The first snow enlightens Midnight Hollow at Taïga’s return from boarding school in France.
Granny is delighted to have Taïga back. ‘Now you must tell me everything! I loved the painting of the pink peonies you sent me! And what about the dance lessons? Do you think you’ll get the part? Are the teachers any good? I remember when I…’ Granny rambles on…
Maybe she gets a little carried away… she doesn’t seem to notice how silent her granddaughter is. ‘… and we’ve grown pumpkins this summer, to make Jack O’Lanterns.’ ‘Great. Like the ones outside?’ ‘Yes! Missy couldn’t wait…’
Granny is not the only one happy to have Taïga back. Tramp can’t wait for to wake up so they can go for a walk, or play in the snow… or both!
But the next day the snow has melted under a drizzling rain. Taïga is gloomily carving pumpkins in the hall. Her friends don’t answer the phone so she went to see Mitch, Jen and Leann earlier this morning, but there was no one home… Their families seem to have left on holiday together… I hope they’ll be back before I leave again… She sighs. ‘It’s Halloween, It’s Halloween. The moon is full and bright. And we shall see what can’t be seen on any other night…’
‘That’s a nice poem, dear?’
‘Yeah, it’s our English homework…’
In the afternoon it’s time to go “trick or treat”. Granny feels sorry for Taïga being alone, so she has offered to go with her.
‘Are you ready, Taïga?’
‘Yeah! Go ahead! I want something really scary!’
‘… Khazam! Done!’ Granny smiles hopefully at her grandchild.
‘Granny… I wanted scary! Not ridiculous!’
‘I think a cowplant is the scariest thing alive on this earth, and I defy you to find anyone who says the contrary!’ Taïga knows there’s no point in arguing. She just hopes no one will recognize her in this stupid outfit…
‘Remember: We don’t accept pennies, toothbrushes, or little boxes of raisins. This is a holiday, darn it!’
‘Yes, Granny! Darn it!’
‘So let’s do this! Come on!’ The two of them run giggling off down the block…
Old Missy can’t help herself – she just has to stomp out the Jack O’Lantern… It’s the one I carved, so it doesn’t count…
It was fun going from house to house with Granny. But spending day after day alone isn’t. She takes Tramp for long walks, going everywhere she used to hang out with her friends but they seem to have vanished. Playing chess with Granny or making elixirs together is also fun… ‘Granny!?!..’. Oh, I thought she would be here… Hmmm… Granny told me not to touch the grimoire… Taïga’s eyes room over the workbench. What’s this? I’ll just unscrew a little… mmm… it smells heavenly!..
… and what’s this? A sparkling bottle on the floor? I’ll just put it on the workbench…
Oh, no! I dropped it! The bottle shatters at Taïga’s feet and a strange light transforms into a dark cloud that soon surrounds her.
Taïga backs away as the dark cloud begins to dissipate and she finds herself staring at… Herself! OhMyGod! Oh.My.God! Is that me? ‘GRANNY! GRAAAAANNY!!!’
The “clone” walks out of the study and into Taïga’s room. She starts to open the drawers and scatter clothes all over the place. Taïga follows her, putting her things back in place and calling for her Grandmother.
‘Oh, shut up, will you. You’re the one made me come here, huh? … And nobody can see the difference between us anyway… so… just get out of my way!’ She puts on Taïga’s favorite jeans and jacket, smiles evilly at Taïga and walks past her out into the hall.
What!?! I can’t let anybody mix us up… Taïga feels anger like a flaming ball in her stomach, and before she has the time to think, she reaches out toward the evil clone and words she didn’t even suspect she knew flows from her mouth… Yay!
‘My hair! What have you done to my hair!?!’ The clone touches her now blonde braids.
‘Just so Granny can see the difference between us, brat!’ Let’s hope she’s not a witch… and does the same to me…
‘Now… can I have my jacket back?’ But the clone just laughs and turns around – and walks right into Granny!
‘Leave, Taïga.’ Taïga doesn’t protest, but she stays in the hall with her ear glued to the door. Dang, I can’t hear anything… Suddenly the door is thrown up and Granny beckons Taïga in…
Granny is not happy about Taïga breaking a bottle of precious “Clone Drone”. ‘I hope you understand it could have been something worse! I don’t suppose you’d enjoy being changed into something indescribable… And I don’t understand why her hair was fair? Maybe I made a mistake mixing the elixir?.. It’s bizarre though…’ Granny continues lecturing Taïga on the dangers of touching her potions as they walk downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs, Granny stops. ‘Don’t move, I’ll have to throw this elixir at your feet, and I’ll better don’t miss.’
