By Molly Butler

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            Her particular kind of witchcraft only worked when she lived on the run. It was a hiding magic. She pulled veils over the house and rooms she entered, leaving Uber drivers and pizza delivery boys stranded on the street.

            “Oh sorry, I think I missed your house,” friends would say, pulling up to her front door.

            She charmed the mail slot to delete her letters. A spell twisted the creaks in the stairs into traps. She sat under a large, one-way window, watching the dogs outside. She drank warm tea and broth and swept soft snow off the steps, sprinkling it with salt. At night, familiars traced the yard.

            It was not a house for bare feet. The weather changed in every room. Doors were suddenly shut after being open for weeks. A great many keys were required. Sometimes the coat room swallowed mittens and shoes and little bits of jewelry forever. The power came and went in the night. Joggers and dog walkers often crossed the street to pass the house without a thought. The house was not a color. One often forgot what they were doing when they passed the painting of a lady in the hall.

            The house cleared its throat and sighed. Made conversation.

            “Tell me,” she told the aching place, admiring its frozen belly, its warm and remembering wood.

            If he ever came he would be lost in the walls.

 Molly Butler

Author’s Note: This piece was written during my first semester at Hamline University’s Creative Writing MFA Program. It’s a bit of a gothic piece inspired by Shirley Jackson.