Snippet: VampWitch Tale – The Beginning

Hey ya’ll. I’ve been saying I need to post another snippet from my YA vampwitch tale. Here it is. This is the very beginning of the story – no editing has been done yet – introducing Bastien Suirre, the high school witch and Peada, his vampire crush…let me know what you think! ……

This was not going to go well for him. First, no one was going to believe that he hadn’t done this – because he had – and second, no one was going to believe that he hadn’t done it deliberately, even though he hadn’t.

When his magic had first come in six months ago, he hadn’t believed it either. When he’d casually snapped his fingers and a flame appeared, he’d instantly dropped his hand and played it off as though nothing had happened. It was a miracle no one had seen him. He’d sat in terror nearly an entire class before he could escape to the restroom and gather his wits in the privacy of a stall.

He snapped and snapped and snapped until his fingers cramped up. No flame appeared, and he convinced himself that it was a hallucination, the result of too much sugar and not enough sleep, or whatever nonsense he concocted to explain the incident away. But then other things began to happen.

He thought about being hungry and how wonderful the Madeleine’s and hot chocolate he’d had for breakfast while visiting his aunt in Paris last summer had been. Then both had appeared on his desk in first period. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the homemade offering not materialized on his aunt’s china, the porcelain cup complete with saucer.

The only thing that had saved him was the childhood returning spell that had popped into his head like a specter. His father had insisted he learn it as a child, drumming the rhyme into his head as a nursery tale long before he’d ever dreamed he might be a witch. That and he offered a suspicious classmate a taste of one of the little treats. The boy had been too busy asking for one to query why they were suddenly there on top of Bastien’s history text book, on flowered dishes no less. He quickly and thankfully gave them all away, his appetite vanishing in the turmoil rioting in his belly.

One incident was an aberration, something to be easily explained away. Flowered china was a bit more difficult to ignore, especially since he’d said a few words and made said china disappear as quickly as it appeared. He’d thought those silly spells were just stories his father had made up to tease him as a child. But they were real. His brain had reached back effortlessly, his mouth recited a memory, and poof, random hallucinations undone.

After that it was as if the flood gates had opened. Every memory surged forward in his mind. Scenes he hadn’t recalled or even remembered in dozens of years played themselves before his minds’ eye like a film. A show filled with lessons he was able to access as easily as one changed a channel with a remote.

You must be grateful, my boy, otherwise magic will play tricks on you. He recalled his father saying. The powers that be see everything done, everything you need, everything you think you may want. And if you don’t appreciate your gifts, they have a way of turning them against you.

Flowered porcelain during Spanish was a pretty mean trick if you were a 17-year-old boy.

Then there was the time he’d been thinking of the pierogi their Polish housekeeper had made for him in Prague two summers past. Stuffed with potato and bacon the little dumplings had been served with just a touch of butter and sprinkled with cheese, delicious. Five had appeared in the earthenware bowl Ramine had served them to him in. That one he’d had to play off, too many people had seen him, sitting in the lunch room as though it wasn’t strange to be eating food not served in the cafeteria with silver flatware edged in gold.

His reputation as an eccentric, had been firmly set after that, and he quickly learned to control his thoughts by focusing intently on whatever he was doing. At least then if something popped in unexpectedly it wouldn’t be out of context.

Are we not feeding you enough? His father asked after the pierogi incident. Bastien felt a pang of sadness as his sire’s laughter echoed pleasantly in his ear and sent tingles down his neck and shoulders. So much culinary magic, my boy. One would think you were starving! But then I suppose what they say about teenagers and their hollow legs is true.

His father had begun speaking in his mind not long after the Madeleine incident. It had taken some getting used to, and at first Bastien had thought he was going crazy. Now, sarcastic as his sire often was, having him mentally close by was comforting.

Very funny. This was completely unintentional, I assure you.

That’s your problem. You must always intend, otherwise your mind will make decisions for you based on the strength of your inner most desires and wants, not what you need and request.

Easy for the old man to say from, wherever the hell he was.

Swearing, his father said absently, and faded in a way that signaled to Bastien he wouldn’t return again that day.

