Witches Control Destiny
OK, I'm real nervous now. I hold Princess' pink hand in my green one as we go down the tower.
"I'm gonna test it," I whisper. "Hope the guys don't love me."
"You sound funny," says Princess grinning.
I pull a face, scrunching my nose at her. "Yeah, I think I sound weird. What girl doesn't want all the guys to love her?"
Princess' eyes are shining. "You'll find real love someday. Without magic. You're an amazing person. They right guy would be lucky to love ."
I'm touched. I don't even know Princess that well, but she says such kind things. Especially after my awful blunder with the love spell. "Well that's really sweet of you. I dunno what to say."
Princess squeezes my hand. "If we broke the spell, then I'm a real Princess? I always wanted to be a Princess."
"OK. If that's what you want. Yes. I think you'd be a real Princess."
"That's great. You're part of my story then? My witch?"
We've reached the bottom of the stairs. She pushes her blond hair away form my face and gazes at me with those big, blue eyes, like she's expecting an answer.
"Your witch? I'm sorry, Princess. I didn't get that."
She twirls a strand of her hair and bites her lip. "Ummm… like in Ever After High."
She's talking about a kid's show. Gabi likes it. It's real sweet and all, but it's just about selling dolls to girls Gabi's age.
"You must be a sweet witch, like Raven. And that mirror girl is like the evil queen who's stuck in a mirror. I knew there was something wrong about Mirror-Girl immediately, but you and I were meant to be friends."
Umm… Princess thinks her life has turned into a kid show, or a cute fairy story? Dare I burst her bubble and tell her that Astrid's stupid Necromancy has made dreadful things crawl out of the muck of the horror genre?
I cup her face in my green hands. "I really hope your life becomes the fairy story you want it to be. You deserve to be a princess. But… Being a witch hasn't been fun for me. Jason – that's my favourite teacher is scared of me now. We should be careful what we wish for."
"Aww." Princess puts her arms around me and kisses me on the cheek. What is that perfume she's wearing? I try not to wrinkle my nose. "You're all sad. But I want to help. I'd talk some sense into him for you."
"First, we've gotta check we've really broken the spell."
We're in the hallway and I go up to a guy with chocolate brown hair and designer stubble who just happens to be a hall monitor. "Hi. Do you love me? Would you give me your hall monitor sash and um… let me graffiti someone's locker?"
He shook his head. "Not into green chicks."
"Thank you!" The spell is broken. I'm so relieved I hug him. I'm like, really spontaneous cos I'm happy.
"Hey, hey, gerroff you freak."
I blow him a kiss. "You've made my day."
Princess scowls at him. She touches my arm. "It's OK, he doesn't deserve your attention."
The Hall Monitor rolls his eyes at her.
Walter comes up at that moment. I wave at him. My hearts thudding and my palms are sweating. I'm about to find out if everyone spelled is now cured. "Walter dear… how are you feeling? You're not still in love with me, are you?"
"No, Lottie. Sorry. I have a girlfriend."
I breathe a sigh of relief. "Success!"
"We're a proper team," says Princess.
With linked arms, we walk down the hallway. There's Astrid running up to us, her red hair streaming behind her. She looks mad… her blue eyes glint at me.
She beckons to me with a green finger. "Lottie. We have to talk. Now." She turns her green face to Princess and gives her apologetic smile. "Sorry, but this is private and can't wait. A sister to sister thing."
"Princess is a friend and she knows everything," I tell her.
"You bet! I want to help," says Princess.
Astrid's brows draw together. My poor sister looks so weird with red eyebrows and a bright green face. Red hair and green skin make a weird clash of bright colours. "Then I'm sorry you've got caught up in all this." She holds out a hand. "I'm Astrid."
Princess clasps her green hand. "Princess."
Astrid leads us into a Janitor's utility closet and switches on the light. The light of the flickering bulb shines off her green nose and cheeks as she puts her hands to her hips. "Right. You remember we discussed how love spells and stuff like that are creepy, Lottie?" She reaches a green hand into her pocket and draws out a crumpled drawing. It's another awful drawing of me that makes me look like an alien with a yellow wig. One of those poor guys must have done it when he was under my spell.
"Some boys were acting awfully weird," say Astrid, waving it under my nose. "Like you'd bewitched them."
"Hey! It wasn't her fault," said Princess. "Besides, we've broken the spell now. Why don't you see for yourself?"
