TG Universes & Series:
By Portia Bennett
Introduction: This is another story in the Cynthia Chronicles series. Other stories in the series are An Incremental Journey, Cynthia and the Reluctant Girlfriend, Cynthia and the Dumpster Diver, Cynthia and the Moment of Truth, Cynthia and the High School Years - Part I, Cynthia and the High School Years - Part II, Charli and the Girl Cave, Bobbie and the Glass Ceiling, Randi and the College Professor, Adam and the Three Wishes, Lisa and the Culinary Quest (aka Howard and the Completed pass), Cynthia and the Solicitous Sisters-in-Law, Cynthia and the Queen of the Knight, and Cynthia and the Dropped Ball. The time frame of this story follows about three to four years after Charli and the Girl Cave. This story takes place a little more than a year after Bobbie Anderson wins the (British) Open and about ten years after Simoné and the Second Time Around.
Martha (Marti) Lewis is going to a summer camp in the mountains of Southern California. She is attracted to the camp due to the scenery and secular approach. After a mostly uneventful trip, she meets two rather unpleasant girls who are going to the same camp. She performs a bit of subtle retaliation. Then she meets Lanu.
This work is copyrighted by the author and any publication or distribution without the written consent of the author is strictly prohibited. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.
“Mom, why can’t we just have The Wizard take me there? I mean he does it all the time. I wish I could transport like Cindy and Randi do. It’s just not fair.”
“Marti,” Marissa Lewis said while looking at her beautiful, redheaded teenage daughter, “first of all your transporting skills are just beginning to show up, and even when fully developed, you’ll only be able to transport a few hundred miles. You’re traveling all the way to California.”
“His Wisdom could do it in a nanosecond. Then I wouldn’t have to go through all this crap, er stuff.” Marti was starting to pout.
“I think His Wisdom has already done quite a bit for you, as it is. If there is space available, your ticket will automatically upgrade to business class. You are also traveling as an eighteen year-old. The only reason we’re letting you do this is that you’ve traveled quite a bit and have been through JFK before. Since you’re traveling as an adult, we expect you to act like one.
“We’re very proud of you, you know. You’ve been a great help for Randi, Cindy and Bobbie. Babysitting all those little munchkins hasn’t been very easy. Your grades are very good, and you’ve managed to stay out of trouble. Unlike your sister, Randi.”
“I like doing that, and besides, Betty is a big help even if she is only six. She’s so sweet.” Betty was Frank and Randi Deere’s adopted daughter. She’d had a troubled youth when growing up the first time. She’d also created some serious problem with affecting reality. Well, that had all been fixed, and Betty had been given a second chance to grow up in the right environment. That had been three years ago. Betty now had a toddler sister, Linda, with another sister on the way. Marti’s other frequent charges were her oldest sister’s son Donald, and her sister’s best friend’s daughter, Cynthia. The fact they were all magic added greatly to her responsibilities.
“Okay, the van will be here in about an hour. Let’s make sure you have everything.”
“Mom, we just did that.”
“I know, but you’re my baby girl and you’re traveling all the way across the country for the first time by yourself.
“Okay, no shenanigans going through TSA. There are usually witches close by if not actually working the lines. That has really helped security. Since we’ve started working those areas, there hasn’t been a breach of security when a witch was on duty.
“Now, be on the lookout for more of our own kind. They are still showing up when we least expect it.”
Marti rolled her eyes, “We’ve already gone over this, Mom.”
The trip to JFK was uneventful; taking about an hour and a half. They had to pick up two more passengers on the way. One was a salesman who was flying to St. Louis ostensibly for a big sales meeting. He reeked of cigarette smoke. He was also meeting his mistress of many years. Marti considered making it impossible for him to perform, but thought better of it. His wife was a real bitch, so she gave him a little push to start divorce proceedings and quit smoking. His mistress had been a high school friend and she really loved him. She hoped it would work out. The other passenger was a young man who was going to flight attendant school with American Airlines. She’d send a message to His Wisdom. The young man was definitely a candidate for The Wizard’s magic.
