Excerpt for Books for Girls - Witch School - Book 1 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Witch School

Book 1


Miss Moffat's Academy

for

Refined Young Witches



Katrina Kahler

Copyright © KC Global Enterprises Pty Ltd

All Rights Reserved

Smashwords Edition



Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten



Chapter One


The 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.


Fortunately, Charlotte’s mother had narrowly beaten the ambulance to the birthday party. She took in the scene and knew exactly what to do.


This is the moment that Charlotte’s life changed forever...



It all started at Charlotte’s next-door neighbor’s birthday party and the silly thing is that she didn’t even want to be there.


There 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 sandwiches.


Charlotte 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.


'That's not fair, she cheated!' the flat-haired boy screamed.


'No I didn't,' Charlotte replied, before she ripped the layer of paper off the parcel, revealing another layer of paper and a lollipop.


'You held onto it for ages,' he said as he snatched the lollipop out of the paper.


‘Hey, that’s mine.' Charlotte tried to get the lollipop back but he kept moving it out of her reach.


'Ed give it back, the music stopped on Charlotte,' a girl who sat opposite them said.


'Yeah, give it back Ed,' another boy said.


'It's okay, I have spares,' one of the viewing adults came tottering over and pulled a lollipop from her cardigan pocket then passed it to Charlotte.


The 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.


Pass-the-parcel finished and Charlotte stood up and was about to walk away when this most annoying boy sarcastically wisecracked. 'Your hair is so curly.'


Charlotte looked up to see the flat-haired boy smirking at her. 'It's stupid, you look like a giant fuzz ball.'


'Shut-up,' she growled back.


'What was that, fuzz ball? I couldn't hear you under all that fuzz.'


Charlotte stared at the grinning boy, annoyed and angry by his comments.


'Yeah 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.


'Stop 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.


A nearby girl let out a scream and a couple of the adults came rushing over.


'Edward, Edward darling, say something,' a woman gently shook him. 'He's not moving. He's rigid!'


'Musical 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.'


'Don't just stand there Keith, ring an ambulance,' the woman snapped at him.


The 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.


'He's quite alright, he just needs a glass of water,' she said to the boy’s mother.


'He's not all right, he’s frozen solid!' she sobbed.


'Please, a drink,' the frizzy haired woman forced a smile.


Ed’s mother asked another woman to go and get the water and to be quick as her precious son was dying.


'Some 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 words.


With a cough and a splutter Ed sat up, he shook out his limbs and repeatedly blinked his eyes before focusing them on Charlotte.


'Her, it was her!' he pointed straight at Charlotte.


'I didn't do anything.'


'Yes, you did, you did this to me. I saw you do it!'

The woman hurried back over with the glass of water and held it up to Ed's lips.


'It's okay sweetie,' his mother wrapped her arms around him.


'It was her, Mother, I saw her do it.'


'With 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.


As 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.


Her 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 again.


It 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 circular table.


'Hi sweetie, I want to talk to you about what happened earlier at the party,' her mom said, her voice gentle.


'I didn't touch him Mom, he was teasing me but I didn't do anything.'


'I 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.'


'A w-what?'


'When 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.’


'I 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.


Her 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.


'You're 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 smiled.


'Then why don't you go to it,' Charlotte snapped. 'Sorry, it's just all a bit much.'


'It's 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 them.'


'Okay,' Charlotte nodded.


***


That 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.



Chapter Two


It 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.


For 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 poisonous.


They were on their way to Miss Moffat's Academy and Charlotte knew that there was no going back.


'Will we be there soon?' she asked, wiping back a strand of hair off her sticky face.


'In about an hour sweetie, we'll stop off and grab a drink on-route.'


'If I don't like this school do I have to stay there?'


'You will like it, you're fortunate to have been offered a place.'


'Maybe they should have given it to someone else,' she said under her breath.


'Charlotte, it will be fine, you just have to be yourself and you'll settle right in.'


'Okay,' she sighed, the concern still sitting in the pit of her stomach.


Charlotte 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.


***


After 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.


'This is the furthest I can take you,' her mom said, as she leaned down and hugged her daughter.