Astrid folds her arms across her flat chest. "That doesn't excuse it. I'm ashamed that my sister manipulated a bunch of people's emotions. I never thought she was cruel."
Ouch. I didn't hurt all those guys on purpose. The stupid bottle with the spell in it got broken. I'm starting to get angry and glare at my sister. "Well I never thought my sister would let a bunch of murderous spooks loose."
Astrid looks stricken. Her blue eyes are wide and her mouth falls open. "I – I…" she stammers… Tears shine in her eyes. Oh God, I didn't want to make her cry.
I put my arms around her and rub her back. "It's alright, we can fix this."
She squeezes me tight. Her tears spill onto my neck.
I murmur into her ear. "I've gotta go fix my own mess now. We both have to take responsibility."
"You're right, of course. I must find a way to stop Clay fingers for good. The Witch's Council won't help, but I can stop what I started."
We kiss each other to show that we've made up.
"Aww. How cute." Princess pats us both on the back.
I know what I must do. I must go to Jason and reassure him this evening. I have to be the one to do it. No one else.
Back home, I have to get my things together. I'm going to see Jason. I've read up on how a broom should work. There's an old bristle broom in the shed. It's not quite like a twiggy broom that you usually think of when you think of witches, but it should do.
I grip the handle with my green hands. "Yelf. Yelf." Yeah, that's the incantation. I feel warmth from my hands spread into the wooden handle. I feel it vibrate. I straddle the broom, and shut my eyes, focusing on the sensation I want. I want to soar. It's working! I feel myself rise.
My sisters watch from the lawn. They cheer and whoop as I rise above the garden, and see their white and green faces looking up. The wind whips though my hair. I land on the lawn again. Gabi throws her arms around me. "You're so cool, Sis. I wanna fly with you."
I touch her cheek. "I've got something to take care of, Gab. But I'll be back soon. I don't see any reason to stay here long after that. I'm already sixteen. I'll be going soon to make my own way, but I'll take you with me. We'll live in a proper witchy place."
"Yay!" Gabi claps her hands. "We're going!"
"Lottie… are you thinking this through?" Astrid looks unhappy. "Where and how would you live? How would you look after Gabi?"
"I love her more than anyone in the world. I have power. And did you think your question through? We're both stuck on Earth forever, but Gabi's lifetime is really precious."
"Why's my lifetime precious?" asks Gabi, wide-eyed.
I pick her up and kiss her. "Cos I don't want to miss out on a second of it."
I'm gonna live until everyone else in the world is dead… it's just sinking in now. What'll it be like, still being around in a billion years? What'll the world be like?
Astrid gazes at me. "You want to leave me alone?" Her dark green bottom lip trembles.
I hug Astrid tight. "You silly witch, we're going to spend eternity together. Don't cry… you've been under too much stress, that's what it is."
I get on my broom and fly into the air again. I know where Jason's apartment is. Before I was a witch, it happened to come up in conversation. He was complaining about the rent.
I rise above the clouds and the swoop down, honing in on the tower block. Sunny Falls. There's an invisibility spell wrapped around me. Where oh where could Jason be? He said once that he lives on the tenth floor, but where, exactly? Should I look in every window? I peep in one. There's a guy smoking something… he doesn't seem surprised to see me, he just gives me a dopey grin and waves. A witch isn't that surprising or scary anymore, clearly. I wave back.
Uh Oh. My invisibility spell's glitching for some reason. I concentrate harder on being invisible.
I check another window. There's a little girl looking out. "Mommy! A pretty green witch!" she squeaks. I wave at her. She waves back. How cute.
"Oh stop talking rubbish," snaps her mom.
If I can't stay invisible I'm in doo-doo… Ah, there's Jason. He's sitting at the table and he looks sad. I wanna comfort him. I knock on the window. He looks up, and gives a little jump and looks at me like I'm Urtha the Wamphyre or something... I'm hurt… I'm going to make him see I'm good.
I touch the window frame and murmur an opening spell: "Otrepa."
The frame vibrates and something comes undone. The window swings open and I crash through, falling over a little sofa and crashing into a coffee table. Oof.
Jason's making for the door, but I stand in the way and grab him. He freezes, staring at me with his wide, dark eyes.
"Jason, please, I'm not going to hurt you, I just wanna talk. I'm sorry, OK, if I've frightened you. Will you please sit down and talk to me? Then I'll go. And no more magic. OK?"
