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shrill sound of the ambulance was deafening as it pulled up outside.
But at least it had drowned out the sound of the panicked mothers as
they hovered around the boy frozen stiff in the middle of the room.
Charlotte’s mother had narrowly beaten the ambulance to the
birthday party. She took in the scene and knew exactly what to do.
is the moment that Charlotte’s life changed forever...
all started at Charlotte’s next-door neighbor’s birthday
party and the silly thing is that she didn’t even want to be
were bunches of balloons scattered around the room, all in varying
shades of pink. A banner with the message 'happy birthday' on it took
up half of the far wall, and a group of adults stood to the side of
the room, sipping on tea and stuffing their faces with leftover
Smyth sat crossed-legged on the floor, in between a girl who kept
rubbing her nose onto the back of her sleeve and a flat-haired boy
who'd already won at apple bobbing and musical statues. She felt
foolish being there playing party games at the age of eleven, but it
was a family friend’s party and she didn't want to upset the
birthday girl, so she went along with it. Charlotte took the pink
wrapped parcel off the nose-rubbing girl and that's when the One
Direction song stopped playing.
not fair, she cheated!' the flat-haired boy screamed.
I didn't,' Charlotte replied, before she ripped the layer of paper
off the parcel, revealing another layer of paper and a lollipop.
held onto it for ages,' he said as he snatched the lollipop out of
that’s mine.' Charlotte tried to get the lollipop back but he
kept moving it out of her reach.
give it back, the music stopped on Charlotte,' a girl who sat
opposite them said.
give it back Ed,' another boy said.
okay, I have spares,' one of the viewing adults came tottering over
and pulled a lollipop from her cardigan pocket then passed it to
boy smirked at Charlotte before the music restarted, and he snatched
the parcel out of her lap and reluctantly passed it to the poor child
who sat next to him.
finished and Charlotte stood up and was about to walk away when this
most annoying boy sarcastically wisecracked. 'Your hair is so curly.'
looked up to see the flat-haired boy smirking at her. 'It's stupid,
you look like a giant fuzz ball.'
she growled back.
was that, fuzz ball? I couldn't hear you under all that fuzz.'
stared at the grinning boy, annoyed and angry by his comments.
well, you're a...' It was then that she realized that the boy wasn't
moving, he was still grinning but his entire body was still. She
waved her hand in front of the boy's face but he didn't blink.
messing about, it's not funny,' she poked his arm with her finger and
watched in alarm as his rigid body fell backwards onto the floor.
nearby girl let out a scream and a couple of the adults came rushing
Edward darling, say something,' a woman gently shook him. 'He's not
moving. He's rigid!'
statues is over, buddy,' a man bent down by the boy and tried bending
his arms, only they would not move. 'What the fudge,' he let go of Ed
and took a step back. 'He's frozen solid, he's a statue.'
just stand there Keith, ring an ambulance,' the woman snapped at him.
man fiddled in his pocket for his phone, finally finding it and
calling for emergency help. Within minutes they could hear the
ambulance approaching and just as it pulled up outside...a pretty,
well-dressed woman, with hair as frizzy as Charlotte's rushed over to
the boy and bent down in front of him.
quite alright, he just needs a glass of water,' she said to the boy’s
not all right, he’s frozen solid!' she sobbed.
a drink,' the frizzy haired woman forced a smile.
mother asked another woman to go and get the water and to be quick as
her precious son was dying.
space please,' the woman said to the crowd of onlookers, and they all
took a reluctant step backwards. She bent over Ed and whispered some
a cough and a splutter Ed sat up, he shook out his limbs and
repeatedly blinked his eyes before focusing them on Charlotte.
it was her!' he pointed straight at Charlotte.
didn't do anything.'
you did, you did this to me. I saw you do it!'
woman hurried back over with the glass of water and held it up to
okay sweetie,' his mother wrapped her arms around him.
was her, Mother, I saw her do it.'
the utmost respect I don't see how my daughter could have caused such
a thing to have happened,' the frizzy haired woman stood-up and
walked over to Charlotte. 'We're leaving,' she whispered to her.
Charlotte followed her mom across the room she felt everyone's gaze
on her as they gossiped amongst themselves. She'd been angry with Ed
and she'd wanted him to stop teasing her but she didn't see how she
could have caused him to freeze. She came to the conclusion that he
must have eaten something funny, as people didn't just freeze solid
for no reason.
mom was silent as they walked home, but Charlotte didn't mind this.
As they walked, she wondered if she'd ever be invited to a party
wasn't until later that day that Charlotte's mom called her into the
kitchen and gestured for her to take a seat next to her at the
sweetie, I want to talk to you about what happened earlier at the
party,' her mom said, her voice gentle.
didn't touch him Mom, he was teasing me but I didn't do anything.'
know that you didn't intend to do anything but that doesn't mean you
didn't,' she sighed before continuing. 'Your father doesn't know this
because he's an ordinary, a human, but I'm a witch.'
