The Goldrose School for Girls. Ch 5. Not for readers under 16. *Drug references.

Chapter Five

The effects of the magical mushrooms hits me instantly after a wave of light-headedness that has only lasted ten minutes. Daffodil and Canola are nowhere to be seen, and Hark is staring at me like there is something on my face.
“What?” I say, looking at him.
“You feel it.” He is smiling. He grabs my hand. “Come.” He says, pulling me up to him. I leave my empty wine glass on the wooden boxseat. He takes me over to the black wrought iron fencing, and with his wand he disintegrates a small portion of it, so there is a large gap in it.
“We are going to jump. Together. I’ve done this before. I promise you. You won’t die.” Hark says, holding my hand.
“What? Jump off the roof? Are you crazy?” I ask.
“Raina and Wolfe just did it and they’re fine. Didn’t you see?” He asks, and I peer into the dark distance of the night sky where Raina and Wolfe are flying over houses while making out.
“No way!” I say, suddenly excited.
“Yes way. Come on. Come stand next to me.” Hark pulls me into him tightly, holds me around the waist, and pulls me off the rooftop. I expect us to fall and land on the road below us, but for some reason – we don’t. We soar through the night sky, holding hands, broomless, and weightless. The colours painting the night sky remind me of the Aurora Borealis – the sky also known as the Northern Lights, that I have only heard about, and seen in books and in movies, but never seen in real life.
“We’re going to Dark Forest Cove. Some cafes there are still open. We can all grab hot chocolate.” Hark smiles, gliding alongside me.
“Can’t the wilted see us?” I ask, looking at the streets below.
“Nope. That’s the great thing about rook mushrooms – they keep you in our realm.” He smiles.
“But we can’t fly without brooms in our realm.” I say.
“We can. We are. Nobody ever tells you about this.” He winks, and kisses my forehead effortlessly.
“Why not?”
“For obvious reasons Saffra – it’s dangerous.”
“Derr. I see that. Normal bloomers and rooks can’t just fly without brooms.”
“No, they can’t. Which is why, sometimes, we need a little more magic.” He emphasises the second syllable in magic, and all of a sudden we are soaring faster than ever before, and my hair is blowing all around my face, and I can barely see, but it’s the most wonderful feeling, and the sky is changing colour all around me; one moment it is bright orange, and then it’s pink, and then it’s green, and then it’s yellow, and the moon really does have a face, and a smile too, and a voice, and his name is Sir Whitelore, and he says he is a rook, and he is glad to meet me, and how do I do?
“Who are you talking to?” Hark asks me.
“The moon,” I say, in a complete dreamland, that exists inside my mind.
“What a crazy little flower you are!” Hark says, planting his mouth over mine, the kiss is quite sweet. Which other year twelve bloomer gets to kiss handsome boys in the sky? Well, Raina, maybe.
He winds his fingers through my untameable hair, and scrapes strands of it out of my face; it’s a constant battle between him and the wind, and all the while his left arm has never left my waist, and all the while we have been soaring, across the Melbourne skyline, the Wilted completely oblivious to the flying bloomers and rooks, who take advantage of mother nature, and what she has to offer. Hark floats closer and closer to the ground until our feet touch down on Swanston Street, well Dark Forest Cove, in our realm. A few cafes are still open for business, which is something Raina and I would never have guessed, seeing as all the cafes in Peach Blossom Lane all close at ten in the evening.
“You’ve been here before right?” Hark asks me, tucking some hair behind my ear.
“I have, but only during the day. Never this late at night.” I say.
“You’ll be fine with us. We don’t bite. Much.” He winks, and we walk into the cafe called Frogspawn behind Raina and Wolfe, who find a table in the back corner; a black leather booth.
Hark orders four Firestix and come and slides into the booth beside me, stuffing his wallet back into his jacket pocket, an placing his wand on the table next to all of ours.
“Amazing huh?” Raina asks me, from across the table.
