Fantasy Humor LGBTQ+

The Witch and the Visitor

By: procrastinator_extraordinaire
Nov. 27, 2018
Average Rating: 3.2
Three knocks on her door woke the witch up. In between the knocks there was a slight pause, as if the person was hesitating. Well, they better were, after all nobody should take it lightly to knock on the door of a witch; that was just how the world worked. The witch might, for instance, currently be asleep – and rather prone to being grumpy when woken up by anybody else than either her trusty hat or her trusty cat. Accordingly, the witch did not care to disable the various traps around the house or to hurry up particularly. Why bother, if the person in front of the door likely was a bother themselves. When she finally slid open the little window in the door that allowed her to look outside without opening the whole door, it revealed a mysterious figure standing miserably in the rain, an arrow still sticking in their upper arm. That must have been the trap by the bridge – it was the one that always, always got ‘em. Good one, that. She would have to refill it later on, though. Bother. Which reminded her that there was somebody standing in her doorframe, soaked to the bone and—surprisingly—smiling like they had just learned that tiramisu existed. “I don’t quite believe you came to me because of that arrow there. What’s your deal, huh?”, asked the witch, not too politely. Wasted on most people anyway, being nice. Only got you into trouble, and sometimes they would even end up liking you. “I came from far away and— “ “Cut the bullshit”, the witch interrupted, again sweeping her table manners under the very table and added “You got one chance to convince me you are worth leaving my bed. And I own a lot of pillows, just saying.” The visitor hesitated, sighed and then answered: “—I don’t want to be alone anymore. I can’t—“ “A love potion, then? Nasty stuff—I mean not to hinder my own business, but that never works out well for you and don’t even get me started on the issue of consent. Just woo them the old-fashioned way. Flowers and a whole lot of chocolate. A stockpile, at least. If that doesn’t make you succeed, just move on, love.” “You misunderstand me. I don’t even have anybody I want to woo. I just can’t take being lonely anymore. I want to feel like I belong”, said the visitor in an almost pleading way. “What does that have to do with the price of fish—or me, for that matter? What could I possibly do to help you? Except for taking out that arrow, after all, it was me who put up the trap in the first place, right?”, said the witch, opening the door and added “Come on then, you wet poodle, I’ll wrap up that arm with a nice ointment. Won’t help you with the ladies though, stinks to high heaven, that.” Half an hour later, the visitor sat by the cracking fireplace with a hot chocolate, a woollen blanket and a catalogue of services offered by the witch. “‘Turn abusive partners into ugly animals’, that’s good and all, it really is—but don’t you think you could do even more? What about the monsters, the lurkers? They are becoming more aggressive every day. And don’t get me started on the deserters. The world could need your expertise, nearly as much as your delightful scowls!” The witch did not dignify that last remark with an answer, then noticed that she started scowling. Bother, that. She hated when others were right. That was not supposed to happen. After all, they were always wrong. That was the law. Obviously. She made a conscious attempt to smile, but it just came out… weird. Unnatural. Fake. She did the only thing she could think of to escape these uncomfortable questions. When the visitor next blinked, the witch seemed to be only a puff of smoke, slowly beginning to climb into the chimney. Of course, that was not really her, she was lying comfortably in her bed, the place safe of the problems and questions this bothersome world could pose. That is, until the visitor found her a minute later. They just climbed in and stole part of the blanket as if it was nothing! The witch had to admit, it was a rather big blanket and there was enough space and the additional body heat wasn’t half bad. But damnation, it was still her own bed! “You didn’t lie about your hoard of pillows, I see. I have to admit, it is rather comfy. Who needs other people when you got sacks of cloths stuffed with goose feathers, right?”, the visitor said with a faint grin. The witch still woke up the next morning feeling the visitors arm wrapped around her waist. She stayed in that position for a considerable amount of time—how long exactly was difficult to say without her timeteller—until finally the visitor seemed to have gained consciousness as well and, without addressing the situation, went downstairs to the main room. Sure enough, the witch could hear confused mumbling about how in the lurking darkness the cauldron used for an attempt at making tea had changed the water’s colour. The witch only yawned, but couldn’t stifle a broad smile, a feeling she hadn’t had in a long time. When she finally came downstairs, still in her pyjamas—she had never understood the need for other kinds of clothes anyway—a literally scrambled together breakfast was waiting for her, scrambled eggs on bread with a tea that was a stark black. Not just black tea – the tea was so dark it seemed to suck in the light. “Well I see you made acquaintance with the Void already. I normally introduce guests after the first few days the soonest—not that I have many, mind you.” “Wait, you mean to tell me this isn’t just food colouring?” “You just put a condensed part of the universe in a mug that says ‘witches don’t need stitches’, just saying. Wouldn’t want you to discover this after drinking it. —You haven’t, right?” “I was just about to, actually.” “Oh well, you only would have expanded to a sliver of infinity—nothing major.” “Why do you have this in your cauldron anyway?” “In order to do witchy stuff, of course. Why else?”, the witch asked with a smug grin, which she soon had to abandon when she took a particularly big bite. It didn’t stop her from commenting while chewing: “You put Pete the pan to good use, I have to say. Haven’t had a breakfast this good in ages!” “Your pan is alive? What isn’t bizarre and out of this world in this kitchen?” “Don’t be silly, dear, it’s just a piece of metal that I gave a name. As I’ve said, I don’t get much company in my little hut in the middle of a swamp.” “Maybe, just maybe that might be due to the traps that shoot arrows at potential guests”, the visitor said. “But I might be wrong about that.” “They didn’t stop you though, did they?” Three months later, there was no sign yet of the visitor leaving. Good. The witch was having the best time of her life, although that one time she had been overwhelmed by a dozen playful cats in a barn hadn't been half bad. Be that as it may, finally having somebody to talk to was just as great for the visitor as for the witch. Breakfast really was better if you could tell cheesy jokes with a full mouth and having somebody else wash the dishes greatly enhanced every meal. The visitor had become acquainted with a lot of the oddities that the witch had to offer in her house, but some things were still a bit too strange to comprehend for the visitor. “So does that mean the void is here of it's own will?” “Well of course, I wouldn't just force any sentient force to do my bidding,” the witch answered. How dare the visitor insinuate she'd be so cruel? “I guess that rule doesn't apply when you make me do the dishes,” the visitor said with mock outrage. “Well, you presume I detect any kind of intelligence in you!” Of course the witch meant that remark ironically, the visitor had shown themselves to be very sharp indeed. But that rather meant the witch had to stay on her toes in their battle of wits, so she couldn't pass up on such an opportunity for a bit of good-natured teasing. “Well that's rich to say for somebody who took a few minutes to put on a shirt just this morning. I would advise you to just walk around in a blanket next time you can't perform this basic task.” “It had laces on my freaking back! Also, you could have helped me, you heartless monster!” “I was too busy laughing at you, I'm sorry. Actually, I'm not,” the visitor answered. Both their cheeks were beginning to hurt from grinning so much.