I was a child I found that I could do things, extraordinary things
and it appears that you also have powers,' she placed a hand on top
of Charlotte's. 'It's nothing to be afraid of, actually it's
exciting, but you need to go somewhere where you can be properly
trained so that nothing like what happened at the party ever happens
again. As I said before, your dad knows nothing about witches. He is
an ordinary. So this has to be our secret.’
didn't mean to do anything to that boy, although he was horrible. I'm
not a w-witch,' Charlotte pulled her hand free from under her mom's
and folded her arms.
mother glanced around the kitchen to confirm they were alone before
she looked at the unlit candle in the center of the room, then
clicked her fingers. A bright flame immediately appeared and gently
flickered. Charlotte stared at it open-mouthed before turning her
gaze to her mom.
a witch, Charlotte, just like me. Ever since you were a toddler, I
have watched you manipulating objects,' she gently grabbed
Charlotte's shoulders and looked directly at her. 'There's two
possible boarding schools where you can go to learn to control your
powers. Witchery College and Miss Moffat's Academy for Refined Young
Witches. My preferred choice for you is the latter, I contacted them
earlier and they have a space. You're very lucky to have this
opportunity, you will make lots of friends and learn so much,' she
why don't you go to it,' Charlotte snapped. 'Sorry, it's just all a
okay sweetie, I understand. We'll talk more about this tomorrow but
remember what I said about your father, he doesn't know about
witches. He thinks that you're going to a normal boarding school, so
please don't tell him otherwise. Ordinaries have a hard time grasping
the magical world, which is why we like to keep it a secret from
morning she'd been a normal eleven-year-old girl but now everything
had changed. She thought back to all the times in her life when odd
things had happened, like the time when the broken nib of her pencil
reappeared so that she could finish her school exam. There was also
the time when the only yoghurt left was a loathed cherry flavor one,
but when she went to eat it, it tasted of strawberries. But she'd
never turned someone into a statue before, maybe she really was
different to the other children, maybe she really was a witch.
was muggy in the car and Charlotte's hair was stuck to her damp
forehead. She wanted to open the window but her mom didn't like the
noise that it made when the wind came through the gap. The air-con
was on but this didn't seem to help much and Charlotte knew better
than to open the window. Her mom was almost as anxious about today as
she was, the fact that she'd caught her re-washing the dishes for the
second time after breakfast verified this.
the last few weeks Charlotte's mom had been dropping the new school
into conversation wherever she could. A fact which had made Charlotte
more apprehensive, it was also hard not being able to discuss it
properly with her mom when her dad was around. She felt as if she was
being thrown into a snake pit with no knowledge of which ones were
were on their way to Miss Moffat's Academy and Charlotte knew that
there was no going back.
we be there soon?' she asked, wiping back a strand of hair off her
about an hour sweetie, we'll stop off and grab a drink on-route.'
I don't like this school do I have to stay there?'
will like it, you're fortunate to have been offered a place.'
they should have given it to someone else,' she said under her
it will be fine, you just have to be yourself and you'll settle right
she sighed, the concern still sitting in the pit of her stomach.
turned her head and stared out of the window, watching as her old
life blurred past her and her new, unknown one drew evermore closer.
parking the car and her mom yet again going on about how great the
school was, they both got out of the car. Charlotte followed her mom
down a pathway surrounded by trees and they soon arrived in a
clearing where a large maze of green lay in front of them.
is the furthest I can take you,' her mom said, as she leaned down and
hugged her daughter.
it's a maze, I don't know where I'm going,' Charlotte looked at the
narrow path between the high walls of greenery.
the Entry Maze. It's part of the initiation process.'
get lost Mom, I can't do it.'
you can,' her mom grabbed her arms and looked directly at her. 'You
can do this Charlotte, just follow your instinct.'
it's so big and I don't know where I'm going,' tears dripped down
know when you find it,' she wiped away one of the tears before she
squeezed Charlotte tight. 'Now go before you set me off,' she forced
back her own tears as she kissed her on the top of her head.
Mom, I love you,' Charlotte forced a smile before she nervously
walked towards the maze entrance, looking back once at her mom and
giving a wave before she continued up the path and into the unknown.
had never been keen on mazes, not since she'd ended up separated from
her parents in a crop maze when she was five. A random family had
stumbled upon her, led her out of it, and reunited her with her
parents. She knew that this time no one would come to rescue her and
that she was in this on her own.
came across yet another dead-end and looked around her, a panicked
feeling growing in her stomach. The midday sun was beating down and
she didn't know where to go or what to do. Sitting down on the
ground, she regained her breath as she tried to calm herself and
figure out what to do next.
can do this,' she said to herself, before she closed her eyes tightly
and murmured a desperate plea. 'Please, I don't know where to go, I
need some help.'
opened her eyes to see a ball of light in front of her. At first she
wasn't sure if it was the heat or her anxiety causing her to imagine
things but upon blinking, the ball of light remained in sight. The
light began to move forwards, so she followed it as it weaved through
the passageways, eventually stopping at another dead-end. Only this
one wasn't like the other ones she'd previously found, as it
contained a large tree. It was so large that Charlotte wondered how
she hadn't seen it above the maze walls. It was as luscious green in
color as the hedgerows were.
tree shook which made Charlotte jump off her feet and then six green
faces appeared amongst the foliage.
child,' the first face said, which caused Charlotte to become even
more alarmed. This wasn't like one of the normal trees that were in
the park near her house as she'd never heard them speak.
will ask you a question each, answer them correctly to gain access to
the Academy,' the second face said.
worry, I'm sure you'll pass with flying colors,' the second face gave
a friendly chuckle.
begin with an easy one. What's your name?' the first face asked.
Symth,' she croaked out.
the first face boomed.
is the color of a witch’s hat?' the second face asked.
is the best mode of transport for a witch?' the third face asked.
broomstick,' she said confidently, beginning to think that these
questions were a breeze.
is a witch’s preferred pet?' the fourth face said.
a frog, no an owl.'
the voice boomed and Charlotte felt the tears well up in her eyes.
She wondered if that was her only chance and she'd failed? 'Don't
worry child, you can try again.'
thought hard about what it could be and then she recalled the books
her mom had read to her as a kid, about a clumsy witch and her magic
do witches brew potions in?'
a pot, no a cauldron.'
there, only this question to go. See if you can solve this riddle:
What is a witch’s favorite subject?' the sixth face asked.
bit on the side of her lip as she thought about this. She'd never
been good at riddles as she tended to over-think them. She took a
deep breath and tried to think carefully, hoping that she'd be
allowed a few chances to get it right.
the sixth face boomed.
she rolled her eyes back as she tried to think what it could be. She
thought about what witches were famous for liking; magic, their pets,
turning people into rodents and spells. They liked spells. 'Is it
the sixth face said and all the faces began to laugh in unison before
the tree shook and the leaves flew into the sky, reforming as large
maze vanished in front of her and in its place appeared a large
us,' the elephants said, before they began to plod along in front of
did as they said, wondering what she'd have to do next. Suddenly a
hole appeared beneath her and before she could do anything about it
she felt herself falling. She landed on her feet in front of four
life-sized stone statues of warriors on a platform. Behind them was a
large castle. Could this be the Academy? She found herself annoyed at
the elephants for coming across as nice and then luring her down that
hole. They could have at least given her some warning.
anyone home? Please can you let me in?' she shouted out, as she
looked around for a door.
was a loud clacking sound and Charlotte looked up to see the four
statues pulling themselves down from their platform and walking over
to her in their armor, with varying weapons in their hands as they
are you doing here?' one of the warriors asked, as he pulled his
sword out of its case.
am, erm, I am a student here. I was in the maze and now I'm looking
for the entrance.'
entrance,' the warrior laughed, before he turned to the warrior by
him. 'You hear that Lancelot; she's looking for the entrance.'
the elephants, they brought me here. Well, they led me to the hole
and I fell and-'
you're giving me a headache,' a warrior holding a shield said.
can't hear myself think,' the third warrior said.
on, this is enough,' the warrior known as Lancelot said.
the first warrior said.
on, you know if he doesn't get his way he will go on and on and on
and on about it,' the fourth warrior said.
you're right,' the first warrior sighed. 'Very well, go on.'
been expecting you,' the fourth warrior laughed, which caused the
others to laugh too.
those fools,' a squeaky voice said. She looked up to see several bats
flying above her head. 'Follow us,' they squeaked.
this stage she didn't even question the fact that the bats were
talking. She simply followed them, eager and grateful to escape the
us, follow us,' they squeaked, as they flew straight through the
solid stone wall beside the warriors’ platform.
abruptly stopped and stared in disbelief, not understanding how they
traveled through the wall. She thought that only ghosts could travel
through walls, not witches. She wondered if the bats were tricking
her and if perhaps they were ghosts instead. She didn't want to bash
into the wall and then be laughed at.
up and follow us,' the bats squeaked out as they flew back out of the
wall and then flew back through it again.
a deep breath, she took a few steps forwards before she paused in
front of the mass of concrete and stared up at it, hoping that a door
would appear and make things simpler.
can do this,' she said under her breath, before taking another step
forwards so that she was almost touching the solid looking surface.
She was about to reach out and touch it when one of the bats flew
back out and flapped its wings beside her.
you have to walk through it.' It's squeak was decisive. 'Hurry,
hurry, you have to come now.'
took one last look around her. She knew that she had to do it then or
not at all, so she stepped through the wall.
Persian carpets covered the central part of the marbled floors that
were under Charlotte's feet as she stood in the large, high ceilinged
stopped by her bags that were there waiting for her and looked at the
various spiral staircases that were in front of her, the banisters
gold. Huge portraits of women in witches’ hats and holding
broomsticks were hanging on the grand looking walls and there was an
overwhelming smell of rose petals.
had never been anywhere as impressive as this before and she found
herself staring at it open-mouthed.
us, follow us,' the bats squeaked, before they flew down and picked
up her bags with their feet and flew them up one of the staircases.
wondered how they were strong enough to carry her bags but then again
they could talk, so being extraordinarily strong seemed minor in
comparison. She followed them up the staircase and past a large gold
bust that was standing by the wall.
led her through a gilded golden door and into a room that was about
four times the size of her bedroom at home. There were four large,
bronze framed beds in the rooms, each with an array of pillows in
creams and golds and an ivory blanket folded at the end of the light
grey colored duvet.
bats placed her bags down in front of the bed furthest from the door,
before they fluttered out of the room, closing the door behind them.
owl appeared and perched on the windowsill by the open window and it
watched Charlotte intently as she looked around the room.
from the beds, the only other items in the room were an intricately
carved ornate gold mirror and an enormous wooden wardrobe.
open the wardrobe,' the owl hooted.
not?' she asked, wondering why the wardrobe had been put there if she
couldn't use it.
open the wardrobe,' the owl repeated, before it flew off outside.
sat down on her bed and wondered what she was supposed to do next.
The castle was so massive and daunting; she decided that she'd just
wait there until someone told her what she should do. She certainly
did not want to try exploring and risk getting lost.
door opened and the bats flew in carrying bags, followed by a girl in
a creamy white dress, with chin length, wavy dark-blonde hair. The
bats flew over to the bed by the window and put the bags down in
front of it.
I'm Stef,' she smiled, as she studied the room.
