The Witch of Osborne Park features dark magic in suburbia, pairing white picket fences with hauntings and witchcraft. It’s well-crafted, showing a neighborhood where omens and curses aren’t unusual, where everyone casually has protective symbols hanging from their garages. There’s a deeper sort of magic here beyond the witches begging the question: what’s really wrong with Osborne Park?
THE WITCH OF OSBORNE PARK
Asimov’s Science Fiction, September/October 2018 Issue
The story starts as a city family moving to the suburbs, and their young daughter making friends with the girl next door. It becomes a story of witchcraft, complete with black cats, birds slamming into windows, and symbols drawn into the ground. Magic is commonplace in this world, or at least I perceived it that way. It’s obvious that hauntings are a regular occurrence as neighbors nonchalantly hang protective omens above their garages. We end with a cliffhanger, foreboding dark times ahead for this mother and her daughter, who isn’t quite what she used to be.
You’ve got the concerned mom and her daughter, trying to avoid the mean girl next door. Unbeknownst to them, the little girl is actually a witch, causing a number of bad omens to pop up around their property. It’s a bit of Mean Girls with magic in the form of young girls gossiping about each other and excluding the new girl. The gaggle of neighborhood characters provide an interesting backdrop, dealing with the dark magic as though it’s an unmown lawn or a kid knocking down mailboxes.
Osborne Park made for a great witchcraft fantasy setting. It’s a happy-seeming suburb with perfect houses and happy neighbors. Based on the occurrences at the end, I’m assuming the land around the houses is deeply haunted or possessed, causing these moments of witchcraft to pop up every now and then. The evil force adds suspense to an otherwise commonplace neighborhood.
Fantasy, Witchcraft, Possession, Haunting
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