A Hidden Witch - By Debora Geary

Chapter 1

It wasn’t the first time in her life Elorie had wished for magic of her own, and it likely wouldn’t be the last.

“Sean James O’Reilly, you’ll be walking the plank, matey.” The illusion spell that had just turned her into a pirate came complete with growly voice and glinting teeth, so all she accomplished was sending Sean and his two classmates into hysterics.

She couldn’t really blame him—witch history lessons tended to be a little long-winded. Gran had dealt with plenty of witchling pranks in her years of teaching, but she’d also had enough power to magically counteract the more embarrassing stunts.

Elorie was not so blessed, but there was more than one way to handle a ten-year-old boy. She walked over to the bookshelf in the corner of her living room and pulled out the thickest volume of witch history she could find. The Trials and Tribulations of Edward C. Millgibbons, Hedgewitch, on his Journeys about the Countryside. That seemed like a suitable weapon.

She set the tome down on her coffee table, pulled out a piece of paper, and began to write in large letters. HOMEWORK. Then she looked at the book, looked at Sean, and let loose an evil pirate laugh.

Sean looked at the book in horror. “You can’t give us homework, Aunt Elorie. It’s summer!”

His twin brother, Kevin, looked at the book with interest. That figured. He was probably out of stuff to read again. She’d slip him the book on the sly later, after it had done its job in encouraging Sean to rethink his spell. Elorie put on her best pirate scowl and tapped the paper with her hook. Nice touch, the hook—very realistic. Sean’s spells were improving nicely.

Six-year-old Lizzie was no dummy. “You better turn her back into a regular person, Sean. Momma says girls don’t get mad—we get even.”

Out of the mouths of babes, Elorie thought.

Sean was beginning to look concerned. “There might be a little problem with that.”

Uh, oh.

Kevin shook his head. “You don’t know how to reverse it, do you?” He punched his brother in the shoulder. “Idiot. I’ll go find the spell workbook.”

Lizzie hopped down from the couch. “That will take too long. I’ll go get Granny Moira.” Lizzie was at least one generation and a couple of cousins removed from being Moira’s actual granddaughter, but in the Nova Scotia witching community, those were minor details.

Moira was matriarch and witch historian. And while she had a not-so-secret soft spot for witch pranksters, her tolerance for poor magical judgment was a lot smaller. Sean was right to look concerned.

Elorie went to put a kettle on the stove. Gran would want some tea. She also took a moment to look in the mirror. It wasn’t every day you had a grizzly beard and an eye patch. She grinned at her reflection and headed back to the living room just in time to see Lizzie bound in the door, Gran following more sedately behind her.

Elorie kissed Gran’s cheek. “Thanks for coming.”

Moira giggled like a small girl. “Is that you, Elorie dear? I assume young Sean is responsible. Lizzie said he’s having a wee problem reversing the spell.”

“Aye, matey,” Elorie growled, and then added more quietly, “and sweating about it now.”

“A bit late for that.” Moira headed into the living room.

Sean was sitting on the couch beside Kevin and looking very subdued. “Hi, Gran. I think I need help. I didn’t mean to turn Aunt Elorie into a pirate.”

That earned him dubious stares from everyone in the room. “Well, I didn’t mean for her to get stuck that way. I just wanted to do it for a minute, but I must have goofed somewhere.”

Moira looked at him sternly. “What’s the first rule of magic, Sean O’Reilly?”

“Do no harm.” Sean hung his head and missed the twinkle in Moira’s eyes.

“And what do you think life would be like for Elorie if she were a pirate forever?”

Sean looked forlorn. “Well, it would be hard to make her jewelry with a hook for a hand, and Uncle Aaron might not want to live with a pirate.”

Elorie thought Sean underestimated her husband’s fondness for the absurd. She also hoped Gran was about done torturing the poor boy—the eye patch was getting itchy.

Moira sat down beside Sean. “So, tell me how you set the spell, and we’ll see about how you might undo it.”

“Can’t you just fix it, Granny Moira?” asked Lizzie.

Moira looked very serious. “No, my dear, I can’t. Sean here is quite talented at spellcasting, and I’m not strong

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