Friday, 1 August 2014

Flash Fiction Friday by Natasha Luka

Matilda and the Wood Witch

By Natasha Luka

Matilda’s backyard is long, narrow and overgrown. She perches on a smooth rock and waits for the butterflies to gather near the shady fig tree. Matilda is very good at noticing things people don’t normally see, and the butterfly dance always makes her happy.

When the sun reaches the fence, several white cabbage butterflies and yellow and black butterflies begin to swirl and flutter in unison. The butterflies’ dance above a hollowed out part of a tree covered in moss and small pink grass flowers. Her favourite monarch butterfly breaks away from the dance and lightly brushes her cheek. The soft wings tickle like feathery fairy kisses.

But even the butterflies can’t cheer Matilda up. She sighs and tugs at her stand up green hair. It sticks out above her head like a giant pineapple. Tears sprinkle her eyelashes and she slumps forward.

‘I will never have beautiful hair,’ she says in despair to the butterflies.

Then, out of nowhere, a strange magical jingling comes from behind the fig tree. Matilda turns around. A tiny emerald light flashes in the air. Matilda quietly crawls towards the flickering form, keeping her hands on the stone pavers. The closer she gets, the clearer the floating form becomes until she can see it is a lady the size of her finger and the shape of a music box figurine. Matilda gets so close her face almost touches her tiny leaf skirt. Stunned, she accidently crawls off the pavers and onto a twig. It snaps and she freezes.

The tiny lady speaks, her voice full of mischief, ‘Well… well.’

Matilda gawks in amazement at the little creature hovering above her nose. ‘What… are you?’

‘What? I am not a what! I am Wella the Wood Witch.’


Wella’s teeny hand scoops across Matilda’s cheek. ‘You have water on your face.’

‘I’m sad,’ Matilda says, sitting back on her ankles, hugging herself.

‘I see. And what will make you happy?’

The butterflies come over to Matilda and land on her hair like a twinkling velvet crown. Matilda says, in a wistful voice, ‘I want beautiful hair.’

Wella tilts her head and smiles. ‘Wella has spells for lots of things.’

‘Do you have a spell for me?’

‘One to make you happy?’

‘Yes, I want beautiful hair more than anything in the entire world.’

Matilda straightens, and beams with excitement. Her favourite monarch butterfly brushes her cheek but Matilda sweeps it aside in anticipation. All the butterflies flitter away, deep into the garden.

‘If you say so,’ Wella says, and with a wry grin she spins around and creates a small whirly whirly wind.

The leaves whoosh and branches creak. The sun drops behind the fence. Wella darts around Matilda’s head twisting and pulling strands of her frizzy hair.

In a booming, crackly voice, she chants a powerful spell. ‘Pinkle pinkle what a wish. Pinkle pinkle with a swish. Wake in the morn with hair reborn. Pinkle pinkle…’

A shadow sweeps over the garden, Matilda shivers, and Wella lowers her voice. ‘Forever. Never. Forlorn.’

Welcome Natasha! Thank you for participating in Flash Fiction Friday. An intriguing extract that leaves me wanting to know more. What will happen once the spell is cast? Will Matilda get her wish? This sounds like a great story and one that my daughter would enjoy. I can already imagine some illustrations that could be included.

Tell us three things about yourself Natasha.

  1. I write because I love the escapism of stories.
  2. If I were a character in a book I would be a ninja warrior princess.
  3. My super human power would be telekinesis. I could think ‘clean house’ and come home to find all the washing, folding, vacuuming, dishes, dusting and the rest done!
To connect with Natasha and learn more ...

We encourage readers to comment on this Flash Fiction Friday piece. What are your thoughts? 


  1. I'm intrigued about this - I wonder what will happen to Matilda's hair! This is a great idea for a story for younger readers.

  2. Thanks, Alex!