Do you promise?

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I’ve been suffering from a severe case of writer’s block, and this quarantine has been begging me to get back into writing. I googled “Short story prompts” and I’m not proud of it, but that’s showbiz baby!

 

“I have a secret.” 

Winnie and I were sitting in the fort that my Dad had built in the backyard. The moon was bright and the stars were plentiful. She wore her captain america onesie that was starting to fit just a little too small in the chest area, a fact that I was jealous and intrigued about, and I was wearing my oldest brother- Jim’s- high school football t-shirt that he had given me before he went off to college. There were candles flickering on the side-table, and subtle music playing on the google-home that my step-mom insisted I keep in there. “Julia, Call 911 if you hear something weird out there.” It was her compromise to letting Winnie and I sleep in the treehouse. 

“What is it Winnie?” I could tell that she didn’t want to tell me, but the way she fidgeted said that she needed to tell someone. 

“My mom says I’m a witch.” 

I tried not to laugh. “Are you sure she said witch?” she couldn’t say the b-word, and Winnie was a good enough kid not to swear when her parents weren’t around either. 

“Forget it-” Winnie reached over to grab her bag and scoop her pillow up.

“Wait, I’m sorry.” My heart started racing. “How are you a witch?” I had to force that word out. I didn’t even know the right questions to ask. 

Crickets started chirping outside the little window, and I could see bats darting around eating the bugs that straggled in the air. It was warm, but the gentle breeze that lent us its hand was soothing. 

Winnie pulled the necklace from out of her shirt and dangled it in front of her. It was the same opal one that she wore every day, normally hidden in her shirt. She always grabbed onto it when she was nervous or excited. “You have to promise not to freak out.”

I nodded. 

“You have to promise!” She practically squealed. I shushed her, looking out the window to make sure my step-mom hadn’t turned the light on in their room. 

“I promise.” I felt nervous tension pull my eyebrows together. “I won’t freak out.” 

Winnie closed her eyes and started mumbling something under her breath. I couldn’t tell if it was english or some made up babble, but they made sense to her. That much was obvious.

The necklace churned in the air, slowly at first, but eventually was moving fast enough to actually create a small breeze. Winnie opened her eyes and smiled.

“That’s i- Holy Shit!” 

We were in the air. Levitating off of the ground. I felt like a genie with my legs crossed, bobbing slightly like a heartbeat. 

“How did you do that?” Put me down put me down put me down!

Winnie closed her eyes and exhaled gently, dropping us back to the wooden floor of the treehouse. 

“I told you, I’m a witch.” 

“You’re a witch.” I was stunned. Devoid of thought. There was literally nothing swirling around in my head. 

“You have to promise not to tell.” She stared at me without blinking, tucking the necklace back in her shirt. 

“What is that for?” I couldn’t focus.

“It’s my talisman. It was my great grandmothers.” Winnie was still smiling, but I could see her shoulders settle with relief.

“She was a witch too.”
Winnie nodded. “Promise me.” 

“I promise I won’t tell anyone.”

“Good,” Winnie pinched me hard enough to draw blood. And then she licked the blood from her finger. “It is sealed.”

“What did you do?” 

“Julia, if you tell any living soul that I am a witch, I will know it. And you will pay greatly for it.” Winnie’s eyes went dark. 

My heart raced harder, but this time because I was scared. 

“Winnie, are you a good witch?” Was that a good question to ask? I had never encountered a witch before. Even reading corny lines like that from a book felt so out of place. But I knew that I had to ask. 

Winnie’s grin grew wide, her teeth sparkling from the candlelight. I knew her answer before she even spoke, but I needed to hear the words out of her mouth.

“No, I am not. Go to sleep Julia.” She blew out all of the candles with one breath, plunging them into darkness. Winnie layed down on her own layer of blankets and closed her eyes peacefully. 

My body mechanically moved to my pile of blankets and settled in. Like I was doing what I was told. My eyes even clamped shut, forcing out the light. And forcing out my view of Winnie. While my body slept, my mind panicked. What had I just become a part of?

***

I didn’t mean to make this dark. I was going to make this story actually kind of innocent and sweet, but suddenly there was darkness. Dammit, me. Why am I like this.

Anywho, leave your thoughts in the comments, and come follow Live-writely for more sporadic content! 

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