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The Witch of the Thirteen Crows

An Empathy Witch's Tale

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 3 min read
The Witch of the Thirteen Crows
Photo by JJ Shev on Unsplash

My murder surrounded me as I hovered over the child. I saw the fear in his eyes, the confusion. I must not have been what he had expected when wandering into the territory belonging to the Witch of the Thirteen Crows. I knew all the rumors that circulated about me online, and an old crone I was not. With a gypsy blouse, blue crescent moon pendant, and faded jeans, I screamed more “hippy” than “witch.”

Yet as I knelt beside the child, the fear in him only grew.

I tried to muster up a closed-lipped smile as I closed my eyes and sent him feelings of reassurance and peace. I felt his heart rate slow and his breathing grow more even, but I could sense that his thoughts were still uneasy. Gently, I reached out and touched his head.

Calm, I told him in my mind. I am here to help.

Certain now that he would not run on me, I examined the child’s injury. As I pressed my hand against his ankle, I felt its throbbing pain as distinctly as though it were my own. My crows cawed at my distress, but I hushed them, so as to not disturb the child further. I returned my attention to him.

“I’m going to take the pain away,” I said to him aloud. “Your ankle won’t hurt anymore, and you’ll be able to walk back into town. You should still have your mommy put ice on it when you get home, but it should heal much more quickly. Okay?”

The child nodded. I still wasn’t sure if he comprehended, but I decided to proceed anyway.

I placed both hands on his injured ankle and focused my aura on it. A blue light traveled from my hands down to his leg.

As the light wrapped around his ankle, a burning erupted in my own. I hissed and groaned as the burning turned into an agonizing pain, as though someone had taken a hold of my ankle and twisted it abruptly. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I absorbed the ache of the child’s wound. All thirteen of my crows cried out, and again, I forced them to be quiet.

The transfer complete, I released the child’s ankle and resisted the urge to grasp at my own. Instead, I watched as the child, wide-eyed with wonder, rolled his now pain-free ankle. He stood gently on it, then more firmly, until he was jumping up and down with joy. My heart melted at the sight, and I almost forgot the pain that I had to endure to make this miracle happen.

The child then faced me, and his joy was replaced with fear.

“Witch!” he cried out, pointing at me. “Witch! Witch!”

Before I could say anything to him, before I could speak out against his charge, he ran through the woods and back towards town.

I sighed and pulled myself to my feet. My crows found a stick for me to prop myself up on as I hobbled back to my tiny house. It was time for me to move on once more—before I had another bloodbath on my hands.

My murder hovered above me, cawing a battle cry that I hoped would not come true.

* * *

Note: This story was written for Raymond G. Taylor's Write-a-Witch Awards Challenge. To check out this challenge and enter it yourself, follow the link below.


About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written for years with some published stories and poems of my own.

Learn more about me:

Support my writing: Patreon

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Comments (10)

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  • Manikandan Blog Writerabout a month ago

    very good mam

  • Chloe Gilholy3 months ago

    I thought this was a gripping story and loved how it tied well together.

  • Raymond G. Taylor3 months ago

    Congratulations on being the second prize winner. Prize just sent.

  • Raymond G. Taylor4 months ago

    Congratulations! You are one of six finalists in the write-a-witch challenge. The winning entries are here, each guaranteed one of the cash prizes. I will be ranking the stories over the next week, 1st ($10), 2nd($5), 3rd($2), 3x runner up ($1 each) based on comments and the given criteria. Please take a look and it would be great if you could give your views on the other stories. And please feel free to let others know about the awards so that they can comment too. Thanks for participating and please forgive the copy and paste comment to each of you. Details here:

  • Celia in Underland4 months ago

    Completely gripping. I'm 99.9 pc sure that I'd subscribed after ther piece I read about whether creative writing can be taught. Apparently not! Sorry! Great piece-loved it!

  • Novel Allen4 months ago

    A murder of crows. I love that phrase so much. Your story was delightful, with a beginning chant, it would fit into the Vocal challenge nicely.

  • Nice storytelling ♥️👍📝😉

  • Naveed 5 months ago

    Very relatable! Well written!

  • Raymond G. Taylor5 months ago

    Wonderful and original tale of a selfless sorceress. Really well done. Thanks for a magical take on the challenge and thanks for your support

  • Donna Renee5 months ago

    oh this is great, Stephanie!! I love it and that first sentence is a killer!

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