I felt like I’d been in that taxi forever. We’d driven far outside Birmingham, into open countryside. Now we were pulled up next to a small wooden sign that said Serendipity School of Practical Magic and Mysticism.
I didn’t know what to expect. A castle, maybe. No, that’s ridiculous. This is real life, not Harry Potter.
Still, I didn’t expect this. This old house, all gables and bare-branch trees and curtained windows. This place screamed witch. And that’s not… really what I am. Is it?
I didn’t want to be a witch. Witches were old and warty and apparently meltable by water. I was sixteen, Homecoming Queen, and very fond of baths.
This was where my mother learned her magic, though, and even though all I had was her diary, I knew she loved it here.
I turned around, but my taxi was gone, having taken his money and deposited all my worldly belongings by the side of the road.
The house barely looked inhabitable. It was made of old wood—probably full of termites and ready to crumble at the touch. Still, I had nowhere else to go. There wasn’t even a town for two miles.
Something shifted in the window, and I froze, but it was just a curtain being moved. A girl waved at me from an upper window, all frizzy yellow hair and big eyes. I waved back, but she was gone.
I walked up the pathway towards the house slowly, glancing back at my bigger suitcases by the side of the road, as if they were in danger of being stolen. This were no other houses in sight.
The porch rail felt splintery under my hand as I climbed the step, and the doorbell complained loudly when I buzzed it.
In a moment the door sprang open to show me the girl who had waved from me above. She was prettier than she’d looked a moment ago, and her eyes were glowing to see me. “Welcome! You must be Bridget! I’m Waverly, I’m your roommate.”
The house, so cold-looking outside in the gloom (it had been rainy and grey) was warm and bustling inside, and there were delicious scents coming from somewhere behind Waverly… cinnamon and apples and some kind of roast…
Waverly smile at me. “You’re going to like it here,” she said, taking my hand in hers.
And you know what? I think she’s right.