Sadie Scott was one of the legendary 5 Royals of Knowledge and Intel at Blue Rock High School. I had known her since freshman year when she decided to pick me as a friend after we had worked on a project for Social Studies. I had asked her once why she picked me as a friend to which replied:
"You're normal. You don't cause drama. And I think you're fun to be around."
And then left it at that. I had gotten so used to being around her that she just seemed like another routine person to interact with. She didn't take a lot of energy to interact with, surprisingly, and rarely involved me the school gossip or intel she knew unless I asked.
It happened at lunch today that we sat down to eat and Sadie struck up a conversation saying: "So, what do you think of Benjamin Chaus?"
I nearly choked on my milk and a little came out of my nose making my whole throat burn.
"That's an extreme reaction," Sadie chuckled.
"He's been a nuisance ever since I let him talk out his feelings," I coughed.
"That so?" she hummed. "Shame, because he'll be joining us for lunch."
"Ah! Here he is now!" Sadie waved her hand on the black-haired, freckled boy who noticed her and jogged over. "Take a seat!"
"You just love making me miserable, don't you?" I hissed to her while Benji settled himself.
"I'm super glad you invited me for lunch, Sadie. It gets kind of lonely eating by yourself," he smiled as if he was genuinely enjoying eating with us.
He turned to me, "So, how have classes been for you both?" He took a bite of his sandwich.
"Practical Magic II is kicking my butt!" Sadie sighed. "Mr. Karson is just awful at teaching!"
"I know the feeling!" Benji agreed. "'This'll be on the test!' never shows up and puts something else we never studied instead. We should complain to the principal!"
"He's been here for ten years," I argued, "They can't fire him now." Besides, I liked Mr. Karson.
"Is that actually a rule?" Sadie said. "Maybe he's going senile and they just need a reason to fire him…"
I frowned. "You guys just don't understand how he teaches."
"I was studying all weekend for his test! The way he teaches magic is awful! I had plans with some people but I had to cancel because I was freaking out about his test!" Sadie suddenly turned. "Benji, what do you like to do on the weekends?"
"Me? Well I don't really think you'd really get it if I told you…" he blushed a little.
"Do you do something weird?" Sadie pushed.
"Well, you could say it's weird…"
Now I was curious, "Just tell us, it can't be that bad."
Benji hesitated. "Sometimes on the weekends I go to the local cemetery and help clean the graves."
Sadie and I blinked in surprise.
"I guess that is something that would need to be done once in a while," I nodded.
"Why would you want to do that though?" Sadie asked.
"I feel like, I can sort of relate to the people there?"
"To dead people? In what way, you rot in the ground?" I snorted.
"Rude," Sadie interrupted me, she looked very interested.
"I didn't mean in that way," Benji considered, "but people used to live normal lives, just like us. Some went to school, got a job and family, and then died just the same. Others really made something of themselves, had an extraordinary life, but when it came down to it, they died too and wound up in the same place as everyone else. I just…find it interesting."
"That's a little deep for lunchtime, don't you think?" Sadie laughed awkwardly.
"You asked," I told her.
"But it's not like it's not interesting," Sadie told Benji. "I've never even heard of that type of thing. It's very different!" Benji had a smile grow over his expression. "Speaking of different, I was thinking of starting a club, what do you guys think?"
"What for? Seems like a lot of work," I said.
"I don't think it'll be that much work," Sadie reassured me. "There's some paper work, but I just wanted to do something different for our last 2 years of school, plus it'll look good if I'm the president of a club on resumes. I just don't know what it should be a club about."
"What's something you like, that no one else has made a club for?" Benji suggested.
Sadie thought for a moment. "How does a magic research club sound?"
"What would you do with that?" I asked.
"Well, I want to get better at magic, you're already good at magic and I think Benji likes magic too."
"I like magic, but I'm not very good at it," Benji replied. "But I'd be happy to join. Molly, you're really good at magic?"
I shrugged, "Just general stuff."
"There's one other person I think I'd like to join," Sadie added. "Do you know Paccia Moniz? She's a freshman transfer student."
Benji and I shook our heads.
