One night, the first witch scrambled up the layout of B—. Northside, like a gigantic amoeba, ingested Southside’s parts. Glenbriar, de-gated, moved downtown. Winding Way veered into the lake.
For days, driving at a crawl, people passed the witch’s house.
“You lost?” she’d console as they lowered their windows, beady eyes softening as if recognizing her, organs that both gave and received. With worn looks they’d explain themselves, and, once given her directions (her brain, she thought with amusement, the map and map-maker and guardian), they thanked her, then flashed a smile so true it always startled her, their pupils—black velvet—sinking through her to thrum off her wire-gray heart.
But when, later, a car returned, she knew the time had come. She drove off, clouds on the highway banked before her—dense and vast, cold as the sick mind that spewed them. Finally lost, she saw, up ahead, 26° west of north off a plummeting caliche road, the second witch standing on her lawn, lemonade tray held at the ready, face brightening at the sight of the car.
The first witch locked her eyes on north. She braced for the floodwaters below.
Behind her the other receded, condensing to a point, shrieking her terrible need.
A writer and editor, Stephen Delaney has had work published in, among other places, Euphony, Crazyhorse, Corium, Per Contra, matchbook, and The Believer online. His website is www.stephen-delaney.com.
Artwork: Noel Kerns, Are We There Yet?