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Super Witch


Jessie G. Talbot







About this Book


The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher or the author is illegal and punishable by law. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

SUPER WITCH


Copyright © 2017 Jessie G. Talbot. All rights reserved.

Lydia McLauren wanted to be the best witch she could be but she has no talent, no brains, and no hope. Her teacher said so. Fine! Since she's so terrible at being a witch she's going to be a SUPER HERO instead.

Acknowledgements


Many thanks to my front line team of developmental heroes and the biggest thank you to my family for their never-ending cheer and support. Cover elements by Freepic. Excelsior!


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Table of Contents



Acknowledgements



Chapter One



Chapter Two



Chapter Three



Chapter Four



Chapter Five



Chapter Six



Chapter Seven



Chapter Eight



Chapter Nine



Chapter Ten



Author Info






Chapter One



"Lionroar, you fool! You dare defy me? No one can stop the Empress Evilra!"

The Empress's long, black fingernails clicked as she threw up her gnarled hands in disbelief. Her ugly face was under-lit by the green flames powering her bubbling cauldron. Globs of poisonous potion boiled over to hiss and sizzle on the hot stone of the floor.

"Get out!" the Empress snarled. "Or you'll be the first to perish!"

Lydia Lionroar didn't move. The unhealthy light bounced off her golden armor as she reached into her magic hold-all bag and pulled out The White Broom. It was taller than she was and glittered with diamonds. "My magic is stronger than yours, Evilra," she declared. "It's powered by GOODNESS. Give up now and I will show you mercy."

"Mercy Shmercy!" The Empress Evilra dipped her bare, ugly, hand into the potion. It didn't burn her leathery skin. She brought a handful up to her black lips...

"Ramming speed!" Lydia lion-roared as she jumped on the broom and flew forward.

"GO GET A BALLOON IF YOU WANT ONE!" the Empress screeched.

Lydia blinked.

"Buh...what?"

"I said, go get a balloon if you want one," Lydia's big sister repeated as she filled in her deposit slip. "You've been staring at them ever since we came into the bank."

"Oh! Okay, Burlie." Lydia wandered over to the red, white, and blue balloons bobbing next to the home loan station. They were good ones, clear, bright, and flecked with gold stars.

"Just one," Burlie said.

"Okay." Lydia picked a bright blue balloon. The red ribbon tying it was curly and Lydia tried to straighten it as she ran back, her flip flops slapping against her heels, thap thap thap.

Lydia liked getting treats from the First Street Bank and Trust but she had to be quiet with them. Which was annoying. She also didn't understand the tube things that went whoosh as they brought in checks and stuff from the cars in the drive-through. Whoosh whoosh whoosh, like Superman flying through the air.

How did they work? Was it magic?

No, Lydia decided. There was no magic in a boring old bank.

Lydia knew all about magic.

Or, y'know, she would soon. As soon as a tutor could be found. And then...

"Eeeee," Lydia whispered.

"Shh! We're going, we're going," Burlie said and signed her name with a fancy squiggle.

They crossed the plum-colored carpet to one of two tellers doing their thing behind an old-fashioned open counter of maple wood and brass. Philodendrons grew large and green at each end.

"Hey, Burlie," the lady teller said and then she smiled down at Lydia. "Morning, Blondie, you're looking especially cute today."

Lydia writhed with embarrassed pleasure. "G'morning!"

The teller's nametag read Emilia. She took Burlie's deposit and started tapping at her computer. "Birthday money, Miss McLauren?" she asked.

Burlie proudly shook her head. "I've started selling tiny paintings online. Ornaments. Portraits of dogs and cats. Southern Folk Art by a Carolina Artisan. I don't mention I'm still in high school."

"I do the same thing," Emilia said, laughing. "Only I paint gourds. And my grandbabies help so they're a mess but some people will buy anything."

And their conversation was launched.

"...paint in my clothes..."

"...business cards..."

"...taxes..."

"...shipping costs..."

"...rude customers..."

"...weird requests..."

Lydia sighed deeply but Burlie didn't hear or pretended not to hear. Why did older people talk so much?

"I mostly do acrylics," Burlie said. "And blah, blah, blah."

Emilia pressed one last button. "I use weather-proof oil paints blah, blah, blah."

Burlie got her receipt and she stuffed it into her purse. Lydia was hopeful. Were they leaving now?

