Delia looked at her students with an expression designed to mask the despair she felt inside. Why did Roland persist in wearing that flea-bitten racoon suit everywhere he went? It was mortifying. The other day he pretended to cough up a hairball. How could she be expected to work with that?
And what of Penny? Well, she was just a rabbit, and an excessively twitchy one at that.
The boy and his rabbit stared at Delia.
"You don't look like a witch," he said.
"Of course I'm a witch!," exclaimed Delia, feeling her cheeks flush hotly. How she detested having her credentials called into question!
"Well, you don't look like one," he insisted, scuffing the toes of his racoon suit in the dust.
"Are you really going to teach us to fly?," asked Penny, squinting in her skeptical way. She popped a green lolly into her mouth and let the juice dribble down her chin.
This was not to be borne! Delia swayed against her broom, calculating the odds that either varmint might be in possession of smelling salts. In the end she decided it was not worth the risk and refrained from swooning altogether. On to business, then.
"First up on the agenda," announced Delia, "A spot of tea."
"Tea?," said Roland incredulously,"What on earth does tea have to do with learning to fly?"
"Nobody flies on an empty stomach. Common knowledge," said Delia, snapping the agenda shut.
"Wait a minute. Are you trying to trick us into a tea party?" demanded Roland.
But the rabbit looked interested. "Will there be sweets?," she asked.
A faint smile tugged at the corner of Delia's lips. "Oh yes," she crooned, "I've an entire house made of gingerbread right around the corner!"
"Poppycock!" scoffed Roland, "You nicked that from a fairy tale."
Delia scowled. Blast that boy and his literate mind!
The thought of sugar was making Penny twitch more than ever. "I say we give her a chance," she muttered, turning to consult with Roland, "If she proves to be a fraud, we can pinch the crumpets and make our getaway!"
The word getaway always worked on Roland. His entire life was spent dreaming up elaborate escapes using tunnels, spades, hot air balloons, and explosives. Too bad for him, then, that nobody could bear his company long enough to conceive detaining him against his will!
As hoped, Penny's suggestion had its intended effect. Roland wiped his hands on the mange of his suit and pulled himself up to full height. "I say, Delia," he exclaimed, "Let's have a look at that gingerbread house, come to think of it. Perhaps this is a plot line I'd be interested in following, after all."
Dear reader, as you can see, I'm getting all kinds of autumn on. I will be stocking this print in my Etsy shop soon, but in the meantime I would like to offer the first run image as a little gift. If you are interested in playing along, please leave your name in the comment box below. You may simply say hello, but I would also love to hear about the signs of the season in your neck of the woods...whatever they may be.
I will draw and announce a winner on Monday.
Wishing you a crisp, fading sun, good things to eat, lovely autumnal weekend...