A Witch is Needed...

(Part III of Miles and the Glowpus)

‘We need to do something!’ Jill cried after Miles had relayed his conversation with the stranger at the door.
‘Yes, definitely,’ said Jack with a firm resolution at exactly the same moment Miles said, ‘I agree.’
‘But where do we start?’ continued Miles.  ‘We don’t have any evidence, and even if we did, how do we stop him?’
The reality of fact descended on all three of them, as Jill and Jack said ‘hmmm’ in a melancholy way.  They remained in a state of frustrated musing for a bit until Jill’s head popped up.
‘I bet the witch would take care of him,’ she said.  ‘This is just the type of fellow that she’d love to bewitch.’
‘There’s a thought,’ said Jack.  ‘The whole Forest knows she doesn’t get nearly enough villains to practice her spells, and she won’t do a spell unless its on a villain.’
‘But we’d have to give her evidence,’ said Miles rationally.
‘Well,’ said Jill with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, ‘I guess that means we’ve got some stalking to do…’
                                                                     *      *     *
It was only a short time later when the three friends found themselves in the dark of the Forest.  But this was only after they had to figure out a way to hide Herbert.  There was no chance of them leaving the little guy behind, but they didn’t want to risk anyone seeing the glowing glowpus’ fur.  They compromised by giving him a good dose of warm milk, waiting until he curled into a sleeping ball, and hiding him inside Miles’ coat where there was a pocket just Herbert’s size.
They took care to follow the big footsteps that had crushed the grass that lay between the trees and Miles' home, which gave them a general direction.  But they knew the man wouldn’t be far, not if he was up to what they thought he was up to: and that was skinning Herbert.  He'd have to be close, ready and waiting...
It would have been hard for any other set of three people to figure out where to go in an increasingly dark wood.  But Jack, Jill, and Miles knew the Forest like the back of their hands, and given the direction of the big footprints, they had a pretty good idea where the swarthy stranger had gone.  There was only one place where someone could stay that was close to Miles’ house going that way, and that was a traveler’s hut that sat alongside the forest river. 
It didn't take long for them to arrive at the hut, and, sure enough, lights flickered through the single glass pane window, while smoke curled from the small, squat chimney. 
Tiptoeing in silence, the three friends made their way to the window, which worked well, as it was on tiptoe that they had to stand to peer inside.  But what they saw made them quickly recoil.  It was the strange man, alright.  And on the table, next to a knife whose edge glistened darkly, sat two skinned carcasses that looked an awful lot like Herbert.
It was all the proof they needed.  Jack, Jill and Miles took one look at each other, and then bolted to the other side of the Forest to find the witch. 
(To be continued…)

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