Witches Under Way - By Debora Geary

Chapter 1
Witches Under Way

Chapter 1

Jennie slurped a couple of spoonfuls of soup, full of trepidation. If it stayed down - and she was rather skeptical about that - it would be the first food she'd successfully consumed in three days. However, she felt obliged to try. It had been sitting on her counter when she'd stumbled down to make some tea, along with an "Eat it. Don't argue." note written on hot-pink paper by one nine-year-old healer who was obviously up to her neck in grumpy, uncooperative patients.

It was hard to argue with a note - and the soup had smelled rather good. Her nose was one of the few parts of her body that hadn't been infected by whatever dastardly bug little Leo had picked up.

Her grandson had seemed fine at karaoke night - laughing and singing and crawling onto everyone's lap. Which had been very welcome until he woke up puking the next morning. And just like clockwork, two days later, pretty much all of Witch Central had followed in his footsteps. As her husband said, toddlers were germ-warfare machines in a cute package.

The young ones had recovered quickly, which was good - somebody needed to take care of all the cranky adult witches. Ginia's talents had been in high demand, and judging from the teleported and tasty soup, both Lizard and Aervyn had been commandeered to her nursing team.

Witch Central, shut down in the middle of summer by the flu. It was positively embarrassing.

Jennie picked up her spoon again. The soup wasn't causing anything too drastic to happen in her belly. Maybe she was on the road to recovery.

More likely, the soup was spiked. Oh, well. At least it didn't taste like medicine.

She fingered the pendant hanging around her neck. It was vibrating slightly, something it had been doing several times a day since karaoke night. Darned if she knew what it meant.

It was surely connected to the fact that her two students wore their pendants now. She'd expected to feel a light connection, and as a mind witch, that wouldn't have bothered her - she was well used to the felt presence of others taking up temporary residence in her brain. But this vibrating was a mystery, and as yet, she lacked the energy to do more than give it a passing thought.

Nor had she given her two students much attention. Nothing like issuing a bold, music-filled invitation to take the next big step on your life journey - and then climbing into bed for several days.

Jennie realized with some surprise that she'd finished her soup. Maybe she could actually get back on the mentoring horse soon. Just as soon as she felt a little bit more human.

In the meantime, Lizard would be just fine making soup for the sick. And according to the witch grapevine, Elsie was one of the hardest hit, so it was unlikely Ginia had let her out of bed yet.

She'd get back to the business of guiding witches. Right after her nap.

Jennie got up gingerly, carrying her bowl to the sink. And wondered, if she asked very nicely, if they would send a biscuit with the next delivery. Lizard's biscuits were delectable enough to tempt even queasy bellies back to full health.
Chapter 2
Lizard looked up, more than a little shocked to see Elsie actually on her feet. "Hey, you're alive. Congrats. Want some soup?" She'd been dishing out bowls for sick people all morning with the help of her little-dude delivery service.

Elsie gripped her belly. "I don't know if that's a good idea."

"Try a little." Aervyn got off his barstool and carried a bowl toward the table, contents sloshing dangerously.

Lizard grinned and hoped the teleported deliveries had actually arrived with soup still in the bowls. She grabbed a spoon out of the drawer and delivered it to the table, remembering all too well the moment when her belly had first contemplated if it was capable of actual food. "The soup will help."

The soup was working miracles. Ginia had put stuff in it. Lizard had been smart enough not to ask what the "stuff" was.

Elsie picked up the spoon and dipped it into her bowl, nose wrinkling slightly. "What kind of soup is it?"

"Eye of newt and toe of smelly little boy." Aervyn giggled. "At least, that's what Mama said I should tell anyone who asks."

Only a four-year-old could be impossibly cute two days after he was at death's door. Elsie's grinned response made her look almost human. She took