I wiggled through my house’s cat flip and standing on the back door mat, I shook myself. It had began raining heavily seconds after I had left the old lady’s and I was soaked right through.
‘Warm towel, Macavity?’ dad asked me.
‘Yes, please,’ I said.
He got up and dropped a warm towel on top of me. He rubbed me down then scooped me up and placed me on one of the two empty chairs at the table. I peered over the edge and saw they were eating tea. It was sausages, chips, beans and fried eggs.
‘Dad got paid,’ my Little Mistress explained, ‘so there’s lots of extra things in.’
‘That’s good,’ I said and began washing my ears.
‘And we got a pumpkin too,’ Eden pointed out, excitedly.
Looking to the kitchen sink, I saw a large orange pumpkin on the window sill. It was huge and looked like I could fit inside it.
‘That will make a fine Jack O’ Lantern,’ I declared.
Eden nodded and stuffed her face like she hadn’t eaten all day. Dad was more slow, in his tried, thoughtful way.
‘I wish there was two of me,’ he spoke after some time, ‘then I could here for you tonight and my double could go to work.’
‘Me too,’ Eden replied softly.
‘I’m sorry kiddo,’ Dad answered.
He left soon after, the front door locking behind him as he dashed through the rain to the car. We watched from the front window and Eden waved him off, though I doubted he noticed.
‘What shall we do this evening, Little Mistress?’ I asked.
Eden sat with slumped shoulders and stared at the TV watch was showing a quiz show.
‘Dad’s said that before,’ she whispered, ‘I didn’t think about it then but now…’
Little Mistress looked at me and said, ‘Macavity, do you know a spell to make a double?’
I thought for a moment and replied, ‘that kind of thing is too difficult and dangerous for you, young Mistress.’
‘I don’t care!’ Eden snapped.
She turned off the TV, raced from the room and went upstairs. I ran after her, a bad tingling in my whiskers. Eden bet me to her bedroom, she slammed open her door and began throwing her clothes off.
‘I can’t let you do this, Little Mistress,’ I shouted.
Eden pulled on her black witch’s dress and began getting books, ingredients and her small cauldron out. She sat down, pulled her family’s spell book into her lap and began flipping through the pages.
I jumped up and landed on the book, back arched and hissing maddly.
‘Macavity,’ Eden yelled and tried toss me off the book but I dug my claws in, ripping the page she was open at.
‘I will use all my power to stop you, Little Mistress,’ I growled, ‘you can’t do such a spell. It is wrong.’
Eden threw the book down and I kept my balance on top of it as I hit the floor.
‘Then what’s the point of being a good witch, if I can’t help my dad!’ Eden sobbed as tears dropped from her eyes.
I gathered myself and said, ‘calm down child. Perhaps, there are other ways.’
Eden sprawled across the floor and broke down in frustration. She cried loudly until she was struggling for breath and had to lay there gasping. She shivered and curled up, defeated and weary. She wiped her face with her hands and shut her eyes as her breathing began shuddery.
I went and sat lightly on top of her hip. She moved after a few minutes and sat up, looking at the mess she had made. I rubbed against her knee then crawled into her lap. She pulled the spell book back to her slowly turned the pages.
‘I know of simple helper spells we could try,’ I spoke gently.
Eden wiped her eyes and sniffed.
‘There’s the invisible servant, the cleaners, the dust sprites.’
‘It has to be real,’ Eden said with a shaky breath, ‘if the double is to go to the pub to work in my dad’s place it has to be just like him.’
I frowned and looked up at the ceiling in thought. I heard the wind blowing outside and down the chimney it was making loud gusty sounds. The rain though had stopped, leaving only a few drips dropping off leaves.
‘An impersonation spell then,’ I said, ‘but we will also have to put a clouding spell on top to stop people from looking too closely. This is going to hard Little Mistress and it won’t last more then twenty-four hours at the most.’
‘But then we could cast it again?’ Little Mistress pressed.
‘Only after some time.’
‘What do we need?’ Eden asked.
‘The spell should be in here,’ I said and from the beginning, I flipped through the book to find the right page, ‘Impersonation Potion. For use on self or someone else to create a solid imagine of person that can do simple tasks.’
‘That should do it,’ Eden said and lent over me to see the page.
‘It’s complicated and takes over twenty four hours to complete.’
