1: The moment I realized I was meant to be a witch

I can't remember who my real parents are. But then, nowadays, everybody is missing one parent or two. Maybe I was dropped off by them one stormy night, or stolen by Mrs. Repplar (Who might as well be a witch), or maybe I just poofed into existence one day. My childhood memories all consisted of residing in Mrs. Repplar's School for Ill-fortuned Damsels. I really can't tell you how I got sucked into all of that mess: fate, most likely.

Mrs. Ginvera Repplar was famous for her school, which took in every girl who applied. The school and boards were large; there was a garden (good for watching ants crawl by) and a pond (good for skimming stones). She trained us in the finer points of damselry, such as the proper time to faint, hero types, and vocal training.

Believe me; I was bored out of my mind.

When a girl turns seventeen she graduates and gets relocated to a random destination to find her true love. I was almost that age when I realized that if I run with this future to the end, I'll be seeing a droll life with nothing to do but waiting for some 'dashing' (read: foppish) young hero to save me and take me as a bride. Gross.

I'd arranged a meeting with Madam – her nickname that every girl has called her by – to fix my future, and was waiting for about a week before she answered. With over one hundred girls to look after, she doesn't exactly have all the time in the world. I was lucky to have this appointment at all.

Madam and I have never seen eye to eye (this was beside the fact that she was barely five feet tall, and I halfway to six feet). While she has taken me in and raised me – and the other few dozen girls – like her own daughters, I've never paid full respect to that woman. She thought that all girls can do was waiting to be saved by the hero. I thought that girls could be as strong, if not stronger, as boys. From an early age I'd developed a taste for ground-sweeping cloaks, thunderstorms, insects and astronomy, hardly proper subjects for a damsel in distress. She punished me for stepping out of line, and I countered by wearing black riding gloves night and noon. I've licked almost all of the stable boys; isn't that proof enough that I could take care of myself?

Her office was guarded by two grim statuettes. I waited patiently outside, as it was not yet time. The clock's hands were ticking by so slowly I thought I was in water, until I couldn't take it anymore. Harnessing the use of a nearby chair, I quietly turned the clock's hands to match the appointment time.

Not five seconds passed after this deed had been done when the statuettes turned their deformed heads and said in their throaty stone voice, "Mrs. Repplar will see you now."

I entered, carefully avoiding their gaze (I swear they know more than they let on), and sat down on a plush chair opposite of Madam. I looked straight ahead into her eyes, freezing her for a moment in time – it was a trick I had been practicing on some of the younger girls. She returned my gaze, then broke free and shuffled a few papers on her ebony desk.

"Yes, Windy? Did you want something?" Her voice was smooth, like chocolate. My own scratchy voice that sounded like a screeching cat must have sounded thrice as terrible in comparison.

"I was just wondering about my future…"

"Yes," she muttered, looking down at me through her spectacles. "How old are you, Miss Lure?"

"Sixteen. I turn seventeen in a few months."

"Yes and… by God, what are you wearing?" She was looking at my riding gloves, torn from days of use and wear. I shuffled uneasily. My hands were finding new excuses to fidget.

"Just riding gloves," I replied. "I like the feel of them."

Taking my answer as adequate, she looked back to the papers. I realized with grim horror that they were my records. "Seventeen is when the girl gets sent to see the world to find a husband. Your time is nearing, dear."

I swallowed hard.

"Aren't you excited by the prospect? The time is coming, when Windy Lure will be the name on every young man's lips. Don't you feel a strange warm feeling bubbling in your chest?"

"Not exactly," I said. "Mrs. Repplar, the reason I scheduled a meeting with you is because I don't want to have the future you're describing. I want to shape my own future."

Her eyes bored into mine, and I realized that this was the first time anybody was rejecting their future. "Do you know what happens in this world? You only have a few choices in which your story leads. You're either the hero – don't go for that, dear, you've not had proper training, nor the right circumstances – and performs some deed that leads you to fame, or death; the damsel who is saved by the hero; the villain who in the end gets poetic justice; or some poor peasant who gets luck thrust upon them. You really don't have a choice."

"Isn't there something else?" I cried. I was desperate to escape my current fate. Why did every option end in waiting or death? I couldn't be a hero; if I was, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. If I was a poor peasant, I'd be waiting again for something to happen. And a villain…there is no reason to explain.

She sighed. "There is one other choice. If you choose it, you can never go back. Your life will never truly have an ending; there will just be a death, nothing more. I can't tell you what will happen if you choose this and I," she took off her glasses to stare into my soul, "am deeply against this decision."

What is it?" I asked, interested already.

"A witch," she replied. "You will be apart from the regular story, from a happy or sad ending. Witches only have their lives end: it's neither a victory nor a tragedy. I strongly dissuade you to try for this future."

A witch? It didn't sound that bad of a life choice. I wouldn't have to marry, and my future wouldn't be decided. I could mold it to anything I want, and I can be free to do what I please.

"I'll take it!" I said excitedly and began to roam about the room. I looked back at Mrs. Repplar and saw that her face was now gloomy and sad. "Do you have an old broom I can use?" It seemed only logical that a witch rides on a broomstick.

"It's in the closet over there." She paused and sighed sadly, and then tried once more to change my mind. "Witches, even when they start out good, will eventually turn bad, Windy. It's a fact of life. And if you're evil, sooner or later a hero will be your downfall. Don't be hasty in making your future."

"It's either this or a damsel," I muttered, gripping the broom firmly by the handle. "And I'd rather see where this life leads me than wait forever for a prince to come."

"But my dear, you don't even know how to use magic!"

"I'll teach myself," I assured her. "I've talked with some travelling wizards before, and it doesn't look that hard."

I concentrated and then lifted my hand to the large glass window and flicked a finger. The window opened, sending a fresh breeze into the room. I smiled and nodded to Madam. She looked at me sadly and slowly shook her head.

"You'll regret this choice," she warned. "Wait and see; witches cannot be good forever."

"I'll be a paradox, then," I smiled, and jumped out the window on a broomstick. I soon realized that I was falling, and quickly snapped my fingers. The broomstick came to life, wobbling in the air like a foal. This wasn't so hard.

"Don't worry, Mrs. Repplar!" I shouted from a distance. "I'll be the good one!"