Billie Jean, Witch Hunter
“Seven p.m. Witch hunting hour,” I whispered in my spy voice. I side-eyed my tabby cat,
who was the witch in question. The aforementioned “witch hunt” usually turned out to be me
chasing my cat, Mr. Tubbs, around in the backyard until he jumped up somewhere too high for me
to reach. And since I am 7 years old and about 4 feet tall, that isn’t a high bar to meet. And okay,
fine. I’ll admit that 7 p.m. isn’t really witch hunting hour, but it was the only time I had to myself
Nevertheless, in spite of all these obstacles, I, Billie Jean Walters, (my parents really liked
Michael Jackson, okay) was going to hunt some ghosts. Whether there were any or not. Mr. Tubbs
saw me eyeing him mischievously and took off. I giggled and ran after him. The hunt began.
Now of course, Mr. Tubbs, being a cat, was much faster and more agile than me, and after
not even 30 seconds of running I tripped over some rock stuck in the field. “Ow!” I yelled as I fell
face first into the dirt. Mr. Tubbs dashed away and leapt gracefully onto the top of the fence that
separated our and our neighbor’s yards. I could swear he was smirking at me as he watched me spit
dirt out and brush my knees off.
Now, most 7-year-olds would promptly start crying after scraping their knees and taking a
mouthful of assorted dirt, gravel, and rocks, but not me. I am a professional witch hunter. My badge
even says so. I turn around and bend down to pick up said construction paper badge, seeing that the
words “Billie Jean, Witch Hunter” had crumpled when it fell off from the impact. I reach for it but
jerk my hand back as I realize something in the ground is emitting heat. I look closer at the earth
around me and suddenly my eyes get wide. Even wider than usual, which is saying something since
I am a small child. The rock that I had tripped over was green. Not a regular earthy green, but an
alien, glowing, pulsing green.
Mesmerized by the light, I pried it out of the ground and held it in my hands. As soon as it
was out of the dirt and I wrapped my fingers around it, the night sky seemed to get darker. The
stars dimmed. Street lights went out. An ominous feeling grew in the pit of my stomach. A low,
droning sound set in around me, quiet but somehow deafening. The dread in my stomach spread,
engulfing my entire body until it felt like I couldn’t breathe. My eyes darted around in fear. My
palms broke out into a cold sweat, and my muscles tensed so rigidly that it hurt. Terrified, I panted
and shook. By chance, the stone slipped out of my hands and fell softly onto the grass, and just like that, the lights flickered back on. The stars shone brighter and the sound went away. The dread in
my stomach released its grip and my muscles softened.
My eyes widened. “Wh-”, I started to whisper. “What? How…“ My mind whirled. Fast.
Faster. Too fast. Much too fast. I couldn’t keep up. My vision swam and my stomach did flips. I
stumbled, trying to regain my balance, but tripped and fell backwards onto the ground. I sat there,
taking deep breaths and trying to calm myself for what felt like an eternity. I probably would’ve kept
sitting there if my mother hadn’t interrupted my thoughts. “Billie! Dinner!”, she called. I nodded,
still dazed, and climbed back up to my feet. I smelled my favorite meal, mac n’ cheese, wafting from
the house. I took a deep breath, savoring it, and, unexplainably, my spirits lifted. My mind calmed.
It was like I forgot what had just happened to me. I skipped cheerfully into the house.
“And, in fact, I did forget. I had repressed it from my memory until right now. Until this
moment, 10 years later, as I’m telling you.” I whisper, with eyes wide enough to rival my
She laughs. “Well, you always did have an incredible imagination.”