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A Very Witchy Christmas
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Tara Fox Hall
Once there were two girls, Brenda and Jodi.
They were best friends and did everything together, including practicing magic. Their favorite holiday was Christmas, and they spent it each year together, working a big spell to cover their normally snow-free Southern town in a large soft blanket of white powder.
It was a big and powerful spell, one they had to work together to make successful. Afterwards, both Jodi and Brenda would have to go to bed and sleep for hours to regain their strength, as the snow fell thick and fast.
Then, on Christmas day, while the townsfolk celebrated and played in the snow, the two witches would sit and drink cocoa and remember all the good things of the past year.
As they grew older, Jodi began to envy Brenda's magic power, which was just a tiny bit greater than hers was.
Jodi's bad feelings began to get bigger and stronger, until all Jodi cared about was showing Brenda that she was the better witch.
So one Christmas, Jodi planned her own special spell, an added lightshow of sparkling snowfall that was not just white, but a rainbow of colors.
Jodi planned for weeks, getting her spell just right from an old book she'd borrowed from the library.
Then finally, on Christmas Eve, she stood across from Brenda, Jodi lifted her arms high, and threw the special powder she had made in together with the normal snow ingredients.
There was a sizzle, crackle and pop, then a large boom!
Instead of snow, black clouds began to boil overhead, many-colored lightning reaching down from the sky.
Brenda and the townspeople ran inside their houses, but Jodi ran away crying into the forest.
She was ashamed of her failure, so ashamed that big thorny trees covered her trail, springing up from her fallen tears. The trees grew so thick they formed a wall, so the townspeople could no longer enter the forest at all.
Many years passed, as Jodi stayed by herself in the heart of the forest in a small crooked house she had built, alone and sad, with only a rat that liked to bite her for company. The roof leaked, and the floor was tilted, and she had only thistlebread to eat, and no cocoa.
She did have her book of magic, though, and she devoted all her time to reading it, even some spells she knew were bad spells.
With each new spell, Jodi grew stronger but more bitter and angry.
Ugliness took root in her heart, and spread outwards, making her appearance nastier and meaner.
One day, Jodi looked in the mirror and it shattered!
Furious, Jodi ran to her book, and opened it to the very last page.
There was only one spell left she had not tried, the worst of the worst.
It was called "The End of All Things."
"Yes" Jodi said aloud, as she bustled around getting ingredients for the terrible spell ready.
"This Christmas is it! Why should anyone be happy when I'm not? Why should people enjoy cake with their families, when all I have is thistlebread and my horrible rat? It's time for an end to everything."
Jodi worked hard with no sleep for many days.
Finally, on Christmas Eve, she was ready.
She went outside in her weedy yard, threw the ingredients in a big cauldron, and stood in the warm air facing the wall of thorn trees, and began chanting.
To her surprise, as clouds formed overhead, the wall of thorns began to move, curling back on itself.
Through the newly open path walked her long lost friend Brenda, more lovely than ever.
"I have found you!" Brenda called happily. "It's taken me years to figure out a way past the thorns."
Jodi stopped chanting, casting a spell on Brenda.
Poor Brenda turned into a toad.
"Ha!" Jodi said with a sneer. "See who is the better witch now!"
"Don't do this," Brenda croaked, hopping closer. "It will hurt people."
"It will be the end," Jodi said, biting her lip uncertainly.
"You don't want that," Brenda croaked, hopping to Jodi's feet and looking up.
"I'm the better witch!" Jodi shouted.
"You are not the better witch," Brenda said, her toad form changing to her human form.
She hugged Jodi tightly. "You're just a lonely woman."
No one had hugged Jodi in years, not since she had run away. The loving touch of another person made her cry. "I'm not good, I'm bad. And worse, ugly!"
"Your jealousy made you bad," Brenda said gently, offering her a mirror. "And your hate made you ugly. You've let that go. Take another look in the mirror, my friend."
Jodi looked at mirror, closing one eye and opening the other just the tiniest bit, scared of what she might see.
To her surprise, reflected in the glass was her old self, her hair long and lovely, her face beautiful with a large smile.
"You fixed me," Jodi said happily, hugging her friend.
"You let go of your hate and your jealousy," Brenda said, hugging Jodi. "You fixed yourself. I just showed you the way."
"Thank you," Jodi said gratefully.
"What are friends for?" Brenda said with a smile. "Besides working magic, of course?"
She looked at Jodi's magic book and made a face. "Good spells, um, that is."
"Lets forget my spell," Jodi said quickly, tossing the book in some thick weeds and kicking over the cauldron. "How about some cocoa and maybe some cinnamon cake?"
"That would be wonderful," Brenda said, taking her hand. "But we haven't spent a Christmas together in years, Jodi. How about we make some snow? I have the ingredients ready."
Together they walked back to the village, and then took their places as they had so many years ago, throwing their arms wide, the mystical powder flying into the sky. Snow began to rain down fast and thick.
The townspeople came out of their houses and cheered, as the two witches stood together and took a bow.
Carefully, as they were very tired, Brenda and Jodi made their way back to Brenda's house.
They fell fast asleep in their clothes before making it upstairs.
In the morning, they awoke and looked outside.
A vast blanket of snow coated everything.
Children were building snowmen and sledding, as adults skated and talked in happy groups, everyone enjoying the fresh snow.
Jodi looked at Brenda, "Merry Christmas, my friend!"
"Merry Christmas," Brenda replied. "Shall we make cocoa? Lets have a long good chat. We have a lot to catch up on."
"As long as there are cinnamon buns," Jodi added happily, getting to her feet.
"Let's make some, I'll get the butter."
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