Sunday, May 21, 2017
1st 5 Pages May Workshop - Garrett Rev 2
Name: Catherine Garrett
Genre: Young Adult | Urban Fantasy
Title: Randa Rune and the Erie Street Witch
Boring Rhyming Randa, that was me. | Until I walked inside a tree.
Fifteen-year-old Randa drifts through life; a high school outcast named Rhyming Randa with only her rhymes. That is until a confrontation with Asher Eastwyke, a reputed bully, leads inside the haunted house of Erie Street to a dead witch’s grimoire. Little does Randa know that the unrevealed contents of the grimoire will propel her on a perilous quest to find an ancient witch and save all witches from a terrible fate.
On Randa’s sixteenth birthday, she enters the bewitching realm of Sobelow where new friend, Alazne Cauldron, helps her accept that her rhymes are her gift. While Randa secretly grapples with falling in love, she and her new friends begin to unravel the mystery of the grimoire. A magical story of self-discovery, love, and learning that sacrifice often provides the greatest rewards.
In the snow-covered front yard of the haunted house of Erie Street, I stand with a tree branch in my hands.
Street lights illuminate the crumbling house with gaping holes in its siding that expose a wooden skeleton beneath. On the sagging roof, cedar tiles stick up like jagged teeth. The attached conservatory’s dome of stained-glass panels is soiled from time and neglect.
My breath drifts upward in frosty white pillows; my gaze following to the peak where three ravens rest. They always squawk when anyone draws near. Now they are as silent as death.
A rhyme slips into my thoughts:
There is a house on Erie Street,
Where ravens, and spiders, and rodents creep.
The man who lives there is a witch you know,
With gnarled fingers and a crooked nose.
“Quit stalling and smash a window, Rhyming Randa,” says Asher in a sharp tone.
The most feared guy in school wants me to break a window in a neglected conservatory, and a nickname I hear fifty times a day is all he’s got? The only reason I’m still standing here is because he decked a senior jock. Not just any jock, but the biggest quarterback in school. Plus, Asher has my rhyme journal. So, bolting to the street is not an option, but neither is breaking a window just to appease a bully.
“Break it yourself.” I pitch the branch on the snow hoping he’ll abandon this foolish idea of proving the house has a magic spell cast on it by a witch.
“Do it, and you can have your journal back.” His unblinking eyes peer at me from beneath black eyebrows like a bird of prey calculating the precise moment to strike.
I fetch the branch. Behind me, an old oak’s limbs sway in the wind; its shadow splayed on the snow around me like twisted fingers summoning me to escape.
I resolve to get this over with, so near the arch of glass. My long blonde hair whips across my face as I take aim at a single pane and swing.
When the branch hits my mark, the impact stings my hands and vibrates up my arms. However, nothing happens; not a fracture, nor a shatter, or even a dull thud. I pitch the limb aside and move back seconds before a spray of glass rains onto the snow accompanied by Asher’s cry of victory.
Before my brain can register the peculiar pause that took place before the glass exploded, sparkling green vapor seeps from within the conservatory. It curls around the edges of the pointy shards, followed by finger-like slithering vines.
As the vapor drifts around us, I detect a sweet fragrance, perhaps flowers, but remain fixed on the creeping plants filling the jagged gap. Asher’s mouth gapes as wide as mine. I glance back at the window and gasp.
The vapor and vines are gone. The glass has reappeared.
I inch near the window. Not a mark nor a crack is visible, so I slip off a mitten and bravely tap the glass.
“There’s a window by the veranda,” says Asher.
I shriek at the sound of his voice, then I shout, “Did you see that? The window…how did that happen?”
“Be quiet. You just proved there’s a spell on this place. Come on. I think we can see inside the house.”
“I’m not snooping in windows,” I exclaim, which sounds dumb after smashing a window.
The wind tousles Asher’s straight black hair with indigo streaked bangs. A glimmer of amusement dances at the corner of his lips. Asher Eastwyke is cute, in a mysterious sort of way, with a heart-shaped face and generous lips. It’s his eyes throwing me off; iris’ so black they’re nearly impossible to look at.
“You are, and we will. You broke the window, so your part of the plan now,” says Asher.
“What plan?” I laugh. Not a hearty, cheerful laugh, but one that stems from nerves on overdrive. I know quite well what he means. My thoughts are a muddled mess, but not so scrambled I can’t figure out why Asher needs me. I’ll be the one who takes the fall if his ridiculous scheme goes sour.
Grabbing onto the hood of my coat, Asher hauls me behind a barren bush, where we crouch below a window beside the front porch.
“Stay down,” he says before standing to look through the window. Then he pops back down, leans against my arm, and states, “I can’t see anything.”
The veranda light flicks on.
Asher and I gawk at each other with owl-like eyes as the door screeches open. I slam my eyes shut.
On the wooden veranda stretching the entire frontage of the house, footsteps echo and stop directly beside us. Inside my mittens, I dig my fingers like daggers into the snow to remain still. A hard object jabs my right palm, so to suppress a yelp, I pinch my lips tight. The footsteps retreat into the house and the door creaks shut.
While Asher sneaks another look through the window, I whip my hand up and find the bottom half of a silver skeleton key poking through my mitt. I tug it out. The top is a flat circle engraved with two duplicate leafless trees, their roots joining them one above the other.
On my cheekbone, something tickles, so I strain my eyes left just as the black needle-like appendage of a spider flexes and extends toward my eye. As the glossy black body comes into view, I catch a glimpse of red on its abdomen and fear fires through me, churning my stomach into a tense cramp. My first reaction is to scream, but instead, I clamp my mouth shut, terrified the spider will crawl in.
My brain is a mental soup of conflicting orders; freeze, run, scream. However, the overruling thought is ‘get it off my face and get the heck away from the hideous thing as fast as I can.’ Petrified to touch it, but horrified that it’s about to creep directly over my left eye, I flick the vile thing with a mitt, then bolt from behind the bush.
The shrieks caught in my throat spill over my vocal cords as I whack at my legs, arms, and torso. The spider is still on me somewhere, I’m sure of it!
Asher’s hand wraps around my mouth stifling my squeals. With an elbow into his stomach, I stagger onto the sidewalk, still frantically hunting for the spider.
“What’s up with you?” Asher scoffs, his eyes ablaze.
Still hopping around like a jumping bean, I bellow, “A ginormous spider was on my face. I hate spiders.” I bat at my hair and scurry in circles.
“You’d think you were being attacked by a swarm of bees, not just a little spider.”
I catch Asher roll his eyes. That’s it—I’m out of here. I start down the street toward home.
“Where do you think you’re going? I didn’t say you could leave,” he seizes my arm.
“Let me go,” I pull free. “Keep my journal. Show everyone my rhymes,” I yell.
From his pocket, he shoves my journal toward me. “Go ahead, take it,” he says. “For what it’s worth, your rhymes are good…for rhymes.”
He’s just saying nice things to manipulate me. “What do you want from me?”
“You saw what I saw. A witch lives in that house, and we’re going to get inside and figure it out.”