Etta nodded, grinning at her from her seat on the floor. She flipped open the book resting in her lap, settling her crossed legs closer to her body. Kara grumbled something and sat down opposite her, pushing aside one of Etta’s books, and her own shoes. She mirrored Etta’s position and waited for her to say something.
“Are you sure?” she asked, when her friend didn’t continue to say any more.
Etta flipped through the book, finding the marked page.
“Remember the tail?” Kara said.
“I still say it suited you, but don’t worry Kar, this is a spell meant for other people. It’s been modified from the original and tested and approved and stuff.”
“By the council of magi.”
Etta lifted the book up and flashed the cover at her. Kara caught the word ‘approved‘ but nothing else, just a blur of cover. She grinned again, and waved her hands around, laughing when Kara squeezed her eyes shut.
“I’m not ready yet!” she cried and Etta laughed.
“Neither am I!” she said, pulling Kara’s hand into hers. “I won’t hurt you Kara, trust me.”
She squeezed her hand and smiled, softer this time.
“If you want I can do the spell on me first. It’s almost exactly the same.”
“A couple of words are different. There’s a couple of extra words.”
“Just a few words,” Kara said.
Etta pressed down the pages of the book – the pages were still bright white, but the corner well creased, as were many pothers. To Kara it looked like her friend had marked almost every other page or so. Perhaps she had.
“Fine, let’s do it.”
Etta squealed, clapping and Kara smiled.
“Don’t make me regret this,” she said with a chuckle.
“I promise, it’ll be fine,” she said, “nothing like the tail.”
“Will I be able to fly?”
Etta paused, looking over her book, finger on the page as she traced over the words.
“Not at first. Takes practice.”
“Have you given yourself wings before?” she asked.
“Yeah. They weren’t very big though,” she shrugged. “Got bigger the second time. It’s a work in progress.” She looked back up from the book at Kara. “Any more questions?”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Yes. Are you? I mean, you don’t have to,” Etta said voice lower this time. “I mean, I know you wanted to help but really if you don’t want to.”
“I want to help,” she said, smiling. “And who else are you going to practice on? Your mum and dad? Mooch?”
Both women looked across the room at the black and white cat curled up on the arm chair. With her head tucked into her body, he was perfectly circular – it was quite impressive for a cat his size. Kara reached over to pet, Mooch giving a confused mew but not moving. They both laughed.
“Can you imagine giving that cat wings?”
“They would have to be really big if he want to get any lift,” Etta said, “and he still wouldn’t catch anything.”
“So that means I’ll have need big wings too,” she said.
“Shut up, you’re barely even podgy,” Etta said, “Now, sit still and let me do this spell.”
Kara grumbled but did as her friend asked, sitting perfectly still, back straight, legs crossed. She could feel pins and needles starting in her left foot, but ignored it, letting it spread and Etta started to mutter quietly to herself. Kara watched her, sucking in a harsh breath. She was tempted to close her eyes, could feel her lips drooping but forced herself to watch her friend, watch every movement of her lips. She couldn’t catch any words, just the hiss of an s here and there.
She felt a tingling start at the base of her skull, dull at first working it’s way down her spine until it was hot and bright. She gasped, falling forward and half expected Etta to stop but she didn’t, not even when Kara cried out as she felt pushing at her shoulder blades.
She went to scream but it stopped, the pressure subsided and she was able to sit up straight. Her back felt heavy, and she almost toppled backwards. Etta had stopped mumbling and was looking up again, smiling at her. Kara wasn’t sure what to do, but turned her head to see two bright white wings behind her.
“It worked!” Etta cried. “They’re awesome. Next time I’ll have to try a colour.”
“These are amazing,” Kara said scrambling to her feet. She shrugged her shoulders struggling a little to do so now. “Wow.”
“They definitely suit you.”
“More than the tail?”
“Yeah, though, with the tail it would be awesome.”
Kara frowned at her but Etta continued to smile.
“How long will they stay?” she asked, shrugging again, trying to get used to the weight. She reached behind her to tug at the bottom feathers. They were velvet as she ran her fingers over them before pulling them around her. “I mean…they’re beautiful.”
“Try and flap them.”
She was trying, unfortunately and managed to shrug once more but couldn’t do more than that.
“Maybe I can’t. I mean, I’m not a mage.”
“It takes time,” Etta said, flipping through a few more pages in her book. This spell is only for non-mages, it’s made for you. You will be able to fly eventually.”
“This is so much better than the tail,” Kara said with a another exaggerated shrug.
“When we both learn to use them we can go out flying together.”
“I’d like that.”
“First I need wings too.”
“Can you perform spells on yourself?” Kara asked, fingers still fiddling with the tips of her wings. “I thought it wasn’t allowed.”
“Not yet, not ’til I finish college,” Etta said, with a frown and folded arms.
“Then you better get studying. So we can both have wings,” she said with a smile.
“Fine, let me get rid of the wings and we’ll try another spell.”
Kara looked up at her, then pulled her wings around her body once more, covering her body with the soft white feathers.
“Maybe I can keep them? For a little while longer?”
Kara beamed and dropped back down on the floor opposite Etta, wings fanning back out once more, a bright white circle around her. She shrugged again, feeling the wings move for the frst time, almost jumping back to her feet with a cry.
“See, you’re getting it already.”
She nodded, gleeful.
“Try something else, let’s see what else you can do.”
Etta laughed at that, and turned to a new chapter in book.