Prompt: Start your story with “There used to be six of us…now I’m alone.”
There used to be six of us…now I’m alone. Six months ago I would have been thankful for the quiet, but now…I missed the snoring of my oldest brother. I missed the pitter-patter of my youngest sisters feet just after she learned to walk. The three-bedroom, one bathroom house had once been filled to the brim. Bustling endlessly with activity even into the wee hours of the morning.
It all started on my favorite holiday- Halloween. I was dressed up like a witch- might be a little cliché but my deepest desire has always been to be one. Colored a cute streak in my hair- this year’s choice was purple, with a matching hat and dress. I always volunteered to take my younger siblings out to collect candy- there was no way my parents were going to do it besides it gave me a reason to dress up. Deadbeats they are. This year Anabella and Carson were dressed up as an angel and a devil.
“Are they yours?” A young, dark-skinned woman asked with a sweeping gesture towards my siblings.
“I’m only 17, they’re my younger brother and sister.” I couldn’t help but laugh. There was no way someone my age could have a 5 and 4 year old kids…well, a least not someone who was still a virgin.
“Are you a witch fan?” She asked nodding at my costume as we stopped at another house kids running up the drive.
I nodded quickly trying to keep a close eye on my brother and sister- there were so many kids out tonight trying to hit all the houses before heading home. “Carson, Anabella stay close to me please!” I called out waving them over before they took off towards the next lighted house. Lucky for me they were so happy to be getting candy that they actually listened; both of their cheeks were pink with the kiss of the evening cold. A small maze went up the houses drive leading out into a small graveyard. The homeowners had taken a lot of care for the kids.
“Me too. I’m quite the fan year round actually. Did you know there’s this amazing magic store in Harford? Called Widow’s Peak.” She rattled on, happy to have some semi-adult companion to talk to.
“For what? Fake wands and stuff?” A magic shop peaked my interest, but I was pretty sure it was probably a hoax store that was just out to make a profit off of silly dreams and fantasies.
“No. They have the coolest stuff. Scrolls with spells and curses. Apparently they really work, I bought one the other day but I’m a little afraid to use it.”
“I doubt something like that works. Sadly, magic isn’t real. I’d give anything for it to be real.” I shrugged, blowing off the idea. Sure, I’ve dreamed for as long as I can remember that I’d wake up someday and someone would say ‘You’re a witch. Here’s a magical spell book.’ But after 8 or so years of waiting….it’s not going to happen.
“Anything?” She grabbed me tightly around the wrist; her long, skinny fingers locked together. Sparkling green eyes pouring into my own, mesmerizing.
“Yeah sure, it’s actually time for me to get the kids home. My mom hates when we’re late.” I snapped myself away from her gaze pushing the kid’s home. An uneasy feeling had settled in the pit of my stomach and I suddenly needed to get away.
“I’ll be seeing you Marnie.” She called out just before we got out of earshot.
“Who was that?” Anabella smacked my legs with her bag of candy. A lot of people were amazed at how proper she talked for how young she was.
“I don’t know. Some lady.” The only thing I was sure of was that I didn’t tell her my name but she knew it. Had she been following us? Following me? Do I call the cops? No. I’ll just sound like a crazy person.
The hours ticked by slowly, painfully as my brain refused to shut off. Every creak of our old house sent my heart pounding in terror. I probably should have refused to watch Halloween last night with Alec, my older brother but once he called me a chicken I had to.
What had the mysterious lady called the Magic Store? I needed answers and maybe I could find out who she was. It’s not like that store could have that many customers. No one believed in the nonsense. Widow’s Peak. I pulled my phone off the charger and googled the store. It was only a twenty minute drive-I could make it there and back in the morning before Alec would need his car. It’s not like he ever got up before two in the afternoon on a Saturday. I saved the address in the GPS app- I could get there right at opening.
Before I knew it I was parked in the store’s lot and the clock glowed 7:55 am. The outside of the store looked like a simple cottage with vines spiraling up the corners and a beautiful garden full of herbs and flowers on either side. A silver archway connected the walkway to the door with the parking lot- it’s flowers mirroring the colors of the autumn leaves.
A small shadow crossed over the windows near the front door an open sign replacing the closed sign. I paused with my hand on the car door- the adrenaline that pushed me to get here so quickly had faded away. But I knew that I had to go in. The door shut with a small thump and I braced myself for answers.
A soft, mystical wind chime broke the quiet atmosphere of the store when I opened the door. A short, round lady produced a white smile as wide as the Cheshire cat. Her outfit reminded me of the past full skirt decorated with cauldrons (even though Halloween is officially over) and a belted waist.
“How can I help you my dear?” Her voice was so sweet it left the taste of sugar in my mouth.
“Um yes, I met this lady last night and she mentioned the store. Turns out her daughter invited my little sister for a party tonight but I never got the information. She’s about my height, dark skinned, bright green eyes…” I trailed off, hoping that she bought my story and knew who I was talking about. I didn’t have much more to offer and I was desperate.
“Oh yes! Callypso mentioned the fact that you might be stopping by. Marnie, is it?” She gestured for me to follow her towards the register with another smile. This was getting more and more strange. I only talked to the woman for two minutes and she was mentioning me to some store owner. Maybe I was being hypocritical but come on. “She left this package for you. Very generous of her- I might add. There should be a phone number in the book.” She heaved a large box wrapped in black wrapping paper, topped with a purple bow.
I looked at the box apprehensively, what if it was some kind of trap? The lady just watched me keeping the smile on her face. It looked almost like she had painted it on. I grunted under the weight of the box mumbling a thank you before leaving the shop. I gently placed the box in the trunk of the car looking around at the now filled parking lot. Groups of woman in similar flowing dresses of different colors happily chatting away. I catch the words ‘party’, ‘spell’ and ‘hit’ from a trio of blondes. Did they all really believe in this stuff?
When I finally made it home I rushed up to my room locking the door behind me. To my surprise no one knocked on my door wanting me to do something to them. I barely noticed the quiet house before I ripped open the wrapping paper and pulled open the box. A brown leather book sat on the very top- nothing written on the cover. A diary? A small box of different colored candles, a black cauldron, matches, sage, tons of jars of herbs was soon spread out across the floor.
I opened the book last and the pages were filled with someone’s precise scrawls. Each page had a title, some even had pictures. Titles such as ‘peaceful sleep’ and ‘lie detector’ caught my eye; very useful. What harm can it do to try one? It couldn’t really hurt- besides magic isn’t real. One titled “Make a plant grow faster” made me think of the tomato plant I’d been trying to grow in my window. Perfect. I scanned the page for instructions- simple enough.
I arranged the five candles depicted in the picture, all back except the top one which was white. Within minutes I’ve gathered all the ingredients in the cauldron, had the candles burning brightly and read As you say the words place one hand in the cauldron and one in potted plant.
The mixture of herbs had clumped together in a sticky mess that squished between my fingers. The dirt of the plant was dry in comparison. I closed my eyes and with a deep breathe whispered “Incrementum”. Suddenly the tomato plant shot out of the pot towering almost four feet high, leaves and bright red tomatoes had sprouted all over the place. A warmth spread throughout my body. It worked. Magic is real. Oh my god.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
“Marnie, have you seen Alec? He didn’t come home last night and no one has seen him.”
To be continued…. Please check back soon for Part 2.
Also coming soon: You’re Playing My Game Now Part 2