Shots could barely be heard on the film, and two figures in the first couple’s open-top car slumped. But that wasn’t it. The main thing for Juno right there as she was compelled by those scenes on TV was the sudden draining of everything but a pitiless vacant rigidity from the room. Unyielding emptiness reigned. For a moment she feared she and grandma would be sucked into nothing too. The memory of any spells to turn to was fading fast.

Chaos erupted on a Dallas street, and into a neat parlour more than two thousand miles away a hard icy void had moved. Juno recognized it at once as the total absence of Magic.

Both she and her mom jumped when a voice called, ‘Ain’t it terrible?’ It was Mrs Martin. Juno hadn’t even closed the front door, which sure couldn’t have made the room any warmer.

‘Look, they got the guy!’ Grandma was wildly pointing again. A man was being hauled out of a building, while around him madness ensued and the world around Juno returned to normal.

Grandma and Doris’s mom sunk onto chairs in front of the TV. Juno muttered, ‘I’ll make some coffee,’ and retreated into the kitchen. She needed to think.

Stuff was happening out there. If there could be such utter absence of Magic, the actual thing itself had to be out there big time, too. What was the point of rotting in Hastings-Sunrise any longer?

Juno reckoned it was time to get up off of her butt. Her sixteenth birthday was only two weeks away. On that day she would tell her parents that she was quitting school.