The School Witch: Part Two
As all days do, Saturday came. My arms quivered. Sandy knocked on the door to my neohome. I rushed to open it, but Aunt Mistii beat me to it. She greeted the Wocky and offered her a homemade cookie baked fresh. My arm tilted over the plate, but she slapped my hand and told me that they were for Marleen and her friends.
She never made cookies for me and my friends, I thought rudely, but said nothing as I walked off with Sandy.
"What was that about?" she asked. I shrugged.
"I guess my cousins are more important than me, but that's fine," I answered blankly.
Sandy caught up with my fast-paced movements. "Why?" she asked innocently.
I never really knew, but didn't want to seem ignorant. "Well, I'm just her niece. She has real neopets that belong to her to take care of."
"So you're okay with being second best?"
"Eleventh best," I pointed out, giggling. She nudged me playfully. I tried to change the subject that made me want to cry a bit.
"So who's your friend?" I asked unsuspectingly.
She beamed. "Her name's June."
We approached a tall, wooden house on a hill. "Speaking of her!" Sandy squealed, grasping my icy paw and sprinting to the door. She knocked excitedly. The tall Kyrii quickly swung open the door and greeted her friend. She smiled warmly at me, and all I could do was stare in awe at her house. She had a polished staircase, marble tables, bright lamps and soft, grey rugs strewed the floors. June lead Sandy upstairs, and I explored. I remembered what Lora had said about June's basement being home to a cauldron, and I immediately headed towards the basement door. I eased down the stairs quietly and nervously, my face turning pale red with fear. Each creaky stair made me shake, as I thought of what might happen if June caught me. I tried to erase these thoughts from my mind. But what was I doing this for? To prove a point? I didn't even have a screenie or anything to prove what I'd see, or a recorder to prove what I'd hear. But maybe Lora was after words, and just that. After all, the students at Eastern Gold were the most gullible of all. But maybe that was good-- especially for the gossip team.
I squealed slightly as I made my way down the stairs-- it was a squeal of fright.
Stop being so scared, I hissed to myself in the place of my cousins, who I knew would torment me if they found out that I was frightened. I straightened my posture, cross at myself, and headed proudly into the basement. I prepared myself to glare in awe, or dodge the wave of a magic wand from June who might have been breathing over my shoulder the entire time.
But this was different. It was just a basement. It had some shelves with books and souvenirs from places all over Neopia. Papers with scribbled sketches were taped lazily to the walls. There was a small pot, however, in a corner. I inched nearer. It smelt of... garlic? No, some sort of strong herb. I couldn't identify it.
I inched closer.
"What are you doing?" a voice snapped. I whirled around to see the face of June, flushed with anger and embarrassment.
I panicked. "I, um, smelled something and got... curious," I murmured nervously. June's face cooled down a bit.
"It's soup; I make it every other day for my grandmother. If you smelled anything, it was the seaweed leaves, onions, scallop, and the burnt carrots," she said in a tone that failed to keep calm.
Obviously she knew I suspected things. I sniffed the mixture one more time. The ingredients were horrific, but the scent was somehow soothing.
"I apologize. I shouldn't have been snooping around in your house."
June nodded firmly. "I accept your apology, and don't blame you. It is quite a strong smell!" The Kyrii giggled. I rushed toward a shelf at first glance. Several glass bottles with strange-colored liquids. Weird words were written on a piece of paper sitting by the bottle on the edge.
"What's this?" I asked, intrigued. Were these her spells and potions that made Cayirah and so many other neopets feel well? June smiled easily and flicked a bottle. A soft ring followed.
"Remedies," she answered. "Sort of. The liquids are just some sticky herbs that refill the damages of scrapes and such, and some of them are to soothe stomach aches. The words help me concentrate on what is what, in a way." June looked me in the eyes, noticing that I didn't look well.
I groaned. "I ate something foul for dinner; my aunt isn't the best cook. I've been feeling terrible for a while," I confessed, staring at the bottles and not remembering what she had just said, only noting that they weren't magical spells.
