Image © Mara Eastern (Used with Permission)
“Just along a bit’ proved like so much in Doomsberry Park to be further than Trica anticipated.
“Be careful where you step,” shouted a voice to her left.
“Oh, I am sorry, but I can’t see you, can I?” said Trica wanting to apologise and get to talk to someone as she made her way along the path.
“Occupational hazard in these parts, getting stepped on, run into, bumped and pushed.”
“Well, I am sorry. What is your name?
“Yes, Evan. Are you going to make fun of my name? Typical of your younger generation. If my name was Twaddlebutt or Whatfour you wouldn’t bat an eyelid would you.”
“No, I’m not going to make fun of your name, it’s just taken me by surprise when I think of the names I’ve learned along the way.”
“Huh, I’ve heard that before. Anyway, you’d best be getting along, I believe you are looking for Maunchy Munchinson. She’ll have heard all about you by now. Bad news travels fast in the Park. Now, mind you don’t step on my tail.”
“You’ve a tail?”
“Well that’s the last straw, get going before I materialise and we all know you wouldn’t like that.”
“And tail. Now begone.”
With that Trica heard a scurrying as Evan moved away.
Trica turned to continue only to discover the path had changed. Where prior it had been a windy path now it was straight, and at the end, she could see figures in black milling about.
This was what she had been looking for so she hurried along wanting and hoping that Maunchy Munchinson would be there to greet her.
As she drew nearer a small woman, dressed in black, a sharp pointy hat on her head stood in the middle of the path.
The woman stood with her hands on her hips as if growing impatient. From under her hat flashes of grey were mixed with her abundant stock of dark hair. There was something about Maunchy that suggested both ‘don’t mess with me’ and ‘can I help you, dear’.
Of course, Trica thought this was in keeping with the whole nature of Doomsberry Park.
“Well, you took your time I have to say that. Stop along the way to chat, did you? The snail in the fez? Adolphus?”
“Well yes there were a few stops. But I want to see Maunchy Munchinson.”
“I am Maunchy Munchinson. I’m important, and I’m busy. So, what do you want?”
“Hello Miss Munchinson, I’m Trica, and I’ve had a heck of a time getting here. I’m a witch chaser and I’ve love to interview you.”
“Witch chaser? As in you’ll chase me?”
“It’s a figurative term Miss Munchinson.”
Maunchy looked her over, it was one of those faces that told you, you weren’t getting very far and it reminded Trica of the help she’d received along the way. Both helpful and unhelpful all at the same time.
“I don’t do interviews, too much bother and a waste of time. On top of that I can see straight away, I don’t like you.”
Suddenly Trica felt isolated. The other witches were now watching, muttering among themselves and Trica was beginning to feel uncomfortable.
Maunchy Munchinson looked Trica over and then turned away beckoning her to follow. She walked to where the other witches were gathered. They were standing around a cauldron giving Trica furtive glances as she approached.
The cauldron was a large round pot hung over a raging fire, steam floated out of it, and when Trica stopped, she could hear it bubbling away. Though it wasn’t a normal bubble as she was sure she could hear what she imagined were groans, burp, farts and the odd obscenity.
“Girls are playing with a new recipe,” explained Maunchy, “we’re seeing what goats pee, mixed with carrot and tomato juice might bring to the table. Nothing so far apart from a lot of words we didn’t know existed.”
Just then the witches gasped in surprise as a new word came from the cauldron and the witch with the note pad noted it down.
“That’s eleven,’ she exclaimed, and the other witches leant in closer to the bubbling vat. One witch a woman somewhat taller than the rest held her hand over the cauldron and with a deft flick of her fingers dropped in more ingredient.
There was an explosion, a series of long drawn out farts and the contents of the vat materialised into a spectre the likes of which terrified Trica. Whilst Trica stood there trembling the witches, Maunchy included, broke out into a generous round of applause.
“Is this what you do?” asked Trica stepping a little further away from the witches.
“It’s all we can do now days,” explained Maunchy, “play with things, see what happens, mix a bit of that with a bit of this and that then see if anything interesting happens. Agnes Whistledung takes copious notes, Maggy Gustywindcharm is the recipe guide, the others offer support and encouragement, oh and the little one on the end, Crazy Manzy Pansyheart, she sings and keeps us entertained.”
Suddenly Trica had learned a lot. She looked at Maunchy Munchinson and asked, “So an interview?”