Her mother wasn’t kidding about TSA. She knew it wasn’t an accident that she was directed through the scanner operated by a witch. The woman winked at her as she passed through. Marti realized she’d met her at the New England conference two years before. As she made her way down the concourse her cell phone gave a little chirp. She quickly confirmed that she had indeed been upgraded to business class. Her flight was scheduled to board in an hour, so she ducked into a Chili’s for a hamburger.
Marti had wanted to spread her wings a bit. She was 15 going on 25 as her mother would say. She’d seen an online advertisement for a Girl’s camp in the mountains of Southern California. The pictures showed an attractive scene with nice cabins and amenities. The mountain scenery was spectacular. Marti told her mother that she would like to go to the camp. Neither her father nor mother could see any reason she shouldn’t go; however, just to be on the safe side, they asked The Wizard to check the place out. He replied giving the operation a clean bill of health.
Marti really just wanted to have some fun without her parents and older siblings being within earshot. She would be a sophomore in high school the next fall, and she knew maintaining good grades would be very important. There were always those questions of what do you want to be when you grow up. She was pretty sure she wanted to be a doctor, a medical doctor. Her sister was a psychiatrist and had gone to medical school, but Marti wanted to be a medical doctor. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to be a surgeon or some sort of specialist. Just being a general practitioner might be the best thing. She loved music, especially classical; however, she lacked the desire to play any instrument without affecting it magically.
Like her sisters, Marti physically matured early, and no one gave her a second glance as she entered the 787 Dreamliner with the early boarders and business class passengers. Depending on her makeup, she could have easily passed for 20. That being said, there was more than one male in the boarding area who looked appreciatively at her. There were more than a few fantasies generated. Marti directed their thoughts elsewhere. She was fascinated with her spacious area and reclining seat, and quickly figured out the entertainment system’s operation. The flight attendant offered a drink while the main cabin was boarding, and Marti opted for a Coke. By this time, the business section was as full as it would be and there were several empty seats. Marti had noticed a young Marine and his very pregnant wife in the boarding lounge area. She ‘suggested’ to the flight captain that he personally offer the couple two of the empty business class seats. She could hear cheering from the economy class cabin as the Flight Captain escorted the young couple forward.
Remembering the three hour time difference, she magically set her watch back. Effectively, the five hour flight became a two hour flight. Unfortunately, those three hours gained would be lost on the return trip. Although she knew how to operate the entertainment system, she would have to wait for the crew to take care of all their required briefings before the system was turned on. She’d been warned not to do anything that would call attention to her, so she left the system alone.
Picking up the in-flight magazine, she quickly solved the three Sudoku puzzles. Math and logic were two of her strong points. The crossword puzzles didn’t prove to be much of a challenge, either. By this time they were taxiing to the northeast corner of the airport. There were probably a half dozen planes in front of them; which meant another ten minutes before it would be their turn to take off. Eventually, they did. As the plane climbed it gradually turned more westwardly. She plugged in the headphone set and was surprised at how effective the noise attenuation was. There was nothing on the movie menu that excited her; so she turned on the music and sat back to enjoy some games. Although her tablet was set on airplane mode, she wasn’t surprised to see a note from her mother asking how things were going. No one paid any attention as she answered. Then a message from The Wizard asked her to “Be alert.” She replied in the positive to both.
She was not into geology like her two brothers were; however, she found the terrain over the Rockies and the desert southwest to be quite interesting. They’d started their descent as they crossed the Colorado River and began a turn in a more westerly direction as they could see a large body of water to the south. Soon they were passing between two large peaks and entering the Los Angeles Basin. They weren’t going to Los Angeles, though. They were landing much closer to the camp location at the Ontario International Airport just west of San Bernardino. That would save more than an hour’s drive if she had gone to Los Angeles International (LAX). The camp provided transportation; however, there would be an additional charge from LAX as well as Long Beach, John Wayne and Bob Hope Airports.
Two other girls were waiting for the transportation when Marti rolled her bag out of the terminal. “Hello, are you going to Camp Bear Paw?”
“Like, what country are you from? Is English a second language for you?”
“I don’t understand,” Marti said. The bleached blonde’s name was Lily and her friend was Wanda who had blue and green streaks in her dark hair. They were from Fresno, California and their parents owned a major winery.
“Like, you can hardly speak English. My God what an accent, LOL,” Lily came back.
