Young Witches Just Want to have Fun
Vicious Moon – Nyx Ianira
Growing up in a small town is a challenge for some people, especially witches who can’t seem to follow the rules. Growing up in Twitch Crossing, Georgia, the black hole of my existence, I often had trouble controlling my youthful enthusiasm and natural curiosity.
Twitch Crossing is not on any maps. Carefully hidden by magic spells, it lies down a long white limerock road to the southeast of Fargo, Georgia, in the Okefenokee Swamp. The Native Americans called the Okefenokee the Land of Trembling Earth. It is a formidable place, filled with earth magic and mystery. I paddled the waterways in my canoe and followed trails through miles of tall pine woods. I loved every square inch and feared nothing that lived there. It was the people in the Crossing who drove me to despair and the inevitable mischief.
To get to the Crossing, you have to travel miles deeper into the swamp than most people are willing to go. If you don’t have the power to see through magical cloaking spells you’ll think that road ends at Twitch Creek, a wide, deep, stretch of black water. If you can see through the spells, the Creek is just a four-foot ditch that fills up when it rains. There’s a wooden bridge you cross at your own peril.
Founded in 1852, the town, population 169, consists of modest homes, the general store run by the witch coven, the barn-like structure of the meeting house, and the school. There were six of us seniors they year I graduated. Let’s just say that living there was not conducive to birthday parties or sleepovers that normal kids have. How many kids have classes in illusions, alchemy, conjuring and divination in their curriculum? Magic lessons. The curse of my childhood.
No, I did not spell Mrs. Bast’s dog to moo like a cow. And the illusion of a charging buffalo did not cause Mr. Sommers to fall off his ladder. He was just clumsy. I most certainly did not divine that Councilman Bardot was doing the nasty with Miss Tupper while his wife was away. I saw them through the window. My youthful eyes traumatized, I may have conjured the shocking image and played it like a movie in the middle of the street. They should have closed the curtains.
It simply wasn’t a good place to nurture and educate a curious child with an adult sense of humor. My Gran, who raised me and my sister Marisol after our mother died, did the best she could. Fathers were not in the picture for us, since Mother took that secret to her grave. I had a few comrades in arms though. Or partners in crime, however you want to look at it.
Marisol was a good, obedient girl. Super smart, a talented witch, she could do anything if I could convince her to break the rules. Which I usually could since she adored me, her big sister, her role model.
Toby Jackdaw was somewhat rotund, and everyone picked on him except me and Marisol. He and I were the same age. Poor Toby almost never got to leave the Crossing because when he got excited, odd uncontrollable events occurred. They promised him he would outgrow those little lapses. Toby could magically animate things and was incredibly powerful for his age. Mrs. Jackdaw took him with her to Fargo once, and stopped at a funeral home to pay her respects to a friend. I think the funeral home director had a nervous breakdown when the deceased opened her eyes and waved at the mourners.
The Summer Solstice was a big event in Twitch Crossing. The year I was ten we had witches from all over the country attending. They parked their RV’s and camper trailers all through the edge of town. And they were dumping raw sewage into the swamp. My swamp, my home, my sanctuary. When I complained, I was informed that it didn’t matter because it was only a few hundred gallons. The big fiberglass tank that served the meeting house, school, and other places in town, was full and dumping excess, too. That situation could not be allowed to continue.
I formulated a plan with Toby which, in retrospect, was probably not a good idea. At ten I was full of so many ideas that mercifully only came to fruition only upon rare occasions.
As the Solstice ceremony progressed and everyone was busy, Toby and I would slip around in the dark and turn all those nasty drain hoses out of my swamp and direct them back inside the RV’s and campers. Then Toby would empty the tanks with a spell. We’d teach those nasty polluters a lesson. Let them live with it. Toby assured me he was capable of doing the job.