"Blah blah this town should have an arts and craft festival blah."

"I totally agree blaaaah."

No. Not leaving. Not ever leaving, Lydia was going to grow old and die in this place. "I'm hungry," Lydia groaned. She wasn't but she had to try something.

"Hush, down there." Burlie frowned and turned back to her talk.

"Blah, blah?"

"Oh, Blah!"

The door chimed. A tall man wearing a baseball cap and dark sunglasses slowly walked into the bank. He looked around.

Lydia was so glad. Maybe he'd pick their line and interrupt.

"It's not much money but these days you gotta do what you gotta do,” Emilia said.

The man interrupted. "That's for sure," he said and held up his hands. Red sparks blazed from his fingers and buzzed over his head in a frightful arc.

Lydia's balloon popped and she stared as the ribbon spiraled to the floor. The entire bank glowed with red light. The other teller dove under the counter but Emilia stood firm and frowned.

The intruder was grinning. "Don't nobody move!"

Lydia screamed, "BANK ROBBER!" and then she was soaring above the counter. She felt the wind in her hair before she landed hard on her butt. It hurt! Her arm hurt, too. She realized Burlie had thrown her over. And her feet were bare. She'd lost her flip flops. "Wha...Burlie?" Lydia started to stand.

"Stay down." Burlie pushed her back. "It's a witch!"

"I said don't move!"

A red bolt hit Burlie in the back and she cried out, cried out, cried a long, strange yowl, and a cat, her fur a swirl of rust and gold, tumbled down into Lydia's arms.

"Buuuurlie?!"

Burlie was a cat. A tortoise-shell cat and her thick fur spiked. She hissed. She jumped to the carpet. She shook her front paws and she shook her back paws as if she'd stepped in water. She swished her long tail through the air.

"Wow," Lydia whispered. Wow. Wow. Just wow. One minute you're putting a few bucks in the bank and the next you're a cat.

Burlie's ears flicked back flat on her skull as she growled a low tiger growl of pure rage.

"Give me the money!" the man barked and Lydia jumped. She looked up. The robber was leaning over the counter and pointing a red-hot finger at Emilia's face. Lydia cringed as the first cold spike of real fear hit her. She held still, so still her eyes started to water as she stared up.

This was serious.

"Give me all the money. Every single dime. Put it in here." He handed over a plastic grocery bag and leaned back. Lydia remembered to blink and watched as Emilia, very calmly, shook the bag open and began to fill it with green bills from her drawer.

Lydia could also watch Emilia scooting her foot forward to step on a hidden switch under the counter. There were two switches under there about ten inches apart. The one on the right was painted red and blue. Lydia knew it was a cop-alarm, she wasn't stupid.

But Emilia pressed the other.

It had a faded Halloween sticker of a pointed hat on its top. Lydia knew what that meant, too. She reached out for Burlie but the cat was gone.

"Move it faster! D'you want to turn into a mouse? Give that cat something to play with?"

Emilia went to the other teller's drawer while the robber's hands popped and fizzed like a roman candle.

"Here," Emilia said, holding out the bag. "That's all I have access to."

The wild red glow brightened and the bag flew out of her hand.

Lydia heard him catch it and he let out a laugh. He was laughing? He thought this was fun? Big, ugly show off. Anger added itself to Lydia's fear.

The bag rustled. "That'll do," he said. "Good bye, ladies! It was great doing business with you."

But he didn't go anywhere. Lydia could hear his shoes scuffing along the floor.What was he doing? She slowly rolled to her feet and peeked over the counter. She came face-to-face with a big, staring cat. Burlie hissed and smacked her in the head with her paw. "Okay, okay!" Lydia whispered and ducked down again. She heard another menacing growl and looked up to see that bushy tail whipping as it stalked back and forth above her.

Burlie was on guard.

Lydia felt safe in her big sister's hairy shadow.

Safe enough to be brave. If Lydia couldn't look over she'd look under. There was a gap between the counter and the thick carpet. She dropped to her belly and elbowed her way forward to put her eye to it.

Scuff, scuff went the robber's feet.

He'd stopped laughing. He stepped forward and waited. He bared his teeth at the floor and stepped again. "Ah, nooo," he groaned and turned again to take another step. He began to stomp. "No!"

