Sandra, Celia and the Hobgoblin S03E04
The Adventures of Millie and Sandra
“And then you can imagine how delicious it was for me to find out I was a dragon… I mean, Millie was always better than me… then Celia…. And I, we were meant for each other, and being able to shift into a dragonfly is such a wonderfully magnificent… but cats are good too… I mean, it would be absolutely tragic if you changed into cats cause cats eat… no, play, with dragonflies until they’re… well, dead… so maybe… anyway, it would be a ghastly thing to be eaten by a cat for me, but I ‘spose seeing as Millie and I are way bigger than you… we could eat, or play with you, not that we would, but we did eat our grandmother. She was a butterfly at the time, but—”
“Sandra!” Marly said, her last nerve grating.
“You came to fill us in on what the coven, what your mum and aunty are doing,” Marly said, in an effort to get her back on track.
Mark sat in a corner, out of sight. He was an introvert, having spent hundreds of years alone, and one afternoon with Sandra and he was ready to shift and climb a large pine tree until she left. Since the twins first visit, Marly and Mark did a bit of snow dropping and had built up a small wardrobe for themselves. In the corner of their cave were several old plastic Coles bags full of clothes. They were even able to get themselves a pair of rubber boots each. They were left out on front and back porches as if they belonged to them. Millie and Sandra gave them an old mobile they had lying around and always call before coming to visit.
“The coven? The coven? Oh! That’s right,” Sandra said. “Aunty has the coven looking into spells and charms.”
“Spells and charms?” Mark asked. “I’ve seen dark magics made more powerful with spells, charms and black cats.”
“What?” Sandra asked. “Oh, no. They promised they would never harm you. We’re a coven of insects. We don’t do things like that.”
“You sure?” He asked, unable to hide his fear.
“It’s all right, Mark,” Marly said. “If Sandra says, then I believe her. What about the daemon, Sandra?”
Mark and Marly had been watching Kayla at night and the twins had been watching her at school. Celia and Sandra had been messing with her all week. The coven had also been researching the daemon, trying to figure out how it came to be in Launceston, and how long has it been there, and the twins mum and aunt were with Frank the policeman looking through the history books of Launceston, and Australia, trying to find a link, like dead bodies, to find out the daemon’s lineage. To find out its name because as we all know, know the name and hold power over the thing the name belongs to.
“So, they’re still looking into it, but they’ve decided getting you two fixed so you can shift for more than an hour or two,” Sandra said. “You may even be able to go home, Marl’s.”
“What? You sure?” Marly asked, excited at the thought of seeing her family again, but she caught the lonely, yet fast brush of pain in Mark’s eyes. “But… what about Mark?”
Sandra went quiet. An anomaly in itself. Flicking her eyes here and there, then up and down, Sandra finally looked back at Marly and Mark, who were gripping each other’s hand so tight, their knuckles were white. When she was quite finished drawing it out, she was about to speak when Marly, with a high-pitched tone to her voice, yelled, “Sandy?”
“Okay. Okay,” Sandra said with a smile, “of course Mark too.”
After a quiet moment, Mark exhaled. The tension between he and Marly lifted and all he could say was, “Thank you.”
“So,” Marly began, “what are they… I mean, what do they expect Mark to do for them?”
Marly’s brow was creased with worry, and although his face twixt between a bright red and a pale white, Mark was willing to do anything if it meant Marly could go home to her family, even if it meant he couldn’t see her as much.
“I mean,” Sandra said, weaving her words lyrically, “the coven said Mark could stay in the apartment over our sacred space, and in exchange—”
“In exchange?” Marly asked.
“In exchange,” Sandra said, drawing the words out for effect, “for food, clothing, a little cash. They really do just want to help you, Mark.”
Once again, Mark exhaled a breath so deep it rattled in his chest before it left his mouth. Sandra thought it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard and while she rolled on the ground laughing, Marly hugged Mark.
“Thank you. Thank you, Sandra,” Mark said. “I really can’t thank you enough… just, thank you.”
“In fact,” Sandra said, “they’re expecting you both today.”
“You mean I might get to see my family today?” Marly asked, and those tears welled in her eyes again.
“If they’ve spelled something for you and Mark, then yes.”
“Spelled something?” Marly asked.
“You know, a ring, a bracelet, maybe a necklace for Mark?” Sandra said and Celia, who’d been quiet throughout, rose up out of Sandra’s woollies bag and danced in the air like a helium balloon at a Childs birthday party.
“Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin,” Aunt Millie bellowed making Tess jump, and Frank spill a hot coffee down the front of his white shirt. “Hobgoblin!”
“What?” Tess sort of yelled to make herself heard, “and quieter please.”
“Yes,” Frank said. “Quieter would be better. Now what’ve you found, Mill’s?”
“Celia,” Aunt Millie said, but was having trouble stringing the words together in a coherent sentence.
“Celia?” Tess, the twins mum, asked.
“Is a Hobgoblin,” Aunt Millie said.
“I thought she was a crystal ball?” Frank asked, clearly confused and all while dabbing the tissues, Tess was passing him, against his shirt to mop up the coffee.
“She is Frank,” aunt Millie said, “but the crystal ball—“
“Yes, Celia,” Aunt Millie continued, “she’s a hobgoblin who’s possessed a crystal ball.”
Tess got up from the table full of books and papers she thought she’d never have to read again and asked, “Anyone want a fresh coffee?”
“Oo, me please,” Aunt Millie said, tipping her cup a little to see a thick black cold liquid that was once a coffee swirling around.
“Me too,” Frank said and smiled as he dabbed the last of the tissues on his shirt.
“Back in a minute,” Tess said and left for the kitchen.
The kitchen was a good long walk from the room they’d been provided by the University of Tasmania for their research. They had one of the best occult libraries this side of the Straight. An elder woman in the coven was a lecturer into the occult, and in return, Aunt Millie promised she would come as a guest speaker for, “All those hungry young minds... looking for a ninety-minute break from actual research.”
Her talks were always packed and full of great conversations, debates, and lots of laughter.
Aunt Millie looked up and sat back in her chair, smiling at the revelation, when she saw just how wet Frank’s shirt was.
“Oh, Frank,” she said. “Come with me.”
Aunt Millie took Frank to lost property to find him a shirt. There wasn’t much. A couple of items only, and there’d been a solidarity rally over the weekend.
“Here we go,” Aunt Millie said and held up a black t-shirt, showing Frank only the back of it.
“That’ll do the job, Mill’s,” he said, then she turned it around and Frank could only stand with his mouth agape.
On the front of the t-shirt were the words, Mind Your Own Uterus and a bright pink artist's impression of a uterus sat below them. The other item was a black hoodie.
Looks brand new, Aunt Millie thought, but she was laughing so hard at Frank’s shirt, she didn’t notice the picture across its front.
“Oh dear,” she said as she examined the “art” painted with some sort of material she’d never seen before, but it was immovable. She couldn’t scratch a bit off with her nails and had a very powerful pro-abstinence message on it.
The image was of a formless and blank, unmistakable female torso, and it had two arms wrapped around it until the hands crossed over the lower part. Protruding from between steepled fingers was the blood red, toothy, upside-down head of a baby. The words beneath the image, as if it needed any, read:
“Goodness me,” Aunt Millie said, and had stopped laughing.
“Must be leftovers,” she continued, “oh well, here we go. It’s cold outside, Frank.”
he looked at the hoodie, then back at the barely contained Aunt Millie. She was having to bite her lips together to stop herself from laughing.
“But Mill’s?” Frank complained, “I’m all for women’s rights, you know that, but...”
His words trailed off as Aunt Millie turned to walk away. The pitter patter of Frank’s shoes sounding behind her.
“But I’m the law, Mill’s,” Frank said, “I can’t be seen being political, Mill’s. I must remain an unbiased observer. I’m PC adjacent if you will.”
It was all too much for Aunt Millie. She cracked and her howls of laughter echoed down the empty walkway, only to dissipate when it reached the quad.
“Give me my coffee shirt, woman,” Frank said, desperately trying not to get drawn into her mirth.
“I’ll wear the t-shirt,” he said. “You can keep that hoodie away… it frightens me.”
They had just reached the room again and sat when Tess got back with the coffee. Frank stood and rushed to help. That’s when Tess laughed, spilling coffee down her front. He took the coffees before they spilt all over the floor and set them on the table.
“Oh dear,” Tess said as he took them, but it burnt through to her skin, “ouch.”
“Don’t worry, sis,” Aunt Millie said, “take this and go get changed.”
“Thanks Mill’s,” Tess said, grabbed the hoodie but didn’t see the artwork.
