273. Lights witch, light switch
© Bruce Goodman 10 July 2014

Some said she was a witch; others, just a nasty or a mad lady. Yet it was strange; she called her black cat Rutterkin. Some villagers said that Rutterkin would sometimes leap up to the woman’s neck and suck blood.

This horrid lady had a daughter, called Bernice. Bernice was lovely. She was nine years old, and was forever forgetting to turn the lights off when she left a room.

“You’re not the one who pays the bills,” cackled her mother. “If you don’t learn to turn the lights off, I shall teach you a lesson.”

Bernice forgot. Bernice was taught a lesson. Her mother locked her in the cellar. The cellar had one tiny, very-high-up window of light. Bernice tried the door. The door was locked.

“And don’t turn the light switch on next to the door,” threatened the witch. “It doesn’t turn the light on. It puts poisonous gas into the room. You can stay in the dark, until you learn to think.”

Bernice was locked up. Imprisoned. Lonely. Unable to escape. She stayed trapped in that cellar for two years. Then she died.

“Stupid girl,” said her mother. “She never started to think. Not once. That switch wasn’t a light switch at all. It was for unlocking the door.”

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