“What would you like me to speak? I can speak German, Italian, Spanish and French.”
“Just like a foreigner. You’re in America. We speak English here.” Wanda was quick to dip her oar in.
“Well, I guess I will just have to speak English, then.
“Oh dear, would you like to have some of my tampons. It looks like you’re both coming on. I’m not due for three weeks, but you never know and I always carry some for emergencies.”
“Shit, I’m not due for another week. All my stuff’s packed in the bottom of my bag,” Lily wailed.
“I’m on the same schedule as you are,” Wanda moaned.
“Look, take these,” Marti said while handing the tampons to the two girls. “You don’t have time to change. I think I see our bus coming. There’s a rest room just inside if I remember correctly. I’ll watch your bags.”
Marti decided her little bit of magic was a suitable bit of retaliation. Maybe by being nice she could avoid having to deal with two bigots for the next two weeks. She might be able to initiate some changes in attitude that would make them a bit nicer as they became adults. She did a quick little clean up spell that would make their ‘accidents’ a bit less noticeable.
The camp bus arrived seconds after the two girls disappeared into the terminal. The driver loaded the luggage into the compartment as Marti explained the two other passengers had a minor emergency and would be back in a few minutes. The ten passengers already on board made it obvious that the bus had made other stops. The passengers had landed at LAX, and were from all over the country and varied backgrounds. Two were of African American descent. This could be interesting Marti thought as Lily and Wanda entered the bus.
“Thanks,” Lily said, “that could have been a lot worse. We’ll never make that mistake again. It must have been the excitement and stress of going to camp.
The Southern California heat was quite unlike the heat in New England. The temperature was in the 90’s when she arrived and would probably top out at over 100 in the Ontario-San Bernardino area. Fortunately, Camp Bear Paw was at 6,000 feet where it would probably be 30 degrees cooler, and after an hour’s drive, that proved to be the case. The road made a gradual climb out of the valley before switch backing up the side of the giant peak she’d flown by a couple of hours before. Coming around a bend, they were suddenly in a thick pine forest. They finally turned right off the highway where a sign indicated that there was a major trailhead that led to some lakes and San Gorgonio Peak. A sign also indicated that Camp Bear Paw and Jenks Lake were not far away.
Some of the attendees had been brought by their parents, while most had arrived from the several airports in the area. The camp had their own bus and had hired several other vehicles to gather the campers and bring them to the camp. Marti hadn’t paid much attention to the minivan that had followed them up the hill until it turned off the highway right behind them. Obviously, it was heading in the same general direction the bus was. That thought quickly changed as the minivan followed them to the Camp Bear Claw Parking area. Marti watched as their driver got their luggage out of the rear of the van. She watched one girl in particular. She was a bit taller than Marti, but not much. She was exotically beautiful; she might have been Hawaiian. Her rich brown hair was streaked with natural gold highlights. Gradually their eyes met and the girl visibly paled. She almost looked as if she were terrified. She wobbled a bit and sat heavily on her suitcase.
Marti rushed to her side saying, “She’ll be alright. It’s just the altitude. Give her some air.”
“Are you okay? I must have surprised you. I didn’t mean to. We’re always trying to find more of us. Obviously, you didn’t expect to find one of us here.”
“Wow, Great Gramma always told us to be on the lookout, but I never expected to find one so soon. Are there any others?”
“You mean here? I don’t think so. As far as others are concerned, there are several thousand in the US and several thousand elsewhere. We’re finding more all the time.
“I’m Marti Lewis. What’s your name?
“I’m Lanu’ese’ese Vaeaolesau. Lanu will probably have to do for now. I am from American Samoa. This is a bit of a shock. Great Gramma Margaret was always telling us to look for you. She was born in America, but she’s lived most of her life in Samoa. She’s like Mom and my sister. She’s our teacher. Mom was born in America and was adopted by my grandparents. They’re missionaries. She’s quite beautiful.”
“We need to catch up with the rest. I’m going to make sure we’re in the same cabin.
“I wonder if His Wisdom knows about you.”
So Marti has met a previously unknown witch whose mother, sister, and great-grandmother are also witches. This might get interesting. There is no question that Lanu will be a friend; however, there is something else about her that neither expected.
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