From his hiding place behind the throne, Will watched until every villager had dropped off to sleep, including the May Queen and her attendants. Silence fell like a curtain on a theatrical performance. He wasn’t sure what to do: stay and keep watch over Willa’s sleeping neighbours or return to the cottage to help her. He clicked his fingers.
Back in the garden, he found his sister picking daisies from the lawn.
‘I’m glad you came straight back,’ she said. ‘A reverse spell is bubbling in the cauldron. Would you mind giving it a stir while I collect the rest of the ingredients?’
‘How long will it take, Willa? What if a witch or some other stranger arrives at the village green and finds all those people tied to the maypole?’
‘Good point,’ she said. ‘I’ll put a protection spell around the village.’ Willa took her wand out of her apron pocket and muttered a spell under her breath. The air stirred and sparkled like an electric forcefield.
Will hopped up the steps and into the kitchen, where he found the cauldron bubbling and puffing little clouds of purple steam that drifted up to the rafters. Using a large ladle, he gave the concoction a gentle stir, which caused the clouds to break up and reform into green florets, like broccoli. ‘Yuck,’ he said to himself. Will was not a fan of broccoli.
Willa appeared in the back door, ready to complete the spell.
‘It is time to return to the maypole. I’ve not done a reverse spell for a while, so I need you there to make sure every villager is released. Then come straight back here for your growing potion’.
Another click of his fingers took Will back to the throne. He watched as the daisies disappeared. So far so good. He waited for thirty seconds. The maypole ribbons twitched. The May Queen’s eye lashes fluttered – and then nothing. There was only one thing Will could do. He emerged from his hiding place, one step at a time, making sure all eyes remained closed, and proceeded to unravel the ribbons by hand. He was untwisting the last two, when he spotted a shadow flitting across the green.
Kim M. Russell, 5th July 2020
Another episode of The Willow Tree Goblin for Poets and Storytellers United Writers’ Pantry
This episode is for my mother, who would have been 83 today. It was written last Tuesday during Shut Up and Write hour.