Early for a party


The people living around the square of the old working district tended to be no-nonsense and straight to the point. They were friendly enough, and could be lively during the occasional celebration, but whatever else you could say about them, they were ordinary. That is, everyone except for the young couple renting the house above the printing office; The Hargraves.

Adalynn Hargrave worked for a magazine called ‘The Cryptid’ which, as you might guess, ran stories on Cryptids. She was a pretty woman, with a tall thin frame and long wild black hair. Lewis Hargrave was a writer in his own right, although he aspired to be a fiction author. Many of his stories were inspired by his wife’s searches for mysterious creatures. He was slightly shorter than Adalynn, had long dark-red hair he often tied in a low-ponytail and wore smart rectangular glasses. The Hargraves had a young daughter called Alice with her mother’s wild hair and her father’s need for tying it back where it didn’t tickle her face.

The small family living on the corner of the street quickly managed to show how little they fit in. For one, where the others around the square kept to themselves, Adalynn, by virtue of being a reporter, stuck her nose in everyone’s business. While saving up for their next trip to find the Lochness Monster, she had to find other places to find magic. She was sure there was something to be found in this city, and where better to start than around her own house?

She was disappointed to find how little the other residents gossiped. No one talked about seeing the neighbours do strange things, no stories circulated about the old woman in the side street living alone with her black cat. It was all so utterly boring, she knew they just had to be hiding something.

When Lewis and Adalynn woke up on a dull, grey Tuesday in February, feet cold even under their blanket, neither of them suspected this to be the day they found proof of everything they believed in. Adalynn hummed along to the radio while making breakfast as Lewis wrestled a struggling Alice into her clothes.

Both of them jumped when a loud bang followed by a cheer came from the pub further down the street.

“A little early for a party,” Lewis commented as he craned his neck to get a better look outside. What he saw nearly had him drop Alice out of his arms. “Look at them!” When Adalynn joined him, her spatula clattered to the floor.

“Holy shit…” she whispered.

The group of people dancing and celebrating in front of the pub were unmistakably magical. An old man wearing a bright orange cloak stood dancing on a precariously wobbling table, chanting; “It’s over! It’s over!” over and over. Two men both wearing blue cloaks twirled each other between the tables. A crying woman in an emerald green frock coat hugged an actual living owl to her chest. A lady dressed in lavender folded a piece of paper in the shape of a bird, which then fluttered its wings and flew off.

“I knew it!” She squealed. She hugged Lewis, careful not to squish their daughter between them. “Magic is real! It’s here, they’re here!”

“I always believed you love,” he murmured.

“Look!” They let each other go to press against the window. The man with the orange cloak had stopped his dancing and held a long wooden stick in his hand. He twirled it around, muttering something and then pointing it up at the sky. Bright lights filled the cloud-darkened sky overhead, dozens of shooting stars not seeming to care they were burning underneath the clouds.

“Amazing…” Lewis breathed. “Real magic…”

Alice squealed when she caught sight of the spectacle, making grabby hands towards the lights. Then, to their astonishment, tiny lights began to fill the room, as if hundreds of fireflies had snuck into their house. Alice giggled and tried grabbing them, but as she touched them they exploded into glowing glitter before dissipating.

Lewis and Adalynn stared at their daughter, then at each other. “Holy shit.”

And that is how the Hargraves became even less normal than they were before, for now they knew their daughter was a Witch.

They debated all day if they should reveal themselves to the magicals celebrating outside. There was no way to know they would be accepted, and they didn’t want to put Alice in any danger. What if they reacted violently? What if they took Alice away from them? What if they erased their memories? They knew nothing of what magic was capable of, had no way of predicting. So in the end they decided not to risk it, and by the next morning, all signs of magic had vanished from the street once more.

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