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Another snippet from One Fat Witch by Heather Poinsett Dunbar and Christopher Dunbar (draft)

She noticed Poppa Bear talking to some more professional looking ghost tourists that carried better equipment.  He looked a little bored, as if he hoped to either close up or make sales.  Poppa Bear was a middle-aged man with dark hair, a trimmed silvery beard, and kind brown eyes that made Hazel think of friendly dogs.  Usually a dog or a cat followed Poppa Bear, and around the door and Hazel could hear the squeak-squeak of a chew toy.  Usually, most people in the Houston area were of the church-going variety that would try to shame anyone with a different belief system.  She’d watched angry church people show up with their rebelling kids who had bought something.  After a few moments of speaking with Poppa Bear, the adult would calm down and apologize.  The first time she witnessed it, Hazel thought it a small miracle but then put it down to Poppa Bear’s mellow nature spreading throughout the store.

“Hey Witch Hazel, I didn’t see you at the tour.”  He smiled at her, revealing teeth.  Then she watched his gaze lower to her new necklace and his smile turned to a dark frown.

He stepped past his potential customers.  “Where did you get that?”

Hazel had never heard him sound like this before.  He sounded a little afraid and a little angry.

Then she noticed Poppa Bear’s face become calm again.  “Come Hazel, I have that new deck you ordered.  Let’s go take a look at it.”

Hazel studied him for a moment.  “Okay…” she began.  “Yes, let’s look at the new deck.”  His other patrons looked a little surprised.  Hazel started to follow him.

“Vincent!”  Poppa Bear called into the back rooms.

“Yeah, Poppa?”  A goth boy wandered towards them.  He smiled a bit at her.

“Do me a favor and entertain the guests while Witch Hazel and I look at a new tarot deck that just came in.”

Vincent nodded his head.  “Okay, sure thing, Poppa Bear.”

The young teen headed towards the front of the store.

Poppa Bear looked back at Hazel and smiled a bit.  “Adorable isn’t he?  Too bad he thinks he’s a vampire.  Little does he know, eh?”

“Where are we going?” She asked.

“Oh just follow me.”  He led her into a small room and pulled down a locking bar to keep the door secured.

Hazel wondered if she should be worried.  She glanced around at the trinkets and pictures on the shelves and walls.  There were mythical beings and pictures.  A unicorn prancing in a field caught her eye.

“What are we doing here?”  She asked.

He met her eyes.  “Actually we can’t talk about what we need to talk about in here.  This is a storeroom.  Look around you and tell me what you see.”

“Well there’s shelves, a desk, your merchandise…”

“You forgot the mirror,” Poppa whispered.

Hazel studied the looking glass, seeing their reflections.

Poppa Bear stretched his right hand to the right corner of the mirror.  He tapped it three times and then he touched the left corner with his left hand once.

A purple light blinded Hazel for a moment and then she could only see his reflection and hers.  She stood, dumbfounded in front of the mirror.

Poppa Bear’s reflection beckoned to her.  The glass misted and after a moment he started to write words on the opposite side of the mirror.

Do what I did.

Right index finger three times on the right corner.  Left index finger once on the left corner.

She followed his instructions and a strange static ran through her as she followed his instructions.

At the first pressure of her finger against the glass, she could see an empty room on the other side of the mirror.  After completing his directions, Hazel felt a hand on her shoulder.

Hazel turned and found a slightly impatient Poppa Bear.

“Where are we?” She whispered.

“Sweetie, this can’t be your first time through the glass.  Oh my various gods, you are a virgin!  This is gonna be fun.”  Poppa Bear smiled.  “Follow me.  Now tell me where you got that.”

Hazel trailed Poppa Bear into a larger room with arcane symbols, shapes, and bookshelves.  “Uhm, I got it at Bunny’s during lunch.”

“You went to another store!” Poppa turned back to her, “but you’re my customer!  I don’t care if your dorky sister works there, you are my customer, Hazel.  Bunny and I have a deal, she gets the old angel lady contingent and I get the cool witches, Vincents, and rich weirdoes north of Houston.”

 

 

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