The next morning, Local 5 News had the story everybody set their alarms to see ever since the mystery reporter came.
"Is the drought season over, or is Father Summer holding on? Locals from the town of Hogwash don't think this is hogwash. Witchcraft runs rampant in this small Pennsylvanian village."
"Great!" Father yells, "Just the last thing we need is more humans finding out about this place!"
"Dad, I think humans can help us. Besides, who wants to live here anyway?" I asked meekly.
"Jo Lisa, if everyone found out about what this town really is, the accusers could be the accused just like in old days. We pay for your education and this was always a fine village. Now watch this program."
"…a wicked woman was seen wandering the streets sprinkling powder on the soil. Nobody knows where she lives, but she went mad, rumor albeit, a long time ago when her family was hanged. No real proof is evident yet. Some say the lady was sprinkling fertilizer; others speculate it was potion.
The court may not be able to precede hearings in time for the crisis. Prices of food are said to go up. The forests are predicted to be hunted dry. Call crime stoppers if you see this hag."
"I don't like hunting," I commented. "But I'll likely hunt for that witch. How is that for education dad?"
"Worry not, we will teach you," said Mother.
"Uh…uh, great." I didn't know what to say since I was merely joking.
When I returned to school, everyone was talking, some even crying. Teachers were worried for the home-schoolers who could not afford the only fine, town institution. Darla and I were thinking about skipping class to go on another witch hunt, but in our uniforms?
In the breakfast room, Darla came up to me with Sam and Frodo (?!). Clearly, the twins have the hairiest feet on campus, so they never wear sandals even if Father Summer himself caught hay fever. The twins are also short and sadly, not very popular. One thing they were known for though, was invisible shields.
"So who are your new love puppies?"
"Love…puppies? Sam and Frodo are going to help us bust outta school and search for more clues."
"I thought I told you not to blab! And I thought these two characters were from Lord of the Rings."
"Oh my gosh, you don't really expect us to go on this mission alone? We need experience."
I tried desperately to outweigh her decision, but Sam broke in, "Is this the witch?"
"Quiet, it's my turn to me the master." Darla hushed. Then, the plan was fully mapped. The first thing we had to do was ask for a nurse's pass to fake absence. To conceal the cameras, Frodo sprayed black resin. We wore masks, but sometimes we took them off just so we don't look suspicious. Magic between class hours was restricted you know.
Once we broke free, we agreed to visit Farmer Paul. He was one of the first people the reporter, Mary Sharper (I later found out) interviewed. Everyone knows him very well, and we are especially close to him because he's my grandpa. He had a farmer's tan and wore a long, wavy mustache. His eyes were kind.
"Kids, if the prices of food go up, I don't know if we'll be strong enough to survive the winter. Only if we can fool Mother Nature."
"Oh, don't say that," I comforted. "There's still time for fall harvest."
"I have never been the wet blanket, but jeez, it's awful for me because this is my job. If nobody buys my food I won't be able to afford my tractor."
"Then you can help us with rain-rain spells and p-potions," Sam stammered.
Sam and Frodo are always quick to trust anybody. I do not understand why we didn't choose Harry Potter now that he's away from that weasel, Ron. If this does work, and we make it to the top of the list of heroes, I guess it would make them manlier but that's specie-ist. Happy hobbit as Frodo was, he grew more intense with the sun's rays.
"Ok," Paul granted, "If the rain dances don't work though, we'd've need of a charm that nobody has 'eard of in these parts. One that restores soil."
Squiggles squealed with excitement. I decided to put a collar on him. He'll be my hound dog. We left the farm, returning to the Ever Hidden Woods, but the cabin we saw yesterday vanished.
"I saw it. Are we lost?" I panicked.
"No, this ain't lost."
"Frodo, we may need to start using our defense mechanism." Sam was fervent to use his invisible armor.
"But Darla, we've been searching these woods for hours, "I butt in.
"Of course you wouldn't understand why the house would vanish yet. Only master magicians can do mass disappearances." I was peeved that Darla was talking to me like I was clueless. I've heard the magic tales in history class. I just dose off. I find the ones from Middle Earth, where Frodo and Samwise are from the most compelling.
Then Squiggles squealed.
"What Squiggles? I don't see anything!" All I could see was the Appalachian Mountains and their smoky hue.
I suddenly worked my gaze up. There she was in a tree--the witch. She had purple skin and long, white hair. The hair moved on its own, not like the glamorous snowy hair that wisped in the wind, but almost like snakes upon the head of Medusa.
I almost jumped out of my pants.
"Looking for me?"
"Why don't you leave the people and their crops alone you—"Darla failed to search for the right words.
"Darla!" I yelled then I turned my attention to the witch. "Please, I don't know your name, but these hardworking folks deserve to live for God sakes?"
In her most wicked of voices she spat, "And what if they do?"
"Even if they do, we will fight you with our seemingly small muscles," said Frodo. Then, when the witch wouldn't respond, he prepared his shield. I brought my taser if all else failed. Darla salvaged potion from the school's lab. Luckily, Darla brought sleeping potion.
Carefully, Darla entered Sam and Frodo's shield save her hands. The soft, powdery aroma was released into the air. Once the witch fell out of the gnarly branches, I caught her heavy body outside our safety zone.
"Now all's we have to do is find her cabin," said Sam. We had to work fast incase she aroused. We tied her to the tree, but one problem was running out of rope.
"My gosh," I asked. "How are we ever going to find her cabin for evidence?" That was our next plan. If the witch was hiding out nearby her dwelling must be in the Ever Hidden Woods.
"We will," Darla informed, "but we mustn't let her find us rummaging through her house. I have more rope we can tie her to a tree with."
I drank a strength potion with Darla, Sam, and Frodo in unison and flew to the top of the moss covered mountain. Squiggles drank a flying potion so he could keep up with us. Grandfather Farmer Paul was left perplexed.
Then I very vigilantly used the rope to tie her against the trunk. Next, it was time to search for clues in the cabin for the court hearing in two weeks. We searched and searched, staying close to the streams, but the signs of the cabin did not prove worthy.