‘Wait! Are you sure about this?’
‘Ha! Too late! And yes, of course I’m sure! My grandmother used the same elixir on me when I was a kid!’
Taïga gapes. ‘You mean you broke a…?’
Granny looks sternly at her. ‘I did. But it was a mistake.’
The holidays are too short and tomorrow Taïga will be on a plane back to boarding school. She sings softly while she washes and then she just lays back and closes her eyes. A nice hot bath when it’s starting to get cold outside… Well, it never seems to be warm in Midnight Hollow… I wonder what the others have been doing during the holidays. And if I’ll be the one to dance the lead in our musical… Naan, it’ll probably be that blonde girl Louise whatever! And she’s got a nice voice too…
The holidays were too short, rainy and foggy, but when Taïga is leaving for Champs-les-Sims, the ground is covered with the first snow…
Granny is watching the cab leave, when she hears a suspect sound from the bathroom… This is it! I’ve had enough! We’re moving!
Granny and Missy are trying to find somewhere to settle down…
‘What is it? Is it bad?’
‘Wait, Missy… No, it’s not bad… I can see the Cove in Moonlight Falls! No, it’s not Moonlight Falls…
The house seems bigger… it’s in a forest – it looks like a bayou. It’s hard to tell, it’s rather foggy… or misty… I’ll try to follow the road backwards…’ Granny concentrates hard. ‘There’s a stone house… with a sign…’
‘What does it say? Can you read it?’
‘Yes… It says “Abracadabra Witches’ Brews”… I know where it is! I know where we’ll settle down!’
‘Where? In a shop?’
‘No, in the house at the end of the road of that shop!’
‘Yes… Wait, I can see a dark storm cloud following you everywhere you go.’
‘Are you sure it’s a dark cloud? Not a dark stranger?’
‘I’m positive – cloud as in rain and storm…’ When Granny sees the despair on her sister’s face, she rapidly conjures up some whirling smoke inside the sphere… ‘Oh… An unexpected surprise finds its way to you in the very near future via the postman!’
Missy’s face lights up. ‘That’s good news!’
Isn’t it? ‘Yes… now let’s find our town!’ Granny stands up.
Missy looks at her with a surprised look on her face. ‘But, can’t you see it in your crystal ball?’
‘No, we need more precise magic! We’re in need of Google Earth!’
Packing a whole house is not a problem when you’re a witch and everything holds in a backpack! But before leaving Midnight Hollow, there’s something important the sisters have to do…
‘I didn’t know the gold one was in Midnight Hollow?’
‘It isn’t, Missy. It’s a fake. Can’t you feel it?’ Missy closes her eyes for a brief instant, and then she nods…
They turn around a corner, and there it is! Missy almost falls backwards with the power emanating from the tiny golden cage. ‘We can’t do this? … Can we?’
‘You can do this, Missy.’
‘But why me? You’re so much more powerful than me!’
‘That’s exactly why I can’t do it. I’ll probably destroy it…’
‘Go ahead, Missy. I’ll keep watch… and don’t forget the spell…’
Missy is scared but she goes ahead with the spell anyway: ‘Shazalambinga… bunga… oups!’
Granny turns around. ‘Oups!?!’
‘Eh, I changed my coat…’
‘You changed your coat?’ Granny is trying hard to stay calm.
‘Yes… but look!’ Missy smiles. ‘The fairy cage isn’t there anymore either!’
‘And where is it?’
‘Ehhh… With my coat and hat!’
‘And where’s that?’
‘Ehhh…’ Suddenly the room is filled with the howling of an alarm!
‘OK… We’ll talk about that later! Now we have to get out of here!’
‘Missy, you said this place wasn’t wired!’
‘It can’t be! There’s no cable TV in Midnight Hollow at all!’
If looks could kill…
They make it out of the museum without trouble – no one looks twice at the two old ladies hurrying past the security. The cab is waiting outside, and soon the sisters are sitting in the backseat, whispering and arguing the whole way to the airport…
Part I – End of Chapter 39