The Witches' Grotto

            I woke up at home, in the cave. Paddock was resting beside me. He ain't pretty, but he's a good friend. He stirred, as I stirred. I stretched my paws frontward and backward, and yawned. Then, I padded my way around the bubbling cauldron to inspect today's work.

            The cauldron hung over an eerily green fire. A ring of blackened stones rimmed the burning wood, each one painted blue with a strange symbol. And, around it all, was a circle of salt and ashes.

            Across from the cauldron, was another witch. A friend of my mistress. And, also, Paddock was her familiar. We familiars are friendly, really. Not all demons are bad, y'know? Well, you'll figure it out. Just, some of us give the others a bad name. And don't get me started on witches. Yeesh.

            Instead of minding the cauldron, she was reading. The mixture had begun to boil over, causing the flames to hiss as green froth dripped over the edge of the metal pot. And she remained focused, repeating the words under her breath.

            I jumped onto her lap.

            "Oh, hey 'Malkin."

            I looked up at her. She had not shaved this morning. Her beard was beginning to show. Witches have beards. It's  complicated. And she just kept repeating the words. They made no sense to me, so I looked down at the scrolls resting on her knees, from which she read.

            Paddock broke the silence with an admirable ribbit, his throat bubbling out. He's quite the cheeky little toad, he is!

            MacBeth? Act One? I've read this before! No, you should be reading up on lore instead! Hmm... I mewed, and padded the scroll with a paw. Our namesakes were in that play, Paddock and Greymalkin. We got a brief mention. So brief, that I wasn't terribly fond of it, nor the man that wrote it. And then I realized why she was repeating it under her breath, and had not shaved her beard this morning. She's auditioning for the part of a witch at the Edinburgh theater!

            This, I pointed out to Paddock with a few meows and purrs.

            His bulbous eyes frowned, and then he replied, "We can't weave magic and mischief every day, 'Malkin. Let her have some fun."

            "Oh, okay." I mewed with reluctance. Wondering, Where's my mistress? I'm hungry!

The End

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