by Nic Steven
Amanda heard the doorbell. She had been told not to answer but was feeling rebellious. Her parents had left her alone on Samhain to work at a nearby standing stone. They said they trusted her. Well fine, but she was bored.
A girl, roughly her age stood in a black cloak and pointed hat, carrying a broomstick. ‘Trick or treat,’ she said.
‘Stars! You’re positively medieval. A broomstick! Don’t you think witches ever move on. We use vacuum cleaners.’ She stopped and screwed up her face. ‘I shouldn’t have said that.’
Amanda spoke ’You’d better come in. I ‘m supposed to pretend there’s no one home. Left a light on. How come you‘re alone. I thought trick or treaters went out in groups.’
‘I’m supposed to be with some kids from school, but I pretended to go home. They hate me. And I hate them.’
‘I think I’d like to go to school, to make some friends. We’re the only witches in the village… I shouldn’t have said that.’
‘Yeah. We don’t fly broomsticks either.’
‘No, you use vacuum cleaners.’
‘Not to fly, stupid. Although we could do if we wanted.’
‘Don’t be stupid. Witches aren’t real.’
Amanda sniffed. ‘No wonder everybody hates you.’
The other girl reddened and turned to leave.
‘Wait. I’ll prove it to you.’
Amanda picked up a cylinder vacuum cleaner. ‘Old fashioned. Not as bad as a broomstick though.’
She took it to the back yard followed by the other girl, who said her name was Stacey. Amanda positioned them astride the cylinder and the cleaner levitated. ‘I’m only learning; still need something to focus on.’
Stacey screamed. ‘Let me down.’
Amanda took them away from the village, into deep woods; Stacey still screaming but now with laughter. Then, disaster. Stacey fell off, grabbing the trailing hose. Her hat and broomstick dropped to the ground.
The vacuum took them a little further before dropping into a deep pond. The girls dragged themselves out shivering.
Amanda piled branches at the pond’s edge. She waved her hands muttering some words, her face screwed tight with concentration. Soon she had a roaring fire going. They huddled near it to dry themselves.
Stacey looked down at her sodden, slime covered clothes. ‘I’ll be grounded for ever.’
‘Me too.’ Then Amanda remembered what they had just been doing. ‘Grounded.’ She giggled. Soon both girls were laughing.
Once they were dry, they wondered how to get home. The woods were thick with impenetrable undergrowth and no way to retrieve the vacuum. Amanda found the broom. ‘Sometimes the old ways are best. Hop on.’
Stacey placed her pointed hat on Amanda’s head.
‘Do it with style. Hey, you wanna hang out once we’re no longer grounded.’
‘Sure. See you in about a hundred years.’
In the event their sentences were only for a week, though it did feel like a century. After this they were inseparable, but they never again flew over the wood