A few minutes later, Tess returned wearing the hoodie.
“Funny, sis,” she said, “can I have it?”
“Unless someone comes looking for it. Don’t see why not.”
“So, Mill’s,” Frank said, “what’s a hobgoblin?”
The sisters looked at each other and they psychically decided Tess would take that one while Aunt Millie enjoyed her semi warm, low tide coffee.
“A sprite. A mischievous—”
“—malevolent,” Aunt Millie said, butting in.
“Yes, sprite,” Tess continued, and turned to Aunt Millie. “Could it be?”
“Mother, yes,” Aunt Millie said, “then we’ve—”
“—had it in our family—”
“—forever,” Aunt Millie finished for her.
“So, who caught it and how long has it been enslaved by our family?” Tess asked. “Mother? Grandmother?”
“Possibly, but less about how long,” Tess said, “and more about how do we get rid of it? It’d have tendrils wrapped around our familial lineage.”
“Yes,” Aunt Millie said and took another sip of her coffee, “it’ll be wedged in deep… I mean, just look at Sandra—“
“Oh dear,” Tess whispered, her concern forming deep creases in her brow. “It’s had control of her for months.”
They were all worried. Sandra was more susceptible to possession than most. Aunt Millie and her mum tried everything to protect her from it, but Sandra was like a gigantic magnet, and they knew eventually something would get in. The sound of footsteps and crowded chatter alerted Aunt Millie to the fact that school was out for the day.
“What’s the time?” she asked, looked at her watch then answered her own question, “four-fifteen… we’re supposed to meet the twins, Marly and Mark, back at the coven at four-thirty… Tess?”
“Could you go to my house and gather the clear quartz crystals?”
“But aren’t they for separation anxiety?”
“Yep, and that’s how we’re going to fix Marly,” Aunt Millie said.
“Okay,” Tess said, “see you back at the coven.”
“Could you take that book there,” she said, pointing to a large leather-bound book, “and those two over there.”
Frank looked at where she was pointing and groaned.
“That’d be a couple of trips, Mill’s,” he said. “Can’t you both take one with you?”
“Both?” Aunt Millie asked.
Frank looked around to see Tess had already left.
“No,” Aunt Millie said, “I’ve gotta go see Beverly before I leave then get to the coven before everyone arrives. I’ll ask a couple of students to give you a hand.”
“You right, Mill’s?” Frank asked.
Aunt Millie looked worried, and it worried Frank.
Mill’s don’t scare easily, he thought.
“Yes, yes. I’ll be right,” she said.
She walked to the door, peeked out and asked the first student to come along, who wasn’t in a hurry, to help Frank with the books.
“I’ll lock all this up in case we need to come back tomorrow,” Aunt Millie said as Frank walked away. “Thank you for today, Frank.”
“You’re welcome, Mill’s,” he called over his shoulder. “Any time.”
Aunt Millie was in a panic. She hadn’t counted on a creature of pure magic possessing the crystal.
Gonna make it harder to get rid of, she thought just as she reached her friend's lecture room. she really needed someone to talk to about their discovery.
Sandra was in great danger. Marly and Mark were in trouble and there was a daemon hunting City Park. They’d come across a few obscure mentions about daemons, but they all said they were more like angels.
Well, the myth does say, so was Satan, but why’s there one hunting Marly’s brother? Aunt Millie thought, how longs it been here and why the park?
Things were not looking good for anyone, and Aunt Millie still hadn’t had time to talk with the coven about how to flip a shifter.
Could maybe help it to decide when to shift, she thought, or… maybe a few hours, instead of minutes, a day? That might work?
“Hey Beverly,” Aunt Millie said, “have I got news for you?”
“Rhianna?” Millie screamed.
A thick black cloud had separated them. It pulled Rhianna’s hand from Millie’s, and in the blink of an eye, she was gone. Now, Millie was anchorless and floating in the ether like she was treading water and all about her were lost souls. Rhianna was her anchor back to her world.
Alone in the ether, Millie had no-one to warn her when she was about to touch, or be touched, by one of the lost. She had no-one who could help save her life and they’d reached a cavern crowded with lost souls when Rhianna disappeared, and she was fast losing hope, believing she too had become a lost soul.
About the Creator
In addition to my creative pursuits, I'm also a dedicated advocate for education and literacy. Through my writing, I seek to inspire others to follow their passions, to make a positive impact on their world.