Crooked vapor waves frothing from the stale Louisiana marsh darkened the moon’s pacifying glow. On any normal night, the swamp would be alive with hums and buzzes from the wetland’s various residents – but not this night; this marked the start of the harvest, and it, at least to the lunar sorceress, was the most anticipated night of the year.

The bog remained quiet as the witch departed from the warm waters, humming a wistful melody. Her long, dark hair clung to her breasts and thigh as if she were within a raven’s embrace. With every step out of the swamp, the more the vaporous fog cleared, illuminating the mistress’s soft, olive skin. Fireflies spellbound from the mysterious woman’s incantation danced rhythmically at the edge of the water, forming a barrier of gentle pulses of gold and persimmon.

Suddenly, the melodic whispers turned to a beautiful song. The spongy, lifeless soot under her feet turned to soft grass and purple wild flower blossoms. Decrepit tree trunks reverted to thick willows and sycamores as she touched them. She covered the waters with blankets of duckweed and lily pads, concealed by a wall of perky bulrushes and arrowhead stalks. Curious green frogs and herons approached the seductress, and in moments, the swamp was more alive than ever. Dragonflies and mosquitoes flickered about happily, while the turtles and muskrats took to the waters. The witch smiled for a quick moment, but her smile turned into a maniacal sneer.

She cackled, once again silencing the marsh. Suddenly, all the light and beauty she restored to the land returned to her palm in the form of a glistening pink ball of plasma. The woman formed a fist and reduced the flickering light ball to dying embers. “My babies, I have returned after many years,” she coughed, “not to give you pleasure. Babes, Mama needs your souls.”

The animals trembled with fear and newfound paralysis; while they could witness every sense and emotion, they could not flee. “You see, cuties, this is the time I turn outward and beyond this pathetic place. It is in fact the dawn of the harvest!” The witch twirled, giggling. “I shall finally have enough energy to punish the humans by ripping away the most powerful sentient in the universe: love.”

The paralyzed audience blinked nervously as the sky turned a shade of purple; however, the living beings would never see another sun rise. The sorceress expanded her arms and muttered one final chant, one to sap the remaining life force from the captivated spectators.

The pulsing bodies suddenly oozed ichor from their cracked figures as the enchantress reached her energy peak. Dozens of thin, lustrous soul strips flowed into her, the swamp an intricate bicycle wheel with several tensed, radiant spokes all flowing into the dangerous siren at the center.

One by one, the animals fell limp and lifeless; afterwards, the lunar sorceress, still humming her captivating tune, disappeared deep inside the marsh, waiting for the first poor, unsuspecting fisherman to cross her.

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