What makes a good witches stew?
She added a dash of salt to her steaming cauldron. The aroma of warm children burbled up from the boiling brew. She’d carefully chosen just the right children for her special holiday soup. Plump young ones who ate lots of candies and cakes before Halloween. Their fat oozing with sweetness and syrupy fat. Now, it was paying off as the sweetness offset the cayenne pepper, garlic, coriander, and fennel. In addition to their succulent meat, she’d added roasted sugar pumpkin, sweet potato, and a large yellow onion that had made her cry as she sliced through its delicate skin.
She turned up the heat to get the flavors to meld and gel and mix together to create the magic. A magic that would fuel her coven of friends before they jumped on their brooms for a night of horrific good fun.
She only had one more thing to add. A sprig of a young girl. She’d really been too thin to consider, but she’d been the fat one's friend, so she’d had to take her too. The young girl lay bound on the floor, a rag stuffed in her mouth to keep her from screaming. But she still wriggled and rolled. Her eyes were a mix of fear one minute and then angry defiance the next.
The defiance worried her. Years ago, she’d worn that air of defiance when the previous witch had captured her for Halloween stew. But she wasn’t worried; she knew she was still very strong and could bind the girl to her in a spell.
She reached down to pick up the spindrift and plop her clothes and all into the brew. The girl wriggled and fought with a wild cat’s ferocity, and just as suddenly, the fighting ceased as she disappeared into the simmering liquid. In a flash, steam erupted from the cauldron, wafting upward with the most delightful aroma.
That evening, she and her friends laughed as they slurped up the stew, ate their local organic sourdough bread, and drank the spirits of local vintners as they readied for what would be the event of the year. A terror so fulfilling that it kept them content for the rest of the year.
A few sacrifices for the peace the local villages could count on for the rest of the days of the year.