The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Broomsticks: Part One
Dedicated to my family and my friends: as always, the inspiration for everything. :P
1: A Kidnapping And A Meeting
Do normal people get kidnapped? Marie couldn’t really seem to remember. She had never really thought of herself as “normal”, per se, but she wasn’t weird – was she?
She couldn’t remember the answers to any of these questions, and so she tried not to think about them; in fact, she tried not to think at all – not that that was much trouble, in her state.
When the old, stooped woman had her in the bag, she’d given her a small, fizzing little drink that was green. She had seemed kind – overlooking the fact that she was kidnapping her – and she had said the potion would help her sleep, which she needed to do.
Now she was woozy, and about to throw up, which wasn’t good. Yep, there goes my dinner, she thought sadly, looking at the stinking muck in the bag with her. She didn’t want to breathe the foul air, but she had no choice.
She was so tired, and she was slipping asleep. The swaying of the bag while the old woman flew along on her broomstick, taking her away somewhere was sort of soothing, when she had nothing in her stomach. All she knew about it was that this place meant that she was not normal. Either that or her dreams must be decidedly abnormal.
* * * * *
She could hear voices. That must have been a strong potion, she thought, clutching her head. She opened her eyes, and sat up, and felt immediately woozy again. She gagged, because she smelled something horrible. Oh, it’s me! she realised with disgust.
“Oh, great, now you’ve woken her up!” a voice said. “Nice one, Kindle.”
“I’m not the one making something more frightening than witch’s-food,” another voice retorted.
“Hey, it’s not that bad!” a defensive voice said from a little way off.
When Marie’s eyes focused, she could see she was in a kitchen. The kitchen wasn’t top-notch like her mother’s at home, but she didn’t worry about that. The stove seemed to have a gas-leak, because the room was swirling before her eyes, and there was an acrid stench in the air.
The floorboards were uneven and splintering, and the couches were extremely faded, with stuffing coming out from large gashes.
“Holy smokin’ light faerie muffins, she smells!” a green Kougra said rudely, sitting on the faded couch and reading a magazine.
“Oh, she’s not that – Golly! It’s awful! I wish that we could open a window! Or light a match!” a green Ixi girl that had been sitting at a table with many books under the legs to balance it out who walked over said. “What did she do, go to Meridell?”
“She probably threw up in that bag, as gross as that may sound,” the green Xweetok girl in the kitchen said.
Marie was staring around her, her eyes out of focus. Finally she managed a gravelly: “W-where am I?”
“Hun, you’re in a witchlet’s house,” the magazine-reader said pityingly.
“Not a witchlet’s house,” the book-reader contradicted. “Anyhow, we’re all witchlets – you too!”
Marie was a fan of witches. She often read spell-books and myths, and she knew all about Morguss, Edna, Sophie and Kauvara. She had read The Tale Of Woe so many times she could basically recite it in her sleep.
“M-me? A witch? No, I think you’re mistaken...,” she said shakily.
“No, it’s definitely you,” the cooking witchlet said.
“Oh, and by the by, you’re not a witch, you’re a witchlet. There’s a difference,” the magazine-girl said again. “I’m Tiggy, if you wanted to know.”
“And I’m Kindle,” the book-reader said.
“I’m Allison.” The cooking-girl flipped her hair and stirred the stew before fanning her face. “You wouldn’t want to know how hot it is over here – I mean, seriously, my hair is going to look like I was electrocuted!”
“I don’t think that’s possible,” Tiggy said sceptically. “You’re too... tidy.”
“Trust me, it’s happened. I used to live in Meridell, and golly, it was awful when the floods came! Our house sank, and we left for Neopia Central; and I like it there much better.”
“You know, I’ve always loved Kyrii,” Kindle said dreamily. “You don’t know what it’s like to have hooves and horns.” She looked sad and sighed. “But anyway, on to other things...”
“Yeah, like your fashion-sense,” Tiggy said. “Holy smokin’ light faerie muffins, it’s terrible! It’s as bad as she smells! Honestly!”
“What, are you some fashion-diva, or something?” Kindle asked sarcastically.
“Yeah, I am, actually. I was named ‘Miss Glamorous’ back at my old school,” she boasted and Kindle rolled her eyes.
“Were you home-schooled? Because that would explain why.”
Tiggy glared at Kindle and Marie looked between the two. She said uneasily to break the tension, “Do you know if there’s a shower anywhere around here?”
“No,” Allison said. “Don’t bother looking, because I already have.” Marie immediately noted how pretty Allison was. She should have been named Miss Glamorous rather than Tiggy, because Tiggy was scruffy, and Allison was tidy and neat as a pin – and pretty, too. And glamorous, of course. “But there is a little tin-tub in the pantry if you want to have a go...”
“Yeah, I think I’ll try. I know that I stink, and I don’t want to for much longer. Trust me; it isn’t pleasant when you’ve rolled in your own vomit...”
“Rolling in your own vomit?” Tiggy asked incredulously, disgusted. “Ew... How could you – just... just... ew.”
