“Exodus 22:18 ─Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. It’s right here in black and white, people. Our lord, God, himself has left his instructions for us in the good book. We have to kill every last one of these abominations.” The tall man spit as he pointed to the woman bound to a wooden structure with one hand and held up a bible in the other.
Her long, dark hair whipped magnificently in the wind, and her wild eyes grew larger as the man ordered another to light a fire around the woman. In less than a moment, the flames that had barely started to lick at her ankles had completely engulfed her.
“Mom, why did people burn ‘witches’ back in the day? I mean, like, honestly... why did they think they were real, and why did they think that fire would actually kill them?” The woman’s screams were abruptly silenced as my mother’s slender finger clicked the button on the remote, turning off the little television on the kitchen counter.
“Sabella why do you insist on watching those kinds of shows and movies? We live in Alma, Nebraska not Salem, Massachusetts.” My mother’s sleek blonde ponytail didn’t move an inch out of place as she shook her head from side to side in mock disgust. Her hazel eyes twinkled as she winked at me.
I had been fascinated with the idea of real witches, mythology, and magic since the ripe old age of five. That’s when the dreams of the beautiful woman on the cliff’s edge had begun. At least once a week she would visit me in my sleep, always saying the same thing, “You’re special, Sabella. You are destined for great things.”
Me? Destined for great things? Yeah, right! If I could be destined to have a friend, or two and perhaps a chest that didn’t resemble a chalkboard, that would be great.
I would wake up from the dreams both terrified and mesmerized, relaying to my mother ever single detail, and it drove her bonkers. That’s when she bought me Owlers; my stuffed owl. She said that he was made of pure magic, and would keep the dreams away. And for a while it had actually worked. However, they’d returned recently with more urgency than ever before. They were happening almost every night.
The same dream every night for weeks’ on end, talk about lame. The beautiful woman would appear on the edge of a cliff and beckon me to her. Along with her premonition that I was ‘Destined for great things’, she always tried to tell me something she said was important, but I could never remember what it was when I woke up. Magic. That’s all I could remember from the dreams, her showing me magic. She said if only I would believe I would see that it was real.
There was something eerie, yet enchanting with the notion that people out there could make things happen with just a flick of the wrist, or by uttering a few words.
“Mom, it’s just cool. Haven’t you ever wondered what the world would be like if witches were real? If magic was real, there would be no more wars, death, or poverty. Everyone could get whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it.” I twirled a lock of my long blonde hair dreamily around my finger.
A shadow fell over the breakfast as Mom moved so that she was standing right in front of me, I looked up at her. A weird expression crossed her face so quickly that I thought I might have imagined it.
“You’re going to be sixteen in two days. Right now, your mind should be racing with thoughts of cute boys, making girlfriends, and clothes and all of the other stuff that girls your age are into, not mythical beings. How about you and I go see the new romantic comedy at the cinema tonight, then we could go pick out a few new outfits?” My mom asked, her gaze lingering on my clothes. Apparently mom wasn’t thrilled with today’s choice of attire. I didn’t like ‘girly’ clothes, so I usually went with my norm─ a pair of jean shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers.
“A, shouldn’t I be more concerned with my grades and studying, and, b... guys don’t know that I exist Mom,” I ticked off on my fingers, “Besides, I’m most parents dream come true teenager. I’m always home on time and I never cause any trouble.” I finished, offering my most angelic smile.
“Oh, Judy let her be. You’re only young once. Good morning, little owl,” My father said as he walked into the kitchen. He bent down to hug me, “and you are the dream teenager.”
“Richard, the agency called to confirm our flight to London on Saturday,” my mother ignored my father, handing him a steaming cup of coffee before she turned back to me.
“And, since your father and I have to go of out of town on your birthday we need to decide what we’re going to do when we get back. Turning sixteen is a big deal and we need to celebrate it. I was thinking about a big party at the lodge. It’s big enough that we can invite all of your friends. They have that huge pool and the hall inside. Then, of course we’ll have to decide what kind of food to have and decorations to put up. We can hire the same DJ we had at Sian’s party─ everyone loved him. We also need to buy you a new swim suit, and dress. What do you think? Isn’t this exciting?” She prattled off as she scribbled notes down in her overly large leather day planner. How in the world she was able to get all that out in one breath was beyond me.
“Exciting is not exactly the adjective I would use.” I murmured. My father caught my eye and mouthed, sorry.
My birthday, ugh.
She wanted some huge party with all the thrills and frills, but honestly I only had one friend and that was the town’s librarian, Miss Larson. All the kids at my school thought I was some kind of freak and avoided me like the plague, even though I was the little sister of the heralded, Sian Grimes.
He was so ridiculously awesome that he had won a scholarship to a private school last year which effectively left me stuck at Alma High, alone. He and I were socially the complete antithesis of each other. He was tall with tousled blond hair that always looked like he had just rolled out of bed and bright violet eyes. My brother was genuinely smart, and totally outgoing; he was just like Dad with Mom’s eyes. People were naturally drawn to him, where I was short with long wavy blonde hair that I hadn’t cut since I was five, hazel-ish eyes, and always had my nose in a book, studying. I had to work to be smart. And, now he was gone, and I was alone. My goal was to make the grades, then hopefully get the same offer he had, and join him.
“Your father and I have something we need to talk to you about after we get home.” My Mom glanced over at my Dad. Both of my parents had been acting weird for days.
“Okay,” I drew the word out, “But, Mom I told you before, I don’t want a party. I just want a car, nothing fancy or anything, just something to get around in, and maybe a family dinner at Serrano’s.” I countered.
Before she could start in again, I glanced down at my watch, “Whoops. Gotta go! I have to get to the library. Huge history test on Tuesday and I need to study. Love you