Tap tap tap squeal!!
My name is Katrina Galdorheim, but I'd rather you call me Kat. Try to convince my mother and aunt of that and you’d most definitely bring on one of her lectures. Especially if you try to argue with Aunt Thordis about ANYTHING! She’s the chief administrator and de facto mayor of our little island village full of witches and warlocks.
So when she implies I’m a L-O-S-E-R, everybody pretty much agrees with her. Oh, most of the other witches are nice enough to me, but the whispers behind my back are none too subtle.
A couple more people to introduce for this story.
My mom seems like a ditz, but her magic is just as powerful as Aunt Thordis’s. I think Mom just likes to be the total opposite of her overbearing sister. Don’t tell Aunt Thordis I said that.
My only real friend is Rune even if he is my brother (half) and crazy good at magic. Everything comes so easy for him and it’s enough to make me insane. The only thing he does have trouble with is keeping his vampire half in control. I know how hard it is for him. If he sees even a drop of human (well, witch or human) blood, he totally freaks. Eyes go blood red, canines grow. Yeah. Seriously. But he’s working on it, and will beat the blood-sucking monkey on his back someday.
What else can I say? This book is about me mostly, though mom, Aunt Thordis, and Rune all play a big part in it. So my problem is that I can’t cast spells without them going wrong. Not just little, teensy so-what wrong, but big, gigantic, totally outrageous wrong.
When you’re living on an island populated by witches, and the island runs on magic, being magic-challenged doesn't just suck, it's downright dangerous.
This excerpt makes clear just how much of a klutz I am. Don't worry, though. Things get worse, but eventually they do get better.
Bad Spelling - Chapter 1 Excerpt
A muffled bang accompanied by puffs of red and violet smoke billowing out from the back of the room gave her cover to rush to the last available seat. When the smoke cleared, Kat rolled her eyes, barely controlling a snort. Her brother Rune’s used-to-be vampire bat now clung to his finger chirping angrily while his best friend’s was-a-rat now stared with hungry eyes at it in the temporary form of a scruffy gray cat.
Unfazed, Miss Mariah cleared her throat and glared at the boys. “Would you please wait for everyone else?” Rune and Dalton grinned at each other and transformed their respective familiars back to their original forms.
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Rune’s bat flapped to the rafters and hung upside down, glaring down at his owner. Rune dodged a drop of guano, picked up his wand, and tapped it on the desktop. With a high-pitched squeak, the bat dropped to the desk and folded its wings, but it didn’t look happy.
Miss Mariah muttered, “Fiksu aasi noita.” She watched Kat as she hunched over and dropped her book bag on the floor. “Nice of you to join us, Katrina. See me after class about your tardiness.”
She faced the class. “Now then, please take out your chalk and wands for today’s lesson, which is,” she shot a semi-annoyed look at Rune and Dalton, “transformation.” The Wiccan students rustled bags and whispered to each other while they did as told.
When the witches and warlocks in training looked up, she continued. “Although some students can transform without benefit of pentagram and wand, those of you who are beginners, or less motivated—” she paused and gave Kat a hard look, “must practice first with the proper equipment.”
Kat’s face warmed, and she sank lower into her chair. Heaving a sigh, she set her brown bunny, Teddy, on her desktop and fumbled in her bag for her spell book, yew wood wand, and chalk.
Merry, the curly-haired blonde witch sitting next to Kat, waved her arm in the air.
“What is it, Merry?” Miss Mariah asked.
“Can you make Katrina sit somewhere else? Whenever she’s near me, my spells don’t work right. She’s a jinx.”
The class snickered. Kat grimaced at Merry. If I got my hands on her…aw, what’s the use?
“No, everybody stays right where they are,” Miss Mariah snapped. She pasted on a fake smile and continued in a treacle-sweet voice. “Now, class, draw the pentagram on your desktop and place your familiar in its center.”
The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points.
She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star. “Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.
Merry curled her lip and hissed, “You’d better not screw me up. If I can’t work this spell right, it’ll be your fault.”
“Tough luck, Merry,” Kat snarled. “If you’re such a great witch, my being here shouldn’t make any difference.”
Turning away from Merry, Kat finished the final leg of her pentagram and set the bunny in the center. “Stay right there, Teddy,” she whispered to her little brown rabbit, setting a chunk of carrot in front of him. He made a dash for the edge of the desk. Kat hauled him back. “Cut it out. You’ll smear my chalk lines.” She stroked his soft fur for a moment. “Hope this works.” He twitched his nose twice, closed his eyes, and hunkered down.
Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “Fullgerður!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand. Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”
Kat’s mouth hung open for a moment; then she clamped it shut when she glanced down at what was left of Teddy sitting in a pool of slime dripping onto the floor. Merry was right about one thing. The goo smelled like pond scum.
Teddy looked up at his witch with sad, bulging eyes, the top half of a frog’s body floating in the green glop. Kat groaned. Poor, long-suffering Teddy. Green and slimy—that was the good part. The pink nose and floppy ears—not so good. If she couldn’t master transformation and the other mid-level junior spells, she’d be left behind again.