'B-but it's a maze, I don't know where I'm going,' Charlotte looked at the narrow path between the high walls of greenery.



'It's the Entry Maze. It's part of the initiation process.'


'I'll get lost Mom, I can't do it.'


'Yes you can,' her mom grabbed her arms and looked directly at her. 'You can do this Charlotte, just follow your instinct.'


'But it's so big and I don't know where I'm going,' tears dripped down Charlotte’s cheeks.


'You'll 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.


''Okay 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.

Charlotte 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.


She 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.


'You 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.'


Charlotte 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.


The tree shook which made Charlotte jump off her feet and then six green faces appeared amongst the foliage.



'Hello 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.


'We will ask you a question each, answer them correctly to gain access to the Academy,' the second face said.

'Don't worry, I'm sure you'll pass with flying colors,' the second face gave a friendly chuckle.


'Let's begin with an easy one. What's your name?' the first face asked.


'Ch-Charlotte Symth,' she croaked out.


'Correct,' the first face boomed.


'What is the color of a witch’s hat?' the second face asked.


'Erm, black.'


'Correct.'


'What is the best mode of transport for a witch?' the third face asked.


'A broomstick,' she said confidently, beginning to think that these questions were a breeze.


'What is a witch’s preferred pet?' the fourth face said.


'Erm, a frog, no an owl.'


'Incorrect,' 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.'


She 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 world.


'A black cat.'


'Correct.'


'What do witches brew potions in?'


'Erm, a pot, no a cauldron.'


'Correct.'


'Nearly there, only this question to go. See if you can solve this riddle: What is a witch’s favorite subject?' the sixth face asked.


Charlotte 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.


'Potions.'


'Incorrect,' the sixth face boomed.


'Oh, erm flying.'


'Incorrect.'


'Okay,' 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 spelling?'


'Correct,' 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 leafy elephants.



'Cool,' she mouthed.


The maze vanished in front of her and in its place appeared a large field.


'Follow us,' the elephants said, before they began to plod along in front of her.


Charlotte 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.


'Is anyone home? Please can you let me in?' she shouted out, as she looked around for a door.


There 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 circled her.



'What are you doing here?' one of the warriors asked, as he pulled his sword out of its case.


‘I am, erm, I am a student here. I was in the maze and now I'm looking for the entrance.'

'An entrance,' the warrior laughed, before he turned to the warrior by him. 'You hear that Lancelot; she's looking for the entrance.'


'Please, the elephants, they brought me here. Well, they led me to the hole and I fell and-'


'Enough, you're giving me a headache,' a warrior holding a shield said.


'I can't hear myself think,' the third warrior said.


'Come on, this is enough,' the warrior known as Lancelot said.


'Spoilsport,' the first warrior said.


'Come 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.


'Yes, you're right,' the first warrior sighed. 'Very well, go on.'


'We've been expecting you,' the fourth warrior laughed, which caused the others to laugh too.


'Ignore those fools,' a squeaky voice said. She looked up to see several bats flying above her head. 'Follow us,' they squeaked.


By this stage she didn't even question the fact that the bats were talking. She simply followed them, eager and grateful to escape the stone warriors.


'Follow us, follow us,' they squeaked, as they flew straight through the solid stone wall beside the warriors’ platform.


Charlotte 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.


'Hurry up and follow us,' the bats squeaked out as they flew back out of the wall and then flew back through it again.


Taking 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.


'I 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.


'No, you have to walk through it.' It's squeak was decisive. 'Hurry, hurry, you have to come now.'


Charlotte 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.



Chapter Three


Pink Persian carpets covered the central part of the marbled floors that were under Charlotte's feet as she stood in the large, high ceilinged entrance hall.



She 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.


Charlotte had never been anywhere as impressive as this before and she found herself staring at it open-mouthed.

'Follow 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.


Charlotte 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.


They 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.


The 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.


An owl appeared and perched on the windowsill by the open window and it watched Charlotte intently as she looked around the room.



Apart from the beds, the only other items in the room were an intricately carved ornate gold mirror and an enormous wooden wardrobe.