“Yeah – amazing. No wonder you have been doing this.” I sit, sitting back and relaxing, feeling the effects wear off.
“See? There’s nothing to it.” Raina smiles.
“I wonder where Daffodil and Canola went?” I say.
“What do you mean?” Raina asks.
“When the mushrooms started working I looked up and they were gone.”
“No, they weren’t. They were sitting right in front of you laughing at the fire…” Raina says.
“Really? Oh. I couldn’t see them… maybe it was the mushrooms?” I say.
“Yeah, maybe. They affect everyone in different ways..” Raina says.
“So how was that for your first time anyway?” Wolfe asks me, and our four glasses of Firestix arrive at our table and place themselves down in front of each of us. The bright red bubbling drink smells amazing under my nose, and I pick it up and inhale the scents of cranberry, pomegranate and cinnamon.
“Yum! I bet you guys have these every day.” I say, sipping it carefully so as not to burn my tongue.
“Nah, not every day. But whenever we come shopping.” Hark says winking at me.
“I hear you girls have homegroup still?” Wolfe says, sipping his drink.
“Yep. Every morning.” Raina says.
“It’s a bit silly, don’t you think? Having homegroup in year twelve? We don’t have it anymore.” Wolfe says.
“You don’t?” I ask.
“No, Mr Gaberforth thinks it’s unneccessary in year twelve. We could spend that extra half an hour in the morning studying.” Wolfe explains.
“Yeah, but do you guys actually study?” I say.
“Nope.” Wolfe laughs. “We spend it out flying over the oval.” He adds, smirking, waiting for our reactions.
“Of course you do! You have flying like every day, I bet!” Raina says.
“Yep. Well we don’t have all the classes you girls have so we are very lucky.” Hark kisses my hair and then takes a sip of his drink.
“Which classes don’t you have?” Raina is intrigued.
“Cardsight, Treesight or Teasight. They all stopped last year.” Wolfe smiles.
“Really? That’s so unfair! Raina we should complain to grandma Bergamot! Granpa Thistlethorn is treating the boys differently.” I say, not really caring that the boys don’t have those classes anymore. Raina doesn’t say anything. She just laughs.
“Yeah. Our teachers think those classes are more for girls so they stop them in year eleven and then we have more PE.” Wolfe explains.
“Well, that’s fine. I don’t like flying that much anyway.” I say, sipping my drink.
“Don’t you? I love it. I can’t live without flying…” Hark says, smiling.
“Ah we don’t have wandart either!” Wolfe throws that in quickly.
“Really? We do. Golly you boys have it easy! That leaves you with, like, five subjects you have to worry about!” Raina says.
“It does. But our Global Magic and Government exams at the end of the year are much harder than yours.” Wole explains.
“That’s so sexist! Do they think we are dumb or something?” I ask.
“Nah, I don’t think so. It’s more just that more males choose those areas of study at university level, and they want to pick apart the idiots from the smarties.”
“Fair enough. I don’t think our great-grandparents have much say when it comes to the curriculum anyway. The Ministry for Education dictate everything, so yeah.” I say, not really fussed.
“That they do. That they do.” Wolfe smiles, finishing his Firestix and setting his empty glass back down on the yellow pinewood table. His glass floats away back to the cafe kitchen where it will be spell-washed.
“I hope Begonia doesn’t care that we ditched her party.” Raina says.
“I doubt she will even notice that we have gone.” I say, laughing.
“Is it true that a teacher from your school went missing the other day?” Hark asks.
“Yeah Miss Graveberry disappeared.” Raina says.
“Shit. That’s pretty bad. What’s your principal doing about it?” Wolfe asks.
“Ms Freestone told the Minister about it and they cast a reversing spell. There were a few casualties.” I say, sticking out my bottom lip, and feigning sadness.
“Like who besides Miss Graveberry?” Hark asks.