Pleased to meet you Stef.'
we're going to need rules for this bedroom gig to work. No sitting on
other beds or touching each other’s stuff!'
door opened and again the bats flew in carrying bags, this time
followed by a smiling girl, with curly blond hair.
I'm Gerty,' she looked around excitedly. 'This place is so cool! I've
never seen a castle this big before. And the bats actually talk.'
old are you?' Stef put her hands on her waist as she looked
questioningly at the young girl.
don't normally accept students until they're eleven but they let me
in a year early because I'm good at magic,' she said without pausing
cool,' Charlotte said.
don't think it's a good idea for a ten-year-old to be here, from what
I hear the lessons are challenging and a ten-year-old doesn't have
the same maturity as an eleven-year-old.' Stef commented with a smug
only a year’s difference,' Charlotte said.
so excited,' Gerty continued, ignoring Stef’s comment. 'I've
not been able to sleep properly in days. I wonder what lesson we'll
have first?' Gerty fell back onto her bed and began to pull her body
up with her hands as she bounced on the firm surface.
you think anyone else will come and take that bed?' Stef asked
curiously, as she gestured to the spare bed.
don't know,' Charlotte replied.
it's just us because it'll give us more space,' Stef walked over to
the wardrobe. 'At least we have this to put our clothes in.'
wouldn't open that, there was an owl here and it said not to open
Stef rolled her eyes before pulling open the doors.
black hole of intense force sucked Stef forwards, she grabbed onto
the inner side of the wardrobe and clung on tightly as her body was
turned horizontal. Charlotte and Gerty both rushed over to her and
each grabbed one of Stef's arms, pulling as hard as they could.
pretty girl with long blond hair tied into a high ponytail and
wearing a knee length satin black skirt and a fitted white blouse
that emphasized her slim waist, stepped into the room, a long silver
wand in hand.
she tutted, before she waved her wand in the girls' direction.
was thrown back into the room and she landed on the floor with a loud
thump, her hair a mess and her dress blown up around her waist so
that her old knickers with a hole by the waistband were on show. She
immediately jumped up onto her feet, her cheeks flushed as she
flattened down her dress and then tried to smooth down her hair.
and Gerty both giggled and Stef stared at them sternly, which caused
them both to fall silent.
am Molly McDonald, the head prefect,' she tapped the small silver
triangular pin on her blouse, the words 'head prefect' written on it
in italic black font. 'I am here to welcome you all to Miss Moffat's
Academy, we are renown for being one of the most successful schools
for witches in the world and you're all very lucky to be here. Don't
squander this opportunity that you've been given. Also, it is of the
utmost importance that you always follow the rules and instructions
that have been given to you.' She glanced towards Stef who was
there's still one more girl to come to this room,' she turned and
said after she'd reached the door. 'Alice Smithers.'
she like?' Gerty asked.
have to wait and see,' she shrugged, a smirk on her face, as she left
you okay?' Charlotte asked Stef.
fine,' she said defensively.
Molly so pretty? I want to be that pretty. Do you think I'll be able
to cast a spell to make myself look like her?' Gerty asked.
think it'll be awhile before you learn powerful spells, I mean you
are only ten,' Steff replied.
already pretty, Gerty, you don't need to look like Molly,' Charlotte
I think you're both really pretty too and I love your hair,' she
replied, which caused Charlotte to instinctively pat down her hair.
I suppose you look okay,' Stef shrugged.
guys are so nice. I hope Alice is nice too.'
me too,' Charlotte said, not wanting to be stuck in a room with
someone she didn't like. Gerty was giggly and excitable and Stef was
confident and blunt but Charlotte liked them both and hoped that the
other girl would fit in as well.
loud bell rang out which startled Charlotte as she looked at the
other girls. Just then the owl swooped into the room.
me to the meeting room,' the owl hooted and the girls nodded before
following it out of the room.
were led down the spiral staircase and along the wide hallway until
they got to an arched doorway. As they walked closer, the doors
opened inwards and the owl flew off. They stepped into the meeting
room that was full of rows of chairs, most of which had students
sitting on them. The room was alive with excited voices and Charlotte
and Gerty followed Stef over to some free seats in one of the middle
was a raised platform in front of them with an impressive burgundy
and gold armchair. The chair had an oval backrest that had massive
dragon's wings attached to the sides.
never seen this many witches before,' Gerty said, as she peered over
her shoulder. 'It's so exciting.'
long do you think we'll have to sit here for?' Stef asked, as she
restlessly tapped her fingers against the frame of her seat.
shouldn't be long,' Charlotte replied, looking up at the grey-bricked
walls that had a row of colored shields displayed on them.
whole experience was a new one for Charlotte and she wondered what
was going to happen next. She was curious to find out what it would
be but really hoped that she wouldn't have to solve any more riddles.
doors into the room opened and the room fell silent as dozens of bats
flew up the aisle in-between the seats. Behind the bats flew a
beautiful woman who was on a black handled broomstick with flickers
of gold flashing vividly along its length. She hovered by the
armchair and elegantly stepped off her broom, before making it float
long chestnut colored hair sat in cone shaped funnels at the sides of
her head and her pale skin was clear of any blemishes. She stared
towards the girls with eyes as dark as black sapphires, clutching
authoritatively to her fur trimmed luxurious looking cloak.
with a welcoming smile, she sat down on the chair and placed her arms
elegantly on the rests.
students, new and old, I am Miss Moffat, the head-witchress and
founder of this academy. I established it over four-hundred-years ago
and regard it as my greatest achievement. Many well-renown witches
have attended here, including Ivy Glossington who developed the
famous chant to ward off trolls and Fiona Fitzgerald who wrote the
best-selling Witches Of The World books.
school is notorious for being one of the best of its kind, so for all
the new students here today you should feel very privileged to have
been offered a place here. I advise you all to make the most of this
wonderful opportunity and not waste it. Each and every one of you now
represents this school and what we stand for. Knowledge is what this
school feeds on and from it can come greatness…but don't be
fooled into thinking this can be achieved without hard work and
one-hundred-per-cent effort. Many longed for a place here and didn't
succeed. They're now forced to attend Witchery College, most-famous
for its long line of witches who dabble in the dark arts, something
that is thoroughly frowned upon at this academy.
you have finished your education you will graduate with the finest
moral upstanding and most advanced skills in the magical community,
skills which are considered-'
doors creaked open, followed by footsteps. Miss Moffat was scowling
so everyone else turned to see what had happened. Standing there in a
green and yellow sequined dress and with her mousy brown hair under a
witch’s hat, was a young girl.
afternoon, sorry I'm a tad late. My bags are outside, could you ask
the servants to collect them for me.' Her voice was confident and
assured and she was clearly unfazed by all the eyes on her. Everyone
stared open-mouthed, amazed at her rudeness.
who, are you?' Miss Moffat asked.
am Alice, Alice Smithers. I presumed you would have known that.'
presumed wrong,' Miss Moffat replied.
was about to say something else when Molly rushed over to her and led
her over to Charlotte and the others.
are your room-mates,' Molly said.
I'll be wanting my own room.'
have to share, everyone else your age shares a room,' Molly said,
before she walked back over to her seat, leaving Alice standing there
looking begrudgingly at the girls.
only empty seat was next to Stef and that meant Alice would have to
squeeze past Gerty and Charlotte to get to it, but it was clear that
she wasn't willing to do this. Aware that everyone was staring,
Charlotte gently nudged Stef's arm and motioned for her to move
along. At first Stef shook her head and folded her arms but Charlotte
furrowed her eyebrows with insistence. Stef let out an exaggerated
sigh before she moved onto the next seat. Charlotte and Gerty both
shuffled along as well which meant that Alice could sit down at the
end of the row.
I was saying, it is at this Academy where you shall learn skills
which are considered greatly valuable in the magical society. Your
final goal for your education at this esteemed Academy is for all of
you, even those of you who are rude enough to interrupt me, is to
develop your powers in order to become refined young witches and
learn to use your powers for the good of everybody, including
is a strict code of conduct at this Academy that you must follow.'
Miss Moffat continued in a strict tone.
of scrolls flew in the door and floated in the air before the
Moffat went through each point.
must all treat each other and the members of staff with respect.’
Her eyes focused on Alice as she made this statement.
dark or black magic will be tolerated in this Academy.’
Academy's reputation as a school for refined young witches is to be
upheld at all times.'
be easier if she just laid down the rules, you know like lights out
at 9pm and no running in the hall,' Gerty whispered to Charlotte,
which caused her to giggle before putting her finger to her lips to
signal for her to be quiet. It was then that Alice stuck her arm into
the air but didn't wait to be asked to speak.
me miss, those rules are fairly general, do you have any more
specific ones?' she blurted out what everyone else was thinking, but
that no one else dared to ask.
is not a day nursery for babies, you need to live by this code of
conduct and make wise choices in the things you do and how you
conduct yourself whilst at this Academy. There will be consequences
for anyone who disobeys these rules. I was hoping that I wouldn't
have to point this out today but it appears that it may be necessary.
offence- a wart will appear on your face.
Your nose will grow, by how much is determined by the severity of
Your laugh shall change to that of a witch’s cackle.
Your skin shall turn green.
Your eyes shall turn bright red and bloodshot.
The final warning. The word naughty shall appear on your forehead and
will remain there for an entire month.
severity and timing of these punishments will depend on the code of
conduct violation. In other words, the naughtier you are, the worse
once again lifted up her hand.
Miss Smithers?' Miss Moffat said in a sarcastic tone.
happens if you are naughty after the sixth consequence?'
you shall be expelled from this Academy and shall have to attend the
lowly rated public school Witchery College, headed by Mistress
Ravenshawk,' she shuddered.
girls all looked around at each other and exchanged knowing glances.
It was clear that no one wanted to mess up, especially if it meant
the consequence that Miss Moffat had threatened. Charlotte noticed
that even Alice had gone quiet and lowered her gaze at the mention of
found herself wondering how many students had been expelled and if
Mistress Ravenshawk was as terrifying as she sounded, although she
hoped that she'd never end up as a student at her school to find out.
back to your room and unpack and get ready for dinner. If you're new
here and unsure of the way back to your rooms then call for a bat and
one will promptly arrive to guide you,' Miss Moffat stood up and got
onto her broomstick. All the girls watched as she flew towards the
now opened doors and left the room.
hall instantly erupted into noise as all the girls began talking to
know the way to the room,' Stef said, as she stood up and pushed her
way past the others to get to the end of the row.
where you're treading with your big feet, these shoes are
one-of-a-kind,' Alice demanded.
on guys,' Stef ignored Alice's comment.
all stood and joined Stef, following the crowd of girls out of the
hall, excited at the prospect of their futures in this school.
turned out that Stef did remember the way back to the room and
Charlotte tried to memorize the route, hoping that she wouldn't get
lost when she was in the castle alone. The four of them walked inside
and Gerty fell down onto her bed and swung her legs out over the side
you know that Miss Moffat is over four-hundred-years old? She looks
amazing doesn't she and her hair, it's so beautiful and shiny. I
think I might grow my hair that long and maybe when I'm older I'll
dye it the same color as hers,' Gerty said excitedly.
can she be that old?' Charlotte asked.
magic of course,' Stef snorted.
new to this magic world so I didn't know.'
okay, I can teach you,' Gerty smiled.
I'd like that.'
have that bed by the window,' Alice said, as she walked over to
Stef's bed and sat down on it.
no you won't, that bed’s already been claimed by me. First
come, first served,' Stef said.
should have my own room. Don't the staff here know who I am?' Alice
was looking like she was going to be a king sized pain!
not,' Stef rolled her eyes.
I can't have my own room then I should at least get to pick which bed
I have and I want this one.'
you can't have it because it's mine,' she strutted over to her bed,
her hands on her hips. 'That one's yours, over by the bathroom.'
not having that one, it's the worst placed bed in the room,' Alice
bags are by it, see,' she pointed over to the large pile of bags that
were by the bed. 'So that one's yours and this one is mine. You're
currently sitting on my bed,' she smirked.
is ridiculous, rest assured that my parents will be hearing about
this,' she abruptly hopped off the bed and stormed across the room
and out of the door.
sneaked over to the door and peered around it, followed by Gerty and
Charlotte. They watched Alice storm off down the hallway.
she going?' Charlotte asked.
to ring up Mommy and Daddy and complain about the awful treatment
she's been receiving here,' Stef put on a posh voice.
and Charlotte shared a look as if to say that Stef had gone too far
and Stef caught sight of it.
she'll be back but she needed to know her place,' she walked away
from the door. 'Don't worry about Alice, she'll be fine.'
went back over to her bed and rummaged through her bags. She wanted
to unpack but didn't know where she was supposed to put her
clothes…seeing as the wardrobe was off limits. She wondered
why the wardrobe was there when it couldn't be used. It was annoying
as it was so huge, all four of them would have been able to fit their
clothes into it.
looked over at Stef who had pulled a separate draw from out under her
bed and was filling it with piles of her clothes. Charlotte found
that there was a draw under her bed too, so she pulled it out and
began to sort out her clothes. She found herself wondering where
Alice had gone and when she'd come back. She didn't want any more
bickering to happen between Stef and Alice but they were both strong
personalities so she doubted their room would become a calm zone
anytime soon. At least all this drama kept her distracted from
thinking about home and about how much she was missing her mom and
was still unpacking her belongings when Alice huffed her way back
into the room, followed by two similar looking girls, one wearing
black and the other had a white tunic on and both of them wore a
triangular silver pin boasting the word 'prefect'. The most
noticeable difference in their appearance was that one girl was a
couple of inches taller than the other one.
Sonya and this is my sister Silvia, we're prefects here at the
Academy. According to Alice, someone's stolen her bed,' the taller
no they haven't,' Stef folded her arms. 'Alice was the last one into
the room and therefore she should have the bed that's left.'
am from a very important witching family called The Smithers, who I'm
sure you've heard of, so I should have priority. And according to my
measurements I have 29 and a half inches less space than the rest of
you and that is NOT fair!
you were last in the room then you'll have to put up with the bed
that's left, I don't see the problem,' Sonya said, as she flicked her
long blonde hair behind her ears.
problem is that it's not the bed I want,' Alice complained.
you should have got here earlier then,' Stef said.
we suggest that you calm down and try to fit in,' Silvia said, before
they both turned around and headed out of the room.
that's not fair. Don't you know who I am?' Alice shouted to their
backs but neither of them turned around. 'Fine,' she said under her
breath, as she walked over to her bed and lifted her bags on top of
are the servants? It's positively awful that I'm expected to unpack
get on with it.' Stef rolled her eyes. She'd finished her own packing
and was now lying on her bed.
grabbed a handful of clothes and walked over to the wardrobe. Stef
smirked in Charlotte's direction at the sight of what Alice was
doing. Charlotte looked from Alice to the wardrobe and knew that she
should say something. However annoying Alice was, Charlotte didn't
think that she deserved to be sucked into that black hole. As Alice
got closer to the wardrobe…even Stef's grin faltered, and
Charlotte opened her mouth to warn her.
open that, it's like a wind tunnel in there, it'll suck you in,'
Gerty blurted out.
be ridiculous. Why would they put a dangerous wardrobe in my
bedroom?' Alice said smugly.
not your bedroom, it's our bedroom and Gerty's right, so don't open
it,' Stef said.
should I believe you?'
you don't want to end up with a first offence and a wart on your
face, do you?' Stef grinned.
rubbed her freckly nose before she walked back over to her bed and
put her pile of clothes down onto it.
a drawer under your bed,' Charlotte said.
nodded before sitting on her knees and pulling the drawer out. She
studied it before reluctantly unpacking her case and placing her
everyone had finished unpacking an awkward silence fell over the room
and no one seemed to know what to say or do.
don't we all tell each other a little bit about ourselves?' Charlotte
suggested nervously, breaking the silence. The other girls all
I'll start. My name is Charlotte Smyth, I'm eleven and I only
recently found out that I am a witch. I knew I could do special
things that my friends couldn't do but I didn't put much thought into
it, at least not until I went to a party. There was a boy who was
teasing me about my hair so I unintentionally froze him. My mom
showed up and unfroze him and then she told me that she was a witch
and so was I. You see my mom kept being a witch, secret from my dad,
he's an ordinary and he thinks that I'm at some normal boarding
school. Mom says he can't ever find out because he wouldn't
understand. So all this is new to me but I'm really happy to be here
and have you all to share a room with,' she smiled.
go next,' Gerty said, as she hopped up and bounced from one leg to
the other. 'Hi, I'm Gertrude Baggs, Gerty for short-'
a horrible, ugly name,' Alice interrupted.
