It was quiet. Too quiet. I was warned that door-to-door hustlers were roaming the town, so I remained hidden in the backyard with nothing but a floodlight and a laptop for company. The sun had set an hour before, and my solar lights danced merrily in the gloom. There was no one home on either side of me, as far as two houses over on either side. No one would hear if I screamed.

One side wouldn’t have responded anyway. I have enemies in this town. I did things on impulse. I spoke my opinions. I remained true to myself. I harmed no one. I was merely the witch. But still, the enemies grew. My sanctuary, violated. I could have retaliated, with horrible attempts at new tunes on the bagpipes at ungodly hours… but then I would have been subject to loud, twangy, country music. That torture still occurs, from time to time, but the most part the quiet has returned. Finally, a cold impasse. I do not exist. I am happy with that.

Coyotes howl in the distance. Crickets sing their constant drone. The occasional car passes through town. Tires on gravel as neighbours, further afield, return to their homes after a long day. I hear it all, as I sit here.

I see movement out of the corner of my eye. It’s just a neighbourhood cat, passing through my backyard in search for… companionship, combat, prey down by the river, something…

My mind races with a million thoughts at once. Although it may be quiet outside, it will never be quiet in my head. There are too many uncertainties. Too many unknowns.

Something is rustling at the end of the garden. I can’t see anything. It’s too dark, despite the solar lights. The sounds start coming from various parts of my yard. It’s almost like creatures are crawling out of the plants from every corner. It’s subtle, however. A faint rustling. But it, they, are coming closer.

A flash of pink streams across my peripheral vision, but disappears as soon as I turn my head. I hear the sound of metal on metal, and, oddly… plastic. Surely I’m just imagining things. My neighbour’s air conditioner is still clicking on and off, it must be acting up. I need more wine.

I refill my glass, cuddle my familiar, and return to my post outside. As I settle myself back down again, I see a pink flash again. I turn towards it to see one of my pink flamingos stuck solidly in the ground, below my tree. Very strange, for all my flamingos are scattered throughout the yard, none under the tree. I turn back to the computer only to see movement out of the corner of my eye again. Two more flamingos. No wait, there are more. Suddenly, the Dr. Who episode “Blink” pops into my head. I chuckle, shake my head, and take another sip of wine. That’s only on television… But that still doesn’t explain why there are plastic flamingos, standing at the bottom of my deck, staring at me. Old ones, new ones, shiny ones, skeleton ones, zombie ones… even the legless one peers at me from the tree.

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, where the day is of equal length as the night. The Sun God is to be mourned, and we must realize that all things must come to an end. A time to reap what we have sown.

“By the Gods, what have I done?”