The Witches Mansion
“Time to get up!” Mrs Fox cried out at the very top of her lungs, standing over her son for what was now the fourth time and counting. “Come on!”
Jack blinked awake, rubbed his eyes, yawned, and turned over. “Yeah, just coming.”
Mrs Fox put her hands on her hips. “Now then!” she snapped, her voice again raised. “This is it, Jack! This is your last warning!”
“Yeah, right,” the boy mumbled from under the covers, the words barely recognizable. “Just give me a minute.”
With that, Mrs Fox turned away, slamming the door shut behind her. When she did, Jack sneaked in a few more minutes before rising out of bed. He wouldn’t have minded a few more, but he knew it was only a matter of time before his mother’s fifth and final round of shouting, bawling, and screaming started. Any time now, the covers would be yanked away from him and thrown across the room in a wild state of rage, and so he knew it was best to just get up and not push her any further. When he rose, he looked out the window. Heavy drops of rain rattled against the glass, strong gusts of wind whistled all about, and the mist was so thick he could barely see through it. At first, the weather didn’t seem too harsh. But when he peered out again through the haze a huge bundle of leaves and hundreds of crisp packets and carrier bags twirled and spun about outside the window. All around, the wind whipped up and down the streets in a series of stinging cold blasts that pushed hedges apart and bent trees in half like springboards. Garden furniture was tossed about and bins flipped over like pancakes. Then some of the neighbour’s clothing took wing from a washing line, and in a matter of seconds it had vanished up into the air and was now swirling around somewhere in the sky with the rest of the rubbish.
“Great,” he muttered softly. “Just great.”
He shook his head and sighed in frustration. This would be a good time for a day off. Tuesday’s were boring anyway, nothing ever happened on a Tuesday, and so why would today be any different? He thought briefly about what illness to put-on to try to con his mother with, but she was still scolding him for coming home late the night before, and so it wouldn’t be wise to try and pull that over her right now. He would wait for his mother to cool down and for things to go back to normal. Besides, he’d have to try this on Friday to get out of an embarrassing social dance class with Smella Bella Snodgrass. He took another moment, then turned away from the window and went out the door. A big skinny greyhound awaited in the sitting room and it bounded about and followed after him, his tail whirling and spinning around this way and that like a helicopter, lashing into furniture and whipping off everything in the room with such energy and enthusiasm that it bowled over most of Mrs Fox’s ornaments; a large vase of flowers rolled and tumbled off the top of a table, small picture frames folded and collapsed on shelves,...