Hitomi the Witch:Part Four
PART FOUR: MIRACLES DON'T EXIST
[Month of Collecting]
Hitomi looked up at the cloudless sky and smiled. It was the second day of the Month of Collecting, and the autumn morning was glorious. All the trees were a mix of vibrant shades of red, orange and brown. Everywhere around her, fallen leaves were either lying on the ground or blowing in the breeze. "Isn’t this the most beautiful day ever?" Hitomi sighed. "All the trees look spectacular with their autumn colours, and the sky—"
Erika yawned. "I’m too tired to care about leaves and trees," she grunted, rubbing her eyes. "Why does school have to start so early, anyways?"
"I don’t mind being up this early," said Hitomi. She saw an Usul in the distance and ran over to her. "Hi Kirara! Isn’t it a beautiful day today?"
Kirara turned and smiled. "Hey, girl!" She stretched. "Autumn is definitely my most favourite time of the year—though I wish I could hibernate for the entire winter! Waking up early for school has to be a crime of some sort, ya know?"
"You’re telling me," sighed Erika. "I say we send the Defenders of Neopia a message and order them to delay and shorten school hours."
Hitomi linked arms with both friends and led them down the sidewalk. "You two are so silly!" She giggled, adding, "As if the Defenders of Neopia would ever consider doing such a thing."
"My, aren’t we super-perky today?" teased Kirara.
"Yeah, she’s been all giddy ever since she found out about her magic powers," said Erika. She smirked. "If I had known being a witch would make you so confident, I should have told you ages ago!"
"Maybe." Hitomi shrugged, thinking about her friends’ words. She had to admit that, ever since she learned about her magical abilities, her confidence was boosted to an all-time high. And it wasn’t just that: her self-esteem was higher, she was feeling more excited nowadays, and she could feel a wave of optimism and hopefulness pouring over her every day. "So…uh, Kirara?" Hitomi felt her cheeks burn with nervousness. "You said that witches can bring about miracles, right?"
Kirara nodded. "Why?"
"Well, I was thinking that I could give somebody an amazing miracle today," Hitomi said thoughtfully. She looked up at the sky again. "I’m sure it would make them ever-so-happy if I could use my magic to help them. And, in the long run, they could be inspired to help others in need too."
"Does this mysterious being know you’re a witch?" asked Kirara.
Hitomi shook her head. "Not yet. But would it be okay if I tell them?"
"Of course it is," Kirara insisted. "You can tell anyone—and everyone—that you’re a witch."
"Good." Hitomi felt an extra jump in her step. She was confident that everything would work out, and that her plan would go smoothly. Best of all, she was going to help someone who could use her magic. And it was because of this prospect that Hitomi was bursting with joy: being able to use her magic to help others was going to be the most rewarding part of having magical powers—especially for those who were truly in need of help.
Usually, Hitomi was a little antsy whenever she visited her cousin Shingo. He was still a patient at the hospital, and he hadn’t been in Neoschool for a whole year now. This was exactly why she hesitated with talking about school: she didn’t want her cousin to feel lonely or envious for being tutored at the hospital. Despite her nerves, Hitomi was always diligent with her weekly visits—and this week, she was more than eager to speak with Shingo. [He’s going to be so happy!] Hitomi gushed as she made her way down a long, white hallway. Doctors and nurses whizzed past her, and by the time she reached Shingo’s room, a blue Elephante nurse was already departing.
"Hi Shingo!" Hitomi said cheerily, taking her seat next to Shingo’s bed.
Shingo smiled. "Hiya," the striped Usul said cheerily. "How was school?"
"It was fine," said Hitomi. She looked at a blue Bruce plushie her cousin was holding. "Did somebody give you that?"
Shingo nodded and pointed to the bluer balloon that was tied to his bedpost. "A friend of mine gave them to me yesterday." He coughed. "She also brought me some cookies."
Hiotmi looked at her cousin’s left arm and gasped. "Why is your arm bandaged? Did you injure it?"
Shingo shook his head. "Nah. I got a nasty rash there and the doctors aren’t sure how to cure it," he explained. "They’ve tried multiple salves and creams, but nothing worked. So, to keep me from scratching, they decided to have my arm bandaged for now."
Hitomi reached over and grabbed her cousin’s bandaged arm. "If you truly believe in miracles," she said in a soothing tone, "then your arm will get better."
"What are you talking about?" chuckled Shingo. "There’s no such thing as–"
[Please, heal my cousin.] Hitomi closed her eyes and concentrated intently on Shingo’s arm, being cautious not to grip it too tightly. She could feel a wave of warmth wash over her, and when she opened her eyes, she found herself being surrounded by a mysterious purple light. Shingo’s arm was also glowing—and the bandages were slowly unfurling.
"What are you doing!?!?" Shingo exclaimed.
