“Send me an owl,” Josie said and, with a flip of her long dark cape, vanished. That’s how she saw it anyway. Sniggers from her schoolmates reached her ears. Despite her most fevered efforts, she couldn’t raise a bedazzling hex to hide herself in the background.
Heart pounding, she sprinted away from the pick up zone where parents double-parked to wait for their darling children. Darling children like Summer and Britany who called her freak and pinched her arm until it was covered in bruises.
Just when she thought another day of torment was behind her, Summer had sidled up to her, smelling of grape-flavoured bubble gum.
“Wanna come to my birthday party on Saturday?” she said, her voice sweet and slick.
“Um. Maybe.” Josie stared at her feet, noticing a green sock on one foot and a yellow on the other.
“Give me your phone number. I’ll ring you tonight and give you all the details.” Summer shoved a bright purple pen and a piece of paper at her.
That’s when Josie blurted the first thing she could think of and dashed away. Running was the one thing she was really good at. If running was magic she would have disapparated a hundred times already this week. She raced into the woods, to the small lean-to where she kept spell books and a collection of herbs. When daylight started to fade, she stashed her cauldron and camouflaged the entrance to her hideaway with branches and leaves.
At home her father was working with his office door shut. On the kitchen table sat a golden treacle tart.
“It’s better with custard,” said a tiny voice from the hallway.
“Britany! How’d you get in?” Josie edged toward the back door.
The unlocking charm. A sickening wave on envy washed over Josie.
“I’ve been waiting for ages. I thought your dad would catch me.”
Josie studied the pie. Was it poisoned? Was this some new trick?”
“I brought you this to say sorry.” Britany stepped a little closer. “Summer's had an entrancing enchantment on me all term. Can we be friends again?”
“Then maybe would you tell me how you did that this afternoon?”
“Are you an animagus? How’d you change into a jaguar and run away so fast?”
© Maggie Bolitho
Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Treacle tart with custard by Peter Smith