“My wandart piece on music. I’ll never get it back.” I say, in a sooky voice.
“Oh no. That’s crap. Yeah, wand art never survives reversing spells. When I was a kid Dad had to reverse a whole day at home just so he could find the car keys that Magnolia had hidden. She was two years old, and had no idea she had even hidden them. She was just learning to talk and must have copied something she had heard Mum say. Dad was so annoyed, and Mum was like laughing at him the whole day. I was laughing too, until he cast the reversing spell, and I realised the awesome Vicious Veers drawing I had done with my wand had been erased. I cried my little head off. I was seven at the time, I think.” Hark says. It’s a cute story.
“See? Now you know how I feel.” I say.
“Magnolia just started year seven two days ago right?” Raina asks, smiling.
“She did. She’s in Greenleaf House.” Hark says.
“Yeah. She is. I heard. Nixie told me.” Raina says.
“Oh yeah? When did you see her?”
“Yesterday morning before school. She snuck me some chocolate stars for free.” Raina smiles.
“Yeah, she is awesome like that.” Hark says, thinking of his older cousin Nixie Brithefennel who owns her own chocolate shop in Peach Blossom Lane.
“What’s the time?” I ask, not wearing my watch.
“Two.” Wolfe says after checking his.
“Two? Shit. I’ve gotta go home. Mum will be wondering where I am.” I say, instantly standing up.
“We can take you home.” Wolfe says, standing up as well, and letting Raina out of the booth.
“We have to go by Begonia’s and get our brooms.” Raina says.
“Where are they?” Wolfe asks.
“In her front garden with everyone else’s.” Raina replies.
“Oh. Can you text one of the girls, and get them to move them to our realm, and I’ll just summon them here?” Wolfe asks.
“Yeah I guess. I’ll call Sage. Hopefully she answers.” I say. I tap on Sage’s number in my phone, and she answers straight away.
“Hey! Where are you? You’re missing the party!” She says, clearly intoxicated. She is already eighteen.
“Raina and I are out with Wolfe and Hark from Meridian. Can you please do me a favour?”
“Yeah…”
“Can you please get mine and Raina’s broom from Begonia’s front garden and take them onto the roof with you?” I ask.
“Yeah. Are you coming to get them?”
“We are going to summon them.” I say.
“Okay cool. Alright. Well, I’ll go get them now. See you at school.”
“See you tomorrow. Bye.” I say, ending the call.
“Yeah. No worries. All done.” I say, following the boys and Raina out of Frogspawn, and breathing in the cool early morning air.
***
Raina goes to the letterbox and gets the mail and comes back inside. Aunty Alyssum is at their kitchen table eating breakfast while Rompus and Omneri weave in and out, near her feet, hoping she will give them some of the salmon that’s on her Cruskits. When the boys dropped us off at Raina’s house the night before, I crashed on her couch straight away, and so I stayed the night, and woke this morning to find Aunty Alyssum had removed my shoes and had draped the sofa blanket over me.
“Mum, there’s a letter here addressed to you. It’s from the Ministry in Canberra.” Raina says, handing her mum a plain white very nondescript-looking envelope. I’m sitting on the couch, rubbing my eyes and scratching sleep off the skin in the corners. Aunty Alyssum and Raina haven’t been on the best speaking terms since Raina muted her yesterday during school hours. It turns out Aunty Alyssum had to run to our principal’s office, communicate with her by writing notes in the air with her wand explaining to Mrs Freestone what Raina had done to her, and then request the magic from the past ten minutes be reversed so that she had a voice to teach her classes for the rest of the day. Mrs Freestone obviously obliged and phoned Canberra for their permission to cast a reversing spell on a colleague. She really didn’t have a choice. She was one teacher down as it was. Minister Ackley Brindlehorn was aware of the preceding events that caused Raina to mute her own mother anyhow. And if Aunty Alyssum had have been any other teacher, instead of her mother, Raina would have been expelled from Goldrose.
