‘When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lighting or in rain?’
‘Well you usually get all three together. I’d check the weather forecast.’
Lynda, mother of the witches three, shrugged her hood off and glared at the young girl to her left.
‘All right Miss smarty pants, put that phone down! Oh never mind. Put the kettle on Mo.’
Mo, crone of the witches three, heaved herself off the dining room chair and into the kitchen.
Lynda stood up and turned the light on.
‘It’s tradition Stephanie,’ she said acidly, ‘you need to be respectful.’
Stephanie, maiden of the witches three, rolled her eyes and continued tapping on her phone.
‘What’s so traditional about those words. Shakespeare wrote them, we did Macbeth at school.’
‘Shakespeare did what all writers do, he borrowed from life.’
Stephanie looked up at Lynda suspiciously.
‘He spoke to real witches?’
‘Spoke to, over heard, listened to a story down the pub. Times were not good for us back then.’
‘They stretched your neck,’ said Mo, coming back with a tray of tea and Digestives.
‘None for me I’m still on Weight Watchers,’ said Lynda.
She stoked the fire under the cauldron, or rather the old fondue set with a bunch of candles underneath. Lynda was still hunting for a new cauldron after the last one melted. That was a spell they wouldn’t be trying again in a hurry.
‘Mo, pop in those newt eyes will you? Now to business, you’ve probably heard the news about the Vicar.’
‘Cuckolded,’ said Mo, sipping her tea with a grin.
‘Thank you Mo, yes, his wife ran off with her tennis instructor.’
‘Wasn’t that a woman?’ asked Stephanie.
‘Oh my God! How did I not know this? I have to tell Danielle.’
‘Stephanie put that phone away!’
Reluctantly the girl put the phone back in her pocket. Lynda hadn’t been keen on having her as their maiden, but she did have power and a sharp mind – along with a sharp tongue.
‘Anyway, we can’t have a Vicar that’s moping about everywhere – can you imagine him residing over weddings? So we’ll sort out a bit of “perk” in him until we can figure out something else.’
Stephanie devoured the last of the biscuits and looked at Lynda expectantly. Lynda ignored her.
‘Mo and I attended the village meeting about the new houses they’re proposing yesterday morning. The man from the council was very rude.’
‘Very rude,’ repeated Mo.
‘It was clear they’ve already made their minds up to build that monstrosity of a housing estate. Hopefully we can convince him to change his mind.’
She pulled out what looked like a small doll of a man.
‘It’s a very good likeness,’ said Mo.
‘Thank you. Willow!’
At her call, a lithe tortoiseshell cat appeared and sat at her feet. Lynda held the doll in front of her and Willow carefully took it in her mouth.
‘Play…specifically there’s a good girl.’
Willow blinked then trotted off.
‘Oo you have to show me how to do that,’ said Angela.
‘Mr Smith and Mr Cassidy,’ continued Lynda, ‘have decided to share their boundary wall which is great. And we will definitely be having petunias on the roundabout for the centenary – not those daffodils the Major wanted.’
‘And the cake competition for the Summer Fete?’ asked Mo.
Lynda shifted as a grin pulled at the edges of her mouth.
‘Marge Adams has won three times in a row and I think that’s quite enough for one person. It’s good to learn humility,’ she said.
‘Hoods up witches. No phones, Stephanie.’
The girl was suddenly alert and interested, pulling up her hood with her eyes fixed on the cauldron.
‘Mo, if you please.’
Mo disappeared under the table then pulled out a plastic container and opened it. Stephanie craned forwards, her face a mixture of awe and disgust. Mo pulled out a heart of indeterminate origin and placed it on a chopping board in front of Lynda.
‘Is that-‘ began Stephanie, but Lynda shushed her and picked up a large knife.
She sliced the heart into quarters and carefully placed each quarter into the fondue pot.
‘We witches three,’ they spoke together, ‘keep order in our village, our homes, our lives. We witches three.’
Using oven gloves emblazoned with the words “World’s Greatest Mum”, Lynda picked up the fondue pot and walked into the kitchen. Her chocolate cake was coming along nicely, but what made it special was the rich and lustrous topping. Carefully Lynda tipped the pot into a saucepan and put it on a low simmering heat. The first prize rosette was in the bag and balance was restored.
In a dark corner of the garden, Willow laid the doll down before her. If you looked closely, you could just see a tiny spark of terror behind the glassy open eyes. Willow yawned, exposing curved canines, then turned to playing…specifically.