Magic and Mayhem: The Witch, The Weeds, and The Were (Kindle Worlds Novella) (Spaghetti Romance Book 1), страница 1
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The Witch, The Weeds, and The Were
A Magic and Mayhem World Story
Spaghetti Romances, Book 1
Jordan K. Rose
Table of Contents
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“That’s it? That’s all you got? Remind me not to invite you over to help with my window boxes.” Zelda rested a hand on her hip and narrowed one lovely green eye at the pathetic stream of magic wafting from Jackie’s finger. “You’re kidding me. Are you sure you’re a witch?”
In Assjacket, West Virginia, standing in the perfectly manicured front yard of the up and coming Baba Yaga was not where Jackie Tortellani had planned to be today, or any day for that matter.
“Try again, but say the words with a little more pizzazz, more gusto, or something.” Zelda bit into a cupcake. “Hmm. Dad, these are to die for.”
“I’m glad you like them, sweetie.” Fabio, Zelda’s father, and obviously the originator of her red hair and green eyes, held a three-tiered tray of pink and blue cupcakes clearly decorated to celebrate the recent arrival of Zelda’s twin babies.
Grabbing another of the chocolate mini cakes, Zelda waved at the terra cotta pot filled with soil. “What are you waiting for? Let’s get this show on the road. Make a flower appear.”
“I can’t just make a flower appear,” Jackie said. “What should I say? Hocus Pocus. Alakazam. Make me a flower as fast as you can?” She yanked about forty black rubber bracelets from her wrist and the foolish giant bow holding back long dark curly hair.
This day could not get any worse. Waking up to find the most powerful witch in all the world standing in your bedroom never boded well. Having her magically dress you in a Desperately Seeking Susan costume was a clear indicator your life was shit.
Much to Jackie’s distress her day took one more bad turn when a brownish, reddish, grayish, toad-green streamer of magic wafted from the tip of her pinkie and slowly, very, very slowly wandered toward the pot.
Zelda ate another cupcake. “At this rate we may be able to have dinner and dessert, go to the movies, come back, have a snack and still not miss the finale of that spell.” She licked a glob of chocolate off her lip.
Jackie could feel her disappointment. Well, maybe Zelda wasn’t disappointed, but clearly the current Baba Yaga, chosen leader of all witches, was not pleased.
And, if Baba Yaga wasn’t pleased, no one was pleased.
“That is not all she’s got,” Baba Yaga said, glancing down at her uneven neon pink leg warmers that matched her leotard and coordinating teal and pink polka-dotted tights.
With a flick of her finger the most powerful witch in existence adjusted the leg warmers, bringing one up and one down just enough to make them bunch, then rest at mid-calf. “She, Jackie, you…” Baba Yaga leveled a stern look at the impotent witch to her left. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You are not trying. You’ve always denied your magic. You’re doing it now.”
A 1980s nightmare in the flesh, Baba Yagadabekiddingme lived in a terrible fashion time warp that somehow tweaked Jackie’s gag reflex. Jackie could never be sure if it was the platinum blonde ponytail that sometimes sat atop her head, though today shot out from the side like a bale of hay exploded beside her and lodged several loose blades into her scalp, or if it was every single outfit the woman wore.
Jackie stared at the pot, wishing something, anything would come out of it. Even a weed would be better than nothing.
Actually, she didn’t simply wish for some sign of life from the pot. She wished her magic moved a bit faster and that it wasn’t the color of shit. Maybe wishing for too many things at the same time was the problem.
Baba Yaga folded her arms over her chest and drummed garish red fingernails against her skin. “Young lady, if you do not move that magic along, you are going to be very, very sorry.”
“How am I supposed to move it any faster? It’s not like I’m trying to make it move in slow motion.” Jackie bent over and blew at the stream, hoping maybe a puff or two would set the action in motion.
But just as she bent over a movement above the pot caught her eye. It darted left, then right, then up and down, finally shooting straight toward her.
Jackie leapt to the right, bumping into Baba, who tumbled into Fabio, who tossed the cupcakes into the air and caught his beloved lover. Zelda caught the cupcakes, losing one to a fat cat that ate it before she could stop him.
In the tumult Jackie got caught up in her own stream of barely flowing magic, and when she gasped from the shock of seeing the stupid little hummingbird that had been following her around for years, she choked and sucked the stream of magic into her lungs.
“I thought you were dead,” she squeaked, her voice sounding as if she’d taken a hit from a helium balloon.
“Dead?” Baba Yaga’s voice boomed. “Why would you think Cricket was dead?”
“Easy Carol. She is your eighth cousin, twice removed on your father’s side,” Fabio said, thankfully not releasing the now wiggling Baba Yaga.
“Cousin or not I’m curious as to why she would think her familiar was dead.” She glared at Jackie. “What would your mother think if she knew about Vegas?”
Jackie tried not to flinch, but it was virtually impossible not to wince.
“Well, you know what they say. What happens in Vegas—” she started but was cut off by a brutal threat.