I pick up the sofa. "Sorry about the mess…"
I sit down and pat the sofa beside me. "Come on Jason, talking things out does help."
He sits himself beside me. "Lottie… you are definitely a witch? I got a strong feeling last time. It was as if the idea had been forced into my mind."
I stare into his big, brown eyes. "Yes. I'm a witch. I sort of regret it now, but I have a feeling it's too late. But you don't need to be afraid of me. I cast a spell so that you would be able to sense my feelings. So you'd know the truth."
"Then… It was magic that I got the idea that you had feelings for me. Your feelings are natural, but nothing can come of them."
Ouch. But he's right. What can I say to comfort him? That's what matters now. "Yeah, I know. I was a stupid girl in love with you, but I've sorted things out in my head now. I just want to say now that you should come back. You're a great teacher. You made Jane Eyre come alive for us. Not just any guy could."
He gives a small laugh. "I shouldn't have doubted your character. You are a good girl, witch or not. It's just that some girls who have crushes on teachers become vindictive if they're rejected and that can lead to all kinds of problems. Including false accusations of molestation…"
"Oh God, that's awful. How could any girl be so bad? I can't imagine… Anyway, I just dropped by to say that you should go back to school. I won't be, though. I'm going to have to leave school now. I want to start a new life as a witch and I'll just take my little sister with me."
"What are you saying, Lottie? You're a bright girl and you have a promising future. You have every right to a normal life. Your family and friends all want you to stay. Think about them as well, before you do anything rash. You have the same opportunities as you did before."
"You're kind." I bite my lip. I want to blurt out something that sounds a bit random, but it's been bothering me. "Ms Duchess won't let me play the Princess in our play," I blurt out. "Cos of my green skin."
"She's shallow," says Jason, shaking his head. "That's no reason why you can't be a Princess."
I grin at him. "You think a witch can be a princess as well?"
"It's happened. Witches hold all the power. They make the stories, and know all the secrets like what cup not to drink from and will tell you, but only if you deserve to know. They can choose to be a princess too. Reinhilda in the fairy tale 'Tricking the Witch,' is a young heroine who has a talent for witchcraft. She uses her magic to defeat a villainous witch and she rescues her prince by herself. A witch makes her own destiny. It's not written for her."
I touch his arm. "This is why you're a great teacher. You're so clever. You've shown me the point of stories and why we need them. You're right. I need to take charge of my own story, like Reinhilda did. My sister's a witch too, but she's got herself into trouble over her head. I've gotta help her."
"That's the spirit!"
I would like to ask Jason to kiss me just once for good luck, but I resist. I know now what I must do.
The sun is setting when I land in the garden. I cast off the invisibility spell and put away the broom. When I open the back door, I find Mum is back and Princess is here too. Princess grins at me. Astrid tries to smile, but she still looks glum. She cups her green face in her hands, leaning her elbows on the table.
"Ah, Lottie. You're back. I understand you girls have something to tell me."
"Yes, they do, but it's all good, please just try and stay calm," urges Princess.
"Yeah, Mum. Try and stay calm," says Gabi in a stern voice.
"We're real witches, Mum. That's why we're green now," says Astrid abruptly.
Way to go Astrid. That's breaking it to her smoothly.
Mum blinks. "This is some sort of prank? It's not a very good one. Astrid, what's going on? You at least never wind me up."
Huh. I haven't wound Mum up in a long time and she's still making these passive aggressive references to it.
"But this isn't a prank," says Astrid. "Watch."
Princess hands her an Ever After High doll – It's Raven, the witch girl. Astrid holds it in her green hand. "Samina."
The little doll curtseys. Gabi claps and Princess squeals. "She's so adorable!"
Mum stares at it. "How… How…"
Suddenly the lights in the kitchen flicker and die. It's night outside.
We hear a creepy voice of a man speaking with what I think must be a North England accent … "I – I've elected a new playmate for you w-witches. The E-Emperor Caligula. He hasn't breathed the air of this world in two thousand years!"
Mum screams and I grab Gabi and hold her tight. We see the shimmering outline of a guy in ugly armour, with cold, staring eyes. He screams something in Latin, but then he switches to English. "Would that you all had but one neck, witches, wenches and little brat. I am the Emperor Caligula and I care not whether this new world rejoices at my return, so long as they fear me!"