This story is by Jennetta Dawson and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
It always rained on this part of town. The sun never shined, the birds never sang, and the trees from the roots to the leaves are charcoal black, hunched over the stone road like they wanted to hear every breath you made. This had to be one of the most petrifying back roads Evalyn has ever taken to her best friend’s house, with the occasional wolf howling and ominous dark clouds that looked like rotten cotton candy, it was nothing like her life back home. But what are you to expect when your friend’s a witch and you’re a fairy?
She arrived at her friends stone-made building, “Maneuvah’s Con. Shop.”. It was both a shop for magic and a home. She lived right upstairs, there were lights flickering from the inside which meant Evalyn’s friend, Maneuvah or Manny, would be downstairs stirring up something new and Evalyn loves the fact that Maneuvah has a shop all to herself at the age of 14. Making her way to the back entrance, hurtling through the ebony bushes from behind the shop Evalyn found the enchanted wooden door that would allow her to come in on the far left of the building. She knocked three times, softly. The door rumbled, the noise was quiet which would mean no one but Manny would know she was there. The door came up and Evalyn crawled her way inside. It only took her two seconds to get in, the door lead her behind the counter of the shop and the fireplace was right next to her above that were Manny’s bottles of things. Or as Evalyn called it, “The shelf of mysterious darkness.”. She stood up and brushed herself off and was greeted by the subtle scent of pine cones and cinnamon. She held onto the straps of her backpack and walked to the other side of the counter at the far right side of the room where Maneuvah had been turning a pot full of white foggy liquid. Evalyn was light on her feet, the wooden floor never creaked as she walked across the room right behind Manny’s shoulder.
“What are you making?” Evalyn whispered. Manny’s head whipped around so fast that Evalyn was sure she heard something crack. Her eyes wide but Manny put down her stick and embraced her younger friend in a tight, nearly suffocating, hug.
“I didn’t hear you come in.” Manny smiled. “Come on.” Before Evalyn got another word to speak Manny grabbed her wrist and pulled her back over to the counter. They stood on opposite sides; Manny as the salesperson and Evalyn as the customer. Maneuvah began digging underneath the counter rumbling through her cabinets hunched over like the trees, she was close enough for Evalyn to see both her and the fireplace behind Manny. The fireplace made Evalyn realize how different the two were, it amplified the colors Manny didn’t have. Evalyn had much more color on her than her friend did. Manny’s eyes were pure black while Evalyn’s were emerald green, Manny’s hair was white as snow completely straight with clean cut ends and Evalyn’s was light brown with streaks of white in the front, like a lion’s mane it was enormous, curls fell everywhere and there was no way of containing it. Her skin was dark brown almost black and Manny’s skin was so white she was almost translucent, maybe she was translucent, the only color Manny has on her skin are her blue veins. Even their clothes were different, Manny wore a long black and purple grown that draped over her feet and sometimes wore a pointed black hat. Evalyn never wore hats, she likes her puffy pink blouse and green high waisted skirt, her backpack was also floral pattern for all her school work and candy while Manny carried a black satchel filled with spell books and forbidden magic potions.
Peering her head over the counter, Manny looked at Evalyn more sternly than what she’s use to. “What I’m about to show you.” Manny said with a serious tone, causing Evalyn to look at her with concern and bewilderment. “You can’t speak of this to anyone. Promise?”
Evalyn gave her friend a big nod.
“No. You have to really promise. You have to say it.”
“I promise word will not get back to anyone else, Ms. Maneuvah Natter. Your secret is safe with me.” She placed her right hand over her heart and raised the left on in the air. Manny half smiled at her genuine gesture but it was still clear that something serious was at matter.
“Okay.” Manny whispered, pulling a large object from underneath the counter she placed it on top and it landed with a loud thud. Dust as well as black cat fur flew into the air making Evalyn sneeze every second. “Shh. My mother is upstairs.”
“It’s not my fault I’m allergic to cats.” Wiping her nose against her sleeve Evalyn looked at the object lying face up on the table. It’s a book. “The Book Of… He-I-Dee?”
“Shh!” Manny whispered more harshly. “It’s says, ‘The Book Of Heidi’. It’s a forbidden book that-”
“Why do you have a forbidden book?”
“Shhh! It’s only forbidden because it was previously owned by the royal family, Valentine. We had a tour the other day, to the royal palace and it was there. Out in the open.”
“That doesn’t mean you just take it!”
“SHHH!” Frustrated Manny stomped on the floor causing it to moan and squeak. Some of her personal belongings on the shelf bump and clang together allowing more noise to slip its way upstairs into her mother’s room.
