“I wished for you too.”
-Practical Magic


3. Chapter Three

When Sophie got home from school she found her cat, Phil, sitting on the front porch. Phil wasn’t like most cats. He didn’t talk, but he wasn’t necessarily “silent” either. Phil was very wise and very opinionated. And very much everything that Salem was, only voiceless. He didn’t act like a normal cat because, well… he wasn’t.

Phil was a familiar. And familiars, though born to normal cats (it was suspected) were very different. Sophie met Phil when she started out on her own. She had been doing a spell in the cemetery one chilly afternoon when the cat had appeared from behind a tombstone, broke her circle, and plopped his fluffy black body down in the center of her circle and began grooming himself.

Sophie’s mother told her that familiars always found their witches, and not the other way around. She told Sophie that when she met her familiar she would know. She didn’t know that Phil was her familiar at first. Actually, she found him kind of rude and annoying. But the thing about cats is that they could walk between worlds and circles without messing things up. So she continued with her spell as the lazy feline stared at her with his large knowing green eyes.

Then he followed her home. She tried to shoo him away, but he persisted. She’d locked him out at night. And the next morning he was sitting on the front porch again. He didn’t seem needy, like she would have thought. 90% of the time he found his own meals and did his own things. But he was drawn to her magic, assisted in her magic, and sometimes gave her an opinion or two about her life.

She hadn’t seen him in a few days, but she was never worried when he disappeared. He was smart enough to not get into any trouble. But she found him sitting on the front porch by the uncarved pumpkins licking his paw and perfectly content with the world.

“There you are, Phil,” she said giving him a pat on the top of his head. He stopped licking his paw and shot her a glare for messing up his usually silky black fur. “Come inside. I need your opinion on something.”

She let herself into the house and the cat followed along. He hurried up the stairs on his small little panther legs and worked his way to her bedroom door. She kept the bedroom door locked at all times. Her once friend, Cara, liked to snoop around. Cara made a lot of complaints about Sophie’s room being locked and how it was disrespectful, but Cara’s mom didn’t really care so long as Sophie’s mom sent her the rent check every month.

Sophie opened the door and let the cat inside. Then she set her bag on her bed and pulled the large book out onto the mattress. Her shoulders still ached from hauling the heavy thing around all day, and she regretted bringing it along because it hadn’t told her anything worth knowing anyway. She opened the book and turned to the mysterious page on vampires and then looked up at the cat, who looked back like a cat who expected to be fed.

“I met a vampire,” she told him. “And I don’t really know a whole lot about them. I know that they can be used in… certain rituals. But that’s just what I’ve heard. I don’t even know where to start. None of my books are ABOUT vampires, per say. And I don’t have all day to search through each book individually.”

She ran her fingers over the page and waited for the cat to give a response. But he turned around and began licking himself with his leg sticking straight up into the air. She sighed heavily and turned the pages of her book to the one spell she’d been thinking about since she met the boy.

It was called “Energy Convergence.” She already knew about it because she’d tried the spell once before with another witch and it hadn’t been successful. But never with a vampire.

She heard the front door open downstairs and a voice called up the stairs a moment later.

“Sophie, are you home? I could use a little help!” It was Cara’s mom. So she left the book alone and headed downstairs to help her put away groceries.

Cara’s mom had always been nice to her. She was still friends with Sophie’s mom in a distant sort of way. They called each other sometimes and Cara consulted her mother for tarot readings whenever she had an issue. Cara was the one who didn’t like having Sophie around.

When she was done she headed back up to her bedroom. She pushed the door open and nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw him standing in the room holding her book and reading casually as if it were just a random novel she’d tossed on her bed. She shut the door and gritted her teeth.

“Why are you touching my stuff again?” she asked.

“Well,” he replied as he kicked his long leg out and paced her small, cramped room. “I wasn’t PLANNING on touching your book, but I happened to notice what page you had it open to and I thought it was interesting.” She felt her cheeks flush bright red and reached out to snatch the book away from him. But he jerked away and held it above her head. “I’m still reading,” he said with a smile.

So she snapped her fingers and sent a jolt of electricity through the air. He let out a yelp and dropped the book to the floor. It slammed loudly but she scooped it up and returned it to her shelf. When she turned back around he was rubbing his hands.

“Don’t touch my things,” she said, putting her hands on her hips.

“Noted,” he replied.

“You said you were coming tonight. Not this afternoon.”

She returned to her bed and sat down. Phil was sitting on the edge of the bed, attentively watching the bloodsucker. His tail flicked back and forth. He appeared tense, but not unfriendly. But Rory hadn’t made a move toward the bed or the cat, and so she didn’t know how uncomfortable the cat really was. The boy leaned against the wall beside the window again, crossing his arms over his chest and appearing comfortable in her small space.

“I was bored,” he explained. “There’s nothing to do around here. I don’t know anyone but you.”

“Our kind aren’t usually friends.” He shrugged.

“We don’t have to be friends.”

“Then why are you here?” He smiled again, but she kept the stern expression on her face. She didn’t like the way he was so at ease and comfortable in her room. She didn’t like how he continuously let himself in. She didn’t like him touching her things.

“Same reason you’re looking up powerful spells in your magic book,” he replied. Her cheeks blushed again but she huffed angrily.

“Don’t make me zap you again,” she warned. He laughed softly.

“You need to learn how to take a joke, Brooms. You said you wanted to ask me some questions. I didn’t have anything better to do.” She heard the front door open and close again. This time Cara’s voice could be heard as she spoke to her mother downstairs. Sophie relaxed and reached out to pat her tense cat on the head.

“Let’s go somewhere else to talk. If Cara hears your voice she’ll overreact,” she said as she stood up and reached for her scarf.

“You’re afraid of the little twerp?” he asked.

“No, she just likes to spread rumors.”

“I heard.” She rolled her eyes and turned to him.

“What’d you hear?”

“I’ll tell you in the car. C’mon. I’ll catch you.” He stuck his leg out the open window and dropped out of sight. She looked at the cat who switched his tail again.

“I know you don’t trust him,” she said. “But I’m curious. You can come with us if you’d like.” The cat responded by going back to his grooming. So she shrugged and leaned against the window frame so she could look down at the yard where the boy was still waiting. This time with his hood up and his hands in his pockets to block out the sun. “I’m taking the front door, you barbarian. I’ll be down in a sec.”

“Sure thing, Brooms,” he replied. So she rolled her eyes and slammed the window shut.



I intended to have this story finished by Halloween, but that obviously didn't work out. Hope you guys don't mind a Halloween story in November. Also, due to my inability to provide enough material, I have given up any and all hope of winning this contest.

Also, the cat's name is Phil because he is named after Phil Hartman, who voiced Jiji in the English dub of Kiki's Delivery Service. Also also, I grew up watching him on SNL and Phil the cat is my weird roundabout way of paying tribute to him.

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