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Gave me a good few chuckles
Daniel rated this work:

Nov. 28, 2018, 12:06 a.m.

Your piece is so whimsical and wholesome, I can't wait to read how the relationship between the witch and the visitor unfolds (although it was rather forward to just jump into bed with a stranger who was responsible for shooting an arrow into your arm, haha).

Some POV disagreement initially held back my understanding and slowed down my reading pace in the introduction. "In between the knocks there was a slight pause, as if the person was hesitating. Well, they better were, after all nobody should take it lightly to knock on the door of a witch [...]" I think it should be "Well, they better have been" or something similar since "were" is in second-person.

The language play with "bother" and other words, the snappy dialogue, and the anachronisms ("cut the bullshit") all were excellent and you clearly have a developed humorous voice that comes through in your work.

Some descriptions that aren't written humorously "When she finally slid open the little window in the door that allowed her to look outside without opening the whole door" are a bit lengthy/clunky and could be written to either be more concise or imbued with some of your whimsy.

The formatting is messed up but I think that the site developers are working on fixing it and making works editable and everything, so when that update comes in you should definitely re-upload so that the story is less blocky because it would definitely improve the snappiness and pace of reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading your work and look forward to the next installment! I do want to know more about the visitor, especially since they've been in the witch's house for months.

Pacing Point of View Voice Dialogue Concision

Comment Rating: 5.0

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Absurd and humorous!
naricorn rated this work:

Dec. 2, 2018, 8:55 p.m.

The voice in this story comes through so clearly from the outset, which I appreciated. Loved little lines like "That must have been the trap by the bridge - it was the one that always, always got 'em" and "sweeping her table manners under the very table." So matter-of-fact yet absurd.

Despite the clearly humorous intent of the piece, I didn't feel too connected to the characters. They're supposed to be weird, I can tell, but I need to somewhat understand their motives. What's the visitor doing there? Why's he so forward? Why doesn't the witch react more to him... spooning? Why doesn't the witch question him more, in general? It's understandable that she's lonely and would want someone there, but is she not at all curious?

I also felt like this story has a lot of potential (think of the wordbuilding you could do!) but lost itself a little in the middle. I wasn't sure where the story was headed, which you might be able to address by giving an explanation to the visitor or by imbuing the piece with a sence of urgency. In other words, I think there needs to be a little more plot.

Overall, good job and thanks for sharing!

Comment Rating: 5.0

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Cute but a little befuddled
scbonifaz rated this work:

Dec. 5, 2018, 5:36 a.m.

First off, let me say that you have a fantastic writing voice! It reminds me of a mix of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones, which is a truly fun and lovely mix to read.

I admit, however, that I was left wanting more from this installment. What does anything look like? Well, other than the bed covered in pillows, of course. I started imagining a cottage built into a hollowed-out hill, but I suspect this isn't what you were going for. Please describe your world more so that we can fully immerse ourselves into it! I'm also generally unsure of what the visitor /is/. I imagined the entire story as them shaped as a grey, human-shaped shadow, but for all I know they could be a bear! Help me fill out the blanks, please~

The Witch strikes me as oddly passive. She let an uninvited stranger into her home, was okay with them holding her in her bed as she slept mere minutes (??) after meeting, and let them stick around for months without even asking for their name? She has all those traps set up, and yet as soon as someone gets through them for a second she'll just let them do as they like with her stuff? It's very strange to me. If this is a metaphor for her character or something, sure, but I would work on clarifying that more. We got some glimpses into the Witch's thought process, but not enough to explain why all this was happening other than "she was lonely". As not all lonely people behave the same way, show us more of why she behaves the way she does!

All in all, this was very cute, but could use some strengthening to really shine. I hope you keep working on this and share another draft with us! This story deserves to keep going~

Comment Rating: 5.0

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