The Witching Hour (Day 13, 13 Days of Samhain)

The Witching Hour

The group of friends sat in the living room watching television. One of them checked her watch and smiled.

“Hey it’s the Witching Hour!” She announced. They all swung around and looked at her.

“So let’s get witching!” Another declared. They began pulling off their skin like it was clothing to reveal green skin underneath. Cackling, they then put on their robes and black hats.

“Fly my pretties!” One said as they mounted their broomsticks and flew out the door one by one. They swooped around the town a few times cackling out loud, and then flew off into the night.

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt The Witching Hour provided by Sammi Cox’s 13 Days of Samhain.

This is the final one. Thanks to Sammi Cox for all the prompts. They’ve been fun to do. I’ll be taking a break for a few days as I need to do another draft of my fantasy novel.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher


Stirring the Cauldron (Day 11, 13 Days of Samhain)

Stirring the Cauldron

Ambrose walked into the Witch’s kitchen and found her stirring the cauldron.

“So what evil potion are you making now foul crone?” He asked. The Witch looked up at him angrily.

“My laundry.” She replied as she fished out a pair of white frilly knickers with her stirrer to show him.

“Oh sorry! I thought you were making some terrible potion.”

“Well I’m not. Why are you in my home?” The Witch asked.

“I was wanting something for my hair loss. I hoped you might have a potion that would help.” He said. The Witch smiled.

“I have just the thing.” She stopped stirring her cauldron and went to a shelf. She selected a dark green potion and gave Ambrose a small vial of it.

“This will stop the hair loss?” He asked.

“Yes hair loss will no longer be a problem. That will be five gold coins.” He mumbled about the price, but gave her the coins. He opened the vial and drank the contents.

“That tasted foul!” Ambrose complained.

“What did you expect? Lime cordial?” She replied. Not long after he drank the potion Ambrose’s skin started turning green and he began to dwindle in size.

“What have you done to me?” He screamed.

“Don’t worry, hair loss will no longer be a problem for you.” The Witch assured him. Within a minute there was a toad where Ambrose had been. “Now get out of my house!” She used her broom to push the toad out her front door, and then returned to her laundry.

“Foul crone indeed!”

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt Stirring the Cauldron provided by Sammi Cox’s 13 Days of Samhain.

My apologies for the image used, but I couldn’t find a great selection.

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©️2022 Joanne Fisher

13 Horror Films: 2. The City of the Dead (1960)

I’ve decided to write about a particular horror film every day until Halloween. I’ve also decided to choose films that are not so well known or have been overlooked. Some will be contemporary, and some will be older. These posts will contain spoilers, so you are warned.

2. The City of the Dead (1960) – aka Horror Hotel.

“For Whitewood time stands still.”

The City of the Dead is a curious film. While it is set in the United States, in particularly New England, it was actually shot in England with an English cast. The most well-known actor in this is Christopher Lee. He had recently found fame as Dracula in Hammer’s 1958 film Dracula (Horror of Dracula in the U.S.), and was yet to do any of the sequels that followed. The film is shot in black and white and the town of Whitewood always seems to be covered in thick mist.

The City of the Dead begins in 1692 during the witch-hunts. The townsfolk of Whitewood, Massachusetts are intending to burn Elizabeth Selwyn for witchcraft, but something goes wrong. The Devil aids her and curses the town and everyone living in it.

Then the film jumps to modern times (if modern times is 1960 that is). Professor Alan Driscoll (Christopher Lee) is teaching his students about the events in Whitewood that night. One of this students, Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson), wishes to go to a small New England town to research more about witchcraft during that time for her term paper. Driscoll suggests going to Whitewood itself. Both her boyfriend, Tom Maitland (Tom Naylor), and her brother, Richard Barlow (Dennis Lotis) are both skeptical about witchcraft and what Driscoll is teaching. They both try and dissuade her to go to Whitewood, but her mind is made up.

Nan travels to Whitewood alone intending to stay there for two weeks. She checks into the Ravens Inn and finds there is a trap door in the floor of her room. Visiting a store in Whitewood she meets Pat Russell (Betta St John) and she discovers Alan Driscoll’s family is from Whitewood. She borrows a book titled A Treatise on Devil Worship in New England. Later that night Nan hears chanting from below the floor, but is reassured by the innkeeper Mrs Newless (Patricia Jessel) that the floor beneath is nothing but earth. She reads that in 1692 the coven would take a precious object from a young woman to call her and then drink her blood in a Black Mass. She then finds her locket has gone missing.