"Just a little more time," Hitomi mumbled. She kept her magic up, concentrating on Shingo’s arm. When the spell was finally finished, the purple glow had vanished and Hitomi beamed a hopeful smile. "How’s your arm now, Shingo?" she asked cheerily. "Does it feel any better?"
Shingo unraveled his bandages and—with a panicked expression—examined his cleared skin. The rash had completely disappeared, and he wasn’t wincing in any pain. Startled, Shingo turned to Hitomi and asked, "Di-did YOU do this? Did you heal my hand?"
"Yes, I did," said Hitomi proudly. "I was able to because I can possess magic. You see: I’m a witch now! Well, technically I’m a witch-in-training, but I’m still able to use magical powers! And I was able to use my magic to help you, too!"
For a long moment, there was silence. Hitomi watched Shingo as he examined his arm, still aghast by its recovery. [He must be completely speechless! I bet he’s too happy to speak!] Hitomi felt proud. [Now I can definitely use my powers to help others! Then, just like Shingo, they would be shocked speechless.]
After setting his arm down one more time, Shingo turned to Hitomi and shook his head. "No, this can’t be," he muttered. "This defies all logic!"
"It’s magic," Hitomi explained.
Shingo shook his head again. "There’s no such thing as magic."
"Sure there is," Hitomi insisted. "My new friend, Kirara, told me that I’m a witch. And I trust her completely because she’s also a wi—"
"There is no such thing as witches," Shingo said firmly. "Witches only exist in faerie tales and folktales."
"But magic [is] real, Shingo!" Hitomi pressed. "Faerie magic has long existed in Neopia, and…well, what about Sophie and Edna? Aren’t they witches, too?"
"They’re not actual witches," Shingo grunted, "and no ordinary Neopian can actually possess magic. Sophie and Edna only know how to act like witches: wearing pointed hats and brewing up fake potions." He smirked. "Do you honestly believe they’re ‘magical pets’, Hitomi? Do you really think that you’re also magical?"
Hitomi nodded. "I was able to heal you just now, right? And besides, magic does exist in Neopia—and it’s because of these magic users that miracles can be created and shared throughout the world. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?"
"But it’s stupid! It’s childish!" Shingo banged his fist onto his bed. Hitomi noticed his eyes were tearing up. "There is no such thing as magical Neopians! There is no such thing as miracles! Miracles don’t exist!"
"Your arm was healed because of me," Hitomi insisted. "So how can you explain that?"
Shingo shook his head. "You’re just a freak," he muttered. "Some kind of magical freak!"
"Shingo—" Hitomi began, then stopped herself. Despite her best reasoning, Shingo was clearly upset and didn’t seem likely to want to listen to any more of her explanations. Rather than stay and continue their discussion, Hitomi grabbed her book-bag and hurried out of his room. As she walked down the hospital hallways, she could feel her heart ache for Shingo. Could he really be a non-believer in magic? How could this be? And why would he want to disapprove the existence of miracles?
[Maybe I should have explained everything to him before I cast my magic on him,] Hitomi mused. [Then again, would that make him a believer? Or would he get even angrier?]
"Yo!" Kirara approached Hitomi just as she exited the hospital. She held out a folded crepe in front of her. "Want it? This cart was having a two-for-one sale, so I got a strawberry and a blueberry one—which I already ate. But you can have the strawberry one if you want."
"No thanks," Hitomi sighed.
Kirara raised an eyebrow. "What’s wrong? Is your cousin okay?"
"He’s fine…at least, I think he’s fine." Hitomi shrugged. "Say Kirara, do you…um, do you believe in miracles?"
"Of course I do," said Kirara. "After all, I [am] a witch!" She turned to Hitomi and, in a concerned voice, asked, "Why? What’s up?"
Hitomi sighed and related everything that had happened during her visit. "I think Shingo’s mad at me now, or he probably thinks I’m some sort of freak. Either way, I’m really nervous about next week’s visit—what if he doesn’t want to see me anymore?"
"That’s a tough pickle," said Kirara. "Though there is a lesson in this: just because you’re blessed with magical powers doesn’t mean other Neopians would be so eager to accept you. Granted there will be a lot of folks who will believe you…but then there are those who will remain skeptical, despite all the proof you can shove in their faces." She nodded. "If this Shingo doubts your magic, then I think you should stop visiting him. I mean, why would you keep corresponding with someone who can’t accept you being a witch?"
"I don’t think I can stop my weekly visits," Hitomi insisted. "Maybe I can skip a few weeks, but I definitely won’t stop forever. I’ll just give him some space for now."
"I would stop visiting altogether," Kirara scoffed. "Let Mr. Skeptical heal his own wounds." She smiled at Hitomi. "Enough about that twit: you need to anticipate yourself for your upcoming coronation ceremony! I have total faith in your success, dear friend."
"Thanks." Hitomi forced a smile, despite her upset feelings. "I can’t wait to get my own Spell Charm. Then I can bring even more miracles into Neopia!" [Because miracles ARE real,] she added silently.
To be continued…