“Maneuvah!” A voice yelled from upstair. A every unpleasant tone that made their teeth grind and their skin recoil, almost as nails were being dragged across a chalkboard. “What is with all that noise!?” The market below shook, debris and dust to fell from the cracks of the wooden ceiling. Quickly, Manny grabbed her bag and began to shove random ideas which were unfamiliar to Evalyn.
“Nothing mom!” Manny slung the string over her shoulder. “It was just Cat making a mess again. I’ll clean it.” She waved a hand at Evalyn to hurry over the counter and out to Manny’s enchanted backway door. Grabbing the book Evalyn used her wings to flow over the counter top to the door in hopes of staying more silent than a mouse. As Manny finished packing her bag the footsteps of the wicked witch who lived upstairs started to shake the building again.
“I swear Maneuvah, if you don’t get that cat under control I’m going to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
“Don’t worry mom, it’s all cleaned I’m going to school now.” Manny ran for the door and crawled her way through with the help of Evalyn. They ran as far away from the house as fast as they could because their legs could get them further than Evalyn’s wings or Manny’s broom.
They walked on the backroad for what seemed to be hours. Evalyn’s feet began to ache in the pointed purple heels Manny gave her. She had been dressed to look like a witch in case they were to be caught, from the hat to the bag Evalyn had the look down pack. The entire walk to the royal palace Manny had been filling Evalyn’s ear with the local news of the witches and wizard world. How the book has been missing for less than a week and the officials had been ransacking houses ever since.
“The cause of this action is punishable by death.” Manny whispered, “and I’ve been lucky enough to elude the officials by living so far East of the palace but everyday they get closer and closer and I can’t hide anymore. Are you still willing to help me?”
Eva gave Manny a look as if she grew a third arm out of her eyeball. “Of course I am.” She answered and they both ducked behind the bushes.
“This is the borderline between my world and the royal palace. By helping me you’re also going to be held accountable for any actions done today and sentenced to death if caught.” Manny gave her a look of worry but Evalyn assured her that she wouldn’t leave.
With a nod Manny pulled out a pink glass bottle with a heart shaped cork, Evalyn yanked the top off and watched as the steaming sparkles oozed out from the rim. She drank half of it and gave the other half to Manny. Their dresses turned white with yellow and purple embedded gems and long bell shaped sleeves, Evalyn’s skin turned light pink and Manny’s turned dark purple, their ears long and sharp with their eyes turning completely black like an alien. They were now Elves.
“Alright,” Manny said pulling back the tar-like bushes to reveal a bright utopia filled with white clouds and streaming blue water, a garden filled with flowers that matched their dresses and a castle to high for either to see from this angle. “I don’t really have a plan,” she continued. “But from here the door that leads to the room should be not too far from the right main gate. We have to walk and play it cool. Are you ready?”
“As I’ll ever be.” Shimmying through the bushes the duo walked down the hill with their heads up high as if apart of the royal family. As they approached the side door adjacent to the main entrance Manny pulled out another bottle, but this time with clear gooey liquid.
“It’ll help us get through the door without opening it.” As Eva took her sips Manny made sure the coast was clear and finished off the bottle. “Just walk through.” Stepping through the large marble door the two found themselves inside a small old fashioned library that gave the smell of old oak paper and leather, the room was lit up by candles and the two red leather arm chairs were occupied by two children, one being a boy who seemed to be Manny and Evalyn’s age and the other a girl much smaller than them all, both dressed in royal attire, both seeming to be completely aware and terrified of the outsiders presence. They were the two youngest out of the three children of the royal family, Gracey and Enver Valentine.
Gracey jumping for her chair rushed out the door screaming, “Guards! Guards!” While Enver stood boldly although his face looked as if he were going to wet himself.
“What are you doing here?” Evner asked, when receiving no reply he then shouted, “I demand you to answer me!”
“We come bearing gifts.” Evalyn said softly and averted her eyes from the royal boy’s fury. Reaching into her bag, Manny pulled of The Book of Heidi and slowly brought it to the floor realizing that her once dove-ish white gown started to turn purple.
“It’s wearing off.” She whispered to herself. Standing up and giving a slight bow of her head Manny gave her sincerest apologies and further explained that the two of them must be on their way.
“Wait, who are you?” Evner asked but the two mysterious women looked away from him.
“We are truly sorry, Your Majesty.” Manny grabbed Evalyn by the hand that started to change back to it’s natural color and they rushed out the room. “You have to go back home. We have to split up.”
“What?” Evalyn yelled. “Why?”
“They don’t know what we look like, they’ll be looking for two elf girls who stole the book, not a witch and a fairy. We have to go and we have to go now, it’s our only chance. Run and don’t look back, okay?”
Evalyn was sure the officials wouldn’t find them, Maneuvah’s spell changers changed everything all the way down to the fingerprints. The duo ran, even after passing Manny’s house in her full fairy form Evalyn continued to run and didn’t look back.