“Are you sure you want to do this, Beth?” SarahBelle asked.
Beth looked up- seemingly startled- by the question. “Of course, I’m sure. Elliot has been pulling prank after prank on me ever since the new semester. He has to pay.”
“There’s no way Master Wizard Alfredo is going to allow you to do this.”
“Do you think I’m going to ask?”
“It’s against all the coven’s rules, using magic on one another. Even Elliot doesn’t do that. His pranks are just a harmless Guinea pig in you dresser drawers, or a garden snake under the pillow. He just wants you to notice him.” AnneMay tried to speak some sense into her friend. “He’s never done anything that would harm you.”
“Notice him. Notice him!” Beth could hardly contain her emptions. “Elliot will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have noticed him.”
“But a frog?” intervened SarahBelle once again. “You could get expelled from Academy if you get caught.”
“Nonsense,” declared Beth. “We mix this potion in Elliot’s soup at evening’s supper. Give it four hours, by curfew- Elliott’s a slimy, crusty amphibian. No one will notice that he is missing. Elliot’s always away plotting and scheming over the weekend. By Sunday, the spell will have worn off. It’s likely no one will even know anything every happened- except Elliot.”
“But if you get caught?” simultaneously, the two girl’s fears were spoken.
“We’re good to go. All our domestic necessities in my pack. We’re ready. If she’s there, we’ll see her.” Packing for tonight had to be all cloak-n-dagger. If their parents found out…
“This is the night. According to all forensic records.” It had taken us two years-three summer jobs each (weeding gardens, picking fruit, and shoveling (well, just don’t go there.) for us to finally afford this new gear. “It’s not like they had a very proficient C.S.I. team in 1913,” I chuckled.
“Didn’t really have to, Everything’s in her diary. She stopped writing in it on August 31, 1913. Her body was found two days later. So tonight, whatever happened… happened.”
“Oh, that’s so profound. Let me write that down.”
“You just keep your hands near the recording equipment. We were right about her showing up last time. This year we’ll have proof.”
“Sure we will. We’d have had the proof two years ago if you hadn’t upturned and busted all the equipment. Ruing and screaming out of the house like a mad man from He…”
“You’ve heard Uncle Bo talk about train-hopping to go somewhere-or-nother almost every night we camped.”
“But Ma said half-a-what Uncle Bo said was rose-glassed reminiscing.”
“Ma just said that to keep us home longer. Pa needed us to do the farmin’. Well, there’s no farmin’ left. Pas drunk it all away and the bank got the dirt now. You know Ma is going back East. I ain’t a-goin-be no city dandy. Is that what you want?”
“’Course I don’t”
“Then stop bein’ so fickle-hearted and let’s run.”
“We’ve been hiking for over two hours- uphill – the entire way, yet the mountaintop seems even further than it did when we started. Are you sure we’ll get there for sunset.”
“I’ve hike this trail many-a-time, dear. When the lads were only eleven, we made up on to the top to set up camp before sunset.”
“Are you saying I’m slower than the boys were?”
“No dear, you’re not slower. Only less patient.” her husband said with a smile. “At least you don’t keep asking, ‘Are we there yet?’”
“I can clearly see that we’re not there, yet, Sweet’ums.”
“A hint of sarcasm. Still plenty of vim-and-vigor in you.”
“This had better be worth the trip.”
“It will be. And unlike my trip with the lads, we’re carrying only water and a few snacks in our packs. No tents.”
“I think you promised a candlelit dinner at the top. I hope that you’re planning to woe me with trail mix protein bars.”
“No, My Sweet.” Another smile crept across his face as it turned away. “The chopper is already atop the mountain with the rest of our things.” And quickly he continued his assent, not waiting for a reply.