TITLE: WOLFSBANE AT MIDNIGHT
Scarlet Dimity knew what was coming. Early evenings like this had been the routine for three months. She twined her slender fingers through her long, black hair several times as she stood waiting in the back yard. A balmy June breeze blew her blue skirt around her ankles, and a disturbance of some kind sent birds flying from the trees behind her, but her eyes remained focused on the back door.
The door flew open, and her heartbeat quickened. Her mother, Corinda, and grandmother, Aradia, stepped outside. Scarlet's gaze moved to the clear glass ball in her grandmother's calloused hands. The globe glowed and three shades of green light wove like ribbons around the thin strands of glass inside the orb. Aradia handed the sphere to Corinda. The glow brightened slightly, and the green ribbons of light were instantly joined by three shades of orange.
Scarlet's stomach twisted. She knew what was hoped for, but she also knew the chances of success were slim. Would this be the moment they had waited for? Corinda stepped forward and lowered the warm, glowing Witching Ball into Scarlet's shaking hands.
The glowing stopped. The colors within the ball faded to nothing. The round glass felt cold and heavy with the weight of disappointment. Scarlet's heart sank. Why had she allowed herself to hope?
"Not to worry," Corinda said. "There's still plenty of time."
But Scarlet knew time was running out. She only had five months to make the Witching Ball glow. After her seventeenth birthday, the ball would not grant her power and she'd never be a witch.