Smooth, lacquered chestnut dug into calloused palms as the old witch pushed the walker forward, then kicked off her worn leather slippers, each crack a memory of steps taken and lands traversed. But weary, old bones wouldn’t endure any longer. They creaked in protest as she eased herself onto the quilts and exhaled a deep sigh of relief. Where time eroded her body, its endless passage and belligerent attrition only enriched her mind with devious designs and sinister schemes. She had no need to traverse worlds—not when centuries of toil and trouble had gifted her the truest magic, the spoils of the mundane.
With a wave of her hand, the tattered sheet slipped from the oak-framed mirror nestled in the corner of the tiny room. The old witch eased herself back against the pillows and made her request. She desired above all the world’s greatest comedies. She loved to laugh, whether in glee or in grief, in jubilance or in sorrow.
“Gaia, show me the fruits of your labour,” she would say, and the mirror would flicker with glints of silver and gold as it perused the world for all its mischievous wonders. A child hiding chili peppers in an unsuspecting friend’s sandwich. A woman slipping rubber spiders into her son’s schoolbag. A young man pouring salt into the sugar jar. Wet paper towel in shoes. Faucets that had been tampered with. All the diabolical mirth in the world poured into a single sheen of glistening white glass.
The old woman kicked her feet as her gravelly cackle echoed within the four walls of her sanctuary. Even when she could no longer worship the moon, dance naked under the stars, and lose herself in the delirium of youth, she still found a taste of it sweet enough to suffice, here before the mirror of mischief—her life’s greatest work, and her soul’s greatest joy.