The Witching Hour

It wasn’t what she expected. But then she was twenty-five now. She’d learnt that whatever you expected, what tended to turn up wasn’t it. Sheena had, long ago, given up on magic. She knew the world didn’t work like that. She’d given up on it as more or less the same time she’d given up on handsome princes. The princes she’d seen were not that handsome. The only trait they ever seemed to have in common with handsome men was a complete and utterly devoted love of themselves, something else that didn’t impress Sheena that much either.

She’d discovered, sitting alone, well, in the company of a rapidly emptying bottle of wine, at midnight on her Twenty-fifth birthday was that – all-in-all – life wasn’t at all what she expected. When all was said and done, life was rather a disappointment to her.

That is, until the sudden flash of light.

Sheena cursed aloud, thinking her lights had fused… or something. She wasn’t sure what that would entail, but she doubted it would result in a thick ball of choking smoke, especially not a ball of smoke that was coughing quite so much.

‘Bloody hell,’ the slowly dissipating smoke said, coughing again.

Sheena sat up on her couch, putting her wine down very carefully. Another thing about the world she’d discovered was that the more you drank, the more careful you had to be putting your glass down, especially if you still had some drinking to do with it.

‘Er…?’ Sheena was not sure how to address a cloud of smoke when it was coughing so much.

‘Hang on, love…. Let me get my breath back,’ the cloud of dissipating smoke said.

Peering carefully, Sheena though she could make out something solid at the centre of the cloud, something small, round and black. ‘Should I get a fire extinguisher?’

‘No, hang on, love. It will clear up in a minute…. Word of advice, though, always remember eye of newt and tongue of frog, don’t make the mistake of mixing them up, especially in a hurry.’

‘What?’ Sheena knew she was now at a state of drunkenness she’d never achieved before. She’d heard talk of pink elephants, but not talking clouds. At least, this was something unexpected, but – as yet – she was not sure if it was unexpected in quite the good way she’d always longed for.

The cloud dispersed and a small round old woman stood there in front of her.

‘What the fu…?’ Sheena cowered back on her sofa as the woman stood there, holding an old-fashioned broom.

‘Who are you?’ Sheena said.

‘I’m your teach… I mean… your mentor.’

‘My what?’

‘I’ve come to help you, teach you to become like me.’

‘Why?’ Sheena shook her head, trying to clear it.

‘Because you are one of us. It is what you were born to be.’

‘One of who?’ Sheena stopped shaking her head and waited for the world to stop spinning.

The old woman smiled as she shuffled up to Sheena and took her by the hand. ‘You, my dear, are a witch.’

‘Oh.’

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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