“THE WITCH REPORT: Adventures of Carmelina” - First Chapter
For Iris, and those who believe
Well, my cheeries, and here we are again. And what changes we’ve seen since we last met. So much to catch up on! The holy Catholic man has taken his break (rumour has it that his life was at stake but I don’t do rumours. The free newspapers are so much more informative and reliable these days). Now we’ve got the Serious Scot at the helm. Dylan thinks he’s grey and old and dour, and he wouldn’t give a familiar his last prawn even to avoid a hex. Ah, Dylan, we shall see about that one.
Unfortunately, the Scot can’t make up his mind about which job he’s doing right now. Dylan says he looks just like one of those financiers he loves to hate whilst he’s busy saving the world. I wonder if they’ll get the Taliban to flog them all? Much better if the Taliban pick on something their own size and leave the girls in Pakistan alone. Girls do just want to have fun but they need their 3Rs for complete enjoyment, don’t you think?
Anyway, the Werewolf doesn’t give the Serious Scot any problems even though the Scot still wants to do the Werewolf’s job as well as his own new one. Of course he’s a Werewolf; just because you get your eyebrows sugared it doesn’t change what you are inside, does it.
What do I make of all the recession stuff? Don’t they teach bankers basic sums any more? It doesn’t matter how many noughts they put on the end (it’s only to impress you, you know), numbers are easy and very tidy and love rules and always do as they are told (unlike witches and small children. And familiars, too, sometimes). The recession has nothing to do with numbers and a lot to do with thinking, and who is thinking what. And when. And why. No, not how. We know about the how already. Yes you do… remember, its all to do with electronic pulses flowing down nerves encased in myelin sheaths and shooting across synapses. Or, do you prefer the new theory about it being nothing to do with electricity after all, and more like waves of pressure blowing down a pipe. You don’t remember? Goodness me, have you been to school in the last few years?
Anyway, don’t you just love Mr Obama? He’ll sort the mess out in no time at all. I’m convinced he’s a wizard, you know. I must look into his credentials, and those of his lovely wife, Michelle “la belle”. She’s so glamorous, so elegant, so kind to children. She didn’t even mind them kissing her in public despite all those germs! Still, I understand she had some brew beforehand. From a rival, say no more. I will have to introduce myself when the time is ripe. Do you think I could persuade them to take England to their hearts? I’m sure they’d love our Queen and that HM would love them, too. They are a very regal pair.
Anyway, where did I get to? Don’t be cheeky, Dylan. I know that’s Canary Wharf over there, I meant where did our story get to? You say we’ve done all this talking and I haven’t started yet? Right then, Universe-willing, here’s the tale of what Carmelina did next, as we promised.
Carmelina looked out of the window at a view that would have made many of us happy. Baby green leaves starting to unfurl in competition with the creamy white blossoms, bright golden daffodils, bees buzzing and birds chirping. Southwark was shaping up nicely for Flora's London Marathon. A heavenly sight? Not for Carmelina, I’m afraid to say.
On the window sill stood a pot of hyacinths. There were three (a revered magic number), in a glorious shade of celestial blue, Carmelina’s most favourite colour ever. That’s what made her feel so sad. Well, that and reminiscence. She thought back to the fun times she’d had with Mumsie and Mack, even with McKinlay, and it brought a lump to her throat when she thought she may never see any of them ever again. Three thousand blue moons is an awful long time, even for a witch.
Yes, I know I told you to scram and buzz off and that I wouldn’t tell you any more, at least until the passing of the said three thousand blue moons. But the world is developing into a very strange case and it needs the support of us all to pull it through…
So, just in case there’s anyone out there who isn’t aware of why Carmelina might be sad or what she could be reminiscing about, some history is required. Yes, I understand history can be boring but if you didn’t have history how would you know where you left that wonderful birthday present your Great Aunt Glad gave you? What do you mean you’ve been trying to forget – wash your mouth out this minute!
For those who care, and even for those who don’t, the history bit goes like this: witches need hard-working ugly (but preferably sweet of breath) men to marry them. The witch will encourage the man to work ever harder, to keep her in the life style she requires. He’ll die in his fifties, or forties if he’s really very ugly indeed, and his witch-wife will inherit all. Yes, all. Yes, even if that isn’t what it says in the will.