“I’m going to have a shower,” I say, rubbing Omneri’s head and scratching him between the ears and then trudging upstairs to Raina’s bathroom. After showering, I borrow some of Raina’s underwear, and put my bra back on, and then help myself to her Goldrose uniform. It’s a good thing we are both an Australia size ten. And it’s a good thing she doesn’t mind sharing. We are the only cousins either of us has, so we are extremely close. Although we do want to kill one another sometimes.
“Mum and I have an appointment with the Minister for Unusual Abilities this afternoon at four o’clock after school. They say Mum and I can disappear there. Mum has their permission to disappear there with me, just this once. Cool huh?” Raina looks happy.
“Well, it saves money for a plane ticket, that’s for sure.” I say, pouing myself a glass of coke.
“Planes are for Wilted. Ready to go?” Raina asks me.
“Yep.” I say, sticking my wand into the side pocket in Raina’s school skirt that I’m wearing.
“Just think, when we turn eighteen, we will be able to disappear to all of our next classes. No more walking. Woohoo.” Raina says, as we walk out the front door and let it slam behind us, intentionally so the cats aren’t let out.
“That’s still two months away,” I say, thinking of Raina’s March birthday and mine in June.
***
Miss Iris Cookwell is standing in front of her bench in her Potions classroom in building two, singing, with a sweet smelling odour bubbling away in her cauldron. It’s a very inviting smell – smells almost good enough to drink without even knowing what it is. She is a very short, stout woman of fifty with bright neon green hair, which she dyes, because she’s a fan of the colour, and also because her favourite singer is Chysanthemum Nettle and she dyes her hair neon green.
“They said, you would come, and steal me away, and now a spell ruins my day, with a word, and a wink, you flew away, and that was the end of my reverie.” She actually has a very beautiful voice.
“Miss – you should be a singer.” I tell her, as I set my potions set down on my bench in front of me. Raina dumps hers beside mine.
“Ay, give over. I’m not that good pet.” She says, a hint of her English accent creeping through, despite the fact she migrated to Melbourne with her husband forty years ago. Raina starts humming the song Miss Iris Cookwell was singing.
“When everybody decides to get here, I am going to teach you all how to make a potion to alleviate period pain.” Great. Just what we all need. This would have been helpful in year eight when we all got our periods. Instead of now, when we are all in year twelve and in our last year. Good thing our mothers aren’t stupid and can cook potions at home on the stove. But I don’t tell Miss Cookwell that.
Everyone arrives – all eight of us, who are in our potions class – and the clattering and chinking of glass against glass can be heard around the room.
“Right now. We are going to make a potion that gets rid of your period pain. Fill your beakers with one hundred mls of water.” Miss Cookwell tells us all. And with our wands we fill our largest beakers with one hundred mls of plain cold water, and then whilst they are sitting in their wrought iron framework, we set them over open flames built into the bench which is made from maple wood.
“Bring your water to the boil.” We tap the beakers with our wands and they all start boiling the water they hold in them.
“Drop two teaspoons of Blackstrap Mollasses into the water, stirring it with your wands until it has dissolved properly.” We do as we are told. We direct the stainless steel teaspoons into the glass jars of mollasses, scooping out the right amount and then dropping the teaspoons into the beakers and pulling them back out again. We hold our wands in our right hands, making small circular motions above our glass beakers so that it knows to stir the liquid it holds.
“Add a teaspoon of ginger, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of basil, and stir.” We follow her instructions using the ingredients provided on our benches.
“Now chop up the fennel into small fine pieces on your boards. I want nice fine pieces.” We make chopping motions with our wands above the fennel sticks, over and over again, until the fennel is fine enough that it meets Miss Cookwell’s standards.
