a witch's cat is rudely woken up by the banging of the doorbell.
|The cat soaked up the morning sun on the window sill, as still as a statue with the exception of the tip of his long tail twitching in time to alien feline dreams. Occasionally he would open one eye lazily on the off chance that some small and fluffy creature had strayed with in range of razor sharp claws and needle like fangs. Not often though as he was well fed and content to doze there in the sun.
Off in the distance, towards the village his ears detected a great deal of noise, but as the racket was being created by humans he chose to ignore it and went back to sleep, but he was woken up sometime later by the sudden and loud clang of the door bell causing him to jump five feet into the air and shoot off to hide in the herb garden, his tail imitating a bottle brush and his yellow eyes narrowing anger as he hissed and spat at the intruder. Said young man eyed the malevolent ginger monster wearily, nervously making sure that his threadbare trousers covered his ankles and did not represent a tempting target for the battle scarred tom to dig his claws into. But the cat, growing bored of all the fuss simply prowled off with an irritated flick of his tail and after waiting a few minutes the man plucked up the courage to ring the door bell again, louder this time as there hadn't been any repercussions from his action yet.
'To what do I owe this pleasure?'
The door was finally opened by a middle aged woman with stricking rather than beautiful features, silvery blond hair and hazel eyes that had a hint of yellow in them like the cat's. Despite this there was nothing really frightening about her and when she smiled it was a kind, if rather exasperated smile that spoke of a harsh but enjoyable life. When her visitor said nothing but just stood there staring she sighed,
'Let me guess you are in need of a herbalist or healer?' her voice sharpened and suddenly she didn't look so warm and welcoming 'Love potion then so you can make a girl love you...or is it a curse you're after?'
At the mention of curses the youth paled visibly but finally found his tongue.
'Please lift it.' he begged 'We're all very sorry...well every one except for Dai but he is a miserable old bugger so that doesn't count...does it? But please you've got to help us...please we'll do anything.'
His babbling whine died out under her close scrutiny.
'Oh anything is it?' the Witch asked in a quiet voice 'Are you sure young Watkin because “anything” is a very dangerous thing to promise.'
The young man didn't understand the underlying caution in her words because he answered with a grin of relief.
'It's shoes madam. All the shoes in the village even the ones the cobbler had in his shop.'
'Yes what about them?' now she sounded irritated
'They've gone...all of them. Just vanished over night. Begging your pardon madam but Johnny overheard you mutter something making us see how hard it is to walk over sharp stones and hard rocks with out any shoes to protect our feet.'
The Witch looked blank for a second, then comprehension dawned and she said in a sharp voice,
'And are all your horses correctly shod now.'
'Oh...er...yes-nearly. Be right back madam.'
Turning back towards the village the youth sprinted off while the Witch laughed softly behind him. A laugh full of amused pity for the idiots who thought she could wield that much power. Picking out her favourite walking stick she shut the door behind her with a snap, disengaged the annoying doorbell and set off to a certain pool in the nearby river that her mother had shown her long ago. Reaching it she sat down on the gnarled root of the old oak that over hung it and made herself comfortable, calling out in a musical voice,
Lleycu llwyd. Lleycu llwyd. Lleycu llwyd.
Lleycu llwyd dewch chi i mi.
But rather that the wise creature with the grey shawl hiding her face that the Witch so frequently conversed with that they might be considered friends, or perhaps kinsmen she was greeted by peals of laughter. Looking up she saw an arrogantly handsome man with pale gold hair reaching to his shoulders and strange jewel green eyes. The witch sighed and muttered 'might have know he had a finger in it somewhere' but said nonetheless,
'Forgive me lord but I was looking for the river's daughter.'
'Ah you must mean you mother,' he chuckled ignoring the sudden pain in her eyes 'but I rather think it is me you want to speak to right now.' he smiled as she scowled
'I imagined as much.' she said dryly 'why did you put them up to it?'
'I was bored and I want something.'
Remembering the rash promise of 'anything' the witch smiled,
'Provided you get the shoes back I might be able to help you lord.'
'Ah well in that case we have a bit of a problem.'
He casually waved his hand and the water stilled to show an image from the other side of the portal, from faery land. The witch gasped, then swore realising where the villages footwear had gone. One scene showed fairies and pixies using the new boots from the cobblers as houses, another that of goblins boiling the older, smellier pairs in a soup that simmered in a great cauldron and the third showed a pair of brownies industrially cleaning the mud of a pair of hobnailed work boots. Meeting his eyes the witch smiled, no problem.
'Listen you,' she yelled at the portal 'you've got five minutes to return those shoes,other wise I'll set me cat on you!'
Backing up her threat the large ginger tomcat slunk into view.