Lydia pointed at him, her finger poking out through the gap. "Zap," she whispered. "Zap, zap, hex!"

Nothing happened. Oh, well.

Nothing was happening for everybody. The robber looked like he was ready to cry. He took a jump to the left. And then a step to the right. Nothing, hop, nothing, hop, nothing. "Let me go!" he shouted at the ceiling. "Let me go!"

He was trying to disappear, Lydia guessed. Trying to escape to Florida or wherever in the blink of an eye. But he couldn't.

And that meant help had arrived. Lydia patted her hands together in silent applause.

Everything was going to be okay.

The man took off his cap and threw it to the ground. He was completely bald. His precious bag hit the floor, too, and he raised his fists. They lit up in a terrifying blaze and his shiny head reflected the light. "Awright, then, bring it on!" he screamed at the ceiling. "Bring it!"

There was a blast of cool air and another man appeared out of nowhere. He was an inch or two shorter than the other and dressed in a fine grey suit with a waistcoat of blue silk. He was handsome and, unlike the other guy, he had a full head of beautiful brown hair. Lydia squeaked and silently applauded again. This was going to be good.

"What's all this, then?" the newcomer said. He had an accent because he was from Great Britain, England, wayyy across the sea. He used to race golden chariots up and down London Bridge with the Queen. Lydia knew this because he told her so over the backyard fence. He was her neighbor.

He said, "I'm Investigator Fisk Iping and you're und..."

The robber released a bolt that seared across the room.

The man in grey caught it in his hand and it fizzled away to nothing. "...under arrest. Bank robbery and assault on your arresting officer. Thanks." Fisk flicked his fingers.

The robber's jaw dropped. "You can't do that," he said.

"Of course I can arrest you. I have a badge and everything," Fisk pulled a silver badge out of thin air and waved it around. He shoved it back where it came from with his thumb.

Another red lightning flash hit Fisk dead in the chest. His blue waistcoat blackened and his suit burned. The robber stopped, gasping and sweating. Fisk looked down and gently patted the flames out. "Stop that," he said.

"I'm too strong! You can't..." The robber's eyes were popping with disbelief. "You can't just stand there and take it!"

"Ah," said Fisk. "Attacking people who can't fight back has given you a swollen head. You actually think you're tough, don't you?" A large pair of manacles swirled out of nowhere. They floated in place and the cuffs clicked open, ready for the prisoner. "Come along quietly."

"I have hostages!" Baldy retreated until he hit the maple counter. "I have a little girl here! Let me go or I'll hurt her..."

The cat hissed and leaped.

"AIIIIGH!"

Claws and fangs sank deep in the back of the stranger's neck. Strong hind legs kicked and kicked and Lydia could hear his shirt tearing.

"GETITOFF! GETITOFF!" he shrieked. He shot hot sparks down his own back but Burlie held on.

Police sirens sounded as Fisk Iping laughed. "Oh, bad puss! Really now." The manacles swooped in and clamped around the wrists of the thrashing man, jerking him to a stop. The red glow in his fingers went out. Fisk made an 'up' motion and the robber rose in the air, the cat still clinging on. Fisk pulled the beast off her victim with another gesture.

She floated too, tail still thrashing, "Hack!" Her tongue was out.

Lydia guessed the villain tasted bad.

"You little monster," Fisk said. He smiled in awe as he looked the tortie over. "I think I'll take you home."

Lydia bounced to her feet. "You can't! It's Burlie."

"Lydia?" Fisk startled and his smile faded. "You're the little girl?"

She scrambled over the counter because going around would have taken too long. She bounded to his side, reached up, and gently pulled her sister down. "Good kitty, you're all right," she crooned.

"Rrrrr!" Burlie's ears were still flat but she pulled her claws in and started to knead Lydia's arm.

"Are you all right?" Fisk asked. Lydia nodded. Then he stared at the cat. "And this is Burlington. Why am I not surprised?" He looked up at Baldy. "Magical assault on a bystander. That's another major charge against you," he said. "Let this be a lesson to you, Lydia. Witch justice moves fast. By this time tomorrow this man'll be kissing his powers goodbye. Permanently."

The man groaned.

"Ooh." Lydia was impressed.

Fisk reached out to scratch behind Burlie's ears. She swatted at him. He flinched back.

"No, bad kitty," Lydia said.

"Mrowrrr..."

