Even her black cat can’t bring in enough luck to get her out of trouble this time…
Everyone could use a little extra luck. On Friday the 13th, witches compete to gather the most with their cats. This year, Evie Jones brings a cause to her coven; a friend retaking the bar exam could use all the luck she can get. Helping humans with magic is against the rules, though, and a busybody threatens to turn her over to the Council if she tries it. Can she find a way to raise the luck with eyes watching?
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“How will this help them though?” Maggie, the old crone that painted all witches with that stereotype asked. From her cheap, tacky jewelry to her K-Mart shoes, she screamed welfare mom even though she was middle class with no kids.
“They’ll get the luck and take it into the test,” Faye said.
“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 because she said, “We’ll tell them the necklaces have luck in them.”
Oy vey! And there it was. I slammed my palm to my forehead. I loved Faye, but there were times I wanted to give her 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,” Faye said. They’ll have it in their heads that it’s good luck without really believing it. It should still work, though.”
At least she wasn’t clueless enough to say her husband already knew. If you’re married, everyone knows the spouse will know, but they don’t know.
“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 for no gain, or they’ll believe it.” She paused for dramatic effect and I resisted the urge to make gagging sounds. “And then we’ll be facing the next witch trials.”
Oy vey. “Come on!” I shouted from the back, making the crowd whirl. Haha, it was like a witches’ line dance. “This is ridiculous. Humans buy charms all the time.” I pointed to Hallie. “Hallie’s shop wouldn’t stay open 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 humans spend the money if they didn’t believe at least a little? No! And this is Utah! If there’s any place in America people would go after witches, it’d be here.”
I crossed my arms as Maggie stared me down over the crowd. She wasn’t 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 gunpoint. It’s a fundraiser, not taxes.”
People laughed and hands started going up.
“You’re all-” Maggie said.
“Anyone who thinks Maggie is a bitter, old yenta who needs to get a life and butt out of other peoples’, raise your hands,” I said over her.
More laughter ran through the crowd as hands shot up 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 Dad.
“You try this, I’ll report you to the Council,” Maggie said, face twisted in a smirk.
The laughter shut off like she hit a switch.
My mouth dropped and I closed it, shaking 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 are 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 treacherous, fear monger.
“Following the rules isn’t petty. It’s being a good citizen.”
“Not when the rules are totalitarian bull meant to exert power over people!”
She grinned. She would’ve been pretty if she wasn’t so full of spite. “So typical of the Joneses. The rules don’t apply to you. Everyone else should be good, follow the rules and make sure society keeps on going. But if a few break the rules, 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 kept talking.
“And anyone trying this or even helping those stupid enough to try this, I will report you to the Council, making sure they know the rest of us tried to stop you. I think letting them know there are some of us here policing their rules will keep them from checking in on us too much.”