Magic and Mayhem: The Witch Is In (Kindle Worlds Novella), page 5
I placed my tote bag down and gathered the spices. A soft breeze drifted across my skin. That was how I knew my energy was growing. I had a good feeling about this spell. I started adding the spices to the cauldron and reciting the words for the spell.
“Bring peace and tranquility over the land. Bind any magic from doing harm.”
The spell probably wouldn’t last long, but it was better than nothing. At least I’d been able to do it without being interrupted this time. Barbara and Destiny would be unhappy, but I’d given them plenty of chances to knock off the witchcraft. They just couldn’t take no for an answer. Now they would be forced to give it a rest. At least my place would be safe from flames.
Just then, movement from somewhere behind me caught my attention. My heart thumped faster.
“Please don’t let it be the bear. Or a snake,” I whispered. I didn’t like snakes. When I turned around, the same bunny that I’d seen earlier hopped away.
I released a deep breath. “Whew. Just a cute little bunny.”
No sooner had I focused my attention on the cauldron again when another sound came from nearby. I whipped around and looked toward the trees. That was when I spotted the deer. Was that Deedee? Our eyes met and then the deer ran away in the same direction as the little bunny. They both disappeared behind the trees.
Hmm. I should check to see if Deedee was in her room, but then again, it was none of my business. If she wanted to waste sleep time running through the woods then that was her choice. I picked up my tote bag and slung it over my shoulder. An uneasiness fell over me. Goose bumps prickled on my arms and the back of my neck. I got the sense that someone was watching me.
When I turned to leave the cauldron, I spotted the bear. Instantly I froze. I sucked in a deep breath and then placed my hand over my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. It stood on its back legs, letting me see just how big it actually was. It opened its mouth so that I got a good view of the teeth that would be used to crush me.
The bear made eye contact with me, but just as I thought it was going to run toward me, it turned in the opposite direction. That was terrifying. What did the bear want? Food? Well, as the guests could attest, it wouldn’t find much around here. I rushed back to the house, glancing over my shoulder every few seconds to make sure the bear wasn’t coming after me. Thank goodness I made it back safely. I closed the door and released a deep breath. I peeked out the door window, but didn’t see the bear.
Now I was safe, but I was worried about Deedee. Was she the deer I’d seen? What if the bear got her? I had to go check on her. It wouldn’t be so bad if I just peeked inside her room, right? This was an emergency. Normally I would never do something like that. I grabbed my keys and hurried toward her room. Once I made it up the winding stairs without killing myself, I tiptoed down the hall so that I wouldn’t wake everyone. I still moved as quickly as I could though. I pushed the key into the lock and nothing happened. When I turned the knob, I realized the door was already unlocked.
I eased the door open and sure enough, Deedee wasn’t in her bed. I scanned the room, but there was no sign of her. Just as I thought. She was probably outside running through the woods with a bear chasing her. I had to find her. I rushed down the stairs, trying again not to wake anyone and not to lose a lung from running down those damn stairs. I raced toward the front door and swung it open.
Elizabeth screamed. Of course that made me scream. I was for sure going to wake everyone now. Jack was standing with her on the front porch. Deedee would not be happy to see this.
“What are you two doing?” I asked.
Elizabeth and Jack came inside.
“We just stepped outside for some fresh air,” Elizabeth said with a sly grin.
She looked like the cat that had just eaten the canary.
I stared at them for a second, and then said, “Well, that bear is around again and I think Deedee might be outside.”
That was when it hit me. Okay, I should have thought of this sooner. Could Jack be the bear? Why was he outside? I supposed if he was the bear I felt a little better. But why had the bear been staring at Deedee in the yoga studio?
“We have to find her,” I said.
“I’m not going out there if there’s a bear,” Elizabeth said as she hurried around me to go back into the house.
Surely Jack would help me find Deedee. I looked at him and batted my eyelashes.
“Is something wrong with your eyes?” he asked.
I guessed that only worked for Deedee or Elizabeth. “I need help finding Deedee.”
“Don’t worry, Piper, I can help you find her.”
Just then noise came from somewhere in the house.
“Maybe that’s her,” I said, rushing back inside.
Elizabeth and Jack followed me through the house. The sound seemed as if it had come from the kitchen. When I pushed through the swinging kitchen door, I spotted Deedee. The light from the refrigerator light set her face aglow.
“Deedee, what are you doing in here? If Warren finds you he will throw a fit,” I said.
“I don’t need to lose weight. I need food.” She pulled out a bundle of asparagus and then tossed it back.
“What about the healthy lifestyle?” I asked.
“This is my healthy lifestyle,” she said as she shoved a large strawberry into her mouth. “Where are the cupcakes?”
“Well, I guess now that the excitement is over we can go back to bed.” Elizabeth yawned. “I’m looking forward to the yoga class in the morning.”
