Monica lay on her back on her comfy bed, in her comfy room, and sighed. Life as a magic-user really wasn’t as exciting as it looked. So far, all it had gotten her was extra chores, extra responsibilities and – of course – extra trouble!
OK, so turning Miss Snot-nose and her friends into pigs had been fun. But the curse that they’d bought, smuggled into school and hidden under her pillow – not so fun. And the nasty wenches had made sure that she couldn’t prove magic, either. Her teachers had decided that a sudden face full of zits was de rigeur for a girl her age. “Blame puberty, and stop eating so much chocolate!” they’d clucked, as Grace and her friends smirked in the background. ‘Bitches’ indeed! thought Monica.
She turned over and sighed heavily. Lying around feeling sorry for herself was ridiculous – what she needed was an adventure! In books and movies, adventures just happened to people, without them ever looking for it. But… maybe in the real world, people needed to take matters into their own hands? She rested her chin on her clasped hands and thought hard. What was she looking for? Danger – but not too much to start off with. Something where she could help people in need. Like Superman, but with better fashion sense. And ovaries.
The next Saturday morning, she snuck out and walked to the local village. She could have tried this from school, but the magic-damper spell – too weak to dampen her right down – caused her spells to go a little too weird at times. She bought some basic camping supplies (baked beans, spoon, coffee-in-a-tube, water) and headed to a field just out of town to cast her spell.
“Eye of newt
Piece of toast
Take me where
I’m needed most!”
The world shimmered around her.
“SHIT!” she swore loudly, and thumped her fist on the wall. She was back in school. In her bedroom.
“Adventure I crave
In the wild jungle
A life to save
And not to bungle!”
As the room shimmered around her, she hoped that her skill was enough to avoid the afore-mentioned warping – and that she wouldn’t just end up in the school conservatory!
She dropped to the ground and smothered a scream. Cripes – what on earth just happened?
Wet, decaying leaves squelched under her cheek. Huge tree trunks blotted out a lot of the daylight. The air was hot and heavy and hard to breathe. Right – she’d managed the ‘jungle’ bit. Now what the hell had that noise been? It’d sounded like a gunshot right next to her ear. Had someone fired right at her?
A quiet rustle in the undergrowth nearby caught her attention from her thoughts. If it hadn’t been so close, and right in the direction she was facing, she wouldn’t have heard it. She stared hard – and suddenly a pattern of light and shadow turned into the face of a cat. A big one.
Monica bit her lip and told herself firmly NOT to panic. The poor thing was probably wondering what the hell she was. She racked her brain for a spell, but all she could remember was part of an old nursery rhyme her mother used to sing to her. Oh well – it would have to do. She hoped.
She sang, then held her breath. The big cat didn’t move. Crap.
Then again, maybe it was a good thing?
A quiet whistle – human style – sounded behind her. It was answered by the same in front of her, and to her right and left. And she clicked. The guns, the people, the organisation – they were hunting the big cat, whatever it was. And she was right in the middle. Bigger crap. Then she grinned, as she came up with an idea. Now if she could just work out a spell to go with it…
Bullets, bullets, in the guns
Turn to rubber for their shame
When you’re fired, turn around
Return to the human from whence you came
She frowned. It was scrappy, but it HAD to work. She rolled slowly onto her back, then yelled it out in a sing-song fashion. Before she was finished, a gun CRACKED and a piece of tree above her head shattered. Another CRACK from her right – and then a scream from the same direction.
Monica grinned and clapped her hands – it worked!
“You can go now!” she told the big cat, craning her neck to see if she could see any more of it. “But don’t get caught again, OK?”
Silence and only an ear-flick from the big cat. Then it stiffened and snarled at her.
Monica started to panic. This was NOT supposed to happen. The cat growled and bounded away in the opposite direction. She relaxed – and a hand snaked around in front of her and covered her mouth. Another held her around the waist.
“’Ello, little girly!” a rough male voice said in her ear, “What HAVE you been up to? Been a naughty little girl, haven’t you?”
Monica bit the hand covering his mouth,and drew in a breath to spell herself back to school. And came smack up against a panic-induced mental blank.
“CRAP!” she yelled, and the man laughed and used the bitten hand to grab her wrist.
“Feisty little one!” he chuckled, and then doubled over in pain.
“Gymnastics,” said Monica smugly, having back-kicked him in the groin. She threw an elbow backward, and connected with something which crunched – a nose? Suddenly she was free, and her mind was working again.
She cheered and spelled herself back to her bedroom at school.
“HOLY SHIT!!” said someone.
Monica turned around, and saw three girls standing near her bed, hands behind their backs, looking guilty.
“What the HELL have you been doing?” one asked.
“Mud-wrestling, by the looks of it,” another sneered.
“What, can’t your parents afford a decent allowance, scholarship girl?” asked the first, with false sympathy,
“Poor little princess!”
They sniggered and flounced out of the room.
Monica slammed the door behind them, and wondered what they’d been up to. Suddenly, she didn’t give a damn. She collapsed onto her bed, fully clothed. And a stink bomb went off.
“BITCHES!” she muttered, and went to sleep anyway.
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