Of course the witch-wife has to fulfil her side of the bargain, and keep bone-thin, young and beautiful, take expensive body treatments of all kinds and go on frequent holidays. Whenever they accompany their husbands, they must be well-dressed and immaculately made up. They also have to be good at spells to ensure the ugly husband sleeps well at night, in order to avoid too much carnal exercise.
Carmelina was being pressured to find herself a rich husband to quell the Sisterhood’s remarks about her being born on the wrong side of the moon. As if! She was very clever, very rich, vivacious and attractive, and her mother was the Witch Supreme. Still… actions speak louder than words.
Even though Mack (a carpenter from Borough who had amassed a great deal of wealth, and whose mirror had tried to warn him about the folly of wearing grey marl tracky bottoms) was Sam’s sweetheart, he and Carmelina hit it off. Their thoughts were fully synchronised. Carmelina thought her magic had got it sussed, then found out Mack had two-timed her. Only Cope could understand her hormones and her anger and offer her sweet revenge.
So, amazingly, Mack took Carmelina to the Oxo Tower restaurant. Well, it wasn’t amazing at all, really, it was magic. On the night, Carmelina could only be described as “Wow!” and Mack was persuaded to part with a lot of cash for the evening out. Maybe that had initiated his illness? Or was it all down to the wicked, “girl next door type” Sam, former sweetheart, who trickled a sticky Kir Royale down his nose in front of London’s beautiful people? We shall never know for sure; suffice it to say that Mack was left pacing the streets of London, talking to himself.
Mizz (Dylan’s friend, Miserere Nobis) was shredded to smithereens by a low-flying helicopter whilst he was undergoing acrobatics on an unlit broomstick, and left Dylan grieving and me with a 10Kg bag of toads and tadpoles. It wasn’t all straight going for Carmelina, either.
She had been rescued by McKinlay on the “Oxo Tower” night. He was perfect for marriage to a witch because of his extreme wealth and Carmelina succumbed. However, leading up to the fantastic wedding, she was thought to have contracted wedding fever. It caused her to work out at the gym every day, and to read Higginbottom’s “Culture and History of the Occult and Witches in Particular” (as recommended by the Order of the Golden Dawn) as well as her favourite Cope’s “Magick”.
Although she went through with her marriage to McKinlay it wasn’t consummated. No, instead she flew off over the lake with Mark. She’d met him at the gym and he was extra special in the looks and kissing and love-making departments. Much better than being eternally grateful to McKinlay and his last century tongues down throat stuff. Or so she had thought at the time.
And pity poor Mumsie! She, who was forcibly revived and forced to say “I do” to McKinlay in Carmelina’s place – simply to save the honour of the Sisterhood. Wow. You can see why it might take three thousand blue moons to restore order and honour and …oops! I nearly told you. But that’s another story for another time.
Going back to the now of Carmelina, it wasn’t that her life with Mark “Babe Man” was so dreadful. He simply didn’t understand her at all. All he wanted to do was kiss her and touch her and ‘love her up’. She’d been loved up so much recently there was no room left for any more of it. Her heart and soul were just not in it. Anyway, she wanted a man with a brain, one who could talk as well as balance naked on a broomstick whilst making sweet love. Brains are just so seductive and so now, aren’t they? She admitted it. She’d been taken in by the packaging (well, he was delicious to look at, you know). Don’t gloat, my cheeries; it could happen to any of us, you included.
So, Carmelina was regretting the haste of her decision not to stay with the very wealthy McKinlay, even if choosing Mark “Babe Man” had seemed a much more exciting option at the time. In fact, she now realised that, for a witch, she had made the most enormous mistake. Witches are programmed through nature and nurture to select the money option every time. Although the Sisterhood sort-of thought she had been rather daring, they also thought she was rather outré (that’s foreign for very uncool). Carmelina was already down in their history as a role model-NOT!
It wasn’t just the pot of hyacinths that did it, though. No. She’d been watching BBC 24 News on telly. As a bit of light relief she’d selected Film 24, with that film critic man, Mark Kermode. Have you ever seen him, my cheeries? Well, he is swoon-some and some! So gorgeous, in a ruggedly-handsome sort of way. You know, just like how they describe York (“where the men are hunky and the chocolate’s chunky”). And did you know he’s a doctor, one of those with a PhD? Yes, it’s true; my friend Wiki told me so. I could rather fancy him myself (in fact I do, and I sigh with unrequited love every time I watch him) although rumour (and Wiki) says he’s married. What a waste – he could have had me, he only had to ask!
