This is an exercise where I take the first line or two of a book and start writing. The goal is to write a complete story or scene. Another rule is that I haven’t read the book, so I have no idea where the beginning of the book is going. Additionally, I try to limit the story to 1,000 words.
The witch had a cat and a hat that was black, and long ginger hair in a braid down her back.**
Everything about her said, ‘Witch,” except for the three kids tagging along behind her. I knew one of them. He was Jacob, a kid in my class.
“Hey, Jacob!” I shouted as they walked by.
He looked at me, but didn’t say anything, didn’t even act like he knew who I was. That made me wonder if maybe she was a witch and she did something to them and she was taking them home to cook them. That’s what witches do to kids you know. If the kid’s lucky, the witch will make them a slave and make them wash dirty witch stuff. Usually, the kid isn’t lucky and gets stuffed in a big oven, the size of a pizza oven, only the witch isn’t making pizza.
I thought maybe I should follow them. After all, if she was going to eat them, she had to have a house someplace. Maybe I could follow and see where she went. Then I could call the police. I didn’t want to follow too close, though. Last thing I wanted was to be part of a witch sandwich.
They went down a block and turned the corner. By the time I got there, they were gone.
She must have seen me following and made them disappear, I thought. I hurried down the street thinking maybe there was an alley, but as I was passing an ice-cream shop, I saw them all inside. She was handing each of them an ice-cream cone. Oh no, just like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, she was fattening them up. When they came out of the store, I said, “Hi Jacob.”
He mumbled, “Hi.” as he licked his ice-cream.
“Are you one of Jacob’s friends?” the witch asked. I couldn’t tell if she sounded like a witch, but I think she did.
I nodded, yes.
‘Would you like some ice-cream, too?” she said, and I think she cackled.
“No, thank you very much,” I said as I turned and ran. Maybe Jacob was going to stand there and let an old witch fatten him up, but I wasn’t. I didn’t stop until I was in my yard in front of my house.
** From the first line of “Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson