Excerpt from “Witch Time for Tea”

Here’s a scene from Witch Time for Tea, Case #1 in the Wavily Witches series. Evian Wavily and her best friend Rita have just left the police station after visiting a friend who’s been falsely accused of murder. Enjoy!

We’re still standing there at the corner of the police station, staring at the No Parking sign. The front door opens with a creak, and Chief Mary stomps outside.

“Time to hide,” Rita whispers. She snags my arm and yanks me back into the filthy alley.

“So now you agree with me?” I ask.

“About what?”

“We’re guilty.”

“No, Evi. We’re not.”

“So why are we hiding?”

“Did you see Chief Mary’s face?” Rita asks. “Her veins had veins. And the one on her neck? Wow, that thing was big. She looked like her head’s about to explode. I don’t want to be in the splash zone when it happens. That’s all.”

I start to hyperventilate. “She knows we were in there.”

“So?”

“We broke out of a police station. That’s got to be a crime somewhere, right?”

“We didn’t break anything,” Rita says.

“Hey, doll face. Tell your girlfriend she’s too classy for this joint.”

“Excuse me?” I glance around, expecting to see some young punk pretending he’s a city slicker or a gangster, because who talks like that? But there’s no one at all.

“I said we didn’t break anything,” Rita repeats. “Yeesh. Evian, get it together. Or they really will arrest us.”

“In your dreams, broad. Ain’t no one arrestin’ me.”

I turn to face the alley entrance. No one there, either. Although if we continue to loiter behind the police station, Chief Mary is going to find us eventually. I’m not sure how she’ll respond to us bribing the Constable and sneaking out the back window. Probably not with a lot of understanding if her exploding veins are anything to go by. I really don’t want another stint in jail.

Rita peaks around the corner of the alley. “She’s gone. The coast is clear.”

“Ain’t gonna be much longer if you broads are gonna natter all day.”

“Okay. Whoever you are, stop it now.” I face the large, steaming garbage heap. But there’s no one else in the alley except …

Rita pats my back. “Evi, darling. You’re really losing it. You’d have made a terrible criminal.”

“You make that sound like a bad thing.” I don’t hear her response because I’m staring up at the large rat peering down at me from a windowsill. “I think that rat is talking to me.”

Rita clears her throat. “You know, the first sign of insanity is talking to an alley rat and hearing it talk back.”

I elbow her in the side. “I’m serious.”

“And I’m pregnant, so watch where you put that elbow.”

The rat flaps its wings. “I ain’t no rat. I’m a bat. See? My beautiful wings. Cute snout. No long tail.” It waggles its butt at me.

“You look like a rat,” I say.

“And you look like a rude human, but I ain’t judgin’.”

“You just did.”

Rita clears her throat and steps away. “Evi, we need to go.”

“But … the bat!”

She studies the talking bat. “Hey, isn’t that the one from the animal shelter? The one with rabies?”

“Oh, sweet heavens.” I stumble backward until I bump into a wall.

“Tell that broad I ain’t got no rabies. Rabies are for rats. And I ain’t no rat.”

“Rita, you’re hearing this, aren’t you?” I whisper.

“Hearing what?”

“The bat. It can speak. Why can’t you hear it?”

“Because bats don’t talk, darling.” 

We look at each other.

“Well, this one does,” I say.

“Huh.” Rita looks at the bat, then at me. “What did Aunt Misty say about finding your familiar? That it will find you.”

I study the bat. “You must be kidding.”

“Maybe it’s a vampire bat. That would be perfect. Ask it.”

“I’m not asking—”

“Oh, go on. It’s so cute. I love its little squeaks.”

The bat wrinkles its small, slightly flattened snout at Rita. “My squeaks ain’t little. Squee.”

“It’s doing it again.” Rita claps her hands. “It’s adorable. Evi, darling. You have to take it home. This is your familiar.”

The bat flaps its wings. “Who’s she callin’ family?”

“She’s not. She said you’re my familiar. You can understand her?”

The bat inches toward the edge of the windowsill and blinks its large eyes at me. “As long as you can.” It twitches its head to the side. “Question is, can you actually understand her?”

