There was no way of telling what time of night it was when my father finally came home. I had been sleeping when the door to our hovel opened loudly. Normally when my father was late coming home he would try to sneak in quietly. But tonight was different. He made no effort to silence the door as it slammed back on its hinges. And then he shouted for my mother, who had not yet gone to bed. "Claudia!" My father bellowed. I heard my mother whispering to him, telling him that I was sleeping and to try to keep his voice down. He ignored her. "Claudia, Claudia, we're going to be rich!" This wasn't the first time he'd said this, and we were still poor, so my mother did not share his excitement. "Stuart," My mother said in her calm, unenthusiastic voice. "What makes this any different from the other times you've come home with one of your crazy ideas?" My father answered in a low voice, and I had to sit up in my cot to hear him. "I caught a witch." Immediately there was a shift in the atmosphere of the room. My mother became frantic, worried even. "Stuart what do you mean? You caught a witch? Are you out of your mind!?" "Shh, shh!" He begged. I heard a shuffle of feet and assumed he had put his hand to her lips. "Well where is it?" She asked, stepping back onto the creaky floorboard near the stove. She was panicked. "I locked her up in the barn. I didn't think it'd be a good idea to have her in the house with Annabelle around." There was a long silence as my mother tried to take in what my father was telling her. After a while, she asked, "How do you know it was a witch?" "Well, you know, she looked like one." "She looked like one! So now it makes sense to go ahead and take anyone who looks-" "Oh c'mon, let me finish." Silence again. "Well go on, finish." "She was wearing a cape, and one of them pointed hats, and she had all sorts of weird things with her. Look at this!" I could tell he was rummaging in his pockets by the clinking of metal on metal. "See? The sign of the devil. She's gotta be a witch, or at least a worshiper of Satan." "Put it down! We don't want people thinking you're a worshiper of Satan, too!" He put whatever the object was down, and more silence followed. Finally, "You should get some rest, and we can discuss this in the morning. A witch…" Her words trailed off as she began to move around again. Nothing more was said for the night and I eventually drifted off again. Morning came earlier than I was ready for. I stretched myself awake and rubbed my eyes. By the looks of things, no one was inside. Normally, mother would tell me my chores for the day when I woke up, but since nobody was around I simply got dressed and started for the door. Something caught my eye as I stepped into the first room of our two room hovel. A small silver necklace with a circled five pointed star sat on the table and immediately the conversation I'd overheard last night flooded back into memory. There was a witch in the barn. I gasped and looked around, worried that the witch could be in here right now, waiting to drag me to the underworld. There was still no one around. I picked up the necklace and played around with it for a while. It seemed old, but something about it intrigued me. I remembered my father saying something about the witch having â€˜all sorts of weird things'. Curious, I stashed the necklace in my pocket and headed outside. I checked all around for any signs of my mother or father, but I still couldn't find anyone. Chances were they had taken the witch into town to claim their reward for her capture. I doubted they had left behind any of her belongings in the barn, but decided to check anyways. The first thing I noticed on my way to the barn was that the animals had not been let out this morning, which meant they were still in there. Now I had an excuse if someone were to catch me in the barn, I was just letting the animals out. As I approached the doors, I reached into my pocket and took the necklace out. I clutched it in my hands, pushing open the double doors to the barn. I was so surprised to see someone lying in the haystacks that I almost didn't notice her beauty at first. And when I did notice, it was so overwhelming my body forgot to be afraid. She had long chestnut hair, smooth and well managed, her eyes were large and a bright blue, and looked incredible when matched with her, thick, long lashes. Her lips were full and pink and her skin looked unbelievably soft. She had been staring at the spot where I would be before I had even opened the door. We looked to each other for a while, me with my mouth hanging open, and her with a serene, hopeful appearance. Her eyes shifted to my fist, which held the necklace that no doubt belonged to her. And when she turned her gaze back to me once more, she spoke in a harmless, childlike tone. "I promise I won't hurt you," They were simple words, and it was odd how easily I believed them. Last night I had this picture of the witch in my head, a picture that I feared. But now that I had seen her, had experienced her beauty and innocence all my fear was gone. I wanted to do everything I could to help her. I took a step closer. "What do you know of me?" She asked, eyes focused again on my fist, or rather the necklace within it. I struggled with words, my throat