“Maybe she should be here. Maybe, if your mother were here, you could explain to her exactly why you thought your familiar was dead.” Baba Yagotnochanceinhellofavoidingmyquestion said.
It was not easy being a distant relation of any Baba Yaga. Not easy at all. There was no escaping her. She knew everything. Every time Jackie turned around it seemed like the woman was lurking in a corner.
Okay, that may have been an exaggeration, but the fact was when Baba Yaga asked a question, it was quite difficult to mislead her, especially when she had access to information a girl did not want her mother to know.
“Jackie, I want to know why you thought your familiar was dead?” Baba demanded.
“I’d like to know why she named a hummingbird after an insect.” Zelda burped. “Ooh, excuse me. That one came up by surprise.”
“A witch always knows when something tragic and horrific has happened to her familiar. Why would you think your familiar was dead? And, why wouldn’t you mention it sooner?” Cousin Carol slid from Fabio’s arms, turning briefly to plant a kiss on his lips. This unfortunately gave a glimpse of her backside, which
A cloud of shitty-colored magic puffed from her lungs.
“Well, it appears to move faster if you throw it up. You might try projectile vomiting your spells.” Zelda plopped into a cushion-filled wicker chair and propped her feet on the opposite seat, then sat forward so quickly she nearly fell out of the seat. “Oh, quiet.” She held up a hand to signal for silence, and everyone stopped moving. “Did you hear something?”
Fabio leaned his ear toward the house and shook his head. “No. I think the twins are fine.”
Cousin Carol leaned the same way. “I don’t hear them either.”
“I’m sure you’re right, but I’ll just go check on them. Maybe someone wants to cuddle with Mommy.” Zelda grinned a grin that made Jackie forget about her stupid familiar.
“Nice to meet you, Jackie, and good luck,” Zelda called as she vanished through the front door. “Here comes Mommy.” Her happy voice trailed off as she moved further into the house.
“Here’s your punishment.” Cousin Carol, clearly having tossed aside the Cousin Carol hat for her Baba Yaga hat, spun to face Jackie. Super witch’s attention landed on Jackie in the same way a leopard set its sights on a gazelle.
Jackie took a step back and tripped over the planter, landing on her ass.
“You’re going home to Rhode Island. No more running. Back to town to help Daniel Ridgeback.”
“What?” Jackie jumped to her feet. “You can’t do that. You can’t send me back. And you can’t make me help him!” Clouds of shitty brown smoke puffed from her ears and nose and mouth, and all the shitty puffing made her cough.
Baba Yaga grinned. “Oh, but I can, and I am.”
“Wait! No! Baba Yaga, Cousin Carol, don’t!” But before the words even made it past her lips Jackie found herself standing at the end of a long driveway in Wolf Rock, Rhode Island, with a damn hummingbird buzzing at her ear.
“What the fuck?”
The tone of the voice coming from the woods sent a blazing chill down her spine.
“What are you doing here?”
The scent of freshly roasted coffee beans, chocolate, and the clean wilderness surrounded Jackie in the cold crisp air. She’d have liked nothing more than to close her eyes and take a deep breath, then hold it in her lungs for as long as she could. But that was not how this not-so-fine February morning was going.
Squaring her shoulders and clenching her hands to fists, Jackie prepared to turn around and slug scrawny Daniel Ridgeback in his hazel eye.
For as long as she lived she’d recognize the resonance of his voice. It might have been deeper than the last time she’d heard it, but that tone was all Daniel. Raw emotion teetering on a razor’s edge always laced every word he said.
Not that she’d ever admit it to him or anyone else, but she happened to like that crazy-as-shit tone, a fact that infuriated her from the first moment she heard it to the current.
“You’re an asshole.” She whirled around and swung as hard as she could, planning to stand over his puny ass and laugh, just like he’d done the day she not only did not win the horticulture fair during senior week of high school twelve years ago, but managed to lose in an epic way.
Yes, some memories never faded.
But her fist did not land in Daniel’s hazel eye. Nor did it land in his gray eye. It landed squarely in the center of a very muscular, sweaty, naked chest. And it hurt like hell.
“Ow!” Jackie pulled her hand back, cradling it against her belly. “What the fuck?”
“I already said that,” the edgy voice rumbled. “What are you doing here?”
“Kicking your ass.” Jackie puffed up her chest and realized she was probably out-classed because Daniel was no longer puny and he’d grown a full foot taller than her five feet, two inch frame.
As well, his tanned and naked shoulders were at least twice as wide as hers. In fact, his bulging biceps might have easily been four times the size of her Betty Spaghetti arms.
There was an angry energy humming around him like a swarm of invisible killer bees waiting to be unleashed.
“Kicking my ass?” He blinked slowly, then did that thing he’d been doing since they were little kids. He inhaled an even, slow breath, raised one eyebrow, and stared at her as if he thought she was the oddest creature to walk the planet. He sighed. “You always were—”
“Don’t say it,” Jackie barked. “If you call me odd or weird or any other shitty word, I’ll zap your hairy ass into the next galaxy.”
