The Sea-Witch’s Cavern

On a warm evening in Pembrokeshire, amongst the waters of the lonely coast of Ceibwr Bay, a young man bobbed up and down on the water in his kayak. He was getting ready to paddle for shore after a long day on the water when he saw it. A bright flash of emerald came from the rocks down the coast. Amber sunlight bathed the coastline as the summer months had just begun to give way to autumn. Curious, he decided to use the remaining sunlight to go and explore.


As he got closer, he noticed the water began to change colour. From a crystal azure, the water changed into a deep green. Staring into its depths as the water got darker and darker, the man was suddenly enveloped in black himself. Looking around, he realised he'd drifted into a low cavern set into the hillside. Turning his paddles, he attempted to push himself back towards the light. He found, however, that despite there being no strong current, as much as he struggled, the water only carried him further into the cavern.


His heart began to race as his kayak was slowly dragged away from entrance and into darkness. He stopped pumping his arms to catch his breath, but that was when he heard it.


"Swirl the water dark and green."


A voice, that of an old woman's, high-pitched and raspy.


"Ready for the meat, nice and lean."


A song calling out from the cracks in the cavern's walls.


"Pluck them from the shadows, and what have you got?"


Spinning his head, he tried to find the source of the voice, rubbing his eyes desperately to try and get them to adjust to the darkness. Not realising, he was drifting toward a tunnel entrance.


"A tasty stranger for a bubbling pot!"


A bony hand sprung from the shadows as the last word sang out. Grey and pallid with black nails curling off the finger's tips. The man lurched backwards as the fingers closed around the straps of his life jacket. His eyes widened as, finally adjusting to the dark, they saw what followed the hand out from the shadow—an old crone with a bent nose and small, bright, piercing eyes. Damp, grey hair with seaweed mixed amongst its strands fell across her face whilst a thin, cruel mouth opened to reveal yellow, crooked teeth.


Lunging at him, she jumped onto the kayak, lurching the boat into the air and throwing the man into the water; scrambling for his bearing, the man reached for the nearest rock and pulled himself forward, terrified to come to the surface. Hand over hand, he pulled himself away. He dragged himself until his lungs burned, his arms ached, and he could go no more. Bursting up to the surface, he sucked in the air before twisting around to check the crone hadn't followed him. Not seeing her, he noticed something else, a faint amber glow down the tunnel. With the last of his energy, he crawled and paddled with all he had. The glow began to fade as he swam, and as it did so, the voice returned, not singing, but laughing. Desperate, he made one final push, reaching for the light as it disappeared, then falling out into the open ocean.


He sat there, bobbing up and down in the gentle swell as the sun set over the horizon. The water was clear blue once again with the sound of sweet silence, only broken by the light churn of the sea. He looked back at the cavern's darkness, relieved to have left that place behind and, with it, the witch within. He turned his head around, closed his eyes, and began to laugh with relief. Not noticing that as he did so, the water started to bubble and take on a hint of green.