Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue by Reena Rajyaguru

Elwynn Cottage barely peeked out from the greenery creeping around it. Ivy crawled up the front wall, while roses curled around the top floor windows, suffocating the sills in an embrace. Georgie tugged at my hand, leading us to the door. 

“Come on Ellie,” she whined. “We haven’t seen her in ages” 

Moments later, the wooden door creaked open, revealing Inez. White hair spilled over her shoulder, plaited loosely with dried flowers. Her regal face burst into a warm smile, eyes wrinkling. 

“Hello, my dears,” she said, dusting off tattooed hands. “Come through. I’ve been working outside today.” 

“Can I help?” Georgie quipped. 

“Of course, my love. There’s a full moon tonight.” And then to me. “You know what that means, Ellie” 

I did. 

We trailed behind Inez as she guided us through the cottage. Dark oak doors, engraved with sigils lined the curved hallway, locked for as long as I could remember. As we neared the end of the passage, Inez stopped abruptly, thrusting a weathered hand in her pocket. She produced a small, purple crystal and pressed it into my palm. 

“Amethyst,” she said, green eyes piercing mine. “For tonight.” 

I nodded in reply as we ventured into the garden. Inez strolled to the sage in the far corner, while Georgie and I wandered leisurely behind. Without warning, Inez gasped, head lolling back as violets fell from her hair. Eyes closed, she chanted slurred words in a foreign tongue. Georgie stared at me, brows furrowed. 

“She’s doing it again.” 

“She’ll be alright,” I said, turning the amethyst between my fingers. “She’s not as young as you and me.” 

“Well, how old is she?” 

“You know, I’m not sure.” 

“150?” 

“She may well be,” I laughed. “Nobody really knows.” 

And perhaps she was, some witches live forever, after all.

Published in Issue #17

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