The witch hissed. It was unexpected, not because we didn't know her to be unfriendly, nor yet because we thought her incapable of sound. No, its unexpectedness was due to one thing. One thing only, my friend: we thought she had left for the day.
With the property vacated we thought we had the run of the woodlands for the remainder of the sun's trek from east to west. Now however, with her crooked stained teeth sneering from beneath her black and tattered scarf, we thought it good to back away and to seek shelter in an underlying bush.
Her foot started to slip. The loose rocks on that steep embankment threatened to roll her right down into the ravine. As she streaked on by I grabbed out and caught an ankle, breaking her fall. She clawed at the undergrowth, dead leaves flying up by the dozens. Screeches fled her lips.
"It's your fault! Let go of me! You're hurting my leg!"
I didn't know if it pained her more to simply be in contact with the hand of a Christian, or if it stung her pride to be helped by one. I knew I didn't want to let her fall to her death. Not because the idea of silencing her rude behavior didn't appeal to me, for it most certainly did. I wasn't letting go because her surviving daughter, the younger witch, would most certainly sue me for a wrongful death. Maybe also somewhere in the back of my head I thought she might someday be salvaged, turned into a halfway decent neighbor. I wrestled her to her feet and dragged her to the top of the cliff, my ears ringing with her protests. I set her down on the edge of the road not a hundred feet from her house. Then I turned on my heel and walked away briskly, abandoning her to her own angry howls.
Thump, thump, thump. I heard her limping after me. I stopped and unveiled a small Bible I kept hidden in my pocket. She halted, lurched, and snarled angrily like a rabid bobcat.
"Why can't you be reasonable?" I asked. "I wish you no harm. I have done you no harm. Let's live and let live. Can't we?"
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