felt itchy. "Y-you're a… a witch." I expected her to get angry. I imagined her standing up, brows furrowed, and cursing me. But instead, she laughed. It was a strong, loud laugh, and friendly. It was the kind of laugh that urged others to join in, forced happiness out of even the most unhappy of people. I did not join in, however, being too confused by her response to do anything. "Yes." She spoke. "I am a witch, indeed. Although most folk have the wrong impression of me and people like me. We're not all bad, you know." I believed her at once, and told her this. She smiled for a moment, then frowned and looked to her feet, which were covered by her long violet dress. She lifted the dress and I could see that her ankles wore chains. I gasped and she nodded. "Unfortunately, nobody gives us a chance to explain ourselves. They see one of us and immediately lock us away in a barn. They're going to kill me, you know, once your father hands me over to them." "No!" I protested, surprised that the words were out of my mouth before I had even though them. "They can't do that!" The witch looked down, closing her eyes. Then, her head snapped up and she looked me with her beautiful blue eyes. She seemed to have an idea. "Maybe you could help me!" She said. I felt a thrill flow through my veins at the idea of helping her. I had no idea of what she had in mind, didn't know what I could do to help her, but I was eager. "I'll do anything I can." I promised. Her smile widened. "Thank you." Her gaze turned to the pile of objects I failed to notice hidden behind the barn door. "Over there," She pointed at them, "My hat." Indeed, there was a large black hat. Pointed, exactly the way one would picture a witch's hat to look. I ran over and grabbed it. It was made of thick, velvety cloth. "Inside there should be a pocket. I looked into the cone like inside of the hat and noticed a bulge with a button over it. Once I undid the button a small leather-bound book fell into my hands. I turned to the witch for her approval. She was grinning. "Over here, hurry!" I rushed to her and she took the book from me, and took hold of my wrist gently. I sat next to her and watched as she flipped through the wrinkled pages of the book. The writing was fancy and beautiful, as were the illustrations that appeared on more than half of the pages. Finally, she stopped on one page. There was a picture of two hearts, one big and the other smaller. She pointed to the words on the page, which were stacked in a neat column. "Read these aloud." I obeyed without question. I didn't want her to think I couldn't read. "I offer to ye blood and vein, and in return your heart I gain." The words didn't make much sense to me but as I read her smile grew so I continued with the rest of it. "Two souls to part from true born home, and in their new house ever roam." The last bit she read with me. "Forever and ever." It was strange and hard to explain what happened next. I looked up to her, unsure what to do next, and was shocked by her expression. The smile was still there, but it had changed. No longer was it warm and friendly, but cruel and frightening. I tried to get up but she still held my wrist, and her grip was no longer gentle. I felt my insides reacting oddly, my stomach was churning and I could have puked. And then it was as if my stomach hardened, my body felt like stone for a moment as all my warmth traveled down the length of my arm and clashed with the suddenly burning hand of the witch. I tried to scream but found myself unable. I couldn't even feel anything anymore, except the burning hand of the witch. And a moment later the burning left my arm and moved onto my hand. It hurt so bad I couldn't concentrate on anything. And then it stopped, and I realized my eyes were shut. I opened them. Everything seemed the same, and concurrently everything seemed different. I was still in the barn, and I was still not alone. I looked again to the witch but found she was not at my side. I looked to the other side and my jaw fell. Staring back at me, with the same frightening smile I had seen before the pain, was me. Only, it wasn't me, because I was me. A laugh escaped the smiling face. It was not my laugh, but the tone was similar to mine. It wasn't the witch's earlier laugh, either. This was a laugh to match the smile. It sent a shiver down my spine and I released my grip on her wrist before I even knew I had it on. I looked down at my long, purple nails and my unnaturally soft hand and knew at once what had happened. A tear slid down my face, and I knew it was neither my tear nor my face. My face was staring back at me, taking delight in my misery. My body stood and stepped back. I had been holding onto the necklace this entire time and the witch, now occupying my body, opened her hand and slid the necklace around her neck, staring at me as she did so. The necklace looked only natural next to the horrifying expression played on my face. I continued to weep as I watched myself stow the leather-bound book back into the pocket of the hat, which I then tossed into the pile which seemed to consist of a cape, some large crystals and several velvet bags. My tears didn't stop as the witch used my eyelid to wink at me before slipping out through the barn doors and disappearing.