When Nan hears the chanting again she manages to open the trap door to find stone steps leading down to a passageway. She goes down the steps only to be grabbed by two hooded figures. They take to where the others are assembled and she is lain upon their altar. Above her is Mrs Newless with a dagger in hands, who then reveals she is Elizabeth Selwyn. She brings the dagger down…

The film then cuts to a birthday party and a cake being cut. It is two weeks later and there has been no word from Nan. When her brother Richard tries to find news of her, he is told she checked out of Ravens Inn two weeks ago. Pat Russell visits bringing Nan’s locket to them after it was handed to her by the serving girl from Ravens Inn. Richard Barlow decides to drive to Whitewood to see if he can find his sister, and Tom follows him, though he is in an accident on the way there.

Richard checks in to Ravens Inn and questions Mrs Newless. He also gets the same room Nan stayed in. He visits Pat Russell and talks to her grandfather the Reverend Russell (Norman MacOwan) who reveals to him that the townsfolk of Whitewood have worshiped Satan for 300 years and he gives them eternal life, so long as they sacrifice a young woman on two nights every year – Candlemass Eve and the Witches Sabbath. It turns out Nan went missing on Candlemass Eve, and the Witches Sabbath is that very night. Later that night Pat Russell is grabbed by the Coven and Richard has to stop them before they sacrifice her too.

Will Richard Barlow be able to stop the Coven from sacrificing Pat? Is his sister Nan still alive maybe? Will Tom suddenly turn up and help save the day? Is there a link between Professor Driscoll and the Coven? Will the Coven be successful and survive for yet another year? If you want to know these things, watch the film below:

Maybe if Christopher Lee is your professor, you have a reason to be suspicious:

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Witch’s Anger (flash fiction)

The Witch’s Anger

It was a dare.

My friends dared me to sneak into the witch’s house in the woods and steal something. Being somewhat foolish, I took up their challenge. I hid among some trees near her house. When she went off somewhere, that was when I made my move. I snuck in to her house.

The first thing I saw was all the jars and potions and the cauldron on the hearth. I grabbed a piece of amethyst, the nearest thing to hand, and quickly left, but I didn’t get far. As soon as I crept out of the house, I saw the witch standing there looking at me bemused. I fell to my knees and apologised, but she was unimpressed.

I became immobile. I could still see, but could no longer move or speak. I have no idea what she has turned me into. I hope she forgives me soon…

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 150

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #151.

Um, whoever has been visiting my Contact page over the last couple of days, could you please leave a message next time? I end up sorting through my emails and finding nothing. You could say “I like your blog” or “You suck” or whatever, just say something please…

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Vanishing Point (flash fiction)

Vanishing Point

Margot looked out into the garden and saw Jen was gone. She had only been there a few seconds ago doing some gardening, and now all that was left was the gardening fork stuck into the dirt. She went outside and looked around, but couldn’t see her anywhere. Maybe she shouldn’t have let Jen use the vanishing cream she had bought from that strange old woman…

She had appeared on her doorstep one dark and stormy night selling her a number of potions, such as the Hare Restorer. Margot had thought it was a misprint, but sure enough once Rowen, her pet hare, suddenly died she had tried the Restorer on her and Rowen sprung back to life. She had initially bought them all from the woman just to get rid of her, but now she really wanted to see her again, as she had a growing number of questions.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 150

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #150.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Witch’s House (flash fiction)

The Witch’s House

The brother and sister were lost in the forest. They chanced upon an old tumbledown cottage. After they hurriedly knocked, the door creaked open to reveal an old woman standing there.

“Yes?” she asked.

“We’re lost and cold and hungry. Can you help us?” the girl asked.

“Come in my lovelies! I’ll soon get you warm.” She led the children to her kitchen where a large cauldron bubbled on the fire.

“Please don’t put us in the cauldron!” wailed the boy.

“Put you in the cauldron? What do you think I am? I was going to give you bowls of hot nourishing soup.” the old woman replied.

“But aren’t you a witch?” asked the girl.

“Yes I am a witch, but I’m not a psychopath!”

Joanne Fisher

Since my previous post has been largely ignored, maybe you’ll like this one better.

I originally wrote this for a prompt, but it was way too long.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher