Water Witch

She rolled them in and out around her fingers, rubbed them between her palms. Small like stones, but not stones.
Nearby the octopus pressed between the wire wall and the cage floor, oozed onto the first shelf then the second then the third. She set the shark teeth on the counter and lifted the creature.
“Sweet little thing,” she murmured at it.
“Sweet little thing,” she susurrated again, holding it against her almost the way she would hold a baby.
Unlike an actual baby, though, it went into the boiling cauldron. Not everyone could hear its death scream, but she knew the sound was there, echoing over the rocks to the water, enchanting the sea.
Next in were the shark teeth then bones from the toes of sailors and then tiny bits of barnacled hulls, gathered patiently after each shipwreck.
She gave the brew a thorough, final stir, raised her hands into the steam and repeated the words with exact intonations. She didn’t turn to the window to watch the results of the spell. She had done it enough times to be confident.
The lighthouse was disappearing. First the base. Then the tall tower. Finally, the light at the top was gone, too.
At least, gone for the ship careening toward shore. The fishing vessels, dinghies and row boats could all see the beacon just fine. Only the man of war was blind. Only the man of war would rip apart on the rocks.
When the fog lifted, and the lighthouse returned, she would be there first to replenish her stores. The villagers would come, hoping to save those who were still savable, but prepared to bury those who were not. As they turned the corner at the base cliff to get to the beach, she would call to them, “Hurry, this one’s alive.”
They’d run faster. They’d say, “Thank you, Sedna. Thank you for helping them.”
They never questioned the missing toes.

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