Storm clouds brewed on the horizon, far, far, far, to the North. Thunder rumbled and blue and silver lightning flashed within the rolling nimbus. Electricity prickled above and below and there was an explosion of light and sound and everyone along the balcony of the cylinder tower that was Witches of The Southwest, jumped and spared the boiling storm a passing glance. But it was on the horizon, and there it would remain. No natural force came close to breaking the protective barriers of the school, nor any structure crafted by witches.
The balcony was huge, more than large enough to contain the hundreds of students who had gathered for the day’s lesson. Of course I was among them, searching the crowd for Harriet and Beth. Subconsciously, when witches are trying to find each other or anything really, they give off a subdued aura of magic. It is a primitive skill, bordering on mundane intuition, but it gets the job done. Thus it was far from impossible to find my friends, and we met almost at once.
“Hey,” I said.
“Yeah?” Beth said.
“What?” I said.
She made a face at me. “You look like you got something to say.”
“Well, I don’t,” I said and glanced at Harriet, who was giving the boiling nimbus her undivided attention. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at her stubborn stupidness. “You’re not still mad about the race are you?” It seemed a very petty thing to ignore me over, especially considering the recent update to my life expectancy.
“Yes, I am. And until you grow up enough to realize how selfish and stupid you are, I will continue to be pissed at you,” Harriet said. Wind blew a few loose strands of her thick black hair. Today, she had it tied in a bun at the nape of her neck.
“It’s just a game, Harriet,” I said, unable to keep the exasperation from my voice.
“Yes, a game,” she said and continued to glare at the storm.
I glanced at Beth for help, but she threw up her hands as if to say ‘don’t bring me into this.’
Letting out a frustrated breath, I opened my mouth to tell Harriet: ‘to get her self-righteous head out of her ass.’ However, I was interrupted by a thin twat with perfect straightened bleached blonde hair, flowing like wisps of loveliness in the night. She was peach-faced, pursed-lipped and big-eyed. She was popular, and almost as talented as myself. I like to think of her as ‘little shit.’ She had an overly bubbly personality and went by the name of Sylvia.
“Hi, Harriet! Hi, Raquel!” she beamed at both of us and ignored Beth.
I wrinkled my nose and gave her a look that made no effort to hide my feelings towards her. She continued to smile, oblivious to her unwelcomed presence. Harriet gave her at flat look, but at least she was looking at the little shit.
“Oh, my god, I just saw Brandon making out with Tabatha! Tabatha! Pizza faced Tabatha! And she looked at him like she actually thought he liked her! I mean, who would? She’s a hypocrite to the name of witches! Green Witch? Pssh, whatever! More like dumb ass,” Sylvia continued to yap her little shit mouth off. At this point, even Harriet’s flat expression was beginning to turn hostile.
“Hey, Silvia,” I said, interrupting her mid sentence.
“Get lost,” I said.
“Um, no,” she said and continued her rant. “Rosanne hates her, and it’s going to be hilarious when he dumps her. ‘I’m sorry, but I only date real witches!’ Maybe then she’ll actually use her magic and get rid of that hideous face of hers. Save us from having to look at it. Ugh!”
I placed my hands on my hips and fixed her with a smile as falsely sweet at hers. “Excuse me. I might not have made myself clear. I meant to say: fuck off before I blow you so hard your big’ol eye’s pop right out of your tiny skull. Fuck. Off.”
Her mouth dropped slightly, and then she let out a high pitched squeal of a laugh. “You’re hilarious!”
The door hummed and wafted something foul and treacherous. It was difficult to suppress the urge to yank it open, but I somehow managed and delved into my own magic. Mapping the layout of the spell in my mind, I reached a hand towards her pussy, but before I could make true on my promise Professor Trent had arrived and called the students to attention.
I kissed two of my sparking fingers and pointed them at Silvia and mouthed ‘watch it.’ Her lips opened in an amused smile, but there was something devious dancing in her eyes.
