This story was written for the Cracked Flash Fiction competition. In this competition you get the first sentence of the story and then have 300 words in which to finish the story.

One Touch

I would find sanctuary with the witches. The thought raced through my mind as I ran into the dark forest. Behind me I could still hear the villagers shouting, telling me how they would kill me if they ever saw me again. With them, I knew, was my fiancee. But they would not dare to venture into the forest. Once the trees veiled all with their shadows and drowned all sound with their matted, fallen leaves, the world became the dominion of the witches. Even the woodcutters, like my fiancee, did not venture into the forest, but kept to the sparse woods on the far side of the village.

I sank down in the safety of a shadow with my back pressed against a giant trunk and touched my face. A raised scar spread from chin to eye, the skin puckered as if it had been sewn up hastily. Not that anyone should have lived through such a wound. I knew that when the other woodcutters carried my fiancee into the village. An axe to the face… I shut my eyes, trying to blot out the blood. But the sight was burned into my memory, so I tried to flee from it by running towards the witches’ cottages.

The eldest witch was standing at the edge of the clearing as if she was waiting for me. Years of healing had taken their toll on her – her face marred by cuts and burns, one arm shriveled and useless, one leg half lame.

She held out her arm when she saw me approaching.

The other witches stepped from the cottages. Witches; healers who took on the wounds of those they healed with a single touch. I touched my new scar.

“You’re our sister now,” she said.