'Don't open the wardrobe,' the owl hooted.


'Why not?' she asked, wondering why the wardrobe had been put there if she couldn't use it.


'Don't open the wardrobe,' the owl repeated, before it flew off outside.


Charlotte 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.


The 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.


'Hi, I'm Stef,' she smiled, as she studied the room.



'Charlotte. Pleased to meet you Stef.'


'So, we're going to need rules for this bedroom gig to work. No sitting on other beds or touching each other’s stuff!'


The door opened and again the bats flew in carrying bags, this time followed by a smiling girl, with curly blond hair.



'Hi, 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.'

'How old are you?' Stef put her hands on her waist as she looked questioningly at the young girl.


'They 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 for breath.


'That's cool,' Charlotte said.


'I 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 expression.


'It's only a year’s difference,' Charlotte said.


'I'm 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.


'Do you think anyone else will come and take that bed?' Stef asked curiously, as she gestured to the spare bed.


'I don't know,' Charlotte replied.


'Hopefully 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.'


'I wouldn't open that, there was an owl here and it said not to open it.'



'Whatever,' Stef rolled her eyes before pulling open the doors.


A 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.


A 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.


'Newbies,' she tutted, before she waved her wand in the girls' direction. 'Entario.'


Stef 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.


Charlotte and Gerty both giggled and Stef stared at them sternly, which caused them both to fall silent.


'I 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 looking embarrassed.



'Oh, there's still one more girl to come to this room,' she turned and said after she'd reached the door. 'Alice Smithers.'


'What's she like?' Gerty asked.


'You'll have to wait and see,' she shrugged, a smirk on her face, as she left the room.

'Are you okay?' Charlotte asked Stef.


'Yeah, fine,' she said defensively.


'Wasn't 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.


'I think it'll be awhile before you learn powerful spells, I mean you are only ten,' Steff replied.


'You're already pretty, Gerty, you don't need to look like Molly,' Charlotte said.


'Thanks, I think you're both really pretty too and I love your hair,' she replied, which caused Charlotte to instinctively pat down her hair.


'Yeah, I suppose you look okay,' Stef shrugged.


'You guys are so nice. I hope Alice is nice too.'


'Yeah, 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.


A loud bell rang out which startled Charlotte as she looked at the other girls. Just then the owl swooped into the room.


'Follow me to the meeting room,' the owl hooted and the girls nodded before following it out of the room.


They 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 rows.


There 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.



'I've never seen this many witches before,' Gerty said, as she peered over her shoulder. 'It's so exciting.'


'How 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.


'It shouldn't be long,' Charlotte replied, looking up at the grey-bricked walls that had a row of colored shields displayed on them.

This 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.



Chapter Four


The 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 beside her.


Her 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.



Then, with a welcoming smile, she sat down on the chair and placed her arms elegantly on the rests.


'Hello 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.


This 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.


When 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-'


The 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.



'Good 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.


'And who, are you?' Miss Moffat asked.


'I am Alice, Alice Smithers. I presumed you would have known that.'


'You presumed wrong,' Miss Moffat replied.


Alice was about to say something else when Molly rushed over to her and led her over to Charlotte and the others.


'These are your room-mates,' Molly said.


'Oh, I'll be wanting my own room.'


'You 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.


The 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.


'As 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 ordinaries.


'There is a strict code of conduct at this Academy that you must follow.' Miss Moffat continued in a strict tone.


Dozens of scrolls flew in the door and floated in the air before the students.



Miss Moffat went through each point.


‘You must all treat each other and the members of staff with respect.’ Her eyes focused on Alice as she made this statement.


‘No dark or black magic will be tolerated in this Academy.’


‘The Academy's reputation as a school for refined young witches is to be upheld at all times.'


'It'd 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.


'Excuse 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.


'This 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.


1st offence- a wart will appear on your face.


2nd- Your nose will grow, by how much is determined by the severity of your misadventure.


3rd- Your laugh shall change to that of a witch’s cackle.


4th- Your skin shall turn green.


5th- Your eyes shall turn bright red and bloodshot.


6th- The final warning. The word naughty shall appear on your forehead and will remain there for an entire month.


