Welcome to Brighton Bits, short short stories about the people, places and things in and around the fictional village of Brighton, New Hampshire.
Because Halloween is around the corner, and I saw a clothesline with six witch hats hanging from it while on vacation in Maine, here is a short short story about…
The Six Severn Sisters
The six Severn sisters lived on the north side of the Stoneley Town Forest in a small house tucked into a clearing. You didn’t just stumble upon this house, you had to consciously want to find.
The sisters had lived all their lives in this house. Now round and old, their long hair turned silver, they naturally brought whispers of witches. Teens dared each other to knock at their door and the sisters loved to take turns playing the role of scary witch.
With Halloween a few days away, they dusted off their black pointy hats and hung them on the line, all in a row. Agatha, the youngest, as always, had mislaid hers. So, the older sisters decided to prank Agatha as well as the teens.
They sent Agatha on a fool’s errand in town. While she was gone, they combined potassium chloride and strontium nitrate with wax to create cakes. They laid a fire in the hearth and added a cake to turn the smoke purple. They roasted a fat turkey so the scent of crisp skin would float in the air. Just before dark, they placed five of the straw broomsticks they made and sold in their Etsy shop online just so against the side of the house.
After Agatha returned, Opal sneaked out the back door. A fat moon glowed orange low in the sky. To the right of the clothesline, where the hats flapped eerily in the breeze, she set a tombstone.
“Here likes Agatha Severn,
who died from indigestion
after feasting on a trespassing child.”
The sisters hid behind the curtains of the living room, tee-heeing. They waited, camera ready to capture that first moment of terror in the teens’ faces.
But Agatha was onto them. As they waited for their first victims, she tiptoed out the back door. And when the first pack of kids arrived, she jumped out, flashlight beneath her chin, cackling like a caricature witch.
The kids screamed and hightailed it back to the main road. The sisters fell on their butts.
It was Agatha’s turn to laugh.