ALETHA

Chapter 2

Alicia got off the bus at the corner of Magister Drive & Gold Street. In front of her was a magnificent house. The number read "113". This was her parents' house.

She walked up to the door and rang the bell. A brown-haired man answered.

"You must be my father, Phillip Masters," Alicia said, shyly.

"No," the man replied, and Alicia's heart sank.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I must have the wrong a-"

"No, no," he cut her off. "I'm Phillip Mathers. Many people mispronounce my name, especially if I meet them over the phone. Others think I have a lisp." He smiled warmly, showing her into the house.

The front room was decorated in floral wallpaper, golden carpet, and several bookshelves. "And speaking of mispronouncements," Phillip continued, "you are not Alicia. I'm afraid the orphanage erred in that. Your real name is...Aletha."

"Aletha Mathers...Do I have a middle name?"

"Opal, after the stones in our wedding rings." Her dad clapped a hand to his forehead. "That reminds me; you need to speak to Ophelia! She's on her deathbed."

"Is that my mother's name?'

"Yes, yes, go, go!"

He ushered Aletha toward a darkened room. As she entered, she heard a strained voice call out, "Aletha? Is that you?"

"Yes...Mother."

"I must...tell you...something...before I go," the old woman said faintly. "I'm...a witch."

Before she could stop herself, Aletha said, "You can't be a witch; there's no such thing."

"I...am...a witch..and...that's..the...TRUTH!" Ophelia pointed her finger dramatically at her daughter on the last word.

Aletha felt dizzy. When her mom had pointed, it was as if a static charge had passed through her. Phillip came into the room and sat by the bed.

"Goodbye, my Ophie...at least you got to see your daughter again..."

"Was she a witch?"

"I don't know. Come, I'll show you to your room."