Tag Archives: Young Adult lit

Adette Price Undercover Witch Chapter 30: Clearly Up to Something

So I promised myself the last time around that I would actually post this on time. Dang it I even used the fancy feature allowing me to post this ahead of time because I knew that I’d be out of town tomorrow night. I’m so proud of myself! Without any further ado, here is the next Adette chapter all shiny and new.

 

Adette’s hand shook slightly as she turned her hand over and let the silver piece fall into Tarn’s outstretched hand. He smirked but didn’t give anything away. His perfectly sculpted eyebrows rose and his thin lips mocked her with a knowing smile. How could she have been so stupid to think that he wouldn’t have his hands in the workings of Swynton?

“I wonder, Sir.” Adette swallowed the lump that had perched itself at the top of her throat. “Do you ever get any rare types of herbs or seeds?” Tarn chuckled low in his throat.

“I suppose I do every so often, but lately that sort of thing has been a bit hard to find. Of course, I can usually locate some things for a fee, but I’d need to know what you’d be looking for first.” Adette swiped her things off of the table and scowled.

“I didn’t have any one thing in mind. I just wanted to know if there was a possibility.”

“There is a possibility of a great many things if one only asks,” Tarn replied with a smirk. He rearranged his table even though nothing seemed out of place. Adette took in a deep breath and was about to say something nasty when Lana took hold of her arm and yanked her away.

“I hope you’ve finished because you’ve absolutely got to see this!” Lana had looped her arm through Adette’s and was steering her away from Tarn’s stall. One last glance showed Adette that he was watching with the same self satisfied smirk he’d worn the last time she’d seen him. What could he possibly want with this tiny town? What could he possibly gain?

Lana pulled the two of them through the crowd. Several older ladies complained shooting nasty looks in their direction, but Lana didn’t seem to notice. She deposited the two of them somewhere to the front of the crowd. Adette could feel Tarn’s bright eyes burning into the back of her head, but she chose not to look back.

“Oh, here they come.” Lana’s eyes went wide. She clapped her hands together in delight and shouted with the rest of the crowd.

From behind a brightly colored cart, three people, two young men and a young woman, tumbled into the center of the square. Adette folded her arms across her chest and prepared to be bored. Soon enough, she found herself clapping and stamping along with the rest of the crowd.

The tumblers danced and leapt across the square. Streamers flew in the breeze created by the motion of their arms and legs. They did flips and somersaults and tumbled together and one by one. As the performance grew towards its climax, they slowly came closer together. As one they swarmed, over each other until they had formed an impossible three person tower. They signaled to the person at the bottom and then the two people at the top leapt, head over feet, toward the ground. All three rolled forward on the ground then at the very end of their roll they leapt onto their feet and stood with a flourish.

The entire crowd erupted into wild cheers. Adette even found that her own lips had turned up into an appreciative smile. The three tumblers bowed to several parts of the crowd. She was clapping along when they turned to bow toward Adette’s part of the crowd. The boy on the far left looked up and smirked. Adette’s hands paused mid-clap. He shouldn’t have been looking at her, but he was. When he saw that she’d realized he was looking at her, he winked. As soon as he winked, the group turned to face another part of the crowd.

“Miss Adette?” A tiny hand reached up and tugged politely on Adette’s new green skirt.

“Yes?” Adette blinked several times in confusion. The face and hand belonged to a small blonde boy with bright, precocious eyes.

“I’ve a message for you.” Without another word, the child produced a letter from somewhere inside his shirt and pressed it into her hand. In the space of time it took to look down and see her name written on the envelope and then back up, the child was gone.

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Adette Price Undercover Witch Chapter 29: Tarn the Shopkeeper?

 

 

Bodies pushed and jostled against each other. Adette allowed herself to be lead through the crowd. Lana talked on and on about several things: the people in town, who would give the best price, and who to stay away from entirely. Adette tried to take it all in as best she could, but the whole idea of being lead around the village square by a girl who wanted nothing more than to be friends was making her feel a bit strange.

In school, she’d had friends, but they’d long since graduated and moved on to better things. More than once, Lana would look her way only to realize that Adette was only half paying attention. Something about the day was putting her into a strange sort of state that she couldn’t quite shake.

“Addy!” Lana stopped them both short. Her arm slithered free of Adette’s. Both hands were placed firmly on her hips, and the look she had on her face said that Adette had definitely done something wrong.

“I’m sorry Lana. This is all just so much to take in.” Lana’s angry face softened slightly.

“I keep forgetting how new you are. Alright, maybe we should take a break.”

“Miss Adette,” a gruff voice interjected. Lana turned and the surprise on her face was plain.

“Mr. Zinner, what a nice surprise.” Adette said with a smile. She reached out and shook the older man’s hand. He in turn did the same.

“I’ve something I owe you, miss.” One gnarled hand took hold of one of Adette’s smaller ones. He turned it over so that her hand was palm up and placed one silver coin into the center.

“I thought you might like it.”

“I’ve not felt so good in ages.” Ms. Zinner flexed his hands and watched them with wonder.

“I’d be more than happy to make another batch,” Adette said. “For a small fee of course.”

“Of course.”

