The Secret of the swamp monster and Homecoming starts
|“Come on in girls”, Miss Minerva stood at the door smiling.
“I can’t believe I’m meeting her”, Cecilia whispered to Mona.
“Its Just Ms, Minerva”, Mona whispered back
The grey haired lady led the girls inside and to seats. Mona noticed her teacher had a book by her chair.
“We didn’t disturb you did we?”, The red head had missed her instructor and really wished that wasn’t the case.
“No Dearies”, Ms. Minerva gestured sending the book back to the shelf., “So are you here for studies or a little a social visit”.
“A little of both, this week was pretty hectic so I do need to try to catch up with my lessons with you” Mona felt embarrassed talking about lessons with the mire accomplished Cecilia sitting next to her.
The witch nodded she had the next few lessons planned and was sure Mona could handled them with no problem. But there was something else on her mind that was far more pressing then lessons, she could feel it.
“Mona, what’s wrong”, Ms. Minerva reached out and took her apprentices hand.
Mona eyes widened , she should have known she couldn’t hide anything for the older witch.
“Its Moan and Groan”,. She said
“What about it?”, Ms. Minerva interest suddenly rose.
“The Mayor is hiring Monster hunters to come and”, her voice cracked with pain, “to kill it”
Ms. Minerva eyes went wide, Mona had never even thought the witch could know fear or regret but there it was both across her face.
“No, they can’t do that”, Alexis Minerva.
“What’s Moan and Groan?”, Cecilia.
“Its that lake monster Abe and I fought”, The memories of that day still chilled Mona.
“he’s more that that” Miss Minerva stood and paced from her chair too the door in thought a couple of times before speaking. Again. , “You se girls Moan and Groan wasn’t always as he was, Once a long time ago he was a man. The man I was engaged to” Mona gasped while Cecilia looked as if she craved nothing more but the juicy details.
“What happened ?”, she asked
Mona looked at her friend about to chastise her when Ms. Minerva spoke up.
“Its something I haven’t talked about even to Claudette. But I guess its about time I did”, her sad voice almost brought a tear to Mona’s eyes.
“It was 1934 and there was new Mayor in time, Carl Freely. He wasn’t local but talked his way into the job. Freely had big plans for Elm Brook plans on making it a real city. His wife was a fancy socialite and wanted to make it a more cultural place too. With a big theater, Oprah house and all that. Personally I had no problem with that part until later.”, The Witch returned to her seat and saw the girls were now hanging on her every word.
“Well along With Freely, His wife and Four sons came his brother Bob. Bob was strong and handsome like your father and brother Mona. He also had a bit of a roguish quality like his brother. I met him for the first time when he came to my house and asked if I would come to Freely’s victory part. He told me his brother wanted to meet me and welcome me into the community.
“Sounds like you were sweet on him”, Celia interrupted.
“Sounds like you wish to spend the rest of the day as a gnat?’ quipped Miss Minerva / Cecilia made a zipping motion over mouth, “Ah, Excuse me, Go on Ma’am”
The Witch nodded, “I’m still a woman dear. He was Handsome and polite and even kissed my hand.”, Mona listened hands-on chin. She could almost imagine Ms. Minerva back them maybe with a grey hair and the little wrinkles. Tall graceful and beautiful.
“Bob talked me into going to the party and upon arriving I was treated as well as could be expected people made small talk were polite. The braver ones like Bob and his brother asked me questions . The Mayors wife on the other hand eyes me with hostility but I ignored her enjoying myself and Bob’s company. After that Bob would visit for talks, to take me on rides in his car, that sort of things. By the time I realized I had loved him it was to late to turn back.”. Ms. Minerva stopped to light one of her black cigars. The girls watched as the smoke rising from it took the form of tiny hears thad faded away after breaking apart.
“Sounds like it was serious”, Mona waved away the smoke, she was starting to get used to it but it still smelt bad.