Smart bat.

“Sometimes not,” I admit.

“I ain’t blamin’ you, doll face. Not one bit.”

Rita punches my arm. “Sometimes not what? What did it say?”

The bat squeaks. “First off, I resent being called an it. It makes me sound like an object. I ain’t nobody’s object. We clear, doll face?”

“Evi, what is it saying?”

“It’s not an it, Rita. And it’s insulted when we call it an it.”

The bat bounces up and down. “Hey, I’m squeakin’ up here. Stop interruptin’ me. Are all humans so rude, or just the broads?”

So cute!” Rita squeals. “And sensitive. Yeesh. So what is it?”

The bat wrinkles its face at me. It’s small enough to fit in my purse, but its teeth still look like fangs. Really sharp, vampire-like fangs.

I gulp. “You’re not a … a vampire bat, are you?”

The bat huffs. “As if. I suck on the real juice.”

“Which is—”

“Fruits! I suck on fruits! Listen, human. You need to pay attention if we’re gonna be family.”

“I am, and we’re not.”

Rita nudges me again, her gaze fixed on the bat. “Let’s call it Squeaks.”

“Don’t you dare call me that. I’m not squeakin’. I’m roarin’. You just can’t hear me properly. But if you had bat ears—”

“I’m not calling it anything,” I say and turn away from the bat, the garbage and this insane situation.

“Hey, doll face. Don’t turn your back on me. Or I’ll fling more excrement on your shoes.”

“Charming.”

“You can’t leave the little thing, Evi,” Rita says. “It’s so adorable. And if you understand it, this means—”

“I’m going crazy?”

The bat squeaks. “No. It means we’re family.”

“Yep. Certifiably crazy. That’s me. Evian Wavily Fjord, the crazy witch.”

Rita clasps her hands in a prayer pose. “Please?”

“Fine. The talking bat can come home with us. Right before I check myself into an asylum.”

Squeaks leaps off the windowsill and plummets straight toward me. I instinctively jump out of the way while Rita rushes forward and catches the stupid beast before it splats itself across the concrete.

I stare at it. “So do you have rabies?”

“No. Do you?” Squeaks flaps its wings and glares between Rita and me. “I bet you do. You all do. Crazy humans. It explains all the crazy stuff you do. Choppin’ down trees. Tossin’ poison into your drinking water. Poopin’ in your own nests. Disgustin’.”

“What’s it saying?” Rita asks.

“He. I am a full-blooded, fully male fruit bat.” Squeaks puffs out its … No, his chest. “Wanna see the proof?”

“No, thanks,” I mutter.

“Evian!” Rita glares at me.

“It’s a he,” I translate. “He’s offering to show us his junk. And apparently humans are disgusting.”

“Got that right, doll face.”

I inspect his wings. “Why can’t you fly? And why are you out and about during the daytime? Aren’t you nocturnal?”

“Fine. Make fun of me, why don’t you. Nasty human.” Squeaks leaps from Rita’s hands and splats against my chest. His claws puncture my shirt and softly scrape against my skin.

I shriek and stumble back, but the bat is clinging for dear life. I’m about to smack him with my bag, but Rita stops me.

“Evian! He’s your familiar. You’ve got to take care of Squeaks.”

“But he’s not cute and cuddly.”

Squee. ‘Course I ain’t. That would be undignified.”

I poke at one of his wings. “He’s barely even furry.”

Squeaks clambers up to my shoulder. “I resemble that.”

“You mean resent,” I correct him.

“That, too. Fur is for puppies. I’m a bat, dagnabbit.”

“Evian, he’s super cute. I’ll adopt him if you don’t,” Rita says.

Squeaks looks up at me. “She part of the family, too?”

“Sort of.”

“‘Cause I think I’m gonna bite her.”

“I thought you said you’re not a vampire bat?” I ask.

Squeaks nestles against my neck. “I ain’t. But I can still bite.”

“How reassuring.”

“You’re welcome. Now take me home. I’m hungry.”

Rita sighs longingly. “So very cute.”

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