Professor Tent hovered around the edge of the balcony. Above him the sky twinkled in starlight, unperturbed by pollution of light or smog or cloud. It was beautifully black and below him stretched the flat desert terrain. He gestured for us to follow him and he slowly made his decent towards the cracking hard packed earth.
I spat at Silvia before summoning and mounting my broom. Of course she froze the flab of mucus in mid air and let it drop to the black tile of the balcony. “Get lost,” she said to Beth, and followed after me.
I was about to knock that sorry bitch off her broom, but Harriet caught my eye and shook her head.
“Later,” she whispered.
Beth sped up and flew neck to neck with Harriet. She did not rise to Sylvia’s bait. Unfortunately, she was not magically or socially quiet on par with the wispy bitch. But we had our ways of making little shits pay.
Silvia dipped and flew alongside us. She spun upside down on her broom, letting her hair fall and swim in the wind.
The students rose in a cloud of witches. The trip to the sandy earth was not a long one. Professor Trent led us to an area completely free of brush. Blankets of varying color dotted the ground. At the center of each blanket, a laser point of matching shade shot into the starry sky.
“Students, today we will begin practicing forming a circle. When first learning this skill it is best to start with those of similar strength in magic as yourself. It saves the weaker from straining too hard and does not limit the stronger as much. I have divided you into groups of three,” Professor Trent lectured and then lifted a hand to the air. Hundreds of circular orbs appeared far above him and immediately dispersed into the crowd of students. “Find the point that matches your sphere, and there you will find your peers to practice circle forming.”
As he spoke I watched three green balls of light rapidly approach Harriet, Silvia, and I. For a moment I stared at the little sphere and my fellow circle peers.
“Would you look at that,” Silvia said, bouncing her own sphere on her palm. “Looks like we all got something in common.”
I could not control the disgruntled curl of my upper lip.
Beth glanced at our spheres and her own purple one. She shrugged, rolled her eyes, gave Harriet and I a smile and good-naturedly started for her own point of light.
“Quickly now, students,” Professor Trent said with a touch of irritation.
Harriet led the way to our blanket without a word. I followed after but lacked my friends self control. “How did you know?” I hissed at Silvia.
She only smirked superiorly and hummed: ‘I know something you don’t know.’
“Stupid bitch,” I said and plopped down on our green blanket. As we all sat, the laser point whisked out. And only once every point of light had faded, did Professor Trent speak again:
“Assume a comfortable position and begin meditation, keep your mind opened to the world around you. Hands opened towards the sky, arms spread to either side. Clasp hands with your peers.”
I did as instructed, aware of the differences in Harriet and Silvia’s hand size. Harriet’s were rougher and her grip was strong rather than dainty. There was also a warmth to Harriet that Silvia completely lacked.
“Allow your magic to seep out around you, feel it connect and interconnect with your peers.”
Our circle formed rapidly and violently. I felt Silvia’s magic spiral out of her like a storm. Instinctively I forced my own out to match her speed, and somehow Harriet seemed to be ahead of us both. I don’t know why, but I always forget how talented Harriet is. Her magic flowed swiftly and controlled, like an ocean tide on the rise. She closed our circle and the stability of her magic seemed to calm Silvia’s and mine. And she was still flowing, forcing me to strain farther for magic I did not have. I did take some comfort in seeing Silvia sweat and struggle harder than I.
It was still irritating to have Harriet take the lead. There was nothing I could do about and it was even more irritating to see her limit herself, if only slightly.
“For now we will only practice holding your circle. In time I will teach you spells and ritual. Get used to your peers. I imagine you will remain in the same group for some months to come.”
Silvia smirked through her strain and I nudged her with the smallest burst of magic. It was all I was able to muster, straining to keep up with Harriet as I was. But that small nudge was more than Silvia could handle, her magic crumbled beneath the extra weight and our circle shattered. She collapsed panting onto the blanket.
The envelope rippled and opened slightly in my head.
“Serves you right, bitch,” I whispered.
“We’ll try again in five,” Harriet said. She did catch my eye and a slight smile quirked her lips. And I knew our little dispute had been reconciled.