That night at dinner, things just seemed to get worse. My parents have this brilliant idea that if we all sit together at the table, then us kids will be better off. So with spaghetti and meatballs as the centerpiece, we all sit around wondering what to talk about. Okay, well I guess that’s not completely true. My parents and brother seem to always have plenty to talk about. I’d rather be reading.
“Temperance, why are you sulking? Did you have a bad day at school?” my mom asks.
Not wanting to have to answer, I quickly shove a mouthful of spaghetti in my mouth and mumble, “It was fine.”
“Todd, how about you? Was your day good? How was practice?” Dad decides to try to jump into the conversation.
“Practice was awesome. We ran drills and I got to sack a couple upperclassmen. Coach was really proud, said I would be a starter next year.”
Mom and dad both beam at him. I roll my eyes. Of course you’ll start next year. You are perfect.
“Can I be excused?” I ask hopefully.
“But dear, you aren’t done eating. Do you have homework to do? Any projects coming up?” Mom, the ever-curious creature.
“Yeah, homework, a project.” I just want to get out of here.
“Oh? What is the project on?” Dad wonders.
“Mrs. Bishop wants us to research people that were in the Salem Witch Trials. I have to go read.”
“But you are always reading about that stuff. You know, you can’t take it with you. Just talents. Reading isn’t a talent.” Looking over at Todd, Dad continues, “Now your brother here, he can take his talent with him all the way to the bank!”
I cannot roll my eyes big enough. “Yeah, you’ve told me before. But I like to read and I can take it with me. Books are portable.”
“Temperance, you know what your father means,” my mother scolds.
“But he is wrong. Books are amazing things. They can take you to any place you want to go. Besides, I’m not reading “fun” books – it’s research.” They don’t need to know that I enjoy reading those kinds of books. They don’t get it anyways.
“Well, since it’s for school.”
I can’t get up from the table fast enough.
“But Tempe – remember, talents are things that you can take with you. You can’t take books! Try to find a talent!” Dad calls out to me as I am dashing up the stairs.
“Yeah Dad – got it.” I yell back down just before I shut my door. I think, ‘I might not be able to take my books with me, but my books take me with them’, as I reach for my new adventure.
Grabbing Wicked Girls, I brace myself for a book of verse. Not my absolute favorite style of writing, but it will have to do. I need to read about the witch trials and this could be a different way of looking at it. Becca said that this book is a quick read and tells the story from the girls that are “bewitched”. Hmm, this could be interesting. Everything else is told from a third person point of view. Listen to me, now I’m starting to sound like Ms. Bishop. Great.
Once I finally have myself cozily arranged in my favorite chair, I crack open the book. I hope this book does something for my project.
I flip through the info about the characters at the front and start the first poem. It seems that each girl is going to tell their story through poems. This might not be so bad. I wish I grabbed a cup of tea, books are always better when I have my tea and blanket. Oh well. Burrowing further into my chair, I dive into the story.
As the poems keep going, I notice it’s getting cold in my room. What happened to the heat? Wonder if the furnace went out again? I grab my blanket and keep reading.
The voices seem so real, alive even.
That’s when I notice, I’m not in my room anymore. I can see Ann and Margaret whispering to each other. Rubbing my eyes, I realize this is real. The girls don’t notice me standing in the middle of the room. They don’t hear my heart beating out of my chest. The heat from the fire is not enough to push back the bitterness of the winter wind sneaking past the cracks in the windows. I hear Margaret say, “You don’t suppose that folk magic game of yours what called up that coffin—“, and my hands start glowing. I look down to see I’m still holding the book. Margaret says that in the book! I flip to the page – 51. I don’t need to read what happens next. Ann starts in a furious whisper about how Margaret was the one who wanted to play fortunes.
Not happening, not happening. Quickly I will myself to slam the book shut. With the crack of the pages, I’m surrounded by my room again. My hands aren’t glowing anymore, just shaking. Deep breath, relax, that didn’t really happen. They are long dead, you aren’t magic, you can’t transport yourself back in time, and the book is fiction!
I try to shake the vivid images out of my head, but they won’t go away. It’s freezing in here. Maybe I should get that cup of tea after all. Shivering I get up and head towards the kitchen. The house is quiet.
As I pass the living room I see a shadow move in the faint light.
“Eek! What are you doing?!” My trembling gets worse.
“Couldn’t sleep so I came out here to have some tea. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
You could say that, I thought. Instead I say, “Um, yeah, well you scared me.”
“Oh, well, I was just heading off to bed. Don’t stay up too late; you have school in the morning.” Mom places her cup in the sink and pats me on the shoulder as she leaves.
Trembling I reach for a cup and a bag of my favorite tea, Black. At least I don’t have to heat up the water. I toss the bag in the water, add my honey and lemon and make my way back to my room. Carefully I peer into the room, looks fine, then I notice the book. It looks so ordinary just sitting there on my chair. Could it all have been a dream? I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. More pale than usual, but nothing else seems off. Taking a deep breath I put my tea down and pick up the book again. It’s cold, and not a normal cold, I mean cold like it’s been in the freezer and I just took it out. Suddenly my hands start to glow and I drop the book like I’ve been bitten. As soon as the book leaves my hands, the glow disappears. What is going on?! I just wanted to read a book for my report, not start glowing like a glow stick! I reach for my tea again and climb into bed. No more reading for me tonight. I can’t take a much more adventurous night.