I was going to create the most implausible and improbable illusion of my life and bring in a police raid that I saw on TV, flashing lights and all. I was better at creating illusions as a kid than I ever would be again. I didn’t tell Marisol. She would have snitched on me. This was too big for her to keep quiet.
At the climax of the ceremony, a hundred white doves were supposed to be released. The animal lovers protested. The survival rate of white doves in the swamp at night would be below zero. No electric lights were allowed, just bonfires. You know, natural sh…stuff to honor the earth.
The no doves rule really pissed off the official bird procurer for the event, Earl Balderas. The organizers wanted Earl to find a sturdier bird to release. Earl suggested crows. He even offered to spray paint them white. They shot that idea down, too. Earl did come through. Personally, while I sympathized with the doves, a hundred seagulls were not a proper substitute. But they were big, white, not delicate, and therefore accepted. No one asked Earl where he obtained them.
The stage was set for disaster and something inside me knew it—even anticipated it. Boredom was the bane of my childhood. I had to make my own fun.
Oh, the Solstice food was so good. Southern barbecue, fresh corn and potatoes, every kind of cake and pie that could be imagined. Toby really enjoyed it. In fact, I suggested that he might not want to eat that fourth pork sandwich and wash it down with a gallon of sweet tea. Especially after he had sampled a slice of every pie on the table. Toby was a big boy for his age. I was pretty sure when he grew another foot or two, maybe three, it would even things out.
When the ceremony began, Toby and I did as we planned and cautiously rerouted the drain hoses out of the swamp and back into the vehicles. Doors and windows were open, so no problems arose.
Toby burped and farted a few times, but I figured he was okay. My dog Herschel did that all the time. I’d practiced my illusion for days. Fortunately, I had not yet grown into my ability to accidentally set things on fire.
The ceremony headed for the big climax. Everyone was singing and dancing. Toby and I sat on the grass, back out of the light where we could see, but hopefully not be seen. He closed his eyes and began his spell, whispering, taking control of one specific thing—sewage. I started to ask if he was concentrating on only the sewage in the RVs and trailers, but knowing his control problems, I hesitated to interrupt. Nothing happened at first, then I could hear funny bubbling noises behind me.
Toby made a kind of hurping sound, but he still seemed calm.
Earl readied himself to open the giant bird cage with the gulls. The witches kept up their boisterous songs, praising the Earth Mother.
Toby hurped again.
I held my illusion tight, ready to fling it out for the world to see.
Toby made an odd gurgling sound that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully describe. I glanced at him. Oh, that wasn’t good. He was lost in his own spell. He became his own spell. That’s a danger for all witches, young or old. I glanced at the nearest trailer. The hose I’d stuck through a window was now lying on the ground gushing liquid. So were all the others that I could see.
Toby projectile vomited.
The sewage that he magically controlled that was supposed to go into the campers and RV’s went airborne. It flew in the exact same direction as his stomach spew. Right into the mass of celebrants.
Earl released the seagulls. I lost control and released my illusion. Flashing lights and sirens filled the night. The gulls squawked, screeched and wisely refused to fly. They ran for their lives. Right though and over the crowd.
Then, the grand finale.
The fiberglass septic that was filled to overflowing exploded. It’s a good thing it was mostly underground. Its entire contents blasted up and landed, oh yes, right on the big party. It drenched seagulls, all the witches of Twitch Crossing, and their esteemed Solstice guests.
I cut my illusion off. Toby cut off too. He’d emptied his load.
He slumped and gazed around at the mess. “What happened?”
“Toby, I don’t think you should’ve eaten that last pork sandwich.”
He wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve. “Nah. It was probably all the tea.”
The details of punishment aren’t important. Uncomfortable, but I survived. I accepted the blame. I confessed that I coerced Toby into his actions and it wasn't his fault. Toby and Marisol grew up to become fine capable witches. I grew up to be me. Was it worth it? That spectacular night of the Summer Solstice? Oh, yeah. Now let me tell you about the Great Frog Invasion.