Adette Price: Undercover Witch Chapter 28: Addy?

It has obviously been an unforgivably long time since last I posted an Adette chapter. I suppose that’s what happens when you move back and lose touch with the people driving you to publish things on a regular basis. Thankfully I have amassed nearly twice as many chapters as I have posted in the time since I’ve stopped posting. As of today, I’ll be back on my bi-weekly schedule until Adette is well and done. If all goes to plan, Adette will be the first novel length thing I’ll have actually finished.

No links today. All of the rest of the chapters will simply be on my blog now. Without any further ado, Chapter 28.

 

Chapter 28: Addy?

 

People bustled across the square in familiar clumps. A few vendors called out in vain attempts to get people to come and look at their wares. Market day in Swynton was the weekly social event everyone looked forward to. People spruced up their nicest things and took to the square both to shop and to be seen.

Adette too had her own basket tucked in the crook of her arm. She had braved the market several times since moving outside of Swynton, but today she felt on display. Her recent visits seemed to have taken some of the stigma away from her presence which meant that people felt more comfortable staring.

Finally the attention got the better of her. Adette took off across the well traveled grass towards the bustling bakery. She avoided the busy front step and went straight to the back of the building. Her fingers squeezed and loosened around the basket handle. Outside the back doorway, Adette swayed nervously back and forth on her feet. Lana had said to meet her here, but now she felt a bit creepy hanging around the back door to the bakery.

The back door burst open. Smells of bread and rolls rolled out of the back door in a humid wave. On its crest came Lana. She’d put on her best dress, but had missed a few splotches of flour on her face. Adette forgot her awkwardness completely and started to laugh. Lana stopped dead in front of the doorway.

“Where is it?” she demanded while she pulled the back door shut.

“Upper right cheek, just below the middle of your bottom lip, and your hairline just above your left temple,” Adette reported dutifully. Lana dug into a pocket hidden in the side of her skirt and produced a large, clean handkerchief. She began to rub vigorously at the various flour spots until she judged they had to be gone. Her hand lowered but the handkerchief didn’t disappear. Lana leveled a very meaningful look at Adette.

“You’ve gotten it all.” Lana nodded and thrust the handkerchief back into the pocket from which it had come.

“Good. I’m ready then. Have you bought anything yet?” Lana peered at Adette’s basket.

“No. I thought it would be best to wait for you. You’re more likely to know if people are being fair or not.” Lana smiled knowingly.

“That I am. You’ll not be cheated on your produce today, Adette.” The pair smirked and started back toward the square, which had grown busier still since Adette had come.

“Thank God. I suspect I’ve already lost some money,” Adette grumbled.

“That is how all small towns work you know. They have to have a bit of your money before they get to know you. Once they get to know you, they don’t feel right being anything less than fair. Let’s call it a newcomer’s tax. It’s good reason to stop being a mystery.”

“Well, then I suppose it’s a good thing I ran into you. Otherwise, I suspect I might have been taxed for a very long time.” Lana turned to look at Adette. She stopped and then burst into laughter.

“You might be right there, Adette. Hmm…” Lana paused staring at Adette. She stared long enough in silence that Adette began to grow nervous again. She’d just made up her mind to say something when Lana broke the silence again. “You know. Your name is a bit awkward to say. I think you need a nickname.”

Adette turned to stare forward. She wasn’t sure whether to feel complimented or insulted. No one, other than teachers or her few school friends, had bothered using her name, and they’d all been far too formal to think of using a nickname.

“How about Dette?” Adette turned and lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll take that as a no. Hmm…I know! I’m calling you Addy.”

“You really don’t need to…”

“Nope. I’ve already made up my mind,” Lana said with a smirk. “You’ll be Addy to me for as long as you’re my friend.”

“Well, thanks.” Adette hoped her hesitance didn’t show. She wasn’t one for nicknames.

#358 – Write the story of how you got your name. Either interview your parents to find the true story or write an imaginary story.

This is actually something my parents have talked about frequently. Part of the decision making process was to sit down and think of all of the ways any of the names they’d chosen could be turned into insults. When they found a name, Whitney, that they had trouble turning into insults, they settled on it.

Evidently, my grandmother wasn’t thrilled with the choice. I’ve always liked it because I’ve rarely had to share my name with anyone else. Kids did still manage to turn it into an insult, but my parents couldn’t think of everything.

#270 – What do you do after school?

Seeing as I’m a teacher and still work in schools, this one feels right tonight, especially this close to summer.

Most nights it’s fairly boring. I do things like clean the kitchen and make dinner. Then most of the time I read or write, though not as much as I should.

Sometimes I cross stitch and watch documentaries about somewhat depressing stuff. If it’s about the Holocaust, I’ve probably watched it. For example, last night I stitched a cute geometrical deer and watched something about the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Lately, I’ve had this strange hunger to know more about the things that happened when I was too small to remember. Because of this I’ve delved into weird topics lately like the one mentioned above, Enron, and the 2008 financial crisis.

To be frank, the last one has probably had the most immediate effect on my life as it stands though, if I’m honest, I was lucky not to be affected too negatively. After college, my husband and I were pretty lucky to find well paying jobs out of state. It even allowed us to eventually move abroad.

Apparently, I’m getting a bit introspective tonight. Sometimes that’s where writing takes you though.

I guess I’ve always been someone who’s interested in the nuts and bolts of things. I like to know how things fit together, and I definitely like to know what’s happened before so I’m prepared for what might happen next.

That’s something I really try to impart to the students I see on a regular basis. That something small, seemingly insignificant, can change the course of someone’s life and in changing that life can change the course of the world. It’s part of the world’s beauty and part of what can make it so horrible.

Of course, I try to focus on the beauty.

