Challenge #01046-B314: "Surprise" Party

Nanny Ogg throws Granny Weatherwax a surprise 70th birthday party at the Lancre pub. -- Anon Guest

Birthdays are generally a special occasion. Witch's birthdays doubly so. Not many of them prefer to make their age known, lest the C-word inevitably slip from someone's mouth.

Gytha had done her best. She'd set up in a place where Esme Weatherwax never went if she could prevent it. The local pub. She'd laid on every treat she could, including the mandatory ham bun; because, even though the feast was lavish, every witch's favourite food was one particular group - free.

And when Gytha said she laid on every treat, that meant to say that her beleaguered daughters-in-law and young Agness actually did all the cooking, plating and otherwise making certain that everything was so perfect that it shone. Even the usually grubby slat floor of the pub gleamed.

She'd sent young Dalrymple out to go find Esme and bring her back for the urgent kind of doctoring that Esme could not ignore. A lie that Esme would likely remember and Gytha would have to encourage her to forget. And Esme wouldn't curse a child. No. She'd wait until he was of age and then curse him.

Which was why she aimed to throw the best party in the world for Esme. Maybe, if the cards were right, they may yet be forgiven.

Young Dalrymple returned to the pub, red-faced and wan and nearly terrified out of his mind. "Can't find her, Nan. I looked everywhere. Even up in th' witch's cave. She's nowhere to be seen."

Gytha Ogg did some very quick mental gyrations. Nothing was more invisible than a witch who didn't want to be found. And if she couldn't be found, then she was where nobody wanted her to be. "Esme Weatherwax, you come on out, right now!"

An otherwise unremarkable collection of shadows in the corner slowly became a lot realer of a menace. "Don't see what the fuss is," sniffed Esme. "Been here the entire time. Good job. Though I don't approve of encouraging a child to lie, Gytha."

"Good thing he didn't need to, then," said Gytha. "I should just give up on trying to put one over on you."

"Yes," said Esme. She already had a glass of punch, and You draped comfortably over her shoulder. The cat yawned with the insolence of the only cat in Lancre who managed to scare Greebo.

Gytha sighed. "Surprise. Happy birthday," she deadpanned.

"Good of you to leave my age off the cake."

Grudging praise was the only kind you could get out of Esme.

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