Flash fiction: Career Aspiration by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story that features someone dancing in the rain. This tale comes to us from Val Muller, author of the kidlit Corgi Capers mystery series. Since Halloween is Val’s favorite holiday, she decided to be a month early and go in that direction. 

Career Aspiration

By Val Muller

“There’s no such thing as a witch,” Mrs. Patrick said. “It’s all just fictional. That means pretend,” she added.

Millie frowned. She knew that was a lie. Olivia’s older sister was Wiccan, and that meant “witch.” And magic was real, too. How else to explain Santa? Or the Tooth Fairy? And if witches weren’t real, why did they have so many of them in stores for Halloween? 

Millie wrinkled up her paper. So she wouldn’t research “witch” for her career day presentation. “I guess I’ll just choose something boring like firefighter.” Her eyes flashed. “Or teacher.” 

Mrs. Patrick handed her a new sheet. “I think that would be for the best.” 

That night, she walked to Olivia’s house to make her poster for the presentation. She had gone with firefighter, and so far her poster had angry red, orange, and yellow flames. 

All over it. 

“I think you have to do more than that,” Olivia said, frowning at the poster. 

Millie shrugged. 

“Like you’re supposed to research the job requirements, salary, training, job duties…” Olivia put down the assignment sheet. “You’re still mad you can’t research witches, huh?”

Millie shrugged again. “This is a stupid assignment. I’ll just copy some stuff off the internet.” 

“I’m gonna see if I can find some ice cream. That’ll help your mood.” Olivia hurried up the stairs, and almost immediately, her older sister appeared. 

“I thought I heard company,” Wendy said. “Weird for Olivia to have friends over on a school night.” 

“It’s not for fun,” Millie said. “I have this stupid project to work on.” 

“What’s stupid about it?” Wendy asked. 

“My teacher says witches aren’t real. And that means she thinks magic isn’t real. And if magic isn’t real, then…” 

Wendy’s eyes softened. She grasped a pendant hanging from her necklace. “Magic is real,” she whispered.

Millie gasped. “Are you a witch?”

“Witchcraft isn’t what they show in movies. It’s not pixie dust or cackling spells. Magic is–feeling connected. There’s magic in the croak of a frog. There’s magic in…” 

“The flap of a butterfly’s wing?” Millie asked. 

Wendy smiled. “Exactly. There’s magic in looking at the moon and finding yourself invigorated. And there’s magic in what we create.” Wendy took off her necklace. It was a crystal pendant, wound at the top with wire bent to look like a leaf. 

From upstairs, Olivia called, “Do you want chocolate or vanilla?” 

Millie smiled. “Both, please.” She winked at Wendy. 

Wendy glanced at Millie’s poster. “There’s magic in drawing, too. Creating something out of blankness. Don’t let your teacher get you down. You just follow you. That’s witchcraft.” 

Wendy patted Millie’s shoulder, leaving just as Olivia descended the stairs with ice cream. The pendant hung heavily around Millie’s neck. 

Later, Millie walked home slowly. She was looking for the moon, but the clouds were too dense. She took the long way home, looking at the way the porch lights lit up the falling autumn leaves. She felt the rain in her mind before she felt it on her skin, and she didn’t hurry. The crystal felt warm on her chest now, getting lighter with the rain. As the rain fell, she held her poster above her like a makeshift umbrella, delighting as the large droplets turned into a deluge, ruining the doomed project. She wove the limp poster through the air like a scarf as she danced in the rain, humming a song that only she understood, a song about red and yellow markers and a firefighter and a teacher and a girl who went to bed with wet braids and went to school the next morning with a smile instead of a project. 

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/

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