The Witches of Athens by Lara Elena Donnelly

Published: October 2013 in Strange Horizons

Genre: urban fantasy

Length: 10 pages

Setting: Athens, Ohio, present day-ish

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: In Athens, Ohio, there are two witches who hold court in the two diners in town. One witch is flashy and quick, the other is slow and solid. The townspeople and college kids go to both witches, depending on their needs. Turns out, the witches are sisters who have a hard time communicating with each other because their styles are so different. Two of their clients bring the sisters closer. Eli is a flashy barista and Jeremiah is a shy college student. They are attracted to each other, but can’t get to the first step in a relationship because they are so different. The witches work on both boys to bring them together.

Final thoughts: A sweet story of relationships. I liked how the two boys represented the two witches, but the sisters were able to work out how to have a deeper relationship by helping the boys in their relationship. A perfect short story – the setting is laid out neatly and as we read, we get deeper and deeper into situation. First, there are the two diners, then the two witches, then the two boys, then we realize the witches are sisters. Bonus that they relationship is between two boys. Very enjoyable.

Title comes from: The main characters and the setting. I at first thought it would be a grand story about witches in Athens, Greece, but it’s a much smaller story set in a much smaller town.


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