A continuation of ‘Early for a party‘. About a decade later.
Josina strode through the unremarkable neighbourhood, a spring in her step but a scoff in her expression. Did these people know nothing about plants? She’d not seen such ugly gardens in years.
Despite her drab surroundings she was in a good mood, as she tended to be this time of year. It was nearing the end of spring. With warmer weather, bright sunlit days and plenty of rain, her plants were growing like weeds. But more importantly, May was when the Hedgewitches Academy invited their new students.
She was looking for one Alice Hargrave today, who was supposed to live somewhere in this neighbourhood. Josina doubted a single magical other than Alice lived in this place.
Ah, there is was, number eighteen. It looked mostly the same as all the others, but to her dismay the front garden looked even worse off. As she waited for someone to answer the door she amused herself imaging their reactions when she told them Alice was invited to magic school.
But even her wildest imaginings didn’t prepare her for the reaction she got.
A woman with a mane of wild black hair peered through the door window suspiciously before opening the door just enough to talk comfortably, but not enough for Josina to see inside. She examined Josina with unusually dark-grey eyes, moving from her suede brown frock-coat to her matching top-hat.
Josina had expected the scrutiny, as non-magical fashion wasn’t on the frock-coat side at the moment and definitely not doing top-hats, but the way this woman’s eyes pierced her set her on edge. There was a wild quality there that got stronger as she took in her appearance. “Who are you? What do you want with us?” she asked.
Josina cleared her throat a little awkwardly. “Good morning, I’m Josina Hagmeule. I’m looking for Alice Hargrave?”
The woman drew up taller, posture tense. She was tall, much taller than Josina. “What do you want with Alice?”
“I’m here to invite her to a special school-”
“And that couldn’t have been done in a letter like any normal school?” the woman interrupted.
“Ah, no. It’s a magic school you see-”
“And I’m supposed to believe that? Do you think I’m stupid?”
“This is why we go in person, in case you don’t know-”
“Of course I know about magic! Don’t think you’re all smart, coming here to trick us with tempting tales. I write things down you know, so I know I’ve seen unicorns, you just made me forget.”
Oh shit, how was she supposed to react to that?
“And don’t think you’ll find where I’ve hidden it, if that’s what you’re thinking. We know about you and no matter what you try you aren’t taking that away from us!”
Before the woman could continue, Josina intervened. “I’m not going to erase your memories!” she said loudly. But the woman didn’t relax her stance.
“Yeah, I suppose that’s what they all say. How many times has it happened? How many times were my hunts for mythical creatures successful that I don’t know about? Are you keeping a file on us? Ours must be very big with how hard we’ve been trying to find evidence of magic.”
“I’m only here to invite Alice to the Hedgewitches Academy-”
“And I suppose I’ll never see my daughter again after that!” the woman screeched. “Going to erase our memories of her too because she can do magic? It’s not going to happen!”
Before Josina could get another word in, the door slammed in her face.
She stood there for a moment in shock at the sudden silence. Only her and the ugly garden.
“I might have to change my strategy…”