“Well Dear it was about the time I had fully fallen in love when Elm Brook got a few new people residents. The Freemen. Zack Free man, wife Ester and little Kenney Freeman. The Freemen were farmers brought out the Hanson’s and went to work making the land profitable. The Freemen were good people, I could feel it but they also happened to be Will Brook Hollows first African-American residents.”, Miss Minerva took a puff off her Cigar .
“Now most residents had no problem with that. And witches are notorious for treating everyone mortal and otherwise the same. But Carl Freely and his wife had other ideas. And though at the time I didn’t know it they went about poisoning the town against the Freemen. In fact when I went off for my month summer sabbatical to visit my Friend Morgan in Boston they had decided the best way to run the Freeman’s off was to use me.” The witch looked blew out a stream of smoke that formed for a few seconds the façade of her house. The Mayor, Bob and a few other talked Zack into helping them paint my house. They chose this awful grey color and while Zack worked on the front they went to the back and painted haphazardly over shutters and windows. They then left a message on my door from Zack stating that all an ugly old witch deserved was a sick grey house like her sick grey heart.” The grey haired woman realizing she need something drink if she was going to finish the story snapped her finer at her coffee table conjuring a pot of tea and cups.
“Those Poor People”, Cecilia added 6 cubes of sugar to her tea as Mona watched.
“Want some tea with your sugar ?”, asked the redhead.
After Miss Minerva finished fixing her tea with a few well placed points and gestures she finished started her story again.
“As you can guess I was upset. And after repairing the paint job I took my broom to the Freeman farm. On the First Day I soured their cows milk, On the next day I turned their wheat and Corn into thorny vines and weeds. The Day after that I made lighting strike their barn . The following day I had planned on giving them boils but by that time they had packed to leave the farm and the town behind. But before they left Ester Freeman paid me a visit. She was a headstrong and brave woman and charged right up my steps and banged on my door. When I answered she was in tears and asked why I hated her family so. I explained what her husband had done and she told me how he didn’t write the letter and How the Mayor, Bob and some of the other men had talked Zack into helping How they wanted it to be a welcome to our community activity”
Suddenly the tone of the witch turned from recitation to anger.
“I was being used . The first I did was to invite the Freemen in and apologize. Then I talked them into staying. Returning to their Farm I made the cows give the twice as much as the creamiest milk a cow could give. Repaired their Fields and rebuilt their barn. They seemed not to hold a grudge and even invited me over the next day for .Dinner. I on the under held a grudge and The next day I flew to the city hall and caught Carl and his wife going home. I told them I knew about his bigoted plan and that I wasn’t about to let him hurt the Freemen or anyone he didn’t like again. Carl threatened to burn don my house as I slept and do the same to the Freeman’s. I had never been so angry before and as everyone including his wife watched I hexed him into wax and watched satisfied as he melted and ran down the City halls two dozen steps. His wife and son looked on in shock but I was so angry I didn’t care. “ Miss Minerva whipped a tear from her eye as the next part of the story hurt the most.
“That Night Bob, seeking revenge came to my home with three other men to burn it down but I had cast fire suppression spell on my homes walls and grounds just in case. As I awaken to hear them outside I was willing to give them a chance to just leave. But Bob and his band of thugs wanted to see me pay and with clubs and stone broke my windows. One of the boys was the blacksmith and had forged chains of cold iron that if used to bound a witch hands or body would render her unable to cast. “, Miss Minerva made sure Mona heard the last part . She wasn’t sure if Mina already knew it but even a witch had a weakness. Cold Iron bindings or weapons being the most common.
