Juno on the other hand wasn’t happy. Nice and adorable and top of her class, but not happy. The older she got, the less content she felt with the status quo. What was the point of being a witch if you couldn’t be it properly? She still tried a little big Magic a couple times a year, just to check she was still useless. And she kept her eyes open for any sign of Magic in anybody else. Every fall at the Thanksgiving fair in Sunrise Park she gave Doris the slip, paid her nickel and sneaked into the fortune-teller’s tent. It was a different fortune-teller every year. None of them was keen on returning to Hastings-Sunrise in those days.
It always happened the same way. By the time the latest prophetess had gotten halfway through wondering how she’d apply her usual bull of tall dark strangers and unexpected journeys to a girl that little, Juno’d got used to the gloom and the strong smell of incense masking the strong smell of soup. The sight of heavily made-up women in headscarves and dangly earrings didn’t faze her, mainly because the props surrounding them, like pentacles and crystal balls, made her feel strong and somehow older. She only ever needed one good look to pull herself up to her full height. The crystal-gazer usually got as far as, ‘Welcome, young la–– …’ before Juno’d say loudly, ‘You’re not for real!’
Now the fortune-tellers were used to this kind of thing, if not from girls that little. But they were pretty ready for Doris’s mom’s kind. So the mystic-in-residence would produce a toothy smile and say something like, ‘Why don’t you sit down right here, honey, and we’ll see if there’s really nothing we can do for –– …’ – cue full-body shudder, dramatic eye-rolling and hollow voice – ‘Child, there is something you oughta know!’
‘Yes there is,’ Juno’d say firmly at this point. ‘I wanna know what happens on my thirteenth birthday!’