But there is no light without the dark.

#3 – The entire neighborhood is beige and gray, but at the end of the street sits a bright blue house. Who lives there?

At the end of my street sits a bright blue house with roses, a bloody splash, beneath the gleaming window panes. Green grass glistens beneath the fresh sparkly dew. The roof, a rusty orange, slopes gracefully toward the ground. Each window seems to wink at the boring grey houses that line the cul-de-sac.

My house, and my neighbor’s house, and every other house on the street is beige as beige can be or the color of dirty ashes. The color was sucked out long ago before the time of you and me. That is until the Color Witch took up residence on my street.

Her house seemed to blossom at the end like a flower in the mud of spring. Overnight it bloomed and took up residence seeming to take up the entire end of the street. People poked their heads out of every door to see the colored spectacle. Then, just like before, they returned to their lives, drab and colorless as the houses they resided in.

I couldn’t stand the mystery of leaving such a bright house unexplored. That is how I found myself, one bright, black, star-filled night staring at the witches purple front door. My eyes hazed over. They couldn’t take all of the different colors. They weren’t used to it.

My hand raised on its own. My arm extended toward the door and then hovered, inches from the heavy, purple wood. With a bang, the door flew open. Beyond the door was a blinding combination of bright oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, pinks, whites, and colors I had no name for.

I blinked once, twice. A face, nearly buried in fabric, cracked into a smile. Bright, white teeth glowed between her bright red lips.

“Hello!” she said, nearly shouting, “What brings you to my door?”

Words. I used to know what words were, once upon a time. The booming voice of the witch blew them all away. They hid in corners and  behind chairs. Some of them just covered their eyes and pretended not to be seen.

“Are you one of the neighborhood children?” the witch boomed again.

“I live three doors down,” I stammered.

“Oh! That’s lovely,” the witch exclaimed. Everything about her seemed larger and brighter than anything else I’d seen before. “You look like you need some cake.”

In a swirl of brightly colored fabric, the witch turned and headed back to where I assumed the kitchen was located. I liked cake, but I was no stranger to fairy tales and hungry witches. I followed cautiously. The hallway alternated between colors and patterns. It was enough to give you a headache.

Beyond the doorway at the end of the short hallway, sat a brightly lit kitchen with sunflower yellow walls. The smell of sugar hit me in the face.

At the center of the table, a bright pink and purple sugary confection towered.

“Take a seat dear,”  the witch said. She settled two plates onto the table and placed bright silver forks beside them. She was halfway through slicing the second slice before I came to my sense.

“I should go,” I whispered.

#410 – Write about a time in your life when you had to be brave. What situation were you in? How did you find the strength?

The year I got married I had to get some pesky plantars warts removed from the bottom of my left foot. We’d tried everything, and by we I mean the podiatrist. He’d slathered all kinds of ointments and creams. I’d bathed my feet in epsom salts. They only seemed to make them spread. When it became obvious that nothing else was going to work, it became apparent that he was going to have to dig the suckers out. Drastic measures were in order.

To start with, I’m not a fan of needles, and there was no way that the podiatrist was going to dig warts out of my foot without some kind of anesthetic. How do you get anesthetic to the bottom of your foot? Needles!

But I was getting married. I needed to be all pretty and stuff, so I reluctantly signed up for the appointment. I suppose now would be a good time to mention that I’d also gotten a job that summer stocking flowers and shrubs at a local home improvement store. That meant that I spent all day on my feet. It really wasn’t the best timing.

When the fateful day came, I got in my car and drove the approximately thirty seconds that it took to get from work to the podiatrist’s office across the parking lot. I nervously signed myself in and took a seat. I love to peruse magazines in a doctor’s office because they always have things I’d never actually buy. Unfortunately, I was too jittery to pay attention for more than a paragraph of any article.

The podiatrist poked his own head out of the side door to call me in and ushered me to a room all the way at the end of the hallway. This was not a room I’d ever been in. There were the usual things that you’re used to seeing in a doctor’s office. The only odd thing was the unusually large table. It was like the normal padded table beds only on steroids. It was even propped so I could sort of sit upright.

I lifted myself and scooted back after removing my shoes and tried really hard not to vibrate where I sat. When the podiatrist had finished with the requisite amount of small chat, he turned and produced a needle. There was nothing special about it. It wasn’t very large or unusual. The fact that it was a needle was enough, but we were long past the point of no return.

He swabbed alcohol on and then began injecting the stuff. Now, the stuff he used, is nothing like any other numbing stuff I’ve used before. It works by numbing the skin that’s touching or close to it which means that it has to expand. In short it hurt when you got poked, and then it hurt again when it started to push against the skin around it.

At this point, I was in full on freak out mode which meant that I kept trying to see the bottom of my foot which was firmly in the podiatrists hand. Remember that the whole point of the numbing stuff was to keep me from feeling him use the cauterizing scraper to literally scrape the bits out of the bottom of my foot.

I think he asked me to lay back about a thousand times because for some reason I wanted to see him. He wisely kept me from doing this. As I lay there feeling only odd pushes and prods against my skin to let me know he was still digging, I was inwardly cursing my mother for insisting that I be a big girl and do the adult thing. I also cursed her for convincing me that it was the right thing to do to face my needle fears. I suppose on the upside I hadn’t cried that time.

After quite a bit of scraping, I got sent on my way. I hobbled to my car on a numb foot padded with enough gauze to make my foot feel like a lead pillow. I hobbled my way through most of my work that summer.

I think the thing that made this story the best was the fact that the suckers came back. You wanna know if I went to the podiatrist again? Heck no. The next time I used Compound W and duct tape. You know what? The duct tape worked. Duct tape really does work for anything.