This story was contributed by Arveliot
"Since you're a forcin me to pick, I think you'll get a trick," the old crone cackled in delight. And though there were friends, on either of his bookends, young Nicholas jumped back in fright. He didn't know what unnerved him so, though it wasn't the old crone's height. At her very best, she might have reached his chest, and had a distinctly toothless bite.
Nick crossed his arms, to project some confident smarm, and sneered at that fake old witch. He wished he had a cat to stuff in her hat, and was about to call her a ——. But a squeal and a hiss, impossible to miss, came from under the crone's cap. She raised up the brim, and there in the dim, a cat jumped out from the gap.
Great cheers and a hoot sounded from his troop, but Nick was quiet and wary. To see his thought, delivered on the spot, was more than a little scary. As if reading his mind like a very large sign, the witch smiled diabolically. "A treat at first, then you'll know it a curse," the witch spake with obvious glee.
"Each desire you voice, remember t'was a choice," the old woman sternly said. "And with this little verse, you boy I curse, and you'd be wise to feel some dread. For ere midnight you'll be back in a fright, gaping like a landlocked fish. Now go and find out, what I'm talking about, your curse: to get your wish."
Then with a swish of her cape, she left their mouths agape, for she had vanished on the spot. But further down the road and more candy in their load, their fears were quickly forgot. And as sugar made him bold, Nick mocked the warning told, and said, "hag's nuttier than squirrel spit. I'll call it bad luck, unless that house hands me a hundred bucks, and forget that batty old git."
But at the next door, Nick's mouth fell to the floor, and the group had quite the thrill. For a sketchy dude, while glaring rather rude, put in his bag a hundred dollar bill. "Holy crap," said startled Nick, "That guy was kind of a dick, but I got that ridonculous wish." He held the bill in the air, not prepared to share, and was sucker-punched by a man dressed as a fish.
A friend thought it funny, that Nicholas lost his money, to someone dressed up as Dori. But Nick was on his knees, breathing thin as a wheeze, convinced he'd been hit by a lorry. His friend Anna Betty, smirking rather petty, said "what, did he hit you down south?" Now Nick was in no mood for anything so rude, and said "I wish you'd shut your mouth."
And the night turned dark with that glib remark, as something was out of place. For Anna tried to scream as something from a dream, for she had no mouth on her face. She shrieked into the skin, where her mouth had just been, and cried her panicked tears. For this nightmare come to life stuck their hearts like a knife, and everyone screeched in fear.
Anna cried and tried to speak, but above her chin was all cheek, and she fled weeping past the nearby shack. Trying to make it right, and having more than a little fright, Nick yelled, "I wish you had your mouth back!" The girl then screamed once more, but dropped something on the floor, and fled round the corner out of sight. But her sobs still sounded clear, as if the girl were still near, and Nick took out his phone to use the light.
"What did you do?" asked the others in his crew, accusations left unspoken. Nick shook his head, wishing he was back in bed, his sense and sanity somewhat broken. The beam of light by his feet, pointing at the street, illumined a mouth screaming at the sky. Off a body as if it were copied, rather convincingly disembodied, the mouth gibbered, wept, and cried.
"I need to find that witch," Nick said in a halting hitch, pulling against the hands gripping at his shirt. But the hands held fast, and like being chained to a mast, Nick struggled vainly till his shoulders hurt. Nearly blinded in his panic, and his thoughts becoming manic, he wished "dude, just let me go." But Nick let out a gasp when he found an arm in his grasp, disconnected all the way to the elbow.
He screamed and dropped the arm, not looking back at the harm, he didn't dare to say anything more. He could not make a peep, body parts kept dropping to the street, until he got to the witch's door. He spied the old crone's roost, gave his sprint a bit of a boost, and raised a mighty racket with her bell. The door parted with a creak, and before the woman could speak, Nick sobbed and begged her to undo her spell.
But the woman cackled in delight, seeming to enjoy the sight, of Nick now sobbing at her stoop. She bent down to ask, "is that a wish you cast?" and Nick felt his face begin to droop. "Dare you ever speak again, even to your dearest friend, knowing the harm you could cause? Words can be so violent, better to be silent, then let another word pass your jaws."
Gordon Pyper, going by the handle Arveliot, is the author of the developing grimdark fantasy series The Everburning City, which includes one of Wattpad's Paid Stories, The Dragon Chase. Read more of Gordon's stories here .
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