“Throw this into the beaker. Add your four teaspoons of honey and then your lemon juice.” We tip the chopping board’s contents into our beakers with our wands, and then clatter them back down onto the benches when the fennel has all gone. We add four teaspoons of honey to our beakers then squeeze the crap out of two cut-up lemons each, finishing off the recipe. Everyone stirs their concoctions, and turns down the boil. We tap our beakers with our wands to force them to cool down. When they have cooled down we hold them in our hands and pour the liquid into six little glass bottles that each have cork stoppers in them, so that we can take our potions home and drink them when we actually have our periods. I push the corks into all the bottles and then stack them back into their black metal holder. They chink away like crazy but don’t break. We make seven more other unrelated potions after the first one and after having a double potions lesson the bell goes for recess.
***
I say goodbye to Aunty Alyssum and Raina inside Aunty Alyssum’s office, as they prepare to disappear and go to Canberra for a very important meeting to talk about Raina seeing something in homegroup that nobody else saw. No doubt Mum and I will hear all about it the second they are back in Melbourne and in our realm. I don’t have any homework tonight so I leave my school bag, pencil case and diary in my locker, and close my locker door. I stick my wand in my skirt pocket, pull on my blazer, and make sure I have my Myki card on me.I want to be able to get home tonight with no hiccups. I leave through the school gates and walk down Peach Blossom Lane. All the shops are still open until five which is good for girls like me who finish school at three thirty. I get a take away chai latte from Cinnamon, and wander in and out of the clothing stores – the clothing is amazing and a lot of it is above my price range. I really do need to start thinking about getting a part time job during the evenings even though I don’t really need one because Mum does make enough money. But that doesn’t mean she gives me more pocket money than I deserve either.
I pop into Dew’s Denim and Aster’s Apparel, which is my favourite clothing store, to see what they are both selling. At the moment there is a lot of grey in store which is really nice – it suits me. Aster’s have the most adorable longsleeve light grey velvet jacket selling for eighty dollars. I run over to Mum’s shop, and find Mum standing behind the counter staring at her computer.
“Hey lovey. How are you? What time did you get home last night?” Mum asks me, leaning over the glass counter and kissing me on the cheek. Zinnia comes out carrying two mugs of coffee and puts these on coasters on top of the glass counter.
“Oh hello Saff. How are you darl?” She asks me. She’s around forty five – roughly the same age as mum. she has a tanned complexion and a pointy nose.
“Hello Zin. I’m good thanks. I’ve just seen the nicest light grey velvet jacket in Aster’s. Mum, can I please have eight bucks?” I ask, excitement in my voice.
“Eighty? That’s quite pricey for a velvet jacket darling.” Mum says, her specs on the end of her nose while she goes through the day’s takings on her computer screen.
“I know, but it’s gorgeous!” I say, in love with it completely.
“Alright. I’ll give you my wand. But don’t spend any more than eighty okay?” Mum says, handing me her wand so I can pay wave my purchase.
“Thank you mamma, you’re the best – I love you!” I give her a big kiss on her cheek, run out of the shop, letting the door clang closed behind me, and I run back into Aster’s and straight to the velvet jacket and look for a medium. I find a medium, and pull it off the rack and go up to the counter to pay for it. There is a black cat sitting on the counter just staring at me. In the next moment, a lady pops through the doorway behind the counter with a big grin on her face.
“Lovely. It’s a beautiful jacket isn’t it? They only just came in yesterday.” She says, taking the jacket off the hanger, and wrapping it in tissue paper for me.
“Yes, I just saw it and I knew I had to have it. My mum is Delphinium, so I just ran over there and told her about it.”
“Oh, you’re Delphinium’s daughter! It’s nice to meet you Saffra. I’m Nave. I have heard all about you. We sometimes chat to eachother when it’s quiet during the day. But someone is always after school supplies so your Mum is never very quiet for long.” She says.
“No, she isn’t.” I laugh, holding Mum’s wand, ready.
“That’ll be eighty dollars please. Paywave just here.” She points to a red light on a small banking machine. I wave Mum’s wand over the light and it turns green.
