The rumours are as true as children's treehouses and flirty teenagers.
Chapter 4; Fire Burn
“Li-li!” Jasmine ran through the forest, winding around all the various paths and cutting through gaps in trees to go back to her house. As she reached a dead end, she slowed down and closed her eyes, running straight at the wall of trees. Her body shimmered and she ran right through the solid trunk of a tree. On the other side sat a small cottage and a woman sat with her eyes closed in front of the fire burning outside.
“Li-li! I did it! I passed through the tree!” said Jasmine excitedly. The woman opened her eyes which were a startling storm grey colour and looked at the excited twelve-year-old. She smiled slightly, her tongue poking between her teeth, the light from the fire reflecting off a set of snake eyes and spider bites.
“Well done, Jasmine,” she said, tucking a strand of dark violet hair behind her ears. Her peak bangs that fell into her eyes and the tips of her hair were a soft lilac colour and her skin was amazingly pale though mottled with bruises. She wore a black button-up shirt with red tartan trousers, combat boots and a floor-length army jacket from the 50’s. She spun a bowler hat on her hand.
“I didn’t crash! You know how normally I crash in the trees and you have to help me, well I didn’t, it’s so good! It’s...”
“Jasmine, quiet,” said the woman, turning her gaze back to the fire.
“Linnea, I did it though!” repeated Jasmine, grinning hugely. Linnea said nothing and continued to stare into the fire. Jasmine huffed, put her hands on her hips and closed her eyes. She furrowed her brow slightly and began to push towards the ground with her hands, causing her entire body to lift a few inches off the ground. Her eyes snapped open and she smiled at Linnea, who was now watching her.
“Get down, Jasmine,” she said. Jasmine pouted but complied, moving to sit next next Linnea.
“What’s so interesting about this fire then, anyway?” asked Jasmine. As Linnea raised her hand, the yellow flickering flames began to spiral upwards and shimmered purple. A spark flew off the fire and turned into a red fire-wolf, dancing around the base of the flames before fizzling out into a thousand tiny red sparkles. Jasmine laughed in delight as Linna snapped her fingers and the entire fire rose off the ground and left the logs behind, looking as if no fire had ever been anywhere near them.
“Interesting enough for you?” asked Linnea quietly as the fire changed it’s centre of gravity and began to rotate like a small planet in the sky, purple flames spiraling in every direction from the centre.
“It’s so beautiful. How do you do that?” Jasmine asked, waving her hand around randomly, trying to get something to happen. At that, the beautiful purple fireball exploded.
“Jasmine!!” shouted Linnea, pulling the surprised girl out of the way of the blast radius. She stood up and stumbled backwards, the ends of her soft brown hair singed as Linnea went to sort out the fire. She ducked her head and let her hair swing in front of her face when Linnea turned back to glare at Jasmine.
“Sorry,” she mumbled, looking up at the older witch. “Apprentice, you know? I can’t always control what I’m doing.” Linnea’s glare softened and she moved towards to the young girl, pulling her into a hug.
“Well, nobody is hurt. Next time, you don’t interfere, okay?” she said. Jasmine nodded meekly. “Good. Now come, I need to show you something.”
“Okay, but first, you need to listen, you know there’s new people on this island, well I think they know about you even though I don’t know how, because they just seemed to know, you know, and I...”
“Slow down, child! You’re talking at a mile a minute!”
“I know there’s new people. They’re interesting. I will keep my eye out for them.”
“That’s good, Li-li, Gerard’s really funny. I’ll try be careful about what I tell them.”
“You do that.”
“You don’t actually believe there’s a witch, do you?” Ray asked Gerard exasperatedly, a few days later.
“I don’t see why there shouldn’t be,” he said, looking up rom his sketchpad.
“Other than the simple fact that witches and magic don’t exist, you mean.”
“Have you evidence to prove they don’t exist?”
“Yes, nobody ever has ever seen a living witch and confirmed it.”
“Nobody has confirmed it with certainty. Sightings, whispers, rumours, hints of telltale magic are all there. You can’t prove something doesn’t exist. You can give evidence to show something does exist, but how you find evidence to show to people when there is none to give?” asked Frank.
He’s got a point, wrote Anna on her pad. If you were magic, what would you think people would do? Lock you up in a cage and experiment on you, it’s our human nature. You’d want to cover up any idea that might cause that to happen.
“And Jasmine didn’t look like one to lie,” said Gerard.
“You used that theory three days ago, Gee, can’t you give it a rest?”
“He’s still going on about that witch?” asked Mikey as he and Jenna approached. Ray nodded.
“He just won’t give it up!”
“Whoever she is, she’s probably hiding in her graveyard because little freaks like you want to find her,” said Mikey, grinning as he sat on the floor next to Ray and Frank. Gerard and Anna were both sat on the bench under the tree.
