Connor wouldn’t like it, but she couldn’t help herself.
Elvira was turning into a witch.
It had always been a joke between them, for reasons that seemed obvious to Connor.
“Careful there,” he said on their first date. “Don’t knock me with your broomstick.”
His teeth glowed yellow in the flickering candlelight. Wax dripped onto shamrock coasters. She didn’t like her penne with sausages, too spicy, but the place must have been a good choice, because there was a second date, then a third.
“Don’t turn me into a toad,” he joked on their trip to the Outer Banks.
“Don’t lure me into your candy house,” he said when they moved in together.
After their wedding, stuffed full of cake and lamb, they fell back onto the hotel bed. They only had it for one night, so they’d better make the most of it. “Don’t fly away into the night sky,” said Connor.
That was eight years ago. They were on their third puppy. Childless but happy, or at least, that was how Connor put it.
“You know Elvira,” he’d say to the neighbors. “She’s not a regular woman.” Then, leaning in, conspiratorial: “She’s a witch!”
The neighbors laughed and that was enough for Connor. He kept it up.
Yet one day, Elvira performed a spell. Sort of by accident and a little bit on purpose. Connor’s socks with the stains on them, the grass stains she could never get out, she turned them purple. It was a lovely color, the hue of a vast, sinking sunset somewhere at the end of the world.
Thinking of the sunset gave her a thrill.
As she deposited the socks into Connor’s drawer, she tried another. White underwear now a bright and unforgiving pink.
She lifted a finger. The pink underpants rose, billowed, their crotch tipped up like an inverted heart.
In the kitchen, she opened the fridge from across the room. She wanted to make a cake this way, but the eggs smashed, the milk ran down the table leg.
Connor would be home soon.
Elvira snatched up the sponge and wrung it out. As she did, the mess on the floor faded, faded til it was gone.
This was real. She tried freezing the clock, but its tender spines kept ticking.
Five more minutes. Elvira grabbed the broom. It was a clear, sunny day. The neighbors were out in their yard.
Her thigh muscles twitched with longing. She unlatched the window. She’d never flown before. She hadn’t known she could.
Genevieve Abravanel’s short fiction is available or forthcoming in American Short Fiction, The Normal School, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. Her stories have recently been named finalists in fiction contests at The Missouri Review and New Letters. She has published a scholarly book with Oxford University Press (Chinese translation with The Commercial Press of Beijing).