“Are you doing the class too?” Jack asked.
Elizabeth smiled. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“I’m doing that class too,” Deedee said, waving a bundle of broccoli through the air.
Jack smiled at both of them and said, “Well, good night, ladies, see you in the morning.”
“Good night,” they said in unison.
Once Jack stepped out of the room they glared at each other. If looks could kill they’d both be on the floor.
I moved in front of Elizabeth. “Okay, good night, Elizabeth.”
She turned and strolled out of the room. No way would I tell Deedee that I’d caught Elizabeth and Jack together at the front door.
I moved closer to Deedee. “So what’s going on between you and Elizabeth?”
“What do you mean?” Deedee asked in an innocent voice.
“Well, you two look at each other like you hate each other. How can you hate someone you don’t know? That’s not healthy. Plus, it’s not good for the positive vibes I have going on around here.”
“Elizabeth started it.” Deedee crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“She started what?” I asked.
Deedee stared at me for a moment and then finally said, “Well, it was her flirting with Jack.”
“So that’s what this is all about?”
She blew the bangs out of her eyes. “No, that’s not all of it.”
“Well, what’s the rest?” I leaned against the counter.
“I’m not sure.”
“Then how do you know there’s more?”
“Like I said before, I know her from somewhere.”
“It’s so odd that you claim to know her, but can’t remember and she can’t remember anything.”
Deedee shrugged. “I can’t explain it.”
“There was one other thing,” I said.
“What’s that?” she asked.
I looked over my shoulder to make sure the kitchen door was still closed. I lowered my voice and said, “About Jack. Do you think he’s the bear?”
She frowned. “I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess it’s possible.”
“I mean he showed up not long after the bear was spotted,” I said.
“But why did he look so mean? He’s so sweet now.” She practically swooned when she said that.
“I don’t know. Do you think I should ask him abo
“Only if you do it in a nonchalant way,” Deedee said.
Just then we heard a rustling movement.
I froze. Had someone been listening to us?
“What was that?” Deedee whispered.
“I don’t know.” I eased over to the swinging door.
After opening the door slightly, I peered out into the dining room. The room was empty and dark.
Deedee stood behind me, looking over my shoulder. “I think someone was listening to us. I sense them.”
“Who was it?” I asked.
She furrowed her brow and then said, “It was Elizabeth.”
“Why was she listening?”
“Probably to see if we said anything about Jack or her,” Deedee said.
“Do you think she is a shifter too?”
“Yes, I do.” Deedee hadn’t hesitated with her answer.
“What kind of animal? I haven’t seen any other animals around lately.” Although I knew there were plenty out in the woods.
“There was that bunny we saw,” Deedee said.
“Oh, yeah. I bet that’s it,” I said.
Deedee scoffed. “It’s ironic… she doesn’t really act like a bunny.”
“She looks a little like a bunny. Small and cute.” I used my hands to indicate size, as if Deedee needed reminding.
Deedee frowned. “I don’t think she’s all that cute. She’s kind of funny-looking in my opinion.”
“Well, you certainly wouldn’t be biased,” I said sarcastically.
I couldn’t lie and say Elizabeth wasn’t cute as a button.
I looped my arm through Deedee’s. “Let’s go to bed. We have an early day tomorrow.”
“Don’t remind me,” Deedee said as she walked out of the kitchen with me. “Do you have to do things so early?”
“It’s cleansing for the soul,” I said.
Deedee snorted and then walked ahead of me up the stairs.
As I headed up the stairs I noticed that it did seem a little lighter in the house now. Maybe my spell had worked. How long it would last, I wasn’t sure. All the negative energy around here was throwing my magic off too. Soon I’d be setting things on fire.
The next morning, I dressed in my black yoga pants and yellow and white sports bra. The sun shone brightly throughout the house, casting a buttery yellow glow over everything. I made my way down the hallway. The house was quiet. I hoped everyone got up in time for the class. It was going to be a good one today. For a brief moment I contemplated waking them, but I wasn’t their babysitter. If they wanted to miss class then they would have to suffer the consequences later. I grabbed my towel and water bottle and headed out the door.
Yes, this was going to be a good day. I felt it. Birds chirped and I had a spring in my step. Nothing could spoil my mood today. Well, unless Barbara and Destiny decided to start another fire. That would put out my good mood like the fire extinguisher I used on their bad spells. But with any luck the spell I’d cast last night had stopped them.
I always enjoyed working out before breakfast. Okay, no, I didn’t. I’d told people that for so long that I tried to convince myself. I actually hated it, but I did it anyway.
Just then, the sound of someone running caught my attention. When I turned around, Deedee was running up behind me. She seemed distressed.
“What’s wrong, Deedee?” I asked.
She waved a piece of paper in front of my face. “Read this.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“Just read it.” She shoved the paper toward me.
I took the paper from her and read.
