Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Remains of the Witch
    by Tony Pi

Remains of the Witch
Artwork by Anna Repp

(A letter, sealed with golden wax, stamped with a winged monkey in flight, discovered in the Gale girl's farmhouse.)

Dear Miekkek, my wing-sister,

The witch-water showed me that you still seek me. For that, I love you all the more, but you'll not find me in the shadows or hollows of Oz. I haven't the courage to face you as I am, as I have become.

Forgive me.

Yet I owe you the truth. You alone, among all our monkey brethren, didn't shun me after the witch took me as her protégée. Unlike the others, you never fled from my coming, turned wing to my face, or called me Witch's Paw. Instead you whispered my name to remind me who I once was: Remue, she who laughed, she who belonged.

That fledgling would have you know her fate.

After the Gale girl slew West, I chose to see what remained of the witch. When I first heard the manner of her death, I didn't believe it. With all her power, how could West let a simple pail of water slay her? I had to see for myself.

For all her vaunted evil, she had shown me glimpses of kindness. During our lessons she'd sometimes let slip a word of praise amid her huff and sneer, or give me leave to scry to my heart's content in her far-seeing crystal. So while you all rejoiced in her death and celebrated your freedom, I flew to the tower where she had died, my heart thundering as loud as the bells and songs roaring from your feast.

There, I found the stink of burnt straw. A bucket, upended. West's hourglass broken, its blood salts spilt across the stony tiles. The final proof was her hat and robes, a mess of black, soaking in a pool of absinthe-green.

Months of her posture lessons fled me and I hunched over the puddle, shaking. Her Selfish and Tyrannical Wickedness, slain by a wisp of a girl?

But then I recalled what West had said to her sister the final time they'd held coven.

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