Marie almost laughed, except it was gross. She went and found the little tin-tub, and she knew she could barely fit her bottom in it. She would have to take turns between her legs and her rear, and her back, and her front...
She thought how impossible it all was. She had never really thought of herself as abnormal; she’d never exactly seemed to fit in, but she wasn’t a total weirdo – or, at least, as far as she knew. How on Neopia could she be a witchlet? She’d only ever dreamed about being a witchlet, and now it was a reality.
Taking out the tin-tub, she began her first adventure there in the hovel (and, my, was it an adventure!).
* * * * *
“I,” Marie said, walking out to the living room, her hair wet, wrapped in a dressing-gown, “hate that bath! No wonder no one bathed in the olden-days, if that’s what they had to use!”
Kindle laughed. “I’m glad that I got to have a shower before I got here.”
“You’d think that they’d be at least civil to us and give up a proper tub,” Allison said crossly. “It’s just plain rude if we have to be here a year!”
“Year?” Marie asked, her eyes widening. “I – I thought that we’d be here, oh, I don’t know, a week, two, tops! But a year?”
Marie’s family hadn’t been all that good to her, and she hadn’t been favoured at school – actually, she was the school’s biggest geek, and hadn’t a single friend – but she loved her parents, even if her stupid Usul sister, Jorgie, annoyed her to Terror Mountain’s chilly slopes.
“Yeah, at least,” Tiggy said, her eyes widening. “Didn’t you know? It does take a while to learn all of those spells and how to make potions... And even then, you can’t go back to your family; you find some secluded lair, and meet up with your fellow witches once a month on the full moon to make a potion. You rarely see anyone besides that.”
“Not even your best friends?” she asked, her own eyes wide.
“Nope, because you won’t have friends. You’re a witch, not a faerie.” There was a certain disdain in her voice, and Marie wondered what was going on.
“What’s wrong with faeries?” she asked, frowning. She’d always sort of liked faeries.
“Faeries are despicable,” Tiggy growled. “They’re our enemies, and we’re meant to hate them.”
“Why? They do basically the same thing as us, what’s—”
“Do not compare me with a faerie,” she hissed. “Faeries are shallow, conceited, malicious, stupid...” She ranted on, and Marie listened with horror.
What sort of war have I stumbled upon? she thought anxiously. Whatever it is, it doesn’t look good...
“On the other hand,” Kindle said, “faeries hate us as much as – most of – us hate them.” She shrugged. “It’s a timeless battle, and there’s no point in trying to make it right, because – well... It’s too hard.”
Marie was silent, but in her mind, she couldn’t help thinking how cowardly these people were. Either they hated, and did nothing about it – not to mention, hated irrationally – or they played along because it was the done thing.
I’m here for a reason, she thought. I don’t know what, or how, but I know there’s something, and it’s to do with these girls.
* * * * *
The room was boiling hot, engulfing Marie. She was burning up, her heart beating as fast as an auctioneer’s voice. She heard a malicious cackling, and she realised she was in a volcano, and Eithne was huge, glaring down at her from the mouth.
“Burn, little witchlet, burn,” she said, laughing. “Feel the raw heat of faerie.”
“I’m not!” Marie shrieked. “I’m not a witchlet! Help! Someone!”
Hordes of witches on brooms attacked Eithne, and she fell, down, down, into the bottom of the volcano with an almighty splash, sending lava up to slap Marie in the face with its boiling touch. Eithne then rose, laughing.
“Lava makes me stronger,” she yelled, and hit the witches with a sharp back-hand, and Marie was under the lava, drowning, her lungs filling with lava, burning – faerie-magic, burning her...
* * * * *
Marie sat up quickly in her bed, to find Allison standing over bed, strangely outlined by the moon outside the window.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, her voice ominous, echoing through the small room for some reason. “You were tossing and flailing.”
“I...” Marie trailed off, squinting at Allison. “I don’t know what was wrong – my dream, it – it’s fading.”
It wasn’t, in truth. It was still sharp and crystal-clear, burning itself into her mind with searing force. She knew that everyone was awake, because there was soft talking and occasionally a laugh.
“Kindle, can I use your pen and paper?” Marie asked tentatively.
She felt the firm yet light shape of the pen, and the feel of the paper was as familiar as her face.
“Thank you,” she whispered, and she placed the pen on the paper, not knowing where the lines were, and she wrote down her dream, for future examination in the morning.
She still couldn’t sleep. She wanted a good book to read, or a soft, melodious, old-fashioned song to play through her mind, the image of flowers and ponds to soothe her asleep – but all she saw was Eithne, all she heard her terrible voice, and all she could think of was the lines of her notes, running through her mind over and over...
She was tired, exhausted, weary, and eventually she did fall asleep, and the image of Eithne faded for a time, and was replaced by Fyora’s kind face, telling her that it was alright, and that the witches would see, in time, that they were the same.
When she awoke at noon, her pillow was wet with tears; she was so upset that Fyora’s words were not true, and the good dream not a reality.
To be continued...