Witches, a short story about loyalty and survival

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lissa, the magical runt of the family, has always watched her mother and sister perform the supernatural from afar. It has never touched her life, except for a deeply buried jealousy. Now, a group of witches has followed her sister home from college, and Lissa has to make a choice of loyalty and survival.

Submitted: August 30, 2012

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Submitted: August 30, 2012

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As the air whipped around us, my sister reached out her glowing fingers and screamed, “Take my hand!”

I needed to make the decision.

A few years ago, it would have been easy. I would’ve grabbed her hand and left. Trusted her with my life. But now… I didn’t know.

It had all started when Lissa had found out she was a witch. The magic blood was passed through female generations, one after another, always to the oldest sibling. My sister was a fiery-hearted, tall girl with red hair, who did not take anything less than perfection. At twelve, she discovered her powers. Mom taught her how to use it and after that, Lissa changed. She manipulated people’s minds so they would forget her cheating, shoplifting, and other petty crimes she committed. Lissa had the world in her hands.

We grew apart from there. It seemed that since Lissa had the power, everything went her way. If she disliked something, she would change it. The powerful will she had to alter things was terrifying to my ten-year-old self. I couldn’t take it. Most days I would hide in my closet to escape her torment.

When she went to college, things settled down. I finally had my life back. But, when she came back from college for what we thought was a regular visit, it was different. This time, she wasn’t leaving.

 

“Claire!” Lissa sung, flinging the front door open and letting the humid air rush in. “Mom! Dad!” She called through the house.

“Lissa?” Mom’s voice, to a stranger, may have seemed joyous. But I could understand her perfectly. She was astonished that Lissa was home, and a bit scared; Lissa’s magic was more powerful than Mom’s.

“Sweetheart! It is wonderful to have you home.” Mom’s hair floated in the thick air, her copper strands frizzed slightly. She embraced Lissa with affection, her thin frame overwhelmed by Lissa’s long limbs.

“Goodness, Virginia was always too hot for me. Especially in the summer!” Lissa exclaimed. She fanned herself with a newspaper she’d found on the counter. “So, you need to tell me the deets! What’s the gossip? Does Claire finally have a boyfriend?” Lissa tugged at my blonde hair and winked.

I rolled my eyes. Lissa’s persistent quest to find me a boyfriend was, in my eyes, pointless. All of the boys at my school were immature, unable to care for themselves, let alone me.

“No, I don’t.” I answered simply. I kept my communication with her as limited as possible. There was no telling where her temper would turn her.

Lissa groaned in exasperation and dropped her two bags on the ground. “You’re impossible!” Turning to our parents, she smiled and flashed her white teeth. The ones she had gotten without braces, just a simple snap of the fingers. Unlike me. “My room is still free, right?” She inquired. They nodded, and she started off.

“Now, Lissa, you need to talk to us!” My father put a hand on her shoulder, stopping her escape. “How long are you staying this time? You have to tell us when you’re coming, so we can expect you!” Concern was evident in his voice.

Lissa dropped the bags once more and sank into a kitchen chair. “Well, this was a bit unplanned. See, I got into a little spat with some witches in New York. I figured I would escape here for a bit, then go back and deal with it.”

My mother’s face turned as red as Lissa’s hair. “Melissa Bell! You fought with witches?” Her incredulous tone begged for Lissa to be lying.

My sister simply chuckled nervously and rubbed her head.

“Furthermore, you led them here! It is almost a given that a vengeful witch will follow you. Who knows what they’ll do to you, let alone us!”

“Mom, it’s fine! It was just a little-”

Mom’s eyes were darkening, her pupils dilating. Power was beginning to surge as her temper inflamed, “Do not tell me it was a spat. The last time you had a ‘spat’ with a witch, they came with an entire clan. You are endangering all of us!”

Dad and I escaped to the living room, shutting the doors behind us. “Dad, is there going to be some… damage?” I asked, looking back at the shut door.

He shook his head. “Your mother is a witch. She can fix anything.” As he scratched his whiskers and picked up a book, I sat back in a bean bag. We waited in silence, listening.

I could almost feel the tension in the other room. No doubt, Mom had produced a silence spell so that we could not hear any of the fight, but I could still feel the magic. The residue of spells being cast left a chill around the house.

Finally, a slam of a door sounded. Lissa had stormed to her room, perhaps literally. Mom came through the kitchen door, her jaw tense. I smiled weakly, trying to reassure her.

“It was just a… disagreement.” She collapsed onto the couch. “If Lissa had learned anything I had told her, is that you don’t fight with a witch.” She leaned on Dad’s shoulder, obviously exhausted from the spell-casting.