Fisk shifted around so he could give Lydia a one-armed hug without getting near Burlie's claws. Burlie growled but Lydia needed a hug. The pounding in her chest eased up and she took a deep breath. "Is Burlie going to be okay?" Lydia asked.

"Yes. In about fifteen minutes she'll be back to her charming self again."

"Hissss!"

The sirens stopped just outside and Emilia and the other teller crept forth. Fisk put a finger to his ear and Lydia heard an electronic buzz. "All's clear," he said to whoever was on the other end. "There's just the one witch and I've got him. Come on in. Beware the cat, though."

Two policemen and another grey-suited Investigator almost got stuck in the door as they rushed in. They divvied up the witnesses and began to take statements and photographs.

Fisk read the baddie his rights. He was a witch so they were slightly different from the usual. "You do not have the right to tell lies. You do not have the right to keep your power during this investigation. You do not..."

"This isn't happening," groaned the sad man floating above their heads.

"A criminal being caught? It happens every day." Fisk finished the rights then he smiled down at Lydia. "Sure you're feeling all right?"

"Yeah," she said. "It all happened really, really fast."

"But you were really, really brave," Fisk answered. "You'll make a great Investigator yourself someday, if you want."

"But I tried to zap him and nothing happened."

"You haven't been trained." Fisk snapped his fingers. "Which reminds me, we've finally found a new tutor. Lessons start June 29th for four hours a day. Summer school for you, sorry, but you have to start learning. Be there or be normal." He shuddered.

Lydia lit up with joy.

"Mrrr?"

She covered the cat's ears. "Can she understand?" Lydia whispered.

Fisk said, "She can't understand a word. Why?"

"I'm a secret," Lydia whispered. "She doesn't know about me yet."

"What?"

"Mama said we have to break it to her nicely and slowly." Lydia leaned closer and her whisper became a bare breath of air. "She kinda doesn't like witches ever since she got zapped that time."

Fisk raised an eyebrow at the cat. "And this won't help."

"No." Lydia cuddled Burlie closer.

"Well, I think it's a mistake but I won't tell," Fisk said.

Lydia was relieved. Then she was excited again. "Will I learn how to turn into a cat?"

"Of course."

"EEEEEE!" Finally! She'd finally be able to DO STUFF. How long would it take her to learn how to turn into a cat? What kind of cat would she be? A graceful Siamese? A fluffy Persian? Or a plain 'ol Calico with orange and brown patches? Lydia liked Calicos. Or maybe she'd turn her legs into a fish tail and become a mermaid?

What else would she do? She'd catch lightning blasts in her hand just like Fisk. She'd never seen a real-life witch use a wand but she wanted one. Maybe she could make one? A long one with a glowing star on the end. And what else? Would there be white owls with golden eyes in witch class? Long shelves of big, leather-bound spell books? Glowing crystal balls?

Broomsticks? Broomsticks! She'd never seen a witch on a broom either but surely they had them?

And the tutor! What would she be like? Sweet and round and quirky or tall and thin and tough? Lydia was going to be the best student she ever had.

On the 29th Lydia McLauren was going to start her... her destiny.

She heard a whine over her head and looked up to see the bad guy being pulled, still floating like another helium balloon, away.

Baldy Tough Guy Loser was about to start crying. "It wasn't supposed to go like this. It's not riiight." His head thumped against the door jamb. "Ow." Then he was out and gone.

Emilia stepped up and put a shaky hand on Lydia's shoulder. "Well, that was fun," she said but she wasn't smiling.

Another Investigator showed up and crooked a finger. "Fisk, the press has arrived. Come out and dazzle 'em."

"Can do," Fisk said. He gave Lydia an overblown grin, eyebrow cocked. "My public calls."

Lydia grinned up at him. "I'm going to be just like you."








Chapter Two



"All right, McLauren, we'll start with you. Extinguish the candle," Mr. Aza Lea said as he rolled his eyes towards his other students.

Taking their cue, Nash and Pru Barth rolled their eyes, too. "Shyeah, right," Pru whispered loud enough for Australia to hear and fussily adjusted her eyeglasses.

"Tuh," said Nash.

Bravo Southworth was the fourth and final student. He didn't get in step with the others. He shot Lydia a sympathetic look and shook his head. The tight braids in his hair swung. Then he went back to staring at the wall.