“Approved. Wonderful. Alright, well you have a fantastic evening okay darling?” She says, handing me my jacket in a silk-purple cloth-sack with gold rope ties.
“I will. Thanks. You too.” I leave the store, and pop back over to Mum’s shop and sit down with her. I may as well waste an hour until five so that Mum and I can catch the train home together.
“Well, show it to me then.” Mum says, her glasses on properly now. I take the tissue paper off the jacket, rip my arms out of my blazer and throw my blazer over the counter for a second so I can try the jacket on.
“Oh it’s very nice Saff. Excellent pick. Yes, I’m happy with that. You do have a good eye.” Phew. Thank goodness. Mum approves.
“It is a very nice jacket Saff.” Zinnia agrees, and sips her coffee.
“So do you know when Aunty Alyssum and Raina will get back?” I ask Mum, looking at my phone, at all the BloomerPix my classmates have been sharing with us all.
“No. No idea. I spoke to Alyssum during lunch. She doesn’t know how long their meeting will go for. So it’s anyone’s guess really.” Mum says, putting some new school books on a shelf for selling.
“Oh ok. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Maybe they will put Raina on the register thingy.” I say.
“Maybe. We will have to wait and see.” Mum exhales, and sits down on the chair behind the counter.
“Do you know anyone who can see things nobody else can see Mum?” I ask, crossing my stockinged legs.
“Yes, your great grandmother Bergamot. But don’t dare mention it to her, because she will deny it.”
“Oh. Why?” I ask.
“It’s not a trait she’s proud to have. She has seen some things in her time she can never unsee.” Mum says, sipping her coffee.
“Oh, she has never said. Well that’s sad. Is she on the ministry register?” I ask.
“No, and I don’t think she would want to be on it either. She doesn’t like spectacle.”
“I know. She never has.”
“How was Begonia’s party darling? Did you have a good time? Alyssum told me you two got home at two thirty. That’s pretty late. How did you manage to wake up for school?”
“Yeah. The party was awesome. She had homemade Firestix – non-alcoholic of course – and finger food, and a professional music-caster. It was good.”
“Alyssum told me some boys brought you home…”
“Yeah. They did. Raina and I made two friends with two Meridian boys. Wolfe and Hark.” I smile, after saying Hark’s name.
“Hark Basswood? He is my brother-in-law’s nephew.” Zinnia says, looking at the ceiling while she tries to work out how they are related.
“Oh. Is he? Well, it’s a small world isn’t it?” I say, happily surprised.
“Yes, it is, yes, it is.” Zinnia smiles.
“It’s always going to be a small world as long as there are only two schools for bloomers and rooks. Always. I hear New York has seven schools just within the city itself.” Mum says.
“Melbourne doesn’t really need any more than two Mum. Our whole bloomer-rook population is only what… like, ten thousand?” I ask, trying to remember what I learned in school.
“Something like that…” Mum agrees.
“There are four million people in Melbourne and we are unaccounted for on the Wilted census…” Zinnia says.
“Do we have a census?” I ask.
“My word we do. Dahlia Derefelle would have a fit if she couldn’t keep her eye on everyone.” Mum says.
“It’s such a big brother world. Wilted, gifted, it doesn’t matter what you are. Someone always knows your business.” Zinnia says.
“This is why I won’t use BloomerPix. Saffra’s always sending photos on it and I just refuse. Our ministry has access to those photos you send, you know?” Mum says, for like the ninety-nineth time.
“I know. Don’t worry. I keep them all PG-rated.” I grin stupidly.
“I would bloody hope so!” Mum gives me the look.
Suddenly Aunty Alyssum and Raina appear inside Mum’s shop, drenched and shivering.
“You wouldn’t believe the weather in Canberra! My goodness!” Aunty Alyssum says, running her hands through her hair to flick out all the drops of water.
