I’m having so much fun writing The Witches of Whispering Pines series. If you enjoy young adult, paranormal, and/or cozy mysteries, I think you’ll enjoy this one. Or, at least I hope you will. Here’s an excerpt from A Witchy Mistake, a novella in the series, which will be FREE to my email subscribers once it’s complete.
“Fight! Fight! Fight!”
The shouts echoed throughout the hallways of Whispering Pines High School. I pivoted and took off toward the uproar. After all, as a reporter for the school newspaper, it was my job to investigate.
Oh, who was I kidding? I was a normal sixteen-year-old girl and just wanted to find out what was going on. I rounded the corner in a run and stopped so suddenly the soles of my sneakers stuck and I would have face-planted on the hard flooring if Kaleb Parker hadn’t grabbed my arm to halt my fall.
“Careful, Charley.” He steadied me before letting go.
“Geez Louise! What in the blazes is Danu doing now?” I blew out a breath of irritation and moved closer.
My cousin stood facing her nemesis, Tiffany Bradshaw, super-snob-extraordinaire. Danu’s normally olive skin flushed with anger and her fists clenched at her sides. She looked for all the world like she was about to punch Tiffany right in the nose. In contrast, Tiffany wore her usual mean-girl smirk and stood with one hand on her hip, her left eyebrow raised.
For some reason, Tiffany had taken an instant disliking to Danu when she and my aunt had moved to town last year. In fairness, Tiffany was an equal opportunity abuser, but she seemed to like tormenting my cousin more than most. It probably had something to do with how quickly Danu became angry and lost control.
The jeering around them rose encouraging the two girls to go at it and cell phones popped out of nowhere like magic.
Tiffany pointed her finger at her target and the kids encircling the duo quieted, not wanting to miss a word.
”You know,” Tiffany drawled, circling her pointing finger. “you’re just pathetic. Even your own daddy didn’t stick around.” She laughed like she’d said something funny rather than something horribly despicable. Two of her posse, Sierra and Brenna giggled. A few hollow laughs rose above the gasps among the circle of shocked faces.
Danu’s eyes bulged and she took a step forward. Her dad’s leaving remained a sensitive topic for my cousin. She wouldn’t talk to anyone about him. Not even her mom.
”Crap. If she gets in trouble one more time, she’ll be suspended. I’m not sure she’ll pass this year with only two weeks and finals left.” I started toward the two thinking to intervene, but Kaleb put his hand on my shoulder.
”Charley, wait. You’ll just get yourself in trouble.” His worried expression stopped me. “Let me see what I can do.”
I nodded only because I couldn’t afford to get in trouble, either. Anything I did reflected on my dad, the town’s chief of police. If I got caught up in a physical altercation, he couldn’t be seen going easy on me or giving me a break. I sighed.
We both moved closer, but just before Kaleb spoke Danu relaxed. Her whole stance shifted and she smiled. It was a smile I knew all too well. My stomach churned. Gazing down at my cousin’s hand, my fears solidified. Danu’s thumb and first two fingers rubbed together, circling…circling…circling. I looked at Danu’s face, her lips were barely moving, but I could see her chanting something inaudible.
“No. No, no, no, no, no. No!” I rushed forward, but it was too late.
Danu snickered, threw up her hand, and pointed to Tiffany’s nose.
A few people behind Danu laughed, hesitantly at first not sure they wanted to bring Tiffany’s wrath upon themselves, then louder as more joined in. Several others pointed.
“What?” Tiffany’s gaze flitted from Danu to the crowd and then she turned to face Sierra, who inhaled sharply.
Sierra leaned in and whispered in Tiffany’s ear. Tiffany’s eyes widened and her hand flew to cover her nose.
Danu couldn’t let it go even then. “That’s some giant booger you got there, Tiff. Maybe you should try keeping your nose clean and out of everyone else’s business.”
Brenna handed a tissue to Tiffany who tried to dislodge the offending mucus, but as she pulled the tissue away, that boogie monster stretched out at least two inches from her nose. I didn’t think it was possible, but Tiffany’s eyes widened even more. She started screeching.
“You!” She pointed at Danu with her other hand. “You did this!”
Danu laughed. “You’ve got serious issues, Tiff. How could I infect your nostrils? Like I said, you should focus on keeping your nose clean and leave me alone.” She leaned in and said something so low no one else could hear.
Tiffany howled and shoved her hand into Danu’s chest. Danu fell to the ground but kept laughing.
