Dark clouds smudged the sky as Lily hurried up to her neighbor, Delilah’s house. Delilah answered the door. She was older (thirteen), a head taller, and already wearing heavy, dark eyeliner. Lily’s eyes latched onto Delilah’s white training bra strap. “Want to play?”
Delilah stepped back so Lily could come in. “Did you bring a wand?”
Lily flourished a twig that she’d found in the woods. Delilah squinted at it and nodded. “Good. Are you ready for your first magic lesson?”
“Yes!” Lily beamed, following Delilah into her bedroom. Glitter stuck in the pink carpet. Butterflies were still plastered to the yellow walls. Delilah flopped onto her bed and Lily sat at Delilah’s vanity.
Delilah pulled a polished, black magician’s wand without the white ends from under her pillow. “You’re going to circle your wand over an object, imagine what color you want to change it to, and say, ‘Colos muta‘.” Delilah demonstrated, waving her wand over her white, stuffed poodle. “Colos muta.” The fur turned bright blue.
Lily blinked hard, trying to understand what she was seeing. “It’s real. Magic is real.”
Delilah shrugged. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
Eager, Lily grabbed Delilah’s purple pencil box and waved her wand over it. “Colos muta.” Nothing happened. “Could I borrow your wand? Mine is broken.”
“No. Witches can’t use each others’ wands. It’s forbidden.”
“Says the coven.”
“Can I meet them?”
“Maybe you’re just not a real witch.”
Lily recoiled. How could she not be a witch? She could see magic. She could wave a wand and say spells. “Delilah, please. I want to be a witch.”
Delilah crossed her arms. “Prove it. Real witches are telepathic. Say something to me in your head.”
Lily closed her eyes and thought really hard. I am a witch, just like you. Lily said it over and over again before finally opening her eyes. Delilah stared back at her, surprised. “You are a witch.”
“I told you.” Lily stuck her tongue out.
Delilah hopped down off of her bed. “Since you’re one of us, you need to look like one of us.” Delilah pulled her golden hair back into a ponytail before grabbing her eyeliner out of her vanity drawer. “Close your eyes again.”
Heat rose to Lily’s face as Delilah stood over her. She felt the pencil poking at her eye as Delilah ran the pencil over her eyelid. Delilah held Lily’s chin. “Stop moving.”
“You’re poking me.”
“I’m almost done.” Delilah stopped. “Okay, open your eyes. Now I just need to do the bottom.”
Lily’s eyes watered as she opened them. Delilah immediately started pressing the pencil against Lily’s lower lids. Lily tried not to move. She was about to give up when Delilah put the eyeliner down. “Perfect.”
Lily blinked her tears away and looked at the strange girl in the mirror. Even with her dark hair, she could’ve been Delilah’s twin. And in that moment, she saw everything she always wanted.