She popped a cork off of a clear, glass bottle. A blackish liquid bubbled and fizzed. "It's for stomach aches," she said reassuringly with concern. She pulled a strand of hair out of her eyes and gestured the bottle towards me.
I suddenly remembered what Marleen had told me about the black liquid, that it rolls back your eyes and inverts your knees. I shook my head.
"Oh, it's alright. I know it smells horrid, but it helps. Don't worry," she exclaimed coolly.
I heaved a sigh and grabbed the bottle, gulping down a mouthful. Something in my spine tingled a bit, but all in all, nothing happened.
I smiled and walked upstairs with June silently. I shouldn't have been so silly about this! I'd tell Lora that June was just a regular girl.
June finally spoke up. "This house is way too big, I know. I don't have any siblings and my owner scarcely is home, so this whole place is mine and mine only. Come by any time you'd like. And my owner also left Neopia as a millionaire, so I have a bunch of neopoints that I don't need or use." The Kyrii flipped her head back and laughed. So did I.
Sandy sat on June's bed, petting the moist head of a large Mortog. She was jumping and making a ribbit sound softly.
"Oh, Porky!" June chuckled. "He's my petpet," she said to me, finishing her statement. I remembered, again, what Lora had said about Mortogs. I was growing suspicious of two certain things. The first; that Lora's gossip team had made assumptions of what they saw, same with my cousins. And the second; that June really was a witch. I stepped back slowly and somewhat confidently, or at least I hoped it looked that way to Sandy and June. I felt something long and wooden touch my back. I spun around... it was a broom.
June laughed somehow wickedly, or nervously. "Spring cleaning," she told me. I nodded, remembering what Daron had said about cackling and brooms. Now, I was getting nearer towards the idea that my cousins and the gossip team were all right.
"I don't feel so good," I mumbled, sprinting out the door and out of her house. A bead of sweat trickled down my face as the proof flashed before my eyes.
The following week I didn't come to school at all. I was sick to my stomach, my hair drenched in sweat and tears. Perhaps it was my imagination, but my sight and walking weren't doing so great either. Though somehow, I think it's me being dramatic rather than the blackish liquid that June gave me.
The Monday after that people avoided me. They thought that June had cast a spell on me. I leaned over Lora's shoulder and whispered, "If I hadn't have left, it would have been too late."
The gossip team invited me over to their lunch table. Sandy shot me a hard look whenever I mentioned June's name, or any of the things I saw.
"You're horrid," Sandy exclaimed vainly as I dumped my tray and headed out of the cafeteria.
I scoffed. "I'm horrid? That's a rude thing to say for someone who became best friends with a lonely witch."
Sandy dumped her tray and sped after me. "She is not a witch, she told you everything about the potions. And just because she has a broom, a Mortog, a bubbly pot, and a devilish laugh, that does not make her a witch. That makes her an individual," she stated.
I rolled my eyes. "I had no idea that individuals poisoned other people and claimed that it was medicine!" I shot back, running into class.
I slid into my sheets that lay neatly on the floor that very same night, in the same room as all of my ten cousins. Aunt Mistii kissed each one of their foreheads and said "good night, I love you" to all but me. I sat up and pouted. Aunt Mistii came over and said "good night" to me. I crossed my arms.
"Where's my, 'I love you' and kiss on the forehead?" I whined.
Aunt Mistii grabbed my elbow and pulled me into the small washroom. "This is not the time!" she scolded me. I stood still.
"When is the time for you to love me as your own?" I told her rebelliously. "I know that I'm not... but..." my voice trailed as Aunt Mistii rubbed her forehead.
"It's just that..." she hesitated. "I can't afford a dozen neopets."
I stomped my foot. "So you can't afford to love one either? What made me that one?"
She pushed me away in tears. "I took you in as a kindness. You were a charity case and so was your owner! She left, and over the years I've wanted a neopet that was mine."
