Being the person she was Miss Marble, witch, of 46 Grimace Street, didn’t spend much time reflecting on the previous year or on the coming one.
If she did, she’d find herself engrossed in the notion that having lived a long time she really did have a lot to reflect on.
But Miss Marble was content with her life. She liked to think she lived in the now. That was what she reacted to when reaction was needed. She liked where she lived, she must have, as she’d been there a long time.
Grimace Street hadn’t always been Grimace Street. In the early days, she simply lived in an old hut on the far edge of the village with a bumpy dirt road going past her place to the village cemetery. When she was a small girl, her mother had begun her education and taught her a lot about the usefulness of herbs and the value of a decent potion.
Miss Marble grew up in an era of superstition and innuendo. In most villages, witches had a limited life as they were accused of most of the ills in the world including the plague, which took hold around the time Miss Marble had her tenth birthday. It was a busy time, survival was paramount, and her mother was an excellent witch, skilled, kind and considerate. What saved Miss Marble and her mother was a potion that actually worked and healed many in the village. No one understood what it was, but they didn’t care as life was more important than the destruction they saw happening in every other village.
Miss Marble was now an aging woman, the elixir the Klator* had given her and which she took a sip of daily simply slowed down the aging process. Vanity wasn’t something she had any interest in but rather as time had passed, and people began to be more accepting of her she was keen to build a sense of community and so with people came just that and the dirt track that ran past her hut became Grimace Street after the locals habit of grimacing when they went past for fear of disturbing the witches.
But Miss Marble was into her community and liked to think she embraced all things bright and beautiful. She encouraged those around her to do the same. Nature provided so much, and Miss Marble felt she and everyone around her owed to the natural world to nurture and protect.
Hence Grimace Street was known as a leafy tree-lined street, and though many of the native animals had moved to more suitable habitats, there were a few who were able to take refuge in the trees and in the dark corners of people’s yards.
Today Miss Marble sat on her front veranda in the cool morning air and greeted each passer-by with a New Year wish. They, in turn, reciprocated glancing just once into her eyes, which always bored into you as if searching for the spark that was your soul.
She reached down and patted her old dog, Sal, dropped a treat at his feet, one laced with the elixir, and watched as Sal crunched it up and devoured it.
All was good she thought as the New Year began to take shape around her.
Her newest neighbour Evelyn Ruddy, the red-haired woman from the Nock, was coming for morning tea and Miss Marble like the look of Evelyn, and so, was in anticipation of their meeting.