6: Road Kill
Who Killed Teacher?
Artist: Jose Ariza
Reprints: Best of Misty #7, Bite Me #1
Underachiever Mandy resents her teacher Miss Prendergast keeping her behind in school so much. In revenge, she starts scaring “the crabby old witch” with terrifying noises. But the prank goes too far when it drives Miss Prendergast into the road and she gets run over. Mandy confides in her friend Grace. Grace informs Mandy that Miss Prendergast was a real witch who had been teaching her magic, which she now uses to punish Mandy. She switches Mandy and Miss Prendergast at the point of death, which restores Miss Prendergast and kills Mandy in the road accident.
Artist: Ramon Escalano
Paula steals a book from neighbour Old Wanda who is said to be witch, to sell to her Uncle. But the theft goes wrong when Paula knocks over a vase, causing Wanda to fall to her death. Wanda’s cat Elmo begins to follow Paula about everywhere. This has Paula run into the road where she gets hit by Dad’s car. Then Dad is astonished to see Wanda’s body in the road instead of Paula’s. Wanda had switched bodies with Paula, so Paula died in her body while Wanda takes over Paula’s body.
Here we have two curious stories of two witch women who used a switching spell of one form or other to cheat the death the antagonist unwittingly caused them, and have the antagonist die in their stead. And both stories use a road accident as the vehicle of death. Could it be the same writer?
Misty largely avoided portraying the witch as an evil villain. And except for “The Tale of Little Wytching”, which was not discussed here, did she use the stereotype of the witch as the cackling crone with the pointed hat and broomstick. Rather, Misty often countered the stereotype by portraying witches as they really were: wise women. By and large Misty used her witch-themed short stories as a statement against the persecution of witches or using the word “witch” to bully old ladies and schoolgirls, and also to punish unsavoury girls. Even the witches who are portrayed as more on the evil side are used as vehicles to administer comeuppances than commit acts of evil. When witchcraft is used as an instrument of evil and destruction in the short stories it comes as the form of a long-awaited curse. But in many cases it is hard to tell if the witch herself was in fact evil or set the curse in revenge for her persecution.