Jenni Clarke - Author

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In the eyes of her team mates Alicia is a failure, and a liability. They may just take revenge around the camp fire.


Sparks spiralled up, and whispers stilled, as Alicia threw an armful of wood on the campfire. A bat fluttered past her head, snapping at unseen insects. Alicia stepped away from the heat and sat on the empty log.

‘What fun this is.’ She gestured around the clearing, but did not smile. ‘Are we going to play a game?’

‘Aw. Did little Ali think this was going to be a party?’ Jacky spat out the words, and her black cat hissed. Their green eyes sparkled in the firelight.

‘It’s a test, stupid.’ Katrianne raised her hand, and the bat landed, clawing its way under her fingers, until it hung from her palm with thin wings wrapped around its tiny body. ‘Everything they plan for us is a test.’

Alicia sat, unmoving. ‘I was thinking of the game -say it to my face.‘

‘I’ll go first.’ Sarah’s crow cawed, peering out from the hood hanging loose over Sarah’s red curls. Jacky, Katrianna, and Sarah laughed.

‘He could probably tell me everything, but I’d rather hear it from you.’ Alicia dug her nails into the soft bark of the log.

‘The biggest test for us, is having you on our team.’ Katrianne stared at Alicia.

‘Although, this time, it’s going to be fun.’ Jacky patted her lap and her cat jumped up.

‘What?’ Katrianne frowned.

‘No teacher’s. We can do what we like. Oh, it was a terrible mistake, she tried to make a spell and threw a curse instead. It bounced off a tree and back into her face.’ Jacky laughed. ‘It’s so believable, with her track record.’

‘Do you really think we’re unwatched?’ Alicia relaxed her hands and looked up into the trees above. Sarah followed her gaze and an owl hooted.  Katrianne whispered to her bat. It swooped up into the dark. She swayed and closed her eyes.

‘Nothing there.’

‘I don’t get why you’re here tonight.’ Sarah shook her head. ‘This is a test for us and our familiars, and you don’t have one.’

Alicia reached into her cloak and pulled out her IPod.

Jacky laughed. ‘You’re a joke of a witch, Alicia. Seventeen, with no familiar, you can’t cast a spell or mix a potion, and you bring a music player on a night test.’

Sarah chuckled, throwing back her hood. Her crow flew around the fire and snatched the IPod from Alicia’s hand. Alicia glared, but remained seated.

The crow dropped the IPod into Sarah’s hands. She switched it on. ‘You won’t believe this.’ Sarah cackled. ‘She can’t even create a playlist. There’s only one song.’ Katrianne and Jacky peered at the rectangle of light.

Alicia waited.

‘Sweet Dreams by Andra and Myra. Aw, Baby Ali’s wants a lullaby.’ Jacky pulled her wand from her cloak as Sarah touched the screen.

Alicia smiled as the three girls slumped to the forest floor, she’d excelled again. Not that they would remember. Picking up her IPod she walked away, her familiar song filled the dark night with its power.

 Fiction - Sweet Dreams


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