The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Broomsticks: Part Two
2: Lessons Begin
When her senses came to her, she could smell a horrible stench. She didn’t know what it was, so she crept out, inching along, dust puffing up from under her feet, floorboards creaking and groaning under her weight. She noticed how some of them dipped lower than others, some rose higher, and a very few were in their natural state, although still splintering.
Emerging into the kitchen, she saw it was Tiggy, desperately trying to put water on a smoking pot. It smelt like burnt dung.
“What’s going on, in Edna’s name?” she exclaimed.
“Nothing,” Allison said calmly. “Tiggy’s just trying to make use of the supplies that we were given so ‘kindly’ by the Witches.”
“What supplies?” Marie asked, coughing and trying to swat away the stench.
“A year’s worth of canned, ‘edible’ dung,” Kindle said from the lounge, startling Marie where she hadn’t seen her.
“‘Canned, edible dung’?” she repeated, almost confused. Her mind wasn’t working properly because of her terrible night’s sleep, due to the dreams.
Then she burst out laughing, rolling on the floor with laughter. Tiggy, Allison and Kindle looked at her strangely, wondering if they had gotten a crack-pot as a roommate.
“Don’t you think it’s funny?” she asked eventually. “Canned, edible dung?”
Kindle gave a little giggle, seeing the funny side. Then Allison followed, and Kindle laughed harder, and Tiggy raised an eyebrow, but a little quiver by the side of her mouth exposed her. They all laughed so hard eventually.
“I think we just went insane,” Tiggy said, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Went insane?” Kindle asked. “I think we are insane!”
They gave a giggle and went back to what they were doing before.
“So, are we actually going to eat this ‘edible’ dung?” Marie asked, looking dubiously at the pot that looked like a stew – sort of – with big chunks of dung floating in it.
“There’s nothing else to eat,” Allison said gloomily. “It’s not like we can just magically make food—”
She stopped in her tracks, because they were all staring at each other. “Appear,” they all whispered.
“What if we could?” Kindle asked quickly. “What if we made ourselves some lovely food – with magic? I think it sounds wonderful!”
“We could give it a bash!” Marie said excitedly.
“Excuse me!” Tiggy said loudly. “Has anyone else forgotten that maybe we don’t know a thing about magic and might as soon kill each other as make something edible?”
They were all silent, looking at their hands.
“Well... We could try,” said Allison cheerfully.
“What does triumph start with?” asked Marie, grinning.
“ ‘Try’?” Allison guessed.
“Exactly! To triumph, you have to try!”
Kindle clapped her hands, and Tiggy silenced her. “And what does it end with?” She didn’t wait for anyone to answer. “Umph – as in: ‘Umph, we’ve failed.’ What if someone blows me up?”
A letter slid under the door, bringing with it a howling noise, the wailing wind slipping it under the door.
“What if someone helped us?” Marie whispered, snatching the letter up quickly. She tore it open and read. “‘Witchlets, It appears that you are fighting – stop. Today is your first day of training. You will be learning, as you are discussing, to make a stew. It is perhaps one of the simplest tasks, but most witchlets have trouble on their first day. The ingredients are on the doorstep, wands, too. Do what feels right. Five spells are given to you on a sheet of paper. Use them, experiment, combine them, make up your own – just don’t 'blow each other up', as Tigerka says.’”
They stared at each other, and then Allison bolted for the door. “Come and help, guys! There’s a lot of stuff, and it’s really heavy.”
They all helped, and brought it into the tiny kitchen area. “Let’s read the spells,” Kindle said excitedly.
“What are they?” Marie asked, lugging a heavy crate of eyeballs.
“Sisterax, atertou, naevr, javvestip and bassfuory. Sisterax has a squiggly line under it; atertou has a bold, straight one; naevr has a diagonal one; javvestip has a really hard, quick one that sort of rips through the paper; and bassfuory has... I think it’s meant to be fireworks. It says at the bottom: ‘Squiggle = whisper; bold &straight = firm &loud; diagonal = start slow, raise voice; slash = short &quick; explosion = scream, yell, do a dance – be PASSIONATE!’”
“Well, that’s detailed,” Tiggy said, huffing as she heaved a huge canister of ground eye of Techo. “What they do is more important, really, than pronunciation.”
“No,” Marie said, shaking her head. “If you don’t pronounce it right, it won’t work. Don’t you know anything about spells?”
Tiggy scuffed her foot on the worn linoleum. “Well... You see, I didn’t believe in magic. I thought it was a load of baloney – and then I was kidnapped and... I only started to believe yesterday, really. And even now it seems a bit... unreal.”
Marie looked at her in disbelief. She had always believed in magic. She’d read spell-books, wrote letters to the Witches – which she never got replies to – pretended to ride broomsticks, wore pointed hats, and all of those “witchy” things.
“Never believed in witches?” she said finally, gaping.
“I said I didn’t believe in magic – there’s a difference, you know,” Tiggy said huffily. “I mean... why should I, if I didn’t have proof? People would think I was dumb...”
Marie smiled softly. It was a case of peer-pressure, and she started to say something, but Allison cut her off.
“Yeah, yeah, enough with the pep-talk, Marie,” she said rudely. “Let’s get on with these spells.”
