I always wondered what was on the other side of the stone arch.
It had stood there for centuries, overlooking the ocean. My teacher said it had been there since the days when they burned witches at the stake. The grass around it was a rich green, even in winter when all else was bare.
Everyone else looked through the archway and saw pastel waves lapping at the shoreline.
But I saw something different.
I saw fire and magic.
I saw women in dark cloaks chanting beneath the moonlight.
I heard the songs too, songs of vengeance and reprise.
One day, when I was too young to know any better, I asked my mother about it.
“Mama, where did all the witches go?”
“They burned them.”
“All of them? Did some of them escape?”
My mother sighed. “I don’t know, Edith,” she said. “They weren’t real witches anyway. People only thought they were.”
With that she turned her back on me and went back to washing the dishes.
Over the years my fascination with witches grew. I studied their ancient practices, and filled my bookshelves with records of their persecution. I dyed my mousey hair to match the blackness of the night, and experimented with herbs that were believed to have magical properties.
People began to shun me.
I had no friends at school, and even the teachers grew wary of me. Some people even threw stones, like they did in the old days.
One night I stood before the arch and listened. I listened to the dark crackle of fire, to the harmony of voices rising into the night.
And I stepped through.
Through the arch, to the other side.
There was someone waiting for me. Her face was hidden in the shadows of her cloak, but I could see the wicked spark in her eyes. A sly smile curved her ruby lips.
“Welcome, sister,” she said.
Written for Sue Vincent’s Writephoto Prompt: Stones