“That had to be the most awesome thing I have ever done!” Raina says, hugging me. “Sorry, now you’re all wet.” She says.
“Sure beats flying in this weather, that’s for sure.” I give Aunty Alyssum my chair, and Raina and I lean against some columns holding up the ceiling facing Mum.
“So, give us the goss. What did they say?” Mum asks Aunty Alyssum, very chipperly.
“Well, they seem to think Raina has a very useful ability and they said the younger it shows itself the stronger it will become over time. Many people don’t start seeing things until they’re in their forties, but, I mean, Raina’s only seventeen. Look at Grandma Bergamot Delph. She was fifty when she started seeing stuff. They’re adding Raina to the Ministry Register for Unusual Abilities.”
“How do you feel about her being on this register Lyss?” Mum asks, she looks worried.
“Well Dahlia assured me that all of our private information will remain confidential, and nobody will be able to find out who is on the register and who isn’t. So she’s not to go around school blabbing it to everyone.” Aunty Alyssum gives Raina the look as she says this.
“Do they know anything more about Lachoula’s disappearance?” Mum asks.
“Well, if they do, they didn’t say. But they want Raina to help them with some of their investigations and things. She will be paid for her time, they said.”
“Well, that’s pretty good then. And what about her school work? Will it interfere with that?” Mum asks.
“They said it will, but whatever she falls behind in, they said, all her teachers will know that it has been because she’s working for the ministry.”
“Right. Right. Do you want to come to our place for dinner?” Mum asks.
“Why not?” Aunty Alyssum says.
“Saffra can you please change the sign on the door?” Mum asks me, and I go to the front shop door and turn the metal sign so that it reads closed. It has just hit five o’clock. Mum turns off all the lights, and we five women walk out of the shop and into Peach Blossom Lane.
“Goodnight.” Zinnia says, and she heads in a different direction to us.
“Goodnight,” We all say back.
We walk out of Peach Blossom Lane and it becomes The Royal Arcade at the exit. We wind our way through the city and head toward Melbourne Central Station so that we can skip passing through most of the city loop.
At the station we all touch our travel cards to the entry points, and when the gates lift up, we pass through them. Our train to Brunswick is so packed I am surprised we can even get on it. Raina and I stand facing eachother, so closely together, we are almost touching.
“You’re still wearing my uniform.” She says.
“Yep. I am. I’ll give it back to you when we get home.” I say.
“What do you want for dinner?” Mum asks me.
“Butterchicken.” I say. It’s my favourite.
***
We are greeted by Farley and Briar as soon as we get in, and I bend down onto my stockinged knees and scratch their heads. They have missed us. Raina dumps her school bag in the hallway, kicks off her shoes, and goes upstairs into the kitchen behind Mum and Aunty Alyssum. I go into my bedroom, get changed, and fold Raina’s uniform neatly to give it back to her – tie and all.
“We had potions today.” I tell Mum, watching her pull ingredients out of the fridge and the pantry for Butterchicken with her wand, and watching Farley and Briar’s eyes zoom after every new item that lands onto the middle bench.
“Oh yeah? And what did you make?” Mum asks.
“A potion for period pain. A potion for the common cold. A potion for confidence. A potion to make someone funny and quick-witted. A potion to make people believe anything you say. A potion for remembering dreams. And what was the other one Raina?” I ask.
“A potion to clear up your skin.” Raina remembers that one.
“Oh yeah. That’s right.” I smile. Aunty Alyssum turns the TV on with her wand. The magical news is on, and she increases the volume because something has caught her eye.
“It is the second disappearance of a bloomer in three days. Ministry officials are asking that we all remain vigilante and if possible, for parents to walk their children to and from school to ensure that their travel is not intercepted in any way, by either wilted or gifted persons.” The female reporter stops talking and the segment ends.
“Raina, did you just see who that was?” I am speechless. I can’t believe my eyes. Hark’s little sister. Magnolia Basswood.

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