Remains of the Witch
by Tony Pi
(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.
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
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
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