It’s baaaaaaaaack. Friday the Thirteenth is here to torment you by stealing your luck all over again, and this time, it’s personal…
Okay, it’s really not, but it sounded good in my head. But it is back, and the black cats are on the loose to scoop up the luck you shed every second you believe this day is bad luck. Hey, your superstition works out great for witches. Every Friday the 13th they set their cats loose in a competition to gather the most luck by the end of the day.
For Evie Jones, the Good Luck Scramble on Friday the 13th hits at just the right time, 11 days before her friend’s taking the bar exam and can use all the good luck she can get. Only problem is, when Evie tries to recruit help, an adversary threatens to tell the Council, the strict and unyielding witch government, of Evie’s plans to help a human by using magic. Now, Evie has to get clever if she’s to help her friend and avoid the Council’s wrath.
Faye ran through the plan to help our people on the bar exam. It didn’t take long; it was pretty basic. And, they wouldn’t really be missing out too much since Friday the Thirteenth was in February and March, so they’d get a chance to get some luck next month.
“But how will we know who wins this time?” one of the guys asked after Faye asked for questions.
“Same as before,” Faye said. “Use the crystals. Only after we measure it, we put it all into one crystal and give it to our friends. It’s more of a cute idea than anything we think will make a huge difference.”
“How will this help them though?” Maggie, the old crone that painted all witches with that stereotype asked. I hated her.
“They’ll get the luck and the confidence and take it into the test.”
“Yes, but how will it help if they don’t know about it?”
My eyes flew wide and I waved at Faye from the back of the room, swinging my arms wide and shaking my head.
She didn’t see me apparently because she said, “We’ll tell them the necklaces have luck in them.”
Shit! And there it was. I slammed my palm to my forehead. I loved Faye but there were some times I really wondered which one of us won the stupidest smart person award.
“No,” Maggie said, smugness obvious in her voice even though I couldn’t see her face. “You know we can’t tell Humans about us.”
“No, no, no,” Faye said with an easy smile, like she anticipated this. I shook my head. She didn’t know Maggie like I did. “We’re going to tell them as kind of a joke. They’ll have it in their head that it’s good luck without really believing it. It should still work that way, though.”
At least she wasn’t clueless enough to say her husband already knew. I mean, everyone knew if you were married, your spouse was going to figure it out, and it was bad to hide things from your spouse (I was guessing), but still, we all pretended no one knew about us.
“No,” Maggie said. Gee, wonder what her favorite word was. “It either won’t work because they won’t believe, in which case, you’re taking from everyone who would be kind enough to help you out for no gain, or they’ll believe it.” She paused for dramatic effect and I resisted the urge to make gagging sounds at the cheese. “And then we’ll be facing the next witch trials.”
“Oh come on!” I shouted from the back, making the crowd whirl. Haha, coordinated witches dancing. “This is ridiculous. Humans buy charms all the time.” I pointed to Hallie. “Hallie’s shop wouldn’t run if it was just witches buying stuff. Humans go in there for all kinds of New Age crap. Have you seen any witch hunters going after her? No! Would they spend the money if they didn’t believe at least a little? No.”
I crossed my arms as Maggie stared me down over the crowds. She wasn’t really that old, maybe fifty. But she may as well have been a hundred for how she acted.
“Anyone who wants to help out, please raise your hand,” I said. “If you don’t want to, no hard feelings. This is us asking for donations, not demanding them at gun point. It’s a donation, not taxes.”
Hands started going up.
“You’re all-” Maggie said.
“Anyone who thinks Maggie is a bitter old hag who needs to get a life and butt out of others’, raise your hands,” I said over her.
Laughter ran through the crowd and I grinned at her. Okay, it was bitchy, and normally I’m not that mean. But she’d been knocking me down since I was old enough to spell because she hated my dad.
Bad blood between the O’Malleys and the Joneses going way back. I don’t think even our great grand parents knew when or why it began.
“You try this, I’ll report you to the Council,” Maggie said. The laughter shut off like she hit a switch.
My mouth dropped and I shook my head. “No way. She’s bluffing,” I said loud enough for everyone before meeting her eyes. “You wouldn’t call attention to us like that. You know the Council would be up all our asses at even the hint of letting humans know something. Forget about me, what about people like Hallie? The second they knew she sold anything that could be used to make real magic? They wouldn’t just shut her down, they’d toss her in Oz.”
“You’re not that petty,” I said, my tone a challenge. If she went ahead with this, everyone would be on my side. They’d think she was a petty little fear monger. Hopefully.
“Following the rules isn’t being petty. It’s being a good citizen.”
“Not when the rules are stupid and antiquated!”
She grinned, and she would’ve been almost pretty if it wasn’t so full of spite. “So typical of you Joneses. The rules don’t apply to you. Everyone else should be good and make sure society keeps on going. But if one person or even a few break them, everything will be fine. Just as long as you Joneses are the ones who get to benefit by being the rule breakers, right?”
I opened my mouth but she just kept talking.
“And anyone trying this or even helping those stupid enough to try this, petty or not, I will report you to the Council, making sure they know the rest of us tried to stop you.”