“The fire broke out at around 5:00 tonight, it took thirty firefighters to put out the blaze and live from the scene is our reporter over to you, Al.”
Fourteen-year-old Tabitha Stephens watched the fuzzy television set intently as the image changed to the burnt out house and a reporter stood in front of it. “We have been told there was only one person inside the house. She has been named as Jessica Jameson.” That rolled around Tabitha’s head. "One person in the house. Jessica Jameson," she thought.
Tabitha heard the faint sound of pounding on the stairs, and the feeling of pressure behind her back.
“You done watching telly now, Tabs? I want to watch my cartoon,” her little brother Adam said as he appeared.
“Sure,” she stood up and walked, in a daze, into the kitchen where her mum Samantha was preparing tea.
"Mommy, there's been a fire at Jessie’s house and she was in there.” Tabitha’s voice was hysterical . "Mommy, what if she’s not ok?”
Sam looked at her daughter in shock, “Was anyone else in the house, Tab? Did they say?”
The Jameson family was friends with the Stephens. Tabitha shook her head and Sam smiled a small smile slightly relieved.
“Tell you what. I’ll ring Hannah; she’ll be able to tell me how Jessie is. OK?”
Tabitha nodded slightly. Sam walked towards the phone and dialed the number of Hannah, another family friend. Hannah picked up the phone quickly, “Hello, Hannah Wilson speaking?”
Hannah’s voice wasn’t as chirpy as it usually was, “Hi Hannah, its Sam. I was wondering if you know how Jessie is.” Sam’s voice was just as grim as Hannah’s.
“Ah. She’s not in a good way, in fact, doctors don’t think she’ll live.”
Sam frowned at these words “Oh. Can you keep us updated, Han? Tabitha’s really worried”
“Sure. When I spoke to Julia earlier she said that any of Jessie’s friends could come in and say goodbye to her. It may help. Look I have to go,” with that the two hung up and Sam headed back in to the kitchen were Tabitha was sat at the table. She looked up expectantly, her eyes full of worry and fear.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, Jessie’s really poorly.”
Tabitha just looked at her “You're lying. I know you are. She’s fine just a couple cuts and bruises and maybe a small burn that’s all. You're joking, so then when you say she’s OK it’ll make me realize how precious life is,” Tabitha smiled.
“No, sweetie. That isn’t what I mean. Tomorrow I’ll take you in to the hospital and you can see Jessie to say goodbye.”
Tabitha frowned, “Why do I want to say goodbye to her when she isn’t going anywhere?”
With that Tabitha stood up and went upstairs to her room.
“Tabitha, you ready to go?” Sam called up the stairs to her daughter. She was anxious to get to the hospital as soon as possible, for now it seemed that Jessie was, although still critical, stable. Tabitha appeared in front of Sam’s eyes dressed in bright colours.
The two of them left the house and drove to the hospital. When they got there Sam started getting more and more nervous about how Tabitha would react to seeing her friend in this way. All the way Tabitha chatted happily as if they were off to some sort of birthday party. As they pulled in to the hospital grounds, Tabitha frowned slightly, “We didn’t bring Jessie a present. Everybody needs to be given a present when they’re in hospital”
Sam just looked at her daughter. “Oh, Tab.”
The two walked in to the vast building coming to the children’s ward, Sam caught sight of Hannah and waved. “Is it alright for Tabitha to go in and see Jessie?”
Hannah nodded and motioned for Tabitha to enter the room, Jessie’s parents were down in the cafeteria with their son Jake. Tabitha entered the room and looked at the girl lying on the bed. She looked so still, like she was dead. She had wires and tubes everywhere.
“Jessie?” Tabitha spoke quietly to her friend expecting her to open her eyes shouting "boo" as the two often did in the school playground but she remained still. “You were on telly Jess. You’re practically famous. When you come back to school everyone will want your autograph and me well I’ll get to be the stars best friend,” Tabitha rattled on happily to her friend but then she step closer and truly looked at her.
Her skin was pasty white, her hair looked awful, and some of her body was wrapped heavily in bandages. Tabitha ran out of the room and out of the ward and off towards the car with Sam going after her. “Why did you take me to see that girl? That isn’t Jessie. That’s Jessie’s long-lost sister who she never knew about. That’s no one I know.”
Sam unlocked the car and Tabitha climbed in. She was silent all the way home. She climbed out of the car and ran in to the house stopping and staring at a photo of the mantelpiece it was of Jessie and her. It was taken three weeks ago and a theme park.
Sam came up behind her and Tabitha started to cry. “Why did it happen to her mommy?”
Sam hugged her daughter firmly, “I don’t know, sweetie. I really don’t.”
Then something clicked in Tabitha’s mind. “But I can make her better. Of course, why didn’t I realize it before? I can twitch her better. Boy, for once there's a good side to being a witch,” and with that Tabitha started to twitch frantically before running outside to play with Adam on the swing set leaving Sam standing in the front room, frowning.
Just as Sam started cooking dinner, the phone rang. She ran to answer it hoping it was Darrin saying he was on his way home from his business trip.
“Sam?” the voice on the end belonged to Hannah, who sounded sad and rather like she’d been crying for ages.
“Hannah?” Sam heard Hannah take a deep breath.
“Jessie died Sam. Ten minutes ago,” a sob escaped from Hannah and she burst in to a fresh wave of tears. “I have to go Sam,” and with that she hung up.
A tear slipped down Sam’s cheek and she looked out at Tabitha who was playing and laughing with Adam truly believing that her earlier twitching would save her friend. “TABITHA! COME HERE FOR A MINUTE!”
Sam dreaded having to say the words to her daughter. Tabitha ran in to the room, she looked at her mom’s face, her eyes beaming. “My spell’s worked, hasn’t it?”
Sam shook her head softly and frowned, “I’m sorry, sweetie. Jessie died,” another tear slipped down Sam’s face as she thought of the girl the same age as Tabitha being taken from the world.
“She can’t be. It’s a mistake. I used magic and made her better. Grandmama says that I can do anything with magic, so it had to work,” Tabitha said matter-of-factly.
Sam frowned again “Oh Tabitha, witches have no power over things like this. Yes, we can make animals long extinct, fly back and forth between centuries, but we can’t change things like this...”
Tabitha just looked at her and frowned. “So grandmama lied to me then?”
Sam nodded, “I guess she did.”
Tabitha looked at her mom “Well, what’s the point in having magic if I can’t do the things I really want to do? I have no real need to fly between centuries or make extinct animals--its just fun to do occasionally. I thought being a witch would help me, make things I really want happen instead it seems to be more of a curse. I have to hide it from everyone and now I can’t even save the one real friend I have. Well if that’s what magic does to you then I don’t want to be a witch any more” and with that Tabitha stormed up the stairs and flung herself on to her bed sobbing in to her pillow.
A week later, Sam and Darrin looked at themselves in the full length bedroom mirror; both of them were wearing black suits and looked very smart although grim.
Adam wandered into the room in his own black suit ,which he hated. “Tab says she isn’t coming,” he frowned slightly. “Why won’t she come mommy?”
Sam looked at her son. “She doesn’t want to accept that Jessie has gone like you wouldn’t like it if Jake died.”
Adam looked at her, his frown deepened, “I never thought of it like that. It could just have easily been Jake,” he left the room and went downstairs ready to leave with Darrin a few steps behind him.
Sam knocked on Tabitha’s door, “Tabitha, we’re going now.” She got no reply, so she went downstairs and left with Darrin and Adam.
Inside Tabitha’s room, Tabitha was flicking through a photo album of photos taken last summer. She stopped at one of a water fight, she smiled as she remembered that day
“ARGH” Tabitha screamed as the cold water hit her hair and back. “I’ll get you for that,” she grabbed a bucket a filled it with cold water from the tap, laughing, as she through it over Jessie, who screamed just as loud as her friend.
