Lara is different. And now she's done something really, really wrong. Starting a new life as a witch, she finds out more about herself- and the others around her.
It had gone midnight in the Singing Cat. It was almost empty when they arrived. Mrs Steam was almost falling asleep as she scrubbed the tables, and awoke with a start of fright, at the door opening. At first she only caught the silhouettes of the two people. A boy and a girl, both children, it seemed, both dressed for winter in one of the century's hottest summers. Clearly out of place.
The girl had said nothing but shivered despite the winter coat she wore. The boy spoke infrequently. There was something suspicious about them. The girl seem close to tears and had her head bent to the ground so her dark ringlets fell over her face. She was dressed in an ill-fitting grey dress under her coat and has no shoes therefore her feet were coated in mud reaching up to the hem of her dress. She must have only been seven or eight. The boy had a similar coat and shoes, also mud stained and seemed a couple of years older and very pale and spoke very abruptly to the point of rudeness. He paid for two cups of tea but didn't touch his. The girl drank both eventually. After that they fell asleep in their chairs and Mrs Steam didn't have the heart to disturb when she knew from the bag of money the boy was carrying he could have paid for a room.
It never crossed her mind why two children that young were walking about town without adults. They weren't familiar to her, they may not have even come from the town. The boy did not seem paddrisian, which was why Mrs Steam seemed to warm to him. He has pale skin and his messy hair had a reddish hue like her, different from the girl’s dark complexion typical for around here. Mrs Steam and her husband were Hettish, a small but rich country further north. They had moved to the nearby larger but quiet Paddris and set up the Singing Cat while there daughter Ashley was not yet born.
Ashley now was ten years old and happy with everything she could possibly have wanted. She was biologically an only child but the Steams had adopted a local boy of Ashley's age names Alex. This was because he was one of them.
Mrs Steam had gone to sleep while the children were still fast asleep in the chairs. There was no point trying to wake them.
They were still there the next morning when Mrs Steam returned to work. This time the girl was the only one awake and was facing away from her with her face pressed to the window. She didn't know Steam was there and when she looked always almost dies with fright, with a look on her face as though she had done something wrong.
That was when the woman started to suspect something was suspicious with those two, even though they were so young. How often do children run off with a purse full of money on their own? Not often around here.
"Have I done something wrong?" The child said.
"You know better than me." Steam laughed slightly.
The girl suddenly seemed immensely apprehensive and started shaking the sleeping boy. "Felix- wake up! Wake up! I want to go home!" Her face was red with tears running down her cheeks. The boy, who seemed to be called Felix, started awake. "We can't go home now."
"I want to! I don't care!" The girl retreated into a ball. Steam was used to this. Ashley and Alex were uncooperative children.
"I need to open here soon." Steam said. "I shouldn't have let you stay here. At least without paying for it."
"We can afford to," Felix said. "I have money."
"I know you do. A bit suspicious as you seem too young to work. You must have stolen it."
"Ye- No. Not at all. I wouldn't do that." Felix spoke loudly but faded of with a whimper.
"Why are you two running away anyway?"
"You are a dreadful liar."
"We aren't running away!"
"Let your friend speak for once..."
The girl said "We are gonna find other witches-"
"Lara!" Felix shoved the girl.
"No we're not!" Lara added abruptly.
"We're going home. Did you get what you wanted? Are you happy?" Felix stood up, strode to the door and left the Singing Cat.
Lara, still crying, followed him.
Steam was alone again. All she could think about was what Lara had said. Other witches.
It seemed the children were one of them.