“It’s an idea, isn’t it?”
“Gerard, shut up,” said Jenna, yawning. “Witches, no witches, if you’re looking for her for your vampire friends, you’re probably bang outta luck.”
“No, I just....” Gerard trailed off and waved his hands in the air like he was trying to prove a point.
“Don’t do that, you could hit someone,” said Jasmine, dropping out from the tree above the bench.
“Holy crap, Jasmine!” yelled Frank, scrambling backwards. “Don’t do that!”
“Hey, that’s what I just said,” she said.
“Try not to make a habit from falling out of trees, okay?” said Ray.
“What if I lived in a tree? Then I’d have to fall out of it wouldn’t I?”
“What?” asked Mikey, Jenna, Frank and Gerard.
“But then you could also have a ladder to climb down from your tree, so you don’t need to drop down and give us all heart attacks,” said Ray.
“Hey, that’s an idea,” said Gerard. Everyone turned to look at him. “I always wanted a treehouse. Shall we build a treehouse?” Jasmine squealed and clapped her hands together.
“Oh yes, that would be awesome! There’s some really, really tall trees in the forest and I’m sure we could find some materials, I don’t think Li... I mean, I’m sure the animals won’t mind,” she said.
If you want to live up in a tree with all those spiders and insects and cockroaches, go ahead, just don’t invite me there, wrote Anna.
“It will be so cool! We can have like, five houses and a big big balcony and rope bridges connecting them and we can have a huge great big swing and...”
“Jasmine!” said Gerard. “We said a tree house, not a tree village.”
“Well you four guys still need somewhere to live don’t you? You can’t keep taking free credit in the inn forever, can you?”
“I’m not sure I would be content to live in a tree...” said Ray.
“Well if it has a ‘big big balcony and rope bridges and a huge great big swing’ I’m sure it’ll be awesome,” said Frank, smiling at Jasmine. She bounced on her heels and clapped her hands again.
“I know! We can have a slide to get to the bottom! I always wanted a slide from my bed into a swimming pool but my mum did never let me. I’m gonna go draw it now!” she said, and she ran off diagonally down the hill towards the forest.
“Don’t encourage her, Frank!” said Jenna.
“Why not? She’s a kid, she can dream.”
“Yes, why not let Frank and Gerard build a treehouse with Jasmine? It’ll keep him quiet about the witch,” said Mikey. Frank rolled his eyes and Gerard laughed.
“Okay, if we play along with Jasmine and help make her a treehouse, we’ll shut up about magic. Is that fair?” he asked. Ray nodded. Anna smiled.
That seems like a good deal. I like designing things, she wrote.
“See? Anna’s a decent citizen. Come on, guys, have you all grown up? Why don’t you want to have fun anymore?” asked Gerard. “Treehouses are fun!”
“Sometimes you have to grow up, Gee,” said Mikey. Gerard pouted.
“No you don’t. Come on, let’s go swimming.”
Much later that evening Gerard was arriving back from the forest with Frank, having just seen which tree Jasmine had proposed to build her tree house on. She had in fact designed a village around seven trees, with five houses, a corner shop (which “you two could run because you need a job anyway”), a massive wooden balcony with a stage for performing, rope bridges and a swimming pool with six slides; one from each house and one from a proposed giant spa that sat on the balcony.
The guys thought the whole idea was insane but had decided to humour Jasmine, so he took her wobbly green-penned drawing and decided to draw a proper plan with Frank. Knowing kids, she’d finish half of the first house and get bored, decide the whole thing was stupid anyway and give up.
“Whatcha doing there, Gerard?” came a voice from a figure standing at the end of the bridge across the river. Frank smiled at Gerard and slipped past quickly before the figure noticed him, leaving Gerard on his own.
“Stuff. What are you doing, Tay?” Gerard replied, glaring at the spot where Frank had disappeared. Tay Parker smiled at Gerard.
“Stuff,” she said, moving to block his path. Gerard raised his eyebrows at the girl, who had a flirty smile on her face. “Oh come on, aren’t you going to be a little bit more cheery?”
“Leave it out. You might be able to mess with other boy’s heads but you shouldn’t waste your ‘talents’ on me.”
“You seem very certain about that fact,” Tay said, placing her hands on her hips.
“I am very certain about that fact,” said Gerard, smiling seductively. Two can play at the flirting game. Tay blinked but regained her composure quickly.
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we?” she said, her coffee-scented breath ghosting across Gerard’s face. “See you around, Gerard.” And she stalked off past him into the forest, her hand trailing dangerously close to his crotch as she went. Gerard stood in the spot for a moment before shaking his head clear and continuing on his way to the house the four guys were borrowing.
Hehehehehe. I'm in such a good mood that I now have TWO GREEN CHAPTERS. Yay! Thank you beautiful people, continue to Rate, Review and be amazing. Love you all xx