Chapter One Becoming a Witch
I never fit in well at school. To be honest, I didn't fit in with anyone my age. Blame it on genetics, blame it on being raised by a single mom; whatever the reason, I struggled to bond with my classmates. Sure I had friends, I guess, but they all found me so plain and shy, no one pushed to really get to know me.
And then the twins arrived. It was May of my 8th grade year at Explorer Middle School in Phoenix, AZ. It was just before the first bell that I spotted them across the quad. Two thin, graceful red heads immerged from the front office and strolled idly to the lockers near the gym. The girl was average height, made mostly of legs, legs that were tightly wrapped in a knee length, black pencil skirt and black leather boots. Although only an inch of skin showed between the boots and skirt, the outfit left little to the imagination. Her top was a deep, midnight blue bodice with lace trailing down past her elbows. White satin gloves picked up where the lace ended, but stopped at the palm to reveal long delicate fingers and ten outrageous rings. The tall, lanky boy was equally unique. He wore navy converse hoes with dark blue jeans hugging at his narrow hips. His long sleeved white button down shirt was untucked and missing the top two buttons. A wine red vest and over the shoulder book bag completed the outfit. I had never seen anything like them.
Sure, we had rebellious groups, however rebellious you could get with a mostly white, upper middle class school. But these two dripped trouble and saturated the air with mischief. By second period I had heard all the rumors and few facts. They were twins, foster kids just shipped in from New York to live with the Jones'.
"I heard she has a tongue ring!" Samantha whispered to me in math "I bet she's a whore, have you ever seen a girl wear 4 inch stilettos to school?"
No, not till today, but she seemed too arrogant to notice boys. At least, these guys must seem rather plain to her.
I was already getting annoyed with the gossip. Just because they were new everyone was whispering anything they heard. I was thankful Mom hadn't moved me to any new schools. Even though we moved several times around the Phoenix area between different jobs and boyfriends, she always managed to keep me in the same schools. I was trying to keep an open mind and fall into the judgmental trap of my peers.
Third period I slumped into my chair, awaiting another boring lecture. We were reading "To Kill a Mocking Bird", a classic that Mr. Gavin was slowly killing with his over analysis.
The bell rang and just as Mr. Gavin stood up to call the class to order, the new girl strolled into the room. Entering from the back door, she slowly waltzed up to the front desk and handed Mr. Gavin an office note. Mr. Gavin glared at her with fiery eyes; no one arrived late to his class without being completely humiliated. Glancing down at the paper she handed him, he cleared his throat and addressed the class.
"Class, order. ORDER. Class, this is…sit there next to Miss Swan."
What? Wasn't he just about to introduce her? He stopped in mid sentence and then continued with a completely new idea without hesitation. That was weird Mr. Gavin never lets someone off that easy. But as I glanced around the room no one else seemed to have noticed his fragmented sentences. Maybe I imagined it.
"Miss Swan, Abigail doesn't have her books yet. Please be so kind as to share with her."
I nodded and started to move my chair over, practically knocking it over in the process. Abigail smiled as I flushed a deep red. At least she knows who's the klutz on campus. I cursed inwardly at my body, why was I doomed physically?
In my embarrassment I glanced up at Abigail. She was beautiful. Her fire red hair flowed perfectly around her heart shaped face. A few freckles dotted her rosy cheeks and delicate nose and light green-yellow eyes flashed behind long lashes. Catching me in my stare, I quickly looked down to our shared book, hoping I didn't look too much like a fool.
Mr. Gavin's lecture did nothing to hold my attention and I soon found myself gazing at the rings decorating her thin fingers. Only a few held stones, the others were amazingly intricate patterns in metal. One I recognized as a Celtic cross. The silver threads wove in a dizzying pattern, growing in complexity from the solid center cross.
"Miss Swan." Mr. Gavin barked, breaking my stare. I had missed the question.
"Soap figures." Abigail whispered softly too me.
"Umm, soap figures?" I said answering his question. Mr. Gavin cocked his head raised one eyebrow and continued in his lecture.
Thanks. I wrote at the top of my lecture notes, sliding it towards Abigail to read.
Anytime. Do you like my rings? She wrote in an elegant script on her notes, smirking as I blushed at her question.
Yes, your cross. It is Celtic, right? She nodded slowly. I haven't seen its equal. It is beautiful.
It was my mother's, the only thing I have of hers.
