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Good-hearted but demon-ridden, Bryn stalks the Old Ones to learn the way of witches.
In a crunch of leaves, Bryn lurks with Martha, Coal, Noodle, and Elwood (witch, cat, snake, rat, respectively) and gnashes her teeth at mail carriers. Channeling the soul of night, Bryn teeters on stilts after Hester, learning how to navigate through a curtain of long dark hair. On the steps of Town Hall, wearing sunglasses, Bryn crouches by milky-eyed Susannah and shakes a Dunks’ cup full of lollipops. Succor of sweets, thinning of worlds, spare some change for an old blind witch. The Old Ones tolerate Bryn, then they ignore her, then they vanish.
On All Hallows’ Eve, Bryn carries a velvet bag of garlic and mushrooms, candles, an obsidian key, a tiny crystal ball. On a chain, she hangs a bottle, a feather, a jeweled grimoire. She accosts revelers in their capes, fangs, masks, fake blood, and LED lights. Am I not mystical? she pleads. Not magical? Not worthy?! Despairing, she kicks pumpkins, stomps candy, flings curses, lashes the crowd with a tree branch. A boy falls with a rattle-bang of metal trashcan, a crack of googly eyes, real blood. Bryn sees her failure in his frightened eyes and says, I am so very sorry. Please let me help you.
Bryn retreats down Rowan Street, humbled, her demons exorcized, her mind clear. Having set aside their wigs, pointed hats, and willow brooms, the Old Ones emerge in slippers and housecoats to welcome Bryn home. This way, they whisper. The path is this way.