Well, the beautiful, sensitive, exceptionally clever, hunky Dr Mark Kermode (even without knowing anything at all about her story) got Carmelina thinking. Thinking about whether there were other possibilities in life. And, if there were - the question popped up in her mind almost immediately – what was she going to do about them? But understanding the Universe the way she did, she should have known better, and asked a different question.
Jereboah always practiced his magical rituals in his break. He did it every day, without fail, because practice makes perfect. And Jereboah was – almost – perfection personified. [Dylan asked me whether I thought Dr Mark Kermode would be quite a good contender for perfection, too. What do you think, my cheeries? After all, you are the ones who know all about these things].
It wouldn’t be easy for most people to do wizardry and magical rituals on a public bus. However, Jereboah had two advantages over most people: first, he was the driver of the said 381 bus and second, he had obtained his advanced certificate so he could use his wizardry to block people’s gaze without them even being aware of it.
Jereboah was a huge, though not fat, African American black and his skin shone as beautifully as a brand new Ford car. The original sort. I’m sure he burnished it with special oils every evening and night. Don’t be silly, his skin not the Ford! His mouth shone, too, because his teeth were decorated with gold. He smiled all the time (if you had that amount of gold in your mouth, you’d smile, too) and his dark brown eyes twinkled with mischievous merriment. That took a lot of magic. Have you seen the sort of people they let on buses these days? Especially in London. There’s all those Northern tourists, for starters!
Carmelina had waited an extra long amount of time for Jereboah’s 381 (some people said they had waited a lifetime, though that’s another story; we’re listening to this one right now). She was tired, had a heavy bag and was glad to be able to sit down at last. As she boarded, Wizard Jereboah handed her a small object. It looked like a piece of paper, a ticket even.
Perplexed, she was about to screw it up and put it in her pocket (the ‘Southwark Guardians’ would probably fine her fifty quid if she threw it on the floor) when Jereboah’s smile started to fade in disappointment. “Sista Carmelina, I thought you was good at seein what was needin to be seen. You bein a witch an all that,” he said, sulkily. He stretched his hand out to take his object back.
Somewhat surprised by this approach, Carmelina looked at Jereboah, and what he had given her, more carefully. The paper contained what appeared to be a tiny dancing animation. When she examined it closely, she made out the image of a darkly dressed man waving a shield. And on the shield was a moon. It was a full blue moon, to be precise, along with some triangles inside a circle. And then the dancing image started to speak, said something like: if she wanted to know the answer to the question burning through her soul she should seek him out, the Count Ravello. She had until the next blue moon to do this. Luckily, Carmelina’s Latin was A* because that’s the language the man was using.
Jereboah started to smile again. Obviously, he thought it was an important message because he drove his bus like his wife had just given birth to triplets on the top deck, and only he could get them to the church to be christened before it was too late. It was as if the bus grew wings, it flew along Stamford Street and Southwark Street. How it missed all the “Shard” road works around London Bridge Carmelina would never know. A little girl with a loud voice said “Mummy, this bus is going very fast”. Jereboah’s teeth gleamed in the darkness of Stainer Street tunnel; he thought this was praise indeed and put his foot down even more. Wow, there went Tooley Street, Jamaica Road, Rotherhithe Tunnel, Brunel Road. Do you know, my cheeries, Carmelina was home in less than twenty minutes – watch out Peckham, here comes Jereboah!
Carmelina was dazed. Well, you would have been, too, after such an eventful bus ride. She thought and then she thought some more. How would she find the scary Count Ravello? She knew she had to look for him. She knew she had to find him. She knew she wanted the answer to the question that was still burning through her soul right now this very minute. But where should she start?
Well, I’m off for a wee while. I’ve a few little jobs to do. A spell to prepare for the special brew I’m going to send to Michelle, lunch to put in the cauldron for Dylan (he’s off prawns since Pax came into his life and told him she liked big boys, and now its all lamb and beef and bits of melon), not to mention a couple of counselling sessions for the love-struck. Wait for a gibbous moon, my cheeries, and I’ll be back. We can talk about the next bit then.
© Bella Fortuna® April 2009. All Rights Reserved.
Published on writebuzz®:
> First Chapters