My heart sank; this poor girl had one thing that connected her to her real family. I might not have a big family; just me, Mom and Dad up in Washington, but she had even less.
Perhaps she dressed different, but this girl seemed nice. I told myself I'd break away part of my shy shell and befriend this lost girl. If nothing else, I could repay the kindness she showed in preventing Mr. Gavin's wrath.
It was the beginning of my closest friendship. Abigail and her brother, William immediately became my favorite people. We were inseparable, in school and off campus.
The Jones' didn't seem to bond too well with the twins and Mom's attention was being thrown at a new boyfriend, Phil, so we spent most afternoons together at my house. We'd quickly finish our homework, the twins usually beating me by at least a half hour and then flip through channels or sit in comfortable silence reading. For the first time in my life I didn't feel the need to pollute the silence with small talk. Abby and Will seemed to tune into my feelings and flow effortlessly with my ideas and actions. Our relationship required no maintenance, a pure and true friendship.
The "odd" things continued to follow the twins. Not only did Mr. Gavin suddenly change his sentences, but also other teachers, students and even my mom would skip words and continue thoughts that didn't flow together at all. Several times I was sure I had split my food on one of their amazing outfits, only for them to point out that it just missed or miraculously hit their napkin. And then I knew I was going mad for noticing other things. Abby picked up pencils without ever touching them and twice I thought I saw Will disappear and then reappear twenty feet away.
It was the last day of school when I finally cracked and demanded some explanations. We had just arrived at my house and I went through the entry to hang up my keys. I missed the hook entirely and the keys dropped towards the tile. But as they fell Abby caught them. No, she didn't actually catch the keys; they more like stopped in mid air and then flew into her hand.
"How did you do that?" I gasped, grabbing her hand to feel if she was real.
"Bella, I just caught them, it is no big deal." Abby said, shrugging me off.
"No. You didn't catch them, they flew to you."
"Whatever." She rolled her eyes, "are you feeling alright, I think you've had too much sun today."
"Abby, Bella should know." William sighed. "It's not a big deal. You've felt the connection, I bet she could help."
"Help? Help with what? You know I don't push for answers, but you guys have been doing more and more weird things around me, I think I deserve an explanation."
In my mini tantrum I managed to knock a picture lose from the wall. Abby and Will's hands went up in a reflex and the picture floated in mid air. Glancing between the two, I silently watched as the picture slowly rose and settled back on its hook.
"Answers. NOW!" I growled.
"Bella," Abby sighed, "we are witches."
"Actually, I'm a wizard. Men aren't called witches." Will said sticking his tongue out at his sister.
"Bella, what have you notice that is so weird?" Abby said placing air quotes over weird.
"Well, besides flying objects: People seem to suddenly change their sentences around you and I'm sure Will has disappeared in front of me." Will's jaw clenched and Abby's back stiffened as I spoke.
"You have noticed a lot." Will said as he walked over to the coach. "Why don't we sit and talk about it?"
I sat numbly as Abby and Will quickly ran through their short history and memory of their mother. They explained that at a young age she started to reveal the magic that they could connect to. Being twins, they had a special bond with the invisible threads of magic that are woven around and through time, space and matter. They explained that once these threads were revealed to you, you could manipulated them and therefore manipulate objects, time, even people.
I stared in wonder, my eyes bulging from the information. Was this possible? Abby said that the sentence jumping was actually time jumping. She had learned to "fast forward" through awkward conversations, "rewind" them and then "play" back only the parts she liked. Will's disappearing was changing his matter threads to instantaneously move him to a new location. And the moving objects were using the threads directly to pull and object in a direction. They said that with enough practice and concentration, anything could be changed and almost anything could be done.
"But how come I'm the only one who seems to notice the sentence jumping and the objects moving and the disappearing?" I asked, wondering aloud.
"You are in step with the blanket." Will said.
"The blanket? Oh, you mean the threads of magic?"
"Yes. You notice because you are unconsciously aware of the threads and their power."
"Bella, this awareness means you could easily learn what we know." Abby said. "And with a third member, we could all grow more powerful together."
"Third member? What does numbers have to do with anything?"
"Individually we can only adjust so many threads at once. But with more of us coordinating together, we could change so much more!" Will beamed with excitement.
"Bella, do you want to learn?" Abby questioned. "Do you want to become a witch?"
My mind spun. Changing mind, body, time and space…how could I tell them no?