She is different, and this puts a sign on her back. They say she is a witch. Say they see her late at night in the woods where no innocent woman belongs. I say, maybe she just likes the woods, but I don’t say it loud. I don’t want that target on my back.
They say she can see in the dark like a night animal. They say she can read minds, speak curses. Some say she controls the weather. The floods. When a child is stillborn, they look to her, but they don’t look too directly. That would be inviting the dark arts. That would be plain stupid.
She’s beautiful in a way that is hard to look at. Her eyes are icy and grey. You can feel her stare like a burn on your skin. She will send her familiars if you aren’t careful. This is one of many reasons that everyone in town knows better than to taunt a raven.
They would kill her if they had the guts. They don’t. Instead, they will chip away at her with rumors and sideways glances. They will blame her for the crops that fail. They will claim she is responsible for the wandering eyes of men. They will pin their personal disasters to her, and they will feel better for doing it. It’s handy to have a scapegoat. It makes things easier. Kids misbehaving? Couldn’t be that they’re punk-asses. Must be witchcraft.
Her blood will cease flowing eventually, and they will take things that belonged to her. Hair clips and journals and bolts of fabric. They will consider these things to have power. And they will be right. Everything has power if you give it power.
Even a witch.