an intense fury I had never seen on him before.

This particular mountain with the cave has a legend to it. Anyone who went near it too long went mad or came back to town and was never the same. Of course, I was fool enough to come up here and try and get my fortune. Even worse, Thomas had heard whispers of my venture, and followed me close behind——though I had no idea he was following me.

“Now, look, Thomas, I realize you’re upset with me. I understand. I realized that encounter with the witch in the cave looked awful. But, it wasn’t as it was, I swear. I wouldn’t ever hurt you.” I sigh and walk toward him, but he shuffles back in a flurry. “We’ve always been down in the dirt poor,” I try to laugh but his expression is so harsh I can’t bring myself to fake it. “And yes, I’ve lied and cheated to get my bread before. But this… this wasn’t true, by God.”

Thomas sighs and looks at me directly with a serious, wide eyed look. “I know. I know. I am tryin’ ta understand this. But, you are… I don’t even recognize you anymore. You aren’t you,” he almost cries, but it comes out like a frustrated and sad laugh.

I scratch my hair, which feels funny, and my face feels itchy, but I just shake my head at him. “I’m still me, Thomas.”

“You’re changing by the second…don’t ya see?” He starts to cry, and I feel like I’m about to faint.

“Thomas, I didn’t make a deal with that witch. Not against you. Never against you, Thomas. She put a shrouded spell over our conversation and switched our words with lies.” My voice sounds muffled as I can barely see, as it seems like it is getting dark outside and my hair keeps moving over my face.

“You agreed to give her my life so you can be rich, Frankie. I heard it.”

I hear it in his voice, and it hurts me so much. The heartbroken, defeated voice that came from him tore me up inside.

“No, Thomas, I wouldn’t. What I said was, I’d give her my life if she gave me fortune. She said she’d take it little by little, but that I would be able to enjoy it for a long time, in solitude.”

Thomas suddenly was at my side and holding me, when I felt a sharp stinging pang in my mouth, and the taste of metal and bitterness—blood. I felt my teeth crumbling and something forming. It felt like a hound’s tooth. Or a wolf’s.

“Oh, Frankie, the way she worded it, why’d ya agree?” He sobs into my chest as I felt more itchy and uncomfortable, but I let him close even as I felt like fainting. “You remember all those fairy tales we heard as kids, those dumb genie tales and how wishes needed to be worded more carefully? And how genies and witches and magic was-”

I take his hand in mine, but I can barely feel it. I feel like I’m wearing thick hairy gloves but I squeeze his hand, and see his eyes widening a bit in a strange bit of sadness and shyness.

“I wanted to give you some security. And my family. My sister. I wanted to make a difference.” I laugh and feel myself crying even as the bones crunch and break and reform inside of me, the muscles and organs pushing against each other and putting pressure on my entire body and lungs. I can barely stand, much less breathe.

“Why me? Why me, Frankie?” He cries to me as he moves my thick brown hair out of my face and I say softly, “Because you’re my family, and I love ya, you dummy.”

“I’m sorry I fell off the mountain, like a dumb Billy goat,” Thomas says with a sad laugh.

“You looked so fecking frantic, running so fast you didn’t see the edge? Whoop!” I tease and he laughs genuinely.

“Oh, Frankie. This is goodbye, then.”

I nod, seeing his look of shyness and affection turn into a soft sort of terror. The terror wasn’t linked to trust. At least, I knew he trusted me still. That was all that mattered.

“I’ve loved you, too, Frankie, if ya didn’t know, you foolish imp,” he says quietly and waves, tears running down his face as he goes down the mountain, leaving me alone.

I go to the cave, and I see it is now full of gold, silver, diamonds and luscious rubies. All my fortune is here. To mine and keep and cherish.

There’s a long filmy piece of shiny metal, and I can see myself in it.

The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own, and I knew it was that witch who disfigured my reflection in such a strange and distorted way.

All the time in the world on top of a magic mountain, with all the fortune, being taken piece by piece slowly by an unseen witch.

I was the werewolf of my own making, I realized painfully.

And now I was heartbroken to lose my heart, my love, my life.


About the Creator

Melissa Ingoldsby

I write short stories and poetry. I hope you find yourself in between the spaces of my words.

My Patheos column profile on art history.

My zombie apocalypse novel I am Bexley has been published by Resurgence Novels and you can read it here.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (37)

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  • K. C. Wexlar2 months ago

    So creative! Congrats on a great piece :)

  • Christopher Juba2 months ago

    Love this…I can relate

  • Musadiq Jutt2 months ago

    great story

  • Charlotte Flores2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing such a compelling story. The vivid descriptions and emotional dialogue between the characters really brought the scene to life. I found myself completely invested in the relationship between Frankie and Thomas and was deeply affected by the heartbreaking ending. The themes of trust, betrayal, and the consequences of making deals with dark forces are explored in a powerful and thought-provoking way. Overall, an excellent piece of storytelling.

  • Meet Abubakar2 months ago

    Congratulations ON top story!!! A great story.

  • R. J. Rani2 months ago

    What a creative take, Melissa! Congratulations on Top Story 🤗

  • Heather Hubler2 months ago

    Damn those sneaky witches, lol. Loved how this played kept me guessing til the end. Congratulations on Top Story :)

  • ❤️Hopefully, you can hear me Shouting CONGRATULATIONS 🎉 ❗❗❗❗🔊🗣️

  • Victoria R Rise.2 months ago

    Love this 💕

  • Em Starr2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story, Melissa! ❤️

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    Congratulations on top story!

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    😔 💰 good one! Uh I just saw you got top story below 👇 wow. Congrats. 🤠🤠

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Love this!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!

  • Sofia Joy2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story.

  • Dana Stewart2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story, Melissa! 🎉

  • What a great unique take on this challenge. Always be careful when talking to witches lol

  • JBaz2 months ago

    What a great interpretation of this challenge. Original and wonderfully written (as Always). Congratulations

  • Muhammad Ali2 months ago

    The story has a thrilling and emotional plot that keeps me engaged until the end. The ending is particularly poignant, as the consequences of the protagonist's actions come to light.

  • Gina C.2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!! 😍😍😍

  • J. S. Wade2 months ago

    Great story Melissa 🥰. Congratulations 🥇😎🥰👏👏👏

  • Holly Pheni2 months ago

    This is so sad -- and very well-written! Congratulations on the top story!!

  • Congratulation on your Top Story!

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    This is great. Congrats on the top story

  • Donna Renee2 months ago

    Ooooh didn’t see that coming!!! 😁😁

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