“I’ll bring it round tomorrow. I’ll need to make a fresh batch. Would you like this one to be bigger than last time?”

“I would like that very much.” Mr. Zinner smiled the first genuine smile Adette had seen.

“Then I will certainly see you tomorrow.” Mr. Zinner tipped his black bowler hat and disappeared back into the crowd.

“What on earth did you do to Mr. Zinner?” Lana’s mouth and eyes were wide with shock. Adette shrugged and took Lana’s arm once again.

“I made him some tea is all. I think it might have helped his joints a bit.” Lana shook her head. She nearly tripped over the skirt of another woman before she’d stop staring at Adette.

“That must have been some tea. Mr. Zinner is the town grouch. I’ve never seen him so much as talk to anyone and especially never someone from out of town.”

“Sometimes I really wonder how much of a friend you are Lana. You keep accusing me of being some strange deviant all on account of my out of town status.” Lana slapped Adette lightly on the shoulder.

“You know I don’t mean it like that. I just mean that he’s notoriously mean to everyone. He especially doesn’t seem to like women, but you he’ll talk to. He even seemed to like you a little.” Adette shrugged. She wasn’t about to give up anything else. She had a secret to keep after all.

“What stalls should I be buying from?” Lana stared for a moment longer before taking the bait. Adette nearly sighed with relief but managed to hold the urge off.

“Well, what do you want to buy first?” Lana continued to walk. She was slowly sweeping from side to side. She nodded occasionally at the shop keepers she knew.

“I’d like to buy some herb and vegetable seeds. I need a few more things for my greenhouse. I’d also like some fresh vegetables for cooking, but the herbs should probably come first.” Lana nodded and began to steer them toward a stall whose owner she knew.

“This is the man to see about herbs and seeds. He’s even known to get some unusual ones in from time to time.” Adette nodded and stepped toward the stall. There was a good assortment of things, but nothing that she wasn’t familiar with. In the end, Adette felt a bit disappointed. She’d be able to get all of the things she needed, but there wouldn’t be much hope for the rarer essentials. She supposed she’d make do with what she’d found so far.

“I’ll take these and these,” she said as she set the items she’d chosen onto the counter.

“That will be one silver miss.” Adette’s head shot up. She knew that voice. The face that stared back was smirking knowingly. Adette extended her hand across the makeshift counter and dropped the one silver piece into the waiting hand of Tarn.

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.

#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.

#193 – You are hiking through the forest, when you come upon a tree with a hug hold in its side. It is the entrance to an underground passage. You go inside.

No Idea why I’m feeling like digging through this. It might be because I want to write, but I’m a little scared of my poor neglected Adette. More on that later.

 

Bright sunlight still filtered through the large oval shaped hole behind me. Before me, there was an endless bark lined, almost – dark. The inside of the tree wasn’t cold or hot but somewhere in between. It wasn’t frightening. It wasn’t damp. It simply smelled pleasantly earthy.

With one last look over my shoulder I stepped forward into the velvety darkness. After a few steps, I turned around only to discover that the opening was gone.

Darkness closed in around me. Rich blackness wrapped around me. I blinked but couldn’t see any difference between my closed eyes and the corridor.

After several long moments of blinking like an idiot, I began to see a faint light in the distance. With nothing else to guide me, I moved toward the faint light. At first it didn’t seem like I was getting any close, and then, I’d blink and seem twice as close as before.

Well before I thought I’d reach the passage, I found myself at an entrance a similar shape to the one in the side of the tree. It’s gently pointed oval tip sloped down and around a framed picture of the woods I’d only just left behind.

Hesitantly, I stepped over the familiar threshold into the very same woods I’d just left. My pack was still resting beside the thick base of the tree exactly where I’d placed it. I reached down and retrieved it from the leafy ground and hefted it over my shoulder. Leaves crunched beneath my boots as I stepped a bit farther back from the opening.

I thought it’d disappear but it stayed, gaping silently, in the side of the tree. Birds chirped and crickets whirred in the shrubs encroaching on the trees. With a shake of my head, I turned my back on the hole and trekked back the way I’d come.

Sunlight filtered through the burning fall leaves above sheltering me in a shimmering light. The air was scented with leaves just beginning to decay. Something was nagging at the edge of my mind. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, so I continued my trudge back toward where I’d left my car.

Long after I thought I’d reach my car, I stopped to look around me. That’s when it occurred to me. The only sounds I heard were bird and bugs. There was no distance sound of the nearby road.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to the woods around me, “I can’t be lost. The parking lot was easy to find. There was a path and everything. Wait.” I paused and squinted into the dying light. There’d been a giant oak tree. I scanned the horizon and chuckled when I made out the huge canopy I’d recognized earlier.

Maybe it was because I’d almost become lost, but I found myself picking up the pace. Just before the clearing I came upon a thickly woven set of bushes. Instead of going around, I pushed my way through. Branches snapped in my face. One raised a long welt across my cheek. My foot snagged and I went tumbling the final way through and into the clearing.

The oak tree towered over me and the clearing, but where there’d been a small, flat, lined expanse of asphalt was nothing but bare earth covered loosely with leaves.

“Where the heck is my car?”