"Well, she has a great amount of interest in magic. She transferred here because, out of the 40-something odd high schools that have a magic program we're in the top 5 in the country. She's serious about magic."
"I didn't know that about Blue Rock," I said in a somewhat surprised tone.
Sadie nodded. "Would you guys be willing to join the club if I started it?"
Benji nodded with enthusiasm. Then both looked at me.
"You're gonna have to convince me," I said crossing my arms across my chest. I wasn't against the club, I was against spending more time at school than absolutely necessary.
"Just come and we'll work on convincing you then," Sadie said with a wink.
Unfortunately, because Sadie had chosen me as her friend, I felt some sort of odd obligation to do what she asked me to do. So, after a group text which came a few days later, I found myself walking down to a back-hall classroom that was used for Liquid Spells class. It was my favorite classroom because it always smelled faintly of something nice, today it was a lavender scent.
I opened the door to see a tall, tan girl with gradient pink hair standing over a flower pot filled with little green plants. She glanced up only briefly before pulling out a compactable wand from her bracelet and plunging it into the middle of the pot of plants. I closed the door behind me and approached her and her project.
I decided not to ask, but just watch. She glanced over a book next to her the whispered under her breath, "Crescit eundo," then quickly jerked her wand out of the soil, flinging a little dirt along with it, as a small glowing green crescent closed behind it encapsulating the top of the pot.
I raised my eyebrows. "Impressive. What are you working on?"
"A personal project," the girl said. I noticed she had very well-done makeup as well, making me feel underdressed. "It's a self-contained ecosystem." There was a noise which sounded like sucking air and suddenly the ecosystem swelled them popped, spraying water, dirt, and leaves everywhere. "Or, at least it was a self-contained ecosystem," she concluded.
I walked over and inspected the pot, then the book next to the pot. "You're working with an impenetrable barrier which stifles atmospheric conditions," I said. "Normal weather isn't contained, so you need to have something that allows some airflow between your climate and the outer world."
"Right," she nodded looking at the book as well.
"This spell you're setting up doesn't allow for that. You're allowing air in, but not out, so it grows and pressurizes and pops the bubble."
"I see!" She took her wand and stuck it back into soil. "This time, just before I pull it out, we do an equilibrium spell."
I nodded and waited. She pulled the wand out slowly after muttering, "Crescit eundo" then before sealing the bubble added "Libra!" and yanked her wand out. We held our breath and watched. After a moment a small cloud formed in the bubble. We both breathed a sigh of relief.
Suddenly the door swung open and Sadie and Benji arrived. We both jumped as the noise, but the bubble remained intact.
"Whoa, you guys are already working on experiments?" Sadie marveled at the little ecosystem.
"Oh!" I said turning to the girl, "Did you finish it off?"
"No, I didn't, thank you for reminding me!" She took her wand and made an 'X' in the air, a thin green light followed the tip of the wand as she said, "Consummatum est."
"What's that one for?" Benji asked.
"Whenever you finish a magical object you have to cut it off from your magical energy, remember?" I replied.
"No, not that," he said. "Is that a mini greenhouse?"
"It's an ecosystem, actually," the girl said. She turned to me, "Thank you for helping me complete this, my name is Paccia." She bowed and offered her hand, which I shook hesitantly.
"I thought you were going to give me a 'high-five?'" she said, looking up.
I suddenly felt embarrassed. "Sorry, I didn't—"
"No! That must be my confusion! I'm still learning things about your country!" She looked at her hand. "I thought for sure it was a high-five at that point…"
"Don't worry about it!" I replied. "Anyway, we're all here, so what's the plan?"
"Well, we were going to do some meet-and-greet stuff, but it looks like you two got that taken care of," Sadie answered. "So I'll tell you my goals for the club and we'll all go home, I guess. I don't really have anything planned yet…"
Way to go club prez.
She told us that we should work on exploring magic in all of its fields to the best of our knowledge, but not to stress out over it, because the club was just for fun. Our advisor was Mrs. Soudour, the History of Magic teacher, so any problems would be reported to her. We all nodded.
"Great, well, see you Wednesday!" Sadie turned and retreated out of the room. Benji briefly introduced himself to Paccia then we left as well.