“Why not?” I asked, knowing Mom would want to talk. I’d heard this lecture hundreds of times, but it helped her to cool off after a quarrel with Lissa.

“Sweetheart, you’ve heard this so many times! Our magic makes us testy. The energy it takes to cast and block spells leaves our kind grouchy all of the time.” Her fingers, long and graceful, found her hair, twirling the strands. “That’s why we’re so thin. It takes so much effort to make spells. But, basically, it makes us easily angered. Be glad you’re not a witch.”

 

As I lay in bed that night, I thought. Was I lucky to be free of power? Mom always talked about how magic-bearing was a large responsibility, but I figured I kind of wanted it. When Lissa and I had attended the same school, I had seen how she could slip out of each bad situation. She had a literal charmed life.

Staring at my ceiling, I decided. I would never want to be a witch. The possibility of evil was too high. The temptation to take advantage of people would be too much for me. But as I lay there, cool air drifting into my window, I wondered: what was Lissa’s “spat” about?

 

“Claire!” My mom’s frantic shriek burst me from my dreamless sleep. “Claire!” It came again, fear ebbed with desperation.

I jumped out of my bed and ran to the source. Mom was standing in the kitchen, staring out the window over the sink, and shaking. “Claire…” Her voice trembled then trailed off.

I slowly walked over and peered out the window.

Three people were standing in our lawn: Two women, on either side of a man. With one look, I knew they were witches. The man was at least six foot, and power emanated from him like waves of heat. The woman on the left was petite; her fingers glowed brightly with scarlet magic. The final witch on the right was simply standing, a hound of darkness at her side.

I looked at my mom. Her chest was heaving, eyes wide, jaw dropped.

“Hey guys!” Lissa entered the kitchen, hair frizzed up and yawning. Her carefree attitude irked me. The moment she glanced at us, her eyes widened. “What’s going on?” She did not hide the fear in her voice.

I looked out the window again, ignoring Lissa. They started walking towards us, eyes dark with power. I heard Lissa approach. Her gasp told me everything.

“They’re…” I heard her swallow. I couldn’t look at her. She had brought them here! It was evident that their power was extensive. The hound of darkness left dead grass in its wake.

“What exactly angered these witches?” My mother had her hand over her heart.

Lissa simply stood there. She watched as the witches approached.

The door swung open, slamming into the wall with such force the house’s frame shook. The trio stood there, pupils dilated. Magic whirled around them, causing a tiny tornado in the kitchen. This was when my dad decided to come in. His eyes widened when he saw the witches, the power coming off of them in waves.

“You.” The man raised one finger and pointed at Lissa. “You cheated us.” His voice was gruff, sounding like a much older man. Lissa stood there, shivering in fear.

I couldn’t move. I was literally scared stiff, stuck in my spot.

The girl with scarlet hands lifted her fingers and clenched her fists, sending magic flying. Lissa and Mom put up guards almost immediately, purple webs of magic that bubbled out around us. The scarlet ate into it, sizzling out just as it was almost through. Lissa, to my amazement, then turned and grabbed my arm.

“Come on!” She yelled and started pulling me away from the scene.

My dad had already escaped, knowing that he had no chance in a room of magic. He had probably already left to the basement, which was coated with so many guard spells not even a mouse could enter without being immediately struck down. He knew the precautions of being a witch’s partner. He knew that other witches were extremely testy and could ultimately kill Mom because of a slight thing. He was ready for that.

I was not.

“Lissa, you’ve got to help Mom!” I shrieked. It was appalling that it was not her first instinct to.

“She can do it without me!” Lissa yelled back. She had pulled me through the house to the back, bursting into the Virginia’s thick air. “You need to come with me.” She stated. Her eyes began to pulse as she pulled power from her core, letting white walls of magic rise around us. Silver power throbbed around her fingers. We were surrounded in raw magic, magic that could kill me at the touch.

I heard a crash inside the house, and the woman with the hound of darkness ran out of the back door. I could see her rough outline through the opaque, magic walls.

The air began to pick up as the woman attacked Lissa’s barrier. The hound of darkness threw itself at it, howling terribly. I turned back to Lissa.

As the wind whipped around us, my sister reached out her glowing fingers and screamed, “Take my hand!”

I needed to make the decision.

 

I grabbed her hand as the hound of darkness ripped through her raw magic. Blood dripped from its ruined gums as it bounded towards us.

A whine, high-pitched and aggravating, pierced my ears. I felt my skin pull tight, as if I would explode out of myself. My cheekbones hurt like hell, and my eyes burned as if I had put in my contact lens in backwards. Then the wind took us. I could still feel Lissa’s hand clutching mine, but that was it. Nothing, nothing was registering on my skin. I felt myself being taken up, up, and away.


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