“Watch out, girls!” Adam aimed his water gun at Tabitha and squirted it at full power while his best friend Jake, Jessie’s brother, aimed his own at his sister.
Both girls grabbed their own water guns and squirted the boys. All four of them squealing and laughing.
Tabitha wiped a tear away from her eye. She turned to the next page. There was a photo of herself and Jessie running around a theme park with some of there friends
“Shhhhh!” Jessie hissed at Tabitha as she crept towards Elsie, the posh member of their group. Slowly, Jessie slipped a worm down Elsie’s top causing her to scream and squirm. Jessie giggled happily before running back to Tabitha. “Did you see that? That was brilliant. My best trick yet!”
The two girls high fived each other before running off towards the rollercoaster with an annoyed Elsie close behind.
Tabitha laughed as she remembered that day, that day showed everything that Jessie lived for--fun and laughter and playing tricks. Tabitha couldn’t help but smile as she remembered conversations with Jessie about witches. Jessie had been fascinated by them often wondering if there were any at there school. Lots of times Tabitha had wanted to tell her friend that she was a witch. She could just imagine Jessie’s face at being told – a gigantic smile and a wicked twinkle in her eye as she planned magical tricks they could play on people. Then, a thought entered her head of the funeral service everyone sat around in black, singing sad songs, stuff that Jessie would have utterly hated. She clicked her fingers and was suddenly dressed in clothes so bright, she needed sunglasses to look at them and then she smiled. “ I’m a witch,” she smiled while imagining Jessie looking down at her face smiling. Then, Tabitha clicked her fingers again and was at the service. From outside she could hear the drone of the vicar, she burst in “STOP!”
Everyone turned and looked at her, she could hear the shocked gasp from the people and the annoyed one from her parents. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? JESSIE WOULD HATE THIS. YOU ALL DRESSED IN BLACK, SINGING SONGS SO SAD THAT EVEN ANGELS CRY AT THEM. JESSIE WASN’T LIKE THAT. SHE WAS HAPPY AND BRIGHT AND CHEEKY. SHE WOULDN’T WANT YOU IN DARK COLOURS, SHE’D WANT YOU DRESSED LIKE RAINBOWS. SHE’D WANT YOU SINGING THE LATEST HITS, NOT STUFF WRITTEN HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO...”
Tabitha took a deep breath. Her throat slightly sore for shouting. Then she heard a cheer from Jake. “She’s right, y’know? We aren’t honouring Jessie here. She’s probably annoyed at us for doing it this way,” then he smiled, his eyes caught sight of something in the corner of the church – a cassette player. He reached in to his pocket and grabbed out a tape slipping it in to the machine – a dance track blared out.
Everyone stood up and started singing along. Tabitha went and joined her family, who smiled at her. The rest of the service was upbeat and happy and just how Jessie would have liked it.
That night when they got home, Adam walked in to Tabitha’s room and looked at his sister, who was sat on her bed humming.
“Why aren’t you said anymore about Jessie?” he was confused because that morning his sister had been beside herself with grief.
“Because, Adam. Jessie is still with me in my head and in my heart.”
Adam looked at her slightly confused “Well, if I keep the memories of her, then I can be happy.”
Then Adam smiled.“And what about saying you no longer want to use your powers because you couldn’t save her?”
Tabitha smiled at him. “Well, I’ll have to use them. Jessie loved witches and she’d be very annoyed if I didn’t use them,” she smiled cheekily. “Besides, without them I wouldn’t be able to do this!” she twitched her nose and a very cute but very cheeky-looking puppy appeared.
“Adam, meet our new puppy, Jessie.”
Adam smiled stroking the puppy . “Hello Jessie. Er, Tab, what about mum and dad?”
She smiled again. “How can they say no to me having something that will always remind me of Jessie?” she laughed again stroking the puppy.
Tabitha looked out of her bedroom window, “Goodbye, Jessie. Have fun flying around the sky, I love it.”
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