“Floating to the grounded I confronted them. The blacksmith on seeing me and meeting my gaze started to run. In mid stride I opened a portal to another world where he would run forever hounds that didn’t really exist always on his heels. One of the other men rushed me. He was a young boy from the town, easily lead. I was sure he was manipulated into doing what he had done. When I was done with him he was again a child of less than two years delivered the next day to his mother by Ravens with a note saying Raise him right this time. Bob ran leaving the last man, a known bully with the heart of a coward. He begged for forgiveness on his knees and though I was angry I found some for him. Instead of turning him into a shooting star and sending him into space to travel till he was nothing but a memory I gave him a chance to be useful turning him into a scarecrow in the Freeman’s field. After that there was only Bob to deal with”, The Witches stopped to gain her composure.
“Miss. Minerva you don’t have to tell us the rest”, Mona now kneeled at her friends side holding her hand.
“No, its Ok dear, getting it out helps”, she said taking another sip of coffee.
“I found Bob at his home, packing his car . I asked him why he did it. He explained how People like the Freeman didn’t fit in palaces like Elm brook. How they were better off with their own kind. I then asked him if he loved me and he said he could never love a witch, that his brother just wanted me on his side. I started to cry, tears making everything blurry. Bob stood watching I could see in his eyes maybe, just maybe he had some feelings for me. But between sorrow and anger I lashed out cursing him. To forever be the outsider to be laughed at and excluded to roam the lake a monster until he found in his heart more than anger and hate for those that are different. “. Miss Misst sat silently after those words.
Mona held her hand and Cecilia cried.
“That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard”, she added wiping her eyes with a doily from the table. Ms. Minerva wiped her eyes
“I’ve released the spells on everyone but Carl and Bob after a few years. Last I heard from Carl his wife sold him to a sideshow took the money and moved to California. Bob last I check is still by lake. “. She left the rest unsaid.
“Miss Minerva, what you did, to help the Freeman’s to rid Elm Brook of those bigots. It was a good thing all and all”, Mona held tight to her mentors hand.
Alexis Minerva looked into the redheads eyes, “Mona, sweetie, I know you’re right. But every since then I started to close myself off so I want be betrayed. I didn’t even let Claudette in like I should.”
Mona held the woman’s hand to her cheek, crying in sympathy, “But you opened to me and TJ and Mom. Coming to her feet the girl leaned over to hug the woman till both there tears finally stopped.
An hour later Miss Minerva was not only her old self but more the burden of 1935 seemed to have lifted from her. Instead of class inside Ms. Minerva decide to take the girls out for lessons on levitation and flying.
“Now. Can anyone tell me the difference between flight and levitation?” Miss Minerva looked at the girls waiting and when no answer came she continued.
“Levitation is to release yourself from gravity vertically, Flight is a controlled movement in air. If you are levitating the wind can move you as you weigh nothing. While if you fly you pretty much have mental control of those movements.”.
Mona raised a hand
“Yes Mona?”, Ms Minerva hovered a few inches off the ground to her.
“So why would you ever levitate?” Mona hope she didn’t sound stupid.
Miss Minerva floated up 10ft bobbing in the wind., “it’s the first step to flight and is a lot easier. Both girls watched as the woman floated down.
“I can’t believe you don’t know how to do this Cecilia, you’re so good at magic”, Mona hoped Cecilia wasn’t faking ignorance to make her feel good.
“I live in the city, you really can’t do the flying thing and not draw attention to yourself”. Cecilia
Ms. Minerva explained to the girls hoe to releaser themselves from gravity slowly controlling their weight so they could go up and down slow at first then faster and faster. Once they understood that she gestured and from the house came the brooms moving on bristles side to side in an awkward walk.
“Brooms?” Celia looked at the broom in front of her
“Brooms, it’s the way I learned, but If you prefer a carpet…”Miss Minerva watched the girls take the broom. First shoeing them how to sit properly on the broom side saddle not straddle. After that she taught them how to properly weave the correct magics into a broom to make it move and listen not to a witches words but thoughts.
Abe had never visited Ms. Minerva but Mona had asked him to drive up to meet her. He was a bit nervous but is big brother protective instinct kicked in and with TJ in tow they both headed pp Stone Hill road and though the gate he drove slowly his jeeps canvas top down. TJ rode at his side just to make sure he didn’t get lost.