Marie didn’t care that Allison had interrupted her, because she knew she would have ranted – it wouldn’t have been pretty.
“Okay, let’s try,” Kindle said, barely contained her excitement. “What do we have the most of?”
“Eyeballs,” Allison said immediately. “They are so heavy!”
“Okay, everyone take an eyeball.” Everyone was sort of grossed out by the eyeballs, and the way they dripped fluid, but Marie guessed they were artificial. “Take out your wand and—”
Allison screamed and her eyeball fell on the floor, leaving a little slimy puddle behind it. It glared at her, before hopping off and slipping under the door.
“Er... Must have been a dud,” Marie said uncertainly. “Take another; I’m sure that not all of them are—”
“Evil,” Tiggy finished, glaring at her own test-subject like it was Sloth. “Anyway, continue, Kindle.”
“Take your wand – wait, where did we put the wands?”
“They’re on the couch,” Allison said. “I’ll get them.” She picked one up, and it immediately used all of its force to try to poke her in the eye. Another leapt off the lounge, and started slapping her in the knees, and she fell over.
“Quick!” Marie said. “Save her from the attacking wands!”
They each grabbed a wand, and took the beating, rather than Allison having to cop it from four wands. Marie was getting so annoyed with her wand that she gripped it with both hands and bit into it viciously.
“Ha!” she yelled. “There, take that, wand! Look who’s the master.” She did a little strut around the room, and the wand lay limp in her hand, pitifully obedient – but it was only biding its time...
As she was strutting, it flew out of her hand and shoved itself up her nose. “Gah!” she yelled. “Get – back!” She pulled it out of her nose and then took her forefinger and her pointer, and she squeezed the base so tightly that the magic that flowed into the head that gave it power couldn’t get there. “So,” she looked at her fingernails, “are you ready to give up yet?” The wand was paling at the top, going white. It was creeping down the base, and when it had almost reached her fingers, she let go, and the wand rejuvenated. “That’s what you get for messing with Marie,” she said smugly.
The others were still battling with their own wands, and she told them to squeeze as hard as they could at the base. All of the wands were still, and Marie’s lay sullen in her hand.
The wands finally all behaved, and the girls collapsed on the couches.
“That was an experience I didn’t need to have,” Allison said, a tad breathlessly. “First I get attacked by a glaring eyeball, and the next I nearly get poked in my eyeball with a wand, and am then mercilessly beaten by a gang of four wands.” She shook her hand. “I’m not volunteering again unless I have on-the-ready back-up at hand.”
“Good idea,” Tiggy said, sipping a glass of water that tasted like rust.
“What’s that in your glass?” Kindle asked, looking into Tiggy’s glass. “I think it looks like...”
“A spyder leg?” Tiggy screeched. “Holy smokin’ light faerie muffins, when can I ever rest?”
She tipped the water out, and turned on the tap again, and this time the whole spyder fell out.“Gah!” she yelled. She swatted it, and finally it disappeared. “I don’t think I’m up for water anymore...”
“Are we going to have this lesson or not?” Kindle asked, yawning.
“Yeah, I guess we should. We’ve tamed the wands, right?” Marie asked.
“Well, they haven’t moved...,” Allison said hesitantly. “I suppose that they must be... Someone, flank me, quick!”
Marie stood up, and went to Allison’s side, as she picked up a wand. It remained limp – but it was buzzing with magic, so it wasn’t dead – in her hand, and she smiled, pleased.
“I think they’re safe,” Marie said. “Allison’s even smiling at it!”
“I’ve got to see this,” Tiggy said, and Marie laughed. “Wow, it’s true! I guess they must be uber-safe!”
Allison cleared her throat. “Anyway, we should be getting on, I suppose. Kindle, are you going to lead the way? You seem the most... enthusiastic.”
“I think that Marie should lead,” Kindle said, smiling. “She seems to have studied the most.”
“Me?” Marie was surprised. “I – I don’t know all that much... I think that you would be better—”
“Just do it, Marie,” Tiggy said, impatient to get on with it. As much as she hadn’t believed in magic, she was excited to find out if she could actually do it. “We all know that you are knowledgeable, and the knowledgeable lead – so lead us!”
Marie gulped. “O-okay... Take an eyeball – preferably not a dud – and point your wand at it, and say softly, almost in a whisper, ‘Sisterax.’”
“Sisterax,” they whispered in unison, and softly, with the most delicate sound of rustling wings, the eyeballs lifted into the air, floating.
“G-g-g-golly!” Tiggy said, stumbled back from the levitating eyeballs. “They’re – they’re really floating! It’s not my imagination! It’s not a dream! They’re floating!”
“Yep, that’s right,” Kindle said. “Now, let’s send them into the cook-pot!”
“I don’t know about you,” Allison said sarcastically, with a biting edge to her voice (she had become irritated after the wand-incident), “but I don’t fancy boiled eyes for dinner. Can’t we just levitate them to the Meridell Dump?”
“But the letter said to make a stew,” Kindle protested. “Even if we don’t eat it, we still have to make it.”
Allison took a deep breath and said slowly, “How are we meant to cook it if there’s no gas, and no firewood?”
“That may be a potential problem...” Marie said, blinking.
To be continued...