Arvid could hardly fall asleep, even though the last nights had left him tired. Every morning he woke up with hazy memories of studying strange books, reading aloud word for painstaking word. It all blurred into one long, boring dream, with no clear beginning or end. Perhaps this dream strangeness was finally about to end, then. And now, for a change, something really exciting had happend in real life: He had met a honest-to-goodness witch!

He knew about witches already, of course. And not just the stuff in the Bible, about not suffering them to live. Certainly there had been no suffering involved with Kate, as she had eventually named herself. She was simply cool. And she had told him a lot more about what it meant to be a witch. He had known that they did not burn churches (those were called Satanists) and that they danced naked in the woods. It turned out that not all witches had to do that, but when they did, it was not about sex. (She hadn't even blushed when she sad "sex", but of course he did.) It was because being a witch meant being one with nature. So throwing off the clothes was just a symbol of discarding the unnatural aspects of human life. Returning to innocence. But of course it was just a symbol. You didn't have to, or anything.

But Kate had not just cleared up a lot of misunderstandings about witches, she had also been vividly interesting in his strange dreams about stone circles and magic and stuff. He had told her more than he had ever told anyone else, and she had promised to find out more about the witch processes. But already he was starting to see that the Vileness of Sorcery wasn't exactly the final word on witchcraft, despite its lucky guess about the serpents.

Coming home late, Arvid had told his parents that he had needed to stay longer at the library to find out something. His mother was heartbroken because he had not told them how much longer he would stay - she had thought he would take the next bus when he had said he would stop by the library. That was of course what he had thought too, but really, it's not like he was a small boy who would get lost in the city. She had not needed to worry. He was in the best of hands.

Well, actually he hadn't been in her hands. Even now, he didn't think of her so much as a girl, but rather as a new friend. Oh, she was a girl all right, but not like that. He could look at her without blushing or stumbling over his words. All of her. Talking with her felt natural, like with his sisters when they all were younger. Arvid had not believed in friendship at first sight, but now he did. Smiling, he closed his eyes. Life was good.


Table of contents