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I lived here once.

I stand at the bottom of the starlit garden gazing at the lopsided black and white cottage wondering if the new tenants will still be here at the month’s end. Usually they leave suddenly—complaining of strange smells, ghostly footsteps and a chill indoors that no amount of heating will overcome.

I creep closer and peer inside. The small kitchen window is framed by fragrant pink roses and curtained with ivy. A white candle burns, the golden flame casting shadows on the primrose yellow walls.

I push open the kitchen door. There’s a smell of vegetable stew and a feeling of welcome. I think of the people that visited me at night—the furtive tap on the door, the whispered secrets.

The last time I was here, the moon was full. The starlit fields echoed with the hooting of owls and the shouts of men.

I was ‘Hannah the Wise Woman’. I brought people into this world and sent them peacefully into the next. I healed wounds and created love potions. Then a child died—no fault of mine—and the rumours started. Before you could say ‘Beelzebub’ I was ‘Hannah the Witch’ and everybody wanted me tried and hanged.

I was so lost in my memories I didn’t hear the young woman’s footsteps. Her hair and eyes were dark as elderberries like mine used to be. She was carrying a blue vase of dried lavender, the scent of it carrying a memory of bees droning on a hot summer day.

“Go in peace, Hannah,” she said. “My name is Eve and your work will live on here with me.”

Her face was kind, full of understanding. I looked towards the wooden table and noticed the crystal pendulum and the black mirror that showed the secrets of the heart to those who wished to see.

There’s a scattering of stars above me like quartz crystals on black velvet as I step outside.

I lived here once. Now it’s time for me to begin a new journey.

Flash Fiction by Sue Johnson

Published in Spring 2017


  1. Mohini Malhotra Mohini Malhotra


  2. max thomas max thomas

    I loved the smooth and gentle energy of this. Made me feel calm.

  3. Maurita moore Maurita moore

    Wonderful!! Had a sustained presence and mood, drawing the reader in with every footstep. Slowing revealing!!

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