‘In time for Halloween then.’
I murmured and read what we needed.
‘Let’s try it, please, Macavity,’ Eden begged.
‘All right, Little Mistress, but this won’t be easy and some of these ingredients we don’t have…We shall have to try our best.’
Eden nodded and we set to work. I didn’t have much hope the potion and spell would work. I had been on the receiving end of failed spells before. It wasn’t the end of the world but disasters did happen. I could have told my Little Mistress this but lessons taken are stronger learning tools.
‘We will have to substitute this and this,’ I explained, pointing out the ingredients with a claw, ‘coal should do and you’ll have to use your own blood.’
Eden nodded, the ever attentive pupil, ‘and I can go out and get rain water and soil. What’s this one?’
She pointed at the Latin name for a plant.
‘It’s a poisonous flower,’ I explained.
Going to the cupboard where all the jars and containers were stored I looked through for the best replacement. My Little Mistress had a limited selection of things. Her dad and I insisted that a child witch should only have safe things to use in spell casting.
Thus, a complicated and needy spell like this needed the larder of a professional witch to be fully effective. There was no way certain ingredients could be replaced but if I made some wise choose here, we could make something like a dummy of her dad. It wouldn’t replace him though…My Little Mistress would just have to understand that.
‘Here,’ I said and rose three jars of dried plants over to her, ‘a mixture of these will have to do.’
‘I need….’ Eden began reading the last few ingredients, ‘some of my dad’s hair, a tooth, fingernail, blood…skin? and mmm…erm….’
I peered at the word underneath her finger and spoke aloud, ‘ A mirror that has most recently capture the reflection of yourself or the person.’
‘The bathroom one? but we can’t take that off the wall…’ Eden trailed off.
‘At least we don’t need an empty vessel,’ I counted back, ‘the doubling spell would have demanding one.’
‘What’s that?’ Little Mistress asked.
‘A dead body.’
Eden pressed her lips together and tried not to look disgusted.
I jumped around some of the mess and headed to the door, I turned back and called to Little Mistress, ‘let’s check the bathroom,’ I said.
We went and were lucky that Eden’s dad had done a full prepare before he went to work. We found; hair, nails and skin.
‘We’ll have to do without the tooth. You can use your own blood, it’s close enough your dad’s and look, Little Mistress! His shaving mirror! He’ll have looked in it recently.’
‘Oh, yes!’ Eden cried and took the small mirror from off the top of the sink. With all the things we could get we went back to the cauldron and continued.
It was late by the time it was done and left to simmer. Eden curled in bed and fall asleep quickly in her black dress. I looked at the window longingly but I couldn’t go out whilst the camp stove was still lit and the potion needed stirring every now and then.
I could sense in my whiskers and by my magic that witches and their familiars were arriving. It was two days before Halloween. I signed and lay down before the glow of the gas fire. The room was warm and smelt of the bubbling potion; spicy, earthy and burnt hair.
I yawned and give a wave of my paw to set the metal stick stirring around the cauldron. The potion hissed and crackled, giving off a light red smoke that rose to the ceiling.
Opening the window, I let in the wild wind and though a chill went though my black and white fur, it was good scent the clean night air. A dog howled somewhere, a long call which wasn’t answered. A few minutes later, an owl hooted.
Fighting down the urge to go out, I turned away and went down to the kitchen. Eden’s dad arrived whilst I was raiding the fridge. He saw the light on and came to see what was going on.
‘Working hard too, Macavity?’ he joked when he saw me.
I nodded but didn’t say anything, it was none of his business what Eden as a witch did. I meowed and looked cute at him. He was tried and easily gave in to giving me some food.
He had something to eat himself then left without finishing, turning the kitchen lit out and going upstairs. I finished eating in the dark then went outside for a quick walk around.
The night vibrated with the coming Halloween. More animals were stirring and witches who had arrived from a far were awake in strange rooms, reading and preparing for the spells they wanted to cast on that sacred night.
I went back to the potion. Sniffing it, I knew it wasn’t going to work though I could tell it was brewing something. Perhaps, we’d end up with a ghost or a shadow figure of Eden’s dad, something that would last a few minutes or hours tops.
At the appointed time, I turned the camping stove off and got into bed with Eden. She was warm and soft, so I wiggled close to her chest under the duvet and dozed off as dawn arrived.
To Be Continued….