The severity and timing of these punishments will depend on the code of conduct violation. In other words, the naughtier you are, the worse the consequence.'


Alice once again lifted up her hand.


'Yes Miss Smithers?' Miss Moffat said in a sarcastic tone.


'What happens if you are naughty after the sixth consequence?'


'Then 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.


The 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 Witchery College.


Charlotte 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.


'Go 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.


The hall instantly erupted into noise as all the girls began talking to each other.


'I 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.


'Mind where you're treading with your big feet, these shoes are one-of-a-kind,' Alice demanded.


'Come on guys,' Stef ignored Alice's comment.


They all stood and joined Stef, following the crowd of girls out of the hall, excited at the prospect of their futures in this school.



Chapter Five


It 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 of it.


'Did 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.


'How can she be that old?' Charlotte asked.


'By magic of course,' Stef snorted.


'I'm new to this magic world so I didn't know.'


'That's okay, I can teach you,' Gerty smiled.


'Thanks, I'd like that.'


'I'll have that bed by the window,' Alice said, as she walked over to Stef's bed and sat down on it.


'Erm, no you won't, that bed’s already been claimed by me. First come, first served,' Stef said.


'I 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!


'Clearly not,' Stef rolled her eyes.


'If I can't have my own room then I should at least get to pick which bed I have and I want this one.'


'Well 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.'


'I'm not having that one, it's the worst placed bed in the room,' Alice argued.


'Your 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.


'This 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.


Stef sneaked over to the door and peered around it, followed by Gerty and Charlotte. They watched Alice storm off down the hallway.


'Where's she going?' Charlotte asked.


'Probably to ring up Mommy and Daddy and complain about the awful treatment she's been receiving here,' Stef put on a posh voice.


Gerty and Charlotte shared a look as if to say that Stef had gone too far and Stef caught sight of it.


'Relax, 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.'


Charlotte 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.


She 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 dad.


Charlotte 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.



'I'm Sonya and this is my sister Silvia, we're prefects here at the Academy. According to Alice, someone's stolen her bed,' the taller girl said.


'Erm, 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.'


'I 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!



'If 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.


'The problem is that it's not the bed I want,' Alice complained.


'Well you should have got here earlier then,' Stef said.


'Alice, we suggest that you calm down and try to fit in,' Silvia said, before they both turned around and headed out of the room.


'But 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 it.


'Where are the servants? It's positively awful that I'm expected to unpack this myself.'


'Just get on with it.' Stef rolled her eyes. She'd finished her own packing and was now lying on her bed.


Alice 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.


'Don't open that, it's like a wind tunnel in there, it'll suck you in,' Gerty blurted out.


'Don't be ridiculous. Why would they put a dangerous wardrobe in my bedroom?' Alice said smugly.


'It's not your bedroom, it's our bedroom and Gerty's right, so don't open it,' Stef said.


'Why should I believe you?'


'Because you don't want to end up with a first offence and a wart on your face, do you?' Stef grinned.


Alice rubbed her freckly nose before she walked back over to her bed and put her pile of clothes down onto it.


'There's a drawer under your bed,' Charlotte said.


Alice nodded before sitting on her knees and pulling the drawer out. She studied it before reluctantly unpacking her case and placing her clothes inside.


Once everyone had finished unpacking an awkward silence fell over the room and no one seemed to know what to say or do.


'Why don't we all tell each other a little bit about ourselves?' Charlotte suggested nervously, breaking the silence. The other girls all nodded.


'Okay, 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.


'I'll go next,' Gerty said, as she hopped up and bounced from one leg to the other. 'Hi, I'm Gertrude Baggs, Gerty for short-'


'What a horrible, ugly name,' Alice interrupted.


'Shush,' Stef shot Alice a stern look.


'I like your name,' Charlotte said.


'Thanks,' 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,' she grinned.


'I am super excited to be here in a proper castle with real life witches and I can't wait for lessons to begin.'


'Me 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.


'Mommy 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 lady.'


There were snorts and giggles from the other girls after Alice had finished talking.


'I'm Stephanie Jolly, Stef for short.'


