The Little Brown Broomstick

“Be quiet, Anne!” Mother hissed. 

“Yes, Mother,” I replied.

We had spent the night sweeping the living room, in hopes of setting up Father’s birthday there.

“Such a shame he was born on Halloween, I never get to go trick or treating like my friends,” I complained.

“You don’t need all that candy anyway.” 

I frowned. Not once has she given me the chance to go out with my friends on Halloween night. How unfair!

“Your father works hard and at the very least he should have one day where we can appreciate him.” She continued.

“If you’re going to make me do this, you should at least get a better broomstick, this one’s as old as the earth itself!”

“The broomstick is just fine, Anne, it’s your attitude that’s the problem.”

We have to have had the little brown broomstick for at least a century. It was Grandmother’s before she died, then Mother started using it. The bristles were all broken and the stick was warped. It’s far beyond repair if you ask me. 

“Excuse me while I use the restroom.” Mother said.

I waited until she left and took the little brown broomstick outside. I snuck to the dumpster and opened the lid. I heard a croaky voice in the distance.

“Excuse me, miss,” it said.

I jumped.

“Um, yes?” I called out, unaware of where the voice came from.

“Were you about to throw away that broomstick?” My eyes gazed over the dark atmosphere outside, eventually spotting where the voice came from. 

It was a little old woman, wearing a large brown cloak. Her off-white curly hair bounced as she spoke.

“Well, actually yes. Were you in need of one?”

“Certainly, I lost mine in a fire last week and desperately need to sweep my home.”

“I suppose you wouldn’t find much use out of this one. The bristles are all broken and the stick is warped.”

“Oh, it’ll do just fine,” She assured me.

I reluctantly handed over the little brown broomstick and made my way back inside. I walked in just as Mother came back from the restroom.

“I think we swept enough. I already put my broom away.” I smiled, happy I finally got rid of it.

Her eyes glanced around the room. 

“You don’t think we should finish that last bit in the corner?” she asked.

“No, no. It’s just fine the way it is. Let’s start on the decorations!” Maybe if we get the birthday celebration done earlier tomorrow, I could go trick-or-treating.

She opened the bag of decorations we bought from the convenience store earlier that day. She threw me some streamers.

“Take these.”

I started to hang them around the room.

“Do you think we could do the celebration early in the morning tomorrow?” I asked.

“We don’t celebrate until after he is back from work.”

“Then why are we setting up now?” I questioned.

“We won’t have time tomorrow, you know this. You have school and I will be cooking his birthday feast.” She explained. I nodded.

I heard cackling in the distance. I turned my head toward the window.

“What was that?” Mother asked. I didn’t answer. I was fixated on the thing I saw in the sky.

She repeated herself, “Anne, what was that?” 

“It looks like a little woman flying on what looks like a broom! I must be seeing things, that’s so silly!” Mother didn’t think it was silly. Her face turned pale.

“Anne, where did you put the broomstick?”

“In the garage, why?”

“Where did you put the broomstick?” She pushed.

I started rambling, “A little old lady said she needed it, it’s not like I just gave it away. Her broomstick burned in a fire last week and she said she needed it. It’s so old anyway, we can just buy a new one. I wasn’t being selfish, I had to give it to someone in need.” 

Mother took a deep breath. 

“Hide in the basement, Anne.” Mother ordered.

“But-”

“I said hide in the basement!” She yelled. 

“Yes, Mother.” I stomped down the stairs to the basement and slammed the door. I couldn’t believe she would order me around like that. I ought to show her. Immediately I turned around and marched back up the stairs. I flung open the door to reveal a hideous old witch. She was looking down on Mother lying on the floor in a puddle of blood.

“Mother!” I cried as I ran over to her.

“Oh, Anne, so brave, yet so foolish,” the old witch sneered. I felt a sharp pain in my heart as I watched a knife run through it. I fell over and everything became dark. I watched as the old witch jumped upon a little brown broomstick and flew off through the door. I stood up and looked down at my motionless body alongside Mother’s.

“What was all that noise?” a voice asked from the hallway. I watched in horror as Father came into the room on his birthday morning only to find his wife and daughter lying on the floor, dead.

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