Crossing her arms over her chest to make sure she didn’t actually try to zap his not-really-hairy-ass, (though she hadn’t seen his ass in quite some time so she could have been correct in her assessment for all she knew) Jackie stood her ground, narrowing her eyes and glaring her meanest glare.
Daniel shook his head. “Some shit never changes.” Then as abruptly as she’d appeared, he turned around and marched back toward the woods.
“Oh fuck off,” she yelled and stomped up the small winding dirt road that led away from Daniel Ridgeback’s secluded property deep in the most rural part of Wolf Rock, Rhode Island.
“Like I need this shit. I can just go—”
A hot jolt sparked against the denim of her jeans and burned straight to her skin, kicking her up off the ground to land on the same smoking ass cheek.
“Aahhh! What the—?” Jackie ducked for fear the half-asked question would be answered with another ass-zap from the Goddess.
After a short period of remaining hunched close to the ground in hopes of ducking any more low flying jolts, Jackie scrambled to her feet and rubbed her ass.
“I forgot how damn much that hurts.” Taking another step in the opposite direction of Daniel earned Jackie one more sizzling zap, which burned a hole wide enough to show her entire right ass cheek.
“Ow! Fine!” Spinning around she raced back toward the woods to face the boy, er, man (Goddess knew he’d certainly changed in the last twelve years) she’d been in love with since April 5th of fourth grade.
“I hope you’re happy because I’m not.” Complaining to no one had become a daily occurrence in Jackie’s life. She no longer swallowed down the words that landed on her tongue, begging to be said. She let them fly. Just not when she was with anyone or in earshot of any person who might think she was talking to them. Instead she blurted out angry, irritated thoughts to the trees, her car, tubs of ice cream, and even the occasional plant that didn’t shrink backward into its seed as if it had never sprouted to begin with.
“It’s not as though I ever wanted to come back here. How much more humiliation can one woman possibly stand? What have I done to deserve this? I’ve been a very good—”
Somewhere above the trees the sound of electricity crackled. Instinctively, Jackie’s hands flew to her butt.
“I’ve been a decent enough and law-abiding citizen. Maybe I’m not the best witch, but that’s not because I’m not a good person. I’m just, quite clearly, not a very skilled witch. That doesn’t make me deserving of another ass-smiting, which, is a very odd way of making a point, if I do say so myself, which maybe I shouldn’t say, but I am.”
Waiting to move or speak until the warning shot above the forest quieted, Jackie noticed what was happening with the land. Beneath her feet dried leaves crunched and twigs snapped. Brown and gray tree trunks crackled as if they were coming to life in the dead of winter.
High overhead trees that appeared to have petrified years ago swayed in the howling wind, their branches reaching for the sky while shrubs on the forest floor stretched and shimmied as they awakened from the harsh winter slumber.
With a speed that was nearly impossible to follow, color returned to the barren woods. Lush green ferns grew all about. Evergreens, some, at least a hundred feet tall and others, only saplings of three to four feet, shook frost from their needles and practically danced among hundreds of oaks and birches.
“Oh no.” J
Leaves sprouted on the lowest branches of every tree. Flowers of several varieties pushed their way through the frozen ground. Yellow and white daffodils formed groups around pink and purple tulips. Crocuses and grape hyacinths sprung up.
“It’s not time for you! You’re going to regret this. You know it. I know it. The entire world knows you should not be here right now.” Jackie bent, finger-pointing at a salmon colored iris. “Stop this!”
In the middle of winter with nearly two feet of snow covering the road right up to the property line the forested land of the Ridgeback property magically displayed the beauty of late spring. This place was lovely.
“You’re all supposed to be hibernating. It’s winter in New England. You’re supposed to look dead. That’s what happens here. Everything dies in winter.”
She stomped a few more feet closer to the house. “And this is why I hate coming here. Bat-shit crazy stuff always happens here. This crap never happened in Virginia, or Orlando, or Dallas, or Vegas. It certainly didn’t happen in Montana, but again, does anything happen there? No. Of course not. I should have stayed in Montana, where nothing ever happens.”
Hundreds of orange and red trumpets popped open on a vine rapidly winding its way up a tree.
“Ooh, pretty.” Jackie stopped to admire nature gone wild.
This property always remained a place Jackie fantasized of visiting. With Daniel. In the fantasy he was always happy to see her and apologetic for being such a dickhead, and somehow in that stupid fantasy he always made her feel special, like her magic was as perfect as the forest itself.
“I may not be very skilled or good, in a skilled way, not in a good versus evil way, because in that way I’m good as we just agreed…” She let her gaze sweep upward, hands still gripping her cheeks. With no response she continued. “Anyway, I may not be the best at summoning or using magic, and for that reason I think I do the world a great service by not using it, but I’m still a good person. Of sorts. Maybe I could swear a little less on occasion. But that’s a minor detail.” Again she glanced around waiting for a response that might burn a hole in her ass to the bone.