The children bunched together in a corner of the primary school playing field, just the few of them at first, but others soon joined them.
The hubbub of play rang out across the field, as the rest of the school, happily played in the spring sunshine, winter games giving way to summer playfulness. Older boys played football, games of tick went on and long skipping ropes, twirled with girls queuing up to take turns.
Sitting alone, making daisy-chains, she looked up to see the crowd of children gathered in that one corner, over by the houses.
This was her first year of school, and when the field had been opened up earlier that week, she had wondered over to that spot herself. The white wicker gate seemed strange to her so she had investigated, only to be told off by one of the play ground attendants, Mrs Pritchard.
The gate was out of bounds, so why were the children there?
Her curiosity getting the best of her, she slipped the daisy-chain around her wrist and slowly walked over, she saw how more and more children seemed to be drawn to the throng.
As she approached, keeping an eye out for Mrs Pritchard of course, a sound, strangely rhythmic came to her ears.
The children were chanting!
Gathered in a inner and outer mass, she was aware of inner movement, but as others flowed into the outer semi-circle she could not see what exactly was going on, but she was close enough now to hear the one single word they all were repeating over and over again!
She watched, closer now, but apart from the throng, mesmerised by the chanting, horrified by the happening.
Who were they taunting?
Suddenly a shout went up!
The throng quickly melted away, leaving only the inner few, who too ran away, leaving only her and the witch, bent with age, eyes manicly wild, hair streaming around her like Medusa’s snakes, gnarled hands gripping a broom, poised, brushes outwards.
Their eyes met, and the woman pushing the broom in short stabs towards her said, “Get away! Get away! Get AWAY!”
The child quickly saw the truth. This was no witch, but a scared little old white haired lady!
“But I don’t think you are a witch,” she said innocently, “I’m not like them I wont hurt you.”
But the broom came up, and instinct told her to back off.
She took her first few steps back just as Mrs Pritchard walked up to the gate, draging the boy who had started it all by his ear, followed at a safe distance by gawping boys and girls.
The boy began to apologise, but she could hear his heart was not in it, it was his pain that gave rise to the false words.
Her five year old heart skipped a beat.
She backed off even more.
A strange fear creeping through her soul.
Looking around her to see if anyone noticed as she went back, all alone, back to her patch of daisies, sacred to her Horned God.