My voice grew shakier. "You've got more than enough."
Aunt Mistii straightened herself. "I know."
I was furious! She knew that she had a problem, but did nothing about it. She wanted to do nothing, she wanted everything. To push away problems, to get more and more neopets, to run out of money and support for each and every one. The only thing she didn't want was me. I didn't have to fight back any tears, I didn't need to. I'd do her a favor.
"I'll keep in touch after I leave," I told her firmly. She sighed.
"You aren't leaving."
"Thanks for keeping me for so long, but I'll take care of myself."
All she could do was tremble in awe. "If you think that's best." She didn't bother to ask how I'd support myself. Where I'd live...but somewhere in my heart I knew she'd kill for an answer to at least one of the questions. She patted my back with pain in her touch as she kissed my forehead, told me that she loved me dearly, and tucked me in. My cousins peered over at me and Aunt Mistii. Obviously they'd heard everything. I slid the pillow over myself and knew where I could go to get everything done at once, an apology and shelter.
I sighed at the thought of living as high-class Neopians do. I was a baby when the dream was reality, and I had a different owner who loved me, as I said earlier. Oh, how I longed to live what I look like. An ice Xweetok should not be a poor one, I knew. In my heart I was always rich in something, and I deserved for that something to be money. But I shouldn't look at life like that, I'll go down that road when the opportunity comes, such as tomorrow. When I'll be free, my own.
School was ordinary. I sat alone, ignoring both Sandy and Lora's clique, and said nothing throughout the day. After school I gathered my things from Aunt Mistii's house and left quietly. I dragged the suitcase out on my street and walked across the grass. Neopets walking or riding bikes glared at me in disgust. I tall blue Quiggle offered me a ride on his bike, and though he just appeared to be a poor, default-colored Quiggle, I accepted. I told him where to, and he obeyed like a servant. He dropped me off at the large house shortly after.
I approached the door and knocked assertively. It was to June's house. She unwillingly looked into the peephole, and saw that it was me. Angrily, but sympathetically, she opened the door and saw my bags.
"What's all this?" she asked. I sighed and told her about my troubles with Aunt Mistii.
"I said come over any time, but not stay over," she hissed. I took a fearful step back. She took a deep breath and apologized gracefully, as did I.
With a slight frown, I replied back. "I know, but I was hoping that you'd help me out. I can't get my own neohome because I don't have an owner to buy one for me, since owners are the ones given house-keys. And I can't afford anything else," I confessed wearily. She took my bags and set them by a wall.
"Very well then, you may stay under the circumstances that you only enter your own room, the bathroom, and my room if I give you permission. No other places," she said firmly. I agreed hesitantly.
"Kitchen?" I asked. She nodded reassuringly.
"And I'm sorry, Sandy probably told you about what I did. I am truly regretful of that," I told June.
"Sandy? We aren't friends anymore." June sighed. "She told me that everyone pretended to be my friend to find out if I was a witch. Silly, is it not?" June laughed awkwardly.
I shook my head. "It is true, they have a section in the gossip column of our school's newspaper. They think the evidence leads up to it. And believe it or not, I befriended you because of that, but my actions were wrong," I admitted sadly.
"I hope you don't hold any of this against me, I've truly changed. I know you are not a witch as of now."
June smiled warmly and handed me my suitcases. "Third room on the left," she said. I assumed that the Kyrii, now my roommate in a way, was talking about my own room. I wanted to squeal in excitement, because living with a friend would be better than with ten stuck-up pets and an owner who didn't love me.
Somehow, I had a good feeling of this new habitat.
Months into this, I discovered that June was a great friend and listened intently to all I had to say. I did have chores, but without an owner at all, she'd need the extra help.
I love living with June, it's true. We made friends with Sandy again, and grew inseparable. We tore the gossip column in half each time we got the school newspaper, and we'd giggle afterward, dancing on the pieces. In the end, it was a great life and I am eager to continue.
But I swear, the blackish liquid still makes me feel a bit off.