Mr. Lea leaned back in his padded chair, folded his hands over his stomach, and waited. The rings on all ten of his fingers glinted in the cold fluorescent light.

Lydia also tried to lean back in her molded plastic desk. She was small, she should have fit. She didn't. The thing had been built to improve posture and a hard bulge hit her painfully in the spine every time she moved. Her fingers were going numb. Still, she tried to do as she was told. She stared at the stub of a candle that was burning in a saucer on Mr. Lea's desk and willed it to go out. Nothing happened.

Nothing ever happened.

"'Extinguish' means to put the candle out," Mr. Lea explained, so helpfully.

"Yaaaawn." Nash patted his hand over his mouth. "Yah-ah-aaaawwwnn!"

Lydia felt flop sweat break out all over her body as the seconds ticked by and the flame still burned bright.

After eight years or so Mr. Lea sighed. "Why, McLauren?" he asked. "Why is this candle still lit? Can you answer that for me, please?"

Lydia whispered, "I don't know how to put it out."

"You don't know how?" he repeated. "Well, you're honest anyway."

"You've been here a whole week," Pru said as if Lydia hadn't counted every miserable minute. "You dumb blonde."

"Hey!"

"And you still can't do this one simple thing?" Mr. Lea interrupted.

"How do I do it?" Lydia almost howled.

"I'll demonstrate again," Mr. Lea said and flicked a hand at the candle. The flame went out with a bang. Smoke spiraled up from the blackened wick. "See? Easy. Now you do it."

The candle flared into life again. Lydia copied his hand-flick, even pressed her mouth in a tight little line the way he did, but the candle still burned. She tried again, her eyes almost crossing. Go out, go out, go out.

Nothing.

Mr. Lea wearily rubbed his face.

Like monkeys who'd had too much coffee, Nash and Pru broke out in a storm of twitches, huffs, and snorts. "This is so boring."

Lydia couldn't make a candle work but her temper lit up with a blaze. "You try it!" she shouted at them. "I've been here a whole week and I haven't seen you two do anything either."

"You shut up!" Pru shouted back, stomping both feet on the frayed carpet squares.

"I don't think you can do anything," Lydia said. "I really don't."

"I heard that," Bravo agreed. "They just make noise." Bravo crossed his arms over his chest. If he held his knuckles just right it would look like he had big, brown biceps.

"You want noise?" Nash took a deep breath. "SHUT UUUUP!" he bawled and the sound reverberated around the fusty little room. The candle's saucer rattled and dust puffed into the air from the old stacks of boxes that made up the walls. Lydia clapped her hands over her ears.

"Peace," said Bravo. The unnatural shriek stopped and Nash's eyes rolled up as his head dropped down, clonk, to his desk. He had a little smile on his face as he snoozed.

"That's my brother!" Pru barked because Nash hadn't done anything, of course. Her face went red with effort and her notebook floated off her desk and flew at Bravo's head. He knocked it out of the air with his bare hand and it dropped to the floor at Lydia's feet. She picked it up.

"Nice try," Lydia said and she didn't need magic to whip the book back where it came from.

Pru ducked and it hit the wall. She popped up again like a rabid weasel. "I haaate you!" she bawled. "I hate you both!"

"Big deal," Lydia said and Bravo turned back to the wall again.

Pru stared at them with her mouth open. She seemed to be shocked. Saying 'I hate you' must be a big deal in the Barth family. "The Barf family," Lydia muttered.

Mr. Lea rapped on his desk with his knuckles and the kids faced forward. He scowled at Lydia. "McLauren, don't you even know how to behave in public?"

A low, choking feeling was in Lydia's throat. She tried to swallow it down. It wouldn't go.

"Why are you here? You have no magic at all," Pru asked.

"Run your mouth, that's it," Bravo said to her.

Nash sat up and looked around, blinking heavily. Then he glared at Bravo.

"I do have magic," Lydia announced to everyone. "Fisk Iping said so and he's the best witch in town. In the state!"

Mr. Lea's mouth thinned so much more it almost disappeared and Lydia knew she'd made a mistake. Mr. Lea was a charm witch. He made pretty rings, necklaces, and pins that could work as flashlights, find lost keys, or make an ugly face seem beautiful. He sold them in the Lea family's jewelry store when he wasn't teaching. Each sparkling ring on his fingers was magically useful.


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