'Jolly certainly doesn't suit your personality.' Alice really didn’t have any tact.


Charlotte grabbed one of the pillows off her bed and threw it across the room at her, hitting her on the head.


'I can't believe you just did that,' Alice dropped the pillow by her side. 'I shall be keeping that pillow.'


'Give 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.


Soon 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.


Gerty 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.


'Settle 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 behind her.


The 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.


'Hi, 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 names?'


'I'm 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 even more.



'We're 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.


'Act like grown-ups,' Stef mimicked the girl’s voice, before she flicked her own hair.


Charlotte picked up a pillow and threw it at Stef and they all burst into laughter again.


'I must do something adult-like, such as reading an educational book before dinner is served,' Stef said.


'Or get rid of the creases in the sheets,' Gerty laughed.


'Or sit here in silence and be a picture of decorum,' Charlotte sat down on her bed and crossed her legs and pouted her lips.


'Oh how lovely and adult-like you are,' Stef laughed.


Alice couldn't hide her smile as she shook her head and picked up a pillow.


'You should be picking up all my pillows and pumping them up, seeing as you're the ones who threw them at me.'


'No chance,' Stef grinned. 'Hey, it could be worse. You could be sharing a room with Margaret Montgomery and her minion.'


'Shush, she'll hear you,' Charlotte giggled.


'You must act like a grown-up Charlotte,' Stef laughed, as she again flicked back both sides of her hair.


'Does anyone know what time dinner is, I'm so hungry,' Gerty said, putting her hand to her stomach.


'I don't know,' Stef shrugged and Charlotte shook her head.


'At 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 Alaska.


'I'm happy with fries and a burger,' Stef said.


'Me too,' Charlotte said. ‘With lots of mayo.'


'Marshmallow ice cream with extra chocolate sauce,' Gerty said licking her lips. 'Ah, now I'm even hungrier.'


'I 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.'


'I'm sure you'll be fine,' Stef smirked.


A bell rang loudly and they all hopped up and looked at each other excitedly, before they headed for the door.


'All 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.'


Stef 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.


Alice 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.


'Excuse me, but you can't sit there. Don't you dare ever sit there again,' she glared at her.


'Yeah, you're too ugly and no way near cool enough to ever associate with us,' Demi smirked.


Alice 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.


The 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.


Charlotte 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 ordinary.


'Welcome to the first dinner of this academic year, we shall start as we always do by saying the witches’ creed,' Miss Moffat said.


As she began to speak, the other witches joined in:


'Witches old and witches young

owls and bats and black cats too.

Come together in this castle

to bring out the best in you.


With perfect love and perfect trust

we learn the spells and witches' rules.

Acting for the good of all

now let’s eat in this great hall.'


Charlotte 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.


As 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.


Charlotte 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.


The 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.


When 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.


'I so need to learn that spell,' Stef said, and Charlotte and Gerty nodded in agreement.


'Now 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.


Charlotte 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.


'I 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.


'This castle is huge and I'm excited to see more of it,' Charlotte whispered to Gerty.



'Me too.'


'Welcome 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-'


'You get you own room?' Alice rudely interrupted.


'Yes 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.'


'Fat chance,' Margaret whispered snidely which caused Demi to giggle.


'This 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.


They followed Molly out of the meeting hall and into the depths of the castle.



Chapter Six


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 themselves.


'This 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.


'Excuse me but where are the dryers?' Alice asked.


'Erm, the sun,' Molly pointed out of the window at several long clotheslines.


'What, we have to carry our wet clothes all the way out there and hang them up ourselves?'


'Yes you do.'


'That's 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.'


Molly 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.


'I probably shouldn't have done that but she was driving me crazy,' Molly shrugged and all the other girls looked at her…shocked.


Charlotte bent down and picked up Alice, cupping her in her hands.


'That will shut her up for a while,' Margaret said to Demi and they both sniggered.


'It's probably best you keep hold of her so she doesn't get trampled,' Molly said, as she walked towards the door.


Gerty bent down and bundled up Alice's clothes, before she followed the others.


'We 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.



'Alice, 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.



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