“Look at that”, TJ pointed up as Mona landed on her broom about 50ft in front of them.
“Man this is too wild!”, Abe stopped the jeep just as his sister turned to see him.
Standing up on his seat quickly the boy watched Miss Minerva and Cecilia zoom about for a few seconds before landing also.
“Mo, I thought you hated heights”, Abe looked at his sister as she walked towards him caring the broom.
Mona laughed, “Yeah I used to be, but now its like all that’s gone/
“Man I could never do that?”, Abe jumped from the jeep landing with the grace of a gymnast. Mona had never heard Abe say he couldn’t do anything and the fact he actually envied her made her feel even better.
“Abe, I’m so glad you’re cool with all of this” Mona gave him a quick hug.
The boy looked at his sister, “Hey, What can I say. Your sister turns out to be a witch its either adapt or be a toad.”
Both teens laugh and TJ on the other hand thought Abe’s words were a jab at him.
“Do I get a hug too?”, Cecilia ran up to Abe and kissed him on the cheek causing him to blush. The broad shouldered teen was about to grant his new friends wish when he relizedMs. Minerva was standing in front of him also looking at him close a look of awe in her eye.
“You look just like him”, she said
“who”, Abe looked at the woman, he could have sworn she looked a little older the first time she saw him. Now that he wasn’t looking at her from a bed and hospital light he could see the mischievous and youthful twinkle in her eyes.
“Your Grandfather”, The witch , “When he was you age”.
“yeah buy now Grandpa is all stone age old”, laughed TJ.
“TJ, I’m much older than your grandfather”, Ms. Minerva looked at the boy.
“Yeah but you don’t look as old as you should look because you’re a witch and stuff”, The Boy gave the grey-haired woman the once over.
“As old?”, Miss Minerva sounded pevvish as looked at the boy hands on hips.
Abe looked at his brother, “Ma’am he didn’t mean that. Didn’t you TJ?”
TJ nodded , “No, I mean you look good for an old lady”, The boy thought that would satisfy the witch.
“She is going to blow you up one day TJ”, Mona rolled her eyes and her mentor chuckled. As the children watched she waved her hand and her body changed instantly she looked like a teenager. Her hair dark brown hair with a single grey streak done in a style more 1844 than 2004.
“Is this better TJ”, the teenage Miss Minerva crossed her arms.
“I bet all the boys were after you Miss Minerva”, Cecila
“Well actually I was more like Mona, A bit of a wallflower in my day”, waving her hand the girl flowed back into her true form.
“What? with those cheek bones, and at punk think you got going with your hair you could so model” Cecilia then paused before continuing stop, “I mean if they had modeling back then”
“Thank you Cecilia”, Alexis Minerva nodded at the girl then looked at the children. She thought back through her life and realized her life had never been so full. She had to height hard not to burst into tears again. But a Witch had to keep such occurrences rare least people would think she was going soft.
“Well we better go. I have to drop TJ off at home and go back to the school to get ready for tonight”, Abe.
“OK”, Mona turned to Ms. Minerva. She was happy to see her and sad to leave. In fact she wished the witch would come and visit them occasionally. Then it hit her. “You know Ms. Minerva you are more than welcome to come to the rally” the girl added.
Ms. Minerva stood in thought for a few seconds before answering, “I would dear but people tend to be wary of me and its more of a youngster thing”, she waved off the idea and was about to turn and leave.
“Well you can always do the Teenager thing, We can help you get up to date and you’ll fit right in” Cecilia spoke up. The spell would take little effort thought the elder witch and it would be fun to play at being a teenager again.
“Well since you take time to live in my world Mona, I guess I can spend a few hours in yours” Ms. Minerva waved her hand and one again flowed into the form of a teenager.
To be continued