It was just like his father to be concerned with proprieties inside his own head and nowhere to be found now that his inheritance was going up in smoke before his eyes.

Bastien stared morosely into the flames. This fire was much larger than that first tiny flame sprouting from his fingers. This was bigger than a bonfire. It was bigger than a frickin’ house fire! And all he could do was watch as it devoured the woods behind his house.

It would be nice if you put that out. Some of these trees are quite old.

“And just how do you suggest I do that, father?” He didn’t even bother to hide his sarcasm. At that moment his father’s endless prattling in his ear was the antithesis of comfort. With this inferno raging before him it might just as easily drive him mad.

Will it so.

Bastien threw his hands up in fury and actually stomped in a circle. “You think I haven’t done everything I can think of to douse this bloody blaze?” he roared, and was aghast when the flames devouring his family forest blazed even hotter.

The flames seeming to snarl as they stretched toward the sky, moving unreasonably fast like wild, freed animals racing for a distant gate. Their home was fairly isolated, but it was only a matter of time before someone saw the smoke and called the fire department, if they hadn’t already.

Begging and pleading, you ridiculous boy! Thinking only of the humiliation in admitting that you accidentally set your own forest ablaze. Fear of jail, by God! You are a witch descendant from a long and proud line. You are Suirre! Order the flames to die.

Bastien shook his head in anguish. “Stop!” he cried. “Stop now! I order you to extinguish immediately! God help me! Stop!”

The flames continued to burn, but the flame seemed to snarl less angrily.

Is that all you’ve got? Once you sense the advantage, press forward. Go hard! Isn’t that what you young people say?

Bastien narrowed his eyes and walked toward the flames with his hands out, fingers spread like a magical boxer.

“I said end!” He roared.

The flames immediately responded, became sluggish, snapping sullenly lower and lower to the earth.

Almost there.

“End this, now, completely.”

The last flame sputtered and reluctantly died with an audible snap of extinguished fury.

Bastien fell to the ground on his butt and looked at the devastation he’d caused. “Good grief,” he whispered, wanting suddenly to cry.

Good, his father said, his pride tangible even in his mind, but Bastien could only shake his head. And his father wisely kept silent, no doubt sensing his son was near the breaking point.

Looking at the devastation he’d caused, Bastien felt utterly deflated. He was exhausted, from worrying, from being constantly on guard whilst around others. What might happen next? He was getting tired of watching every thought, of devouring old magic texts until his eyes felt like sandpaper and his jaws were sore from yawning.

Just the other day in the hallway, he’d heard a girl’s thoughts proclaim his lack of sleep and resulting gauntness poetically lovely. She’d wondered if there was anything she could do to make him feel better. He’d had to force himself not to roll his eyes, the silly twit. Yes, he was suffering, but it wasn’t the least romantic, and what could the girl possibly do to help him? She had no idea someone like him even existed.

Then his films classmate Peada had walked by. She’d smiled at him like she always did, and that little frisson that tickled him each time he saw her had been more aggressive that day. The other girl melted away from his mind as though she had never been. His eyes narrowed as he watched her walk by, her hunger had been palpable. He’d wondered if she was on a diet, and if so what for? Peada was already quite slender.

Now, faced with endless stalks of charred trees and blackened earth, ash and gently smoking rock where lush greenery had once thrived, Bastien wished for his father with all his heart. “Come home,” he whispered, voice cracking.

Would that I could, my boy, but I cannot. It’s just too dangerous. There is nothing I would like more than to guide you through your transition in person, but I dare not come near you right now. To do so might lead to your death. I cannot explain why at present, but chin up old fellow! We must wait to meet again, until you are strong enough to defend yourself. Know that I am proud of the strength you’ve shown dealing with this life change alone.

But I need you. Bastien barely bit back the words, nodding as he pushed himself to his feet. He wasn’t sure his father could see him where ever he was, but he dashed a hand across his face to remove any tears that might have fallen without his permission and stood scowling at his forest with hands on hips.

“Now to fix this mess,” he muttered.

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