The HatMature

Ziema was in a bit of a fluster. She had misplaced her hat, and there were broken bottles on the floor, their contents hissing and spitting as they made contact with one another. With a distracted wave of her hand, she cleaned up the mess and summoned for her hat. This was met with resistance. Something--or someone--must be holding onto it. Sullenly, she concentrated her power to locate it, finding it in the stables. She supposed she could have left it there, but it was not likely. Whatever the case may have been, she would soon find out.

The sunlight peeked through the gaps in the thick, twisted forest and fell in lonely patches upon the bitter ground. She left footprints of frost in the dead, rotting leaves as she crossed the path to the stables. An owl hooted softly in the darkness. There were only two times of day here, in the dense, ancient heart of the forest: night and nearly night. No cheerful flowers bloomed here, nor did any young tree sprout from the ever-frigid ground. Only old, wicked, jealous plants grew in places like this. She threw open the door to the stables and entered into the musty darkness, striding to the very end of the row.

It was just as she suspected.

"I told you," she snarled, "to never come back!"

The crow-man looked calmly up from his current activity (which consisted of feeding Ziema's hat to her goat, Capriaron), and stared back at her with mischief glinting in his eyes. His dirty face split into a grin. Exactly, he seemed to be saying. That's precisely why I did come back.

She gathered a death spell from the air about her and hurled it at him, but he anticipated it, and in an instant, he had transformed and was flying down the row and out of the door, followed only by Ziema's enraged shriek as her curse shattered upon the wall.

"I'll get you one day, you insolent feather-duster! Trust me, I shall!"

The End

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