“What is going on here?” Mr. Saunders, the school principal who was built like an NFL linebacker, thundered as he made his way through the crowd. Kids backed away, phones disappearing into pockets and purses. “Uh-uh.” He reached out, his black skin contrasting with the pasty white of Derrick Newsome, a smallish kid who wore his geekiness like a well-respected uniform. His fingers gestured in a ‘gimme’ gesture. Reluctantly Derrick handed over his phone. “You can come by my office and get this after the next class.”
Derrick fidgeted as if the thought of having any of his electronic gadgets out of his hands for longer than a couple of seconds would be the death of him. “Um…” He reached out, but the principal just stared at him. His hand fell to his side. “Yes, sir, he muttered.
Principal Saunders looked around. “All of you. Get to where you need to be.” When no one moved, he yelled, “Now,” in a big booming voice and teens scattered.
Up and down the hallways the metal of lockers clanged and voices raised as they discussed the incident.
I moved in front of Danu and held out a hand to help her up. “Are you okay?” I asked. I could see Tiffany from the corner of my eye as she finally cleared her nasal cavity of the ginormous snot-cork.
Danu shrugged as she got to her feet. “Yeah.”
“Why did you do that?” It took all I had not to shove Danu back down I was so angry. “A giant booger? What are you? Twelve?” I couldn’t stop myself, but I managed to lower my voice. “That was so irresponsible. You can’t use your magic like that. What if someone saw you?”
“Saw what? Me, rubbing my fingers together? There’s no proof I did anything.” She removed the elastic holding her long dark hair back in a ponytail and fluffed the curls out.
“Gah! You are going to be in so much trouble.” I paced back and forth. “One of these days you’re going to do something that gets the whole family in deep water.”
“So, you’re going to tell on me?” Danu stopped me. “Are you so jealous I have magic and you don’t that you’re going to rat me out?” Her vibrant green eyes glared at me.
I threw my hands up and hissed. “This isn’t about me being jealous. I’m worried about what happens to everyone if they find out we’re a family of witches. I don’t understand why you can’t see how dangerous your actions are.” Raising my voice, I added, “Besides, Mr. Saunders is going to phone your mom. You know he will. He has to.”
As if saying his name invoked him, the principal moved toward us. “Danu, you and Tiffany go to the office.” His chin pointed at me. “Charley, back to class.” He stood in the hallway watching the video and shaking his head.
I nodded. Finding Kaleb waiting for me, I walked toward him.
“Well, at least Danu didn’t do anything to actually warrant her getting into trouble this time.” He smiled as we turned toward our lockers.
Ha! If he only knew. Which he didn’t. None of my friends were aware of my family’s magical powers. And, that stressed me out, too. I lived in fear of them finding out because I didn’t know if they’d be able to accept it. Accept me. Even though the magic gene skipped over me, I was sure they’d no longer treat me the same. I’d be a freak.
Shaking off the negativity, I tried to lighten the mood. “There’s always next time.”
“Yeah. That’s for sure. Your cousin can find trouble while sleeping. But, I gotta say. That was some crazy weirdness with Tiffany. They’ll be calling her the Boogie Queen from now on.” We both laughed.
After finding my Biology textbook with little effort, I closed my locker and waited as Kaleb scrounged around in his. I studied his profile. We’d been friends since the first day of kindergarten, but it still took my breath away when I looked at him. It seemed like he got better looking every day, He had a strong jaw-line, straight nose, and warm brown eyes that could melt most girls in their tracks. His thick light brown hair needed a trim. My hand itched to brush it from his forehead.
Lately, things just felt different. That was probably just me though. Kaleb acted the same as always. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Stop it, Charley. You will not fall for your best friend.
He closed his locker and leaned against it.
“I know she frustrates you. Just give her –” A scream cut off Kaleb’s reply.
And, then Danu’s voice screeched down the hall, “I didn’t do it!”
Kaleb and I looked at each other.
“What the –” How could Danu have gotten into trouble again so soon?
I shot off toward the office with Kaleb right behind me. Slowing as I entered the main office area, I squeezed between a couple of students and found Mr. Saunders’s office doorway packed with staff. Someone was crying. Mr. Saunders’s voice floated toward me. Emergency. Ambulance. Words that terrified me.
My heart hammered against my chest and I found it difficult to breathe. “Danu!” I yelled, shoving past those standing in the doorway.
My cousin knelt on the floor, staring at the dark red on her fingertips. And, Tiffany… Tiffany lay face-down beside Mr. Saunders’s large oak desk, her blonde hair streaked in blood.
So, what do you think? I’d love to know. Just leave a comment below.
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