Stef shot Alice a stern look.
like your name,' Charlotte said.
Gerty smiled, unfazed by Alice's comment. 'I am ten but was accepted
into this Academy a year early because I developed the skill of
levitation at a very young age. Both of my parents have powers and at
home I was encouraged to practice witchcraft. Up until now I've been
home-schooled as I didn't fit into a normal school. It was so hard
not using magic there, especially when the boys used to tease me
about my last name. I may have turned a couple of them into toads,'
am super excited to be here in a proper castle with real life witches
and I can't wait for lessons to begin.'
next,' Alice chimed in, as soon as Gerty had finished talking. 'I am
Alice Smithers, from the world famous Smithers family. You all would
have heard of my family as we're well known in the magical world,'
she stuck her nose into the air.
and Daddy believe that I am extremely powerful so that's why I am
here. Of course they will miss me terribly, but I owe it to the
Academy to show all of you lower rung girls how to behave like a
were snorts and giggles from the other girls after Alice had finished
Stephanie Jolly, Stef for short.'
certainly doesn't suit your personality.' Alice really didn’t
have any tact.
grabbed one of the pillows off her bed and threw it across the room
at her, hitting her on the head.
can't believe you just did that,' Alice dropped the pillow by her
side. 'I shall be keeping that pillow.'
it a rest will you,' Stef grabbed a pillow off her bed and also threw
it over at Alice, who only just ducked in time.
everyone was holding a pillow and tossing them around, hitting each
other. Laughter erupted and even Alice joined in, as she clashed her
pillow against Stef's.
squealed as a pillow went flying past her head, before she picked one
off her bed and flung it over at Charlotte who caught it and threw it
straight back. Charlotte then grabbed one of her own pillows and
joined in the pillow fight with Stef and Alice. Gerty picked up a
pillow and joined in too.
down girls, you are definitely not showing refinement and you don't
want to be caught for your first code of conduct,' a girl blocking
the doorway said, her arms folded, another girl standing slightly
four girls collapsed on their beds and the floor and let out bursts
of uncontrollable laughter. Gerty was the first to recover from her
laughing fit and walked over to the girls.
are you both new here too?' she asked and the girl with the folded
arms nodded. 'My name's Gerty, nice to meet you. What are your
Margaret Montgomery and my friend is Demi Taylor, we are in the room
next door and we couldn't concentrate due to the awful hullabaloo you
were making,' she stared at the girls but that just made Stef laugh
going back to our room now, try to keep the noise down and act like
grown-ups,' she flicked her hair behind her, before she left the
room, Demi following along behind.
like grown-ups,' Stef mimicked the girl’s voice, before she
flicked her own hair.
picked up a pillow and threw it at Stef and they all burst into
must do something adult-like, such as reading an educational book
before dinner is served,' Stef said.
get rid of the creases in the sheets,' Gerty laughed.
sit here in silence and be a picture of decorum,' Charlotte sat down
on her bed and crossed her legs and pouted her lips.
how lovely and adult-like you are,' Stef laughed.
couldn't hide her smile as she shook her head and picked up a pillow.
should be picking up all my pillows and pumping them up, seeing as
you're the ones who threw them at me.'
chance,' Stef grinned. 'Hey, it could be worse. You could be sharing
a room with Margaret Montgomery and her minion.'
she'll hear you,' Charlotte giggled.
must act like a grown-up Charlotte,' Stef laughed, as she again
flicked back both sides of her hair.
anyone know what time dinner is, I'm so hungry,' Gerty said, putting
her hand to her stomach.
don't know,' Stef shrugged and Charlotte shook her head.
home we have servants who prepare all our food and a butler who calls
us into the dining hall when it's ready. The food is always
exceptional, especially the caviar canapés and the baked
happy with fries and a burger,' Stef said.
too,' Charlotte said. ‘With lots of mayo.'
ice cream with extra chocolate sauce,' Gerty said licking her lips.
'Ah, now I'm even hungrier.'
don't eat burgers,' Alice said, a worried look on her face. 'I hope
they have upper class food here or I will waste away. I don’t
eat common food, like burgers.'
sure you'll be fine,' Stef smirked.
bell rang loudly and they all hopped up and looked at each other
excitedly, before they headed for the door.
witches must proceed to the meeting room,' Molly said, as she flew
past their room on her purple flickered broomstick. 'All witches must
proceed to the meeting room.'
led the way along the hallway and down the staircase into the meeting
room, which now had long tables in it, with long red and black
tablecloths on them. The room was already filling up quickly with the
other girls. Stef walked over to the end of an empty table and
Charlotte and Gerty followed.
saw that Margaret and Demi sat in the middle of one of the tables
where no one else was sitting. She walked over to them and sat down
next to Margaret.
me, but you can't sit there. Don't you dare ever sit there again,'
she glared at her.
you're too ugly and no way near cool enough to ever associate with
us,' Demi smirked.
fought back tears as she stood up and quickly made her way over to
the spare seat next to Charlotte. No one else heard what had happened
but even so, the seats next to Margaret and Demi remained empty.
