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by on August 11, 2019

She started finding pomegranate seeds at the doorstep, and knew it was time. Sarah knew all too well that pomegranate seeds were the agreed-upon warning system. It was all arranged. Some in Wistwick, Sarah herself for example, had argued for practical things like sirens or booming klaxon alarms, possibly an array of flashing lights, to warn the community of hidden wizards that their cover had been blown and the Feds were coming. Everyone knew what would happen when the Feds came. The U.S. government would be painfully interested in a community of magical people with powers unknown, who had not as yet made themselves known to the government. It was the mother of all security risks. And so the feds would come, and the wizards would be carted away to a facility somewhere to be locked away or experimented on or worse. Therefore, Wistwick had needed a warning system.

Anna, Sarah’s sister, had felt sirens would be upsetting in the midst of a crisis. Pomegranate seeds were not only much quieter, they also contained anti-oxidants and healthful vitamins. Anna had reasoned that if the Feds were coming, it was the perfect time to snack up and maintain one’s health while one was evacuating.

Sarah, had disagreed, but no one listened to her. That was why she was the janitor at Wistwick High and Anna was Head of Border Security. Sarah was also known to avoid using magic in her ordinary janitorial tasks, which made the other wizards look at her suspiciously. Sarah offered an explanation to anyone who asked, although very few did. “We become too dependent on magic, and it’ll fail us when we need it,” she said. “If I use it for things like mopping floors, and the magic fails, what if I need to mop a floor without magic? What then?”

The other wizards couldn’t quite imagine how this could happen, so they ignored her. And so, the town of Wistwick ended up with a warning system of pomegranate seeds.

Sarah was allergic to pomegranate seeds, something else no one had asked her about. Nonetheless, she knew what they meant when she saw them neatly lined up on her doorstep. She snapped on a plastic glove from her janitorial supply bag, then scooped up the seeds from the step and said a quick teleportation spell. In an instant she found herself on the outskirts of Wistwick, standing on a low grassy rise just outside the school she had spent so many hours cleaning. Before her, a caravan of SUVs rumbled over the fields towards the town. Hardly anyone in Wistwick seemed to have noticed them yet. Then lights flashed on and she heard a distant scream. Evidently someone had woken up to the danger.

Sarah sighed. She flung the pomegranate seeds up in the air. “Townicus vanisho!” she shouted, hoping she’d gotten the words right. Fortunately, she had. Wistwick and all its inhabitants disappeared in a flash, relocating neatly two states over. The Feds had no idea what had happened, which led to a great many bewildered after-action reports and even a Congressional hearing which went nowhere. Anna, meanwhile, insisted her warning system didn’t need changing. “It worked, didn’t it?”

Sarah, and a number of the townspeople this time, ignored her.

  1. Sometimes a siren is the right choice. Fun one!

  2. Fun to see the wizards again! I think I only got hung up on why wizards other than Sarah would ignore the sister? The warnings did ultimately work. Also, it felt the warning system explanation could have stopped a line or two earlier (you made it very clear from the beginning what the warning system was about!). Good job and thanks for sharing!

  3. Of course you need your antioxidants when you are running from the feds! Made me laugh out loud. I would’ve spit out my pomegranate juice if I’d been drinking pomegranate juice. But then, I’m not currently on the run so I don’t need to be drinking it, do I. Well done.

  4. I got a real kick out of this part: “If I use it for things like mopping floors, and the magic fails, what if I need to mop a floor without magic? What then?” Made me think of how we’re too dependent on technology, myself included!

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