No Such Things as Witches

"There's no such thing as witches."

"If there isn't, then how do you explain what happened to Josh?" The older woman poured Mackenzie a cup of tea. "And how you knew to come here? Cream, sugar?"

"Yes, please, both." Mackenzie nodded, and older woman, well, older than Mackenzie's 16 years, so 30s maybe, added two cubes of sugar and a dollop of cream. "You know about Josh?"

"I know enough not to waste any tears on him." The woman put cream and sugar in her own tea, and sat back in her, chair crossing her legs. She didn't look like a witch with her stylishly short copper hair, peaches and cream complexion, the dove gray pencil skirt and blazer. She set her tea on the table next to her, and shrugged out of her blazer, revealing a pale pink sleeveless shell and well-muscled arms. Michele Obama arms, Mackenzie thought.

"I didn't mean..." At a look from the woman, Mackenzie paused and took a breath. "I did mean to hurt him, for what he did to Alyssa. I don't, didn't realize it would end like that." She blinked.

"Witches are both born and made. Some people are born with the power to do things, others gain it through study, bargains with the otherworlds." The woman picked up her tea again. Her cup and Mackenzie's did not match each other, but matched their saucers and both were lovely, floral designs. She sipped. "You, my dear, were born this way, as Lady Gaga says. As was I, which is why I am the one you felt the pull toward." She leaned forward. "You were very angry with Josh when you cursed him."

"Yeah, I... Alyssa came to my house after. He'd torn her shirt and took her panties as a trophy, to prove he'd scored. She was crying and saying it was her fault over and over. I was just, I wanted to hurt him." Mackenzie's cup shook in her saucer, and she set it on the table between them.

"Whatever you summoned, it sensed your anger and it acted in accordance with that anger." The woman sipped her tea, looking thoughtful. "You're going to have to learn to control your emotions. Tightly. It sucks, but you don't want to accidentally hurt a friend over a minor squabble, do you?"

"I, yeah..." Mackenzie looked down at her hands.

"It's already happened once or twice, hasn't it? Apart from Josh." The woman set her cup down again, leaning forward to reach for Mackenzie's hands.

"Nothing worse than skinned knees or the flu." Mackenzie mumbled, letting the woman take her hands. "People joked that they should stay on my good side. I thought it was weird coincidences, but then Josh..." She exhaled. "And when I was driving home from cheer practice, I had the urge to stop here and knock."

"The Council sent me here specifically to keep an eye on you." The woman smiled, and squeezed Mackenzie's hands with both of hers. "I'll tell you all about them later. But right now, what I need to know is, are you willing to do the work to learn how to control this?"

"Yes!" Mackenzie clutched at the woman's hands. "Yes, I don't want to be a, a murderer! I don't want to accidentally hurt anyone."

"Good." The woman exhaled, and her shoulders relaxed. She patted Mackenzie's hands. "We're going to be spending a lot of time together. You can call me Gwen."

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