room fell silent as the Witchress and the other teachers all flew in
on their broomsticks and over to the platform, that now had a long
table on it. The dragon seat was placed centrally behind the table
and looked even grander next to the ordinary bronze framed chairs.
looked up at the line of seated staff, noticing how they all looked
beautiful. She wondered if she'd be a teacher one day or if she'd
marry an ordinary like her mom had and hide the fact that she was a
witch. She didn't know the answers to these questions…but she
did know that now she knew about the witching world she was curious
to learn more and couldn't imagine ever going back to living as an
to the first dinner of this academic year, we shall start as we
always do by saying the witches’ creed,' Miss Moffat said.
she began to speak, the other witches joined in:
old and witches young
and bats and black cats too.
together in this castle
bring out the best in you.
perfect love and perfect trust
learn the spells and witches' rules.
for the good of all
now let’s eat
in this great hall.'
looked at Stef and they exchanged awkward glances because everyone
else around them seemed to know the words to the creed, including
Gerty and even Alice, although she only joined in on the last few
sentences. Charlotte knew that she'd need to learn it for next time
so that she didn't stand out, and reminded herself to ask Gerty to
teach it to her and Stef later.
soon as the witches creed had finished the bats flew into the room
carrying bowls of broth and baskets of bread rolls. They went to the
teacher's table first before they brought in food for the girls.
watched and she was incredibly impressed as two bats quickly but
precisely placed the bowl of orangey red broth down in front of her.
On seeing Stef begin to eat and Gerty grab a roll out of the basket
in front of them, she also took a roll and then placed her spoon into
her broth. Picking up the silver goblet in front of her, she saw that
it was now full of cranberry juice, even though she was sure it had
been empty when she'd first sat down.
main course was a selection of steamed meats and freshly cooked
vegetables and dessert was an array of fruits and mini cakes that the
bats brought in on three tiered stands. The food was so delicious
that even Alice hadn't complained once, although when Charlotte
thought about it, she realized that Alice hadn't said anything since
she'd sat down.
everyone had finished eating Molly stood up and said 'luculentam' as
she waved her wand. All the dirty dishes, goblets and cutlery
immediately vanished and the tables were perfectly tidy.
so need to learn that spell,' Stef said, and Charlotte and Gerty
nodded in agreement.
that dinner is over it is your free time to do as you wish, may you
use it wisely. I request the new students to stay behind and Molly
will give you a tour of the Academy. As for the rest of you, you're
now free to leave,' Miss Moffat said. She got onto the broomstick
that was floating behind her chair and led the rest of the teachers
and older students out of the room.
watched as the room became quieter. Then she followed the others over
to where Molly was standing in front of the platform, her blonde-hair
now tied into bunches.
don't see why I need a tour, I know where my room is and the meeting
hall is easy to find. Surely servants should be on call to show me
the remaining rooms as and when I need to see them,' Alice said,
breaking her short bout of silence.
castle is huge and I'm excited to see more of it,' Charlotte
whispered to Gerty.
to Miss Moffat's Academy, I think I've already met the majority of
you but for those of you who don't already know me, I am Molly
McDonald, head prefect. If you have any questions or problems then my
room is on the third floor, it says head prefect on the door so you
can't miss it. I'm happy to help you all out-'
get you own room?' Alice rudely interrupted.
I do but I had to share a room when I was your age. If you are
insistent on having your own room, then study hard and maybe when
you're in your final year here, you too will become a prefect.'
chance,' Margaret whispered snidely which caused Demi to giggle.
castle is a labyrinth of hallways and staircases so it is important
to get your bearings. Although if you find yourself lost and alone
then simply call out to the bats and they will come and help you.
There is much to see so let's begin,' she stepped forwards and the
girls that had been surrounding her stepped aside, creating a pathway
for her to walk through.
followed Molly out of the meeting hall and into the depths of the
first room they were taken to was the huge laundry room, full of
loud, spinning washing machines. Charlotte was surprised that this
room looked quite normal and that the clothes didn't magically wash
room is only for your uniforms and ordinary clothes, your formal
capes and witch’s hats will be collected and washed by the
Academy staff after each formal occasion and returned the following
morning,' Molly said.
me but where are the dryers?' Alice asked.
the sun,' Molly pointed out of the window at several long
we have to carry our wet clothes all the way out there and hang them
an outrage, I am from the famous Smithers family, I can't be expected
to do such a thing. I insist that the servants do my washing for me
and carry it outside.'
waved her wand in the air and pointed it at Alice as she said,
'Strideo!' Alice immediately shrunk down and her clothes fell into a
pile on the floor. A squeaking sound came from within the pile of
clothes and a white mouse with brown patches on it scurried out by
Stef's feet, causing her to let out a shriek and jump back.
probably shouldn't have done that but she was driving me crazy,'
Molly shrugged and all the other girls looked at her…shocked.
bent down and picked up Alice, cupping her in her hands.
will shut her up for a while,' Margaret said to Demi and they both
probably best you keep hold of her so she doesn't get trampled,'
Molly said, as she walked towards the door.
bent down and bundled up Alice's clothes, before she followed the
shall visit the common room next,' Molly said, after she stopped in
front of one of the restrooms. 'But first things first,' she took the
bundle of clothes out of Gerty's hands and threw them into the rest
room before she carefully took Alice out of Charlotte's hands and
peered down at her.
your whining attitude has to change. If it doesn’t I'll turn
you into a slug next time.' She stepped into the rest room and
lowered Alice onto the ground, before she waved her wand and said,
'Exero,' and then closed the rest room door.