The buck stops here.
“It’s a threat,” she said, placing her hands on her hips. “And not even a good one. I’m not a buck. I’m a doe. Everyone knows that a buck is a male deer.”
“You have to admit that’s clever though.”
She glared at me.
“Okay, it’s not funny. Who would do this?” I studied the note.
She snorted. “You know who.”
Noise caught my attention and I looked over my shoulder. Barbara and Destiny appeared and then Jack.
“What’s going on?” Destiny asked.
“Elizabeth left this threatening note under my door,” Deedee said, grabbing the paper from me.
“We don’t know that it was her,” I said.
“Oh, sure. Take up for her.” Deedee tossed her hands up.
“I’m not taking up for her.”
This was not good for business. Of course, if it was a serious threat it wasn’t good for Deedee. I would have to talk with Elizabeth about this. Maybe someone else had left the note. Elizabeth knew that everyone had sensed the tension between them. Why would she do this when the natural first thought would be that she’d done it? Then again, maybe she didn’t care if anyone knew she’d done it.
“Maybe I should leave,” Deedee said.
“No, don’t do that.” I grabbed her arm.
The last thing I needed was for guests to leave. That would put me out of business.
Others arrived now and this was turning into quite a scene. Where was Elizabeth?
“Okay, everyone settle down. We’ll just head to class and then I’ll get to the bottom of this as soon as it’s over.” I motioned for everyone to walk toward the door.
Deedee glared at me for a moment longer and then stomped out the door. Since she was wearing her yoga gear I hoped that she was headed to class and not leaving for good. Jack had been quiet. He stared at me for a moment and then walked out the door too. What was he thinking? I couldn’t read his reaction.
As I made it around the side of the house toward the yoga studio, I spotted Jack. He was standing by the nearby flowers. He glanced over and saw me watching him.
He smiled. “Pansies are my favorites.”
I stood beside him. “You like flowers?”
“Love them. I guess I just like nature.” He peered around.
“Well, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that,” I said.
Jack was an odd guy and I couldn’t quite figure him out. I did want to know if he was the bear. I supposed I should just come right out and ask him. What if he didn’t tell me? That would be awkward. Maybe he didn’t want me to know. Why not though? Did he have something to hide?
“I guess you think things are crazy around here,” I said.
He chuckled. “It’s a little more drama than I expected. I’m still enjoying myself though.”
That was good news. Now I had to ease into my question without sounding too nosy.
“So you said you’re a Shifter. I guess that’s why you enjoy nature so much.” I studied his handsome face.
“Yes, that would explain it,” he said.
He didn’t offer more details so now I would have to push the issue.
“You know, I mentioned the bear…”
Just then Declan stepped out from the building. “We have to start class. Are you coming?”
“Be right there,” I said, holding up my index finger.
Jack had turned and started toward the class. Had he not heard what I said about the bear? Or had he avoided it on purpose? Now I would have to find another opportunity to ask. Did he really mean harm to Deedee? He seemed so nice. If he wanted to hurt her, then he would have to leave immediately.
I hurried over to the building to join the others. I was surprised to see Deedee in the middle of the room. I’d figured she had taken off into the woods. Maybe she had calmed down. If not then I certainly hoped the yoga helped her to achieve serenity.
I still had to find out who had left the note for Deedee. Maybe she had made someone else mad. She had taken Barbara’s asparagus last night. Barbara was dead serious about her food. Then again, almost everyone was. Except for Jack. He hardly ate anything. How did he keep so many muscles on so little calories? He must be sneaking food. I laid down my mat and tried to erase thoughts from my mind.
We were halfway through the c
Only a few seconds passed until Deedee came out of her pose, grabbed her towel, and slipped out the door too. I had a feeling she was going after Jack. Maybe they had arranged to meet. Or maybe Deedee was worried that Jack and Elizabeth would talk. Either way, I had a feeling I needed to find out what they were up to.
We were on the last pose when barking started. There were no dogs nearby, so where had this one come from? Maybe he was lost. I stayed in my position, but it was hard to concentrate with the noise.
That was when the yelling started. It sounded like Deedee. I jumped up from the floor and ran outside. I followed the yelling and barking. When I turned the corner, I spotted Deedee standing there yelling at a big black dog. It was barking at her and baring its canines. It looked as if it might attack at any moment. What would I do?
“Deedee, I don’t think yelling at him will help. It’s only making him angrier,” I said.
Deedee held her arms out in defense. “My yelling is making him angry? He’s the one who started it. I was just walking out here minding my own business.”
I had to think of something before the dog attacked.
“Here, little doggy,” I said in a sweet voice.
The dog turned and looked at me as if it completely understood. Our eyes met and then it took off.
“Wow, that was impressive,” Declan said from over my shoulder. “You must be the dog whisperer.”
“I don’t think so,” I said.
“Well, you did something right.”
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