Book cover of “Who's Afraid of Big Bad“ by Jo Black

Who's Afraid of Big Bad

  • Genre: Romance
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: Jo Black
After a childhood accident leaves her ostracized, Aria is more than happy to move away. But the new town is strange. Her parents disappear, and she and her siblings end up as fugitives. While being kept hidden by witches, whose intentions are unknown, she is given the task of defeating an old evil and saving the world. A few weeks till turning ... 

Chapter 1

Aria’s POV

My time in the city will soon end. Why? Because in a week, my dad is moving our whole family to a small town located in the middle of no-freaking-where. About two days ago, my dad came home in a good mood. The big surprise was that he bought two buckets of ice cream! My dad was...is...whatever, he was a dentist, and as all dentist dads do, he doesn't hesitate to tell us that "eating sweet things will wreck your teeth faster than the Titanic at the age of thirty."

Sometimes I always wondered if he meant that the Titanic was thirty years old or us.

Later that evening, my twin sister, Sue, and I were curled up in a pile of blankets in the living room in front of the television. And by our side was a bowl of caramel popcorn with extra sugar, which Dad, for some reason, didn't nag us about, and several scoops of Dad's surprise ice cream. I already had my turn for a fantasy show yesterday, so we were watching one of Sue's favorite horror shows. As yet another female character was slowly and dramatically murdered amidst screams, the telly suddenly went off.

Sue swiftly turned and threw her ice cream spoon in the direction of the telly's plug. Dad sidestepped, and the spoon harmlessly bounced off the wall.

Sue pouted, "Sorry, Dad, I thought you were a ra...someone else."

Dad glared at her. I picked up Sue's abandoned bowl of ice cream and dug in. The telly might be off, but a live performance was about to start. Okay, so Sue was often impulsive, and Dad rarely had the patience for her dramatics. He dropped the plug and walked upstairs, yelling for our brother to come down for a family meeting. My hands paused. Dad didn't yell. Or even make a mean face. What the heck was going on?

Our baby bro, Jerry, by a year and a half, came down the stairs. Messy-haired, pale-skinned, and coughing pitifully into a blue handkerchief. He had dark circles around his eyes. But I could tell he'd just been messing with my eyeshadow. Thanks to Mum's indulgence, a little cough, and bam! Sue and I had to do all his house chores while he 'recovered.' If not for the rule the three of us set about not ratting each other out, I would have used a baby wipe to expose him.

He plopped down on the couch behind us.

"Is...is that ice cream?" His voice was deliberately low and quivering. I almost thought he was actually sick. Almost.

"No, it's frozen baby powder in a bowl," Sue rolled her eyes. She was still glaring at the dark telly.

Jerry yelled, "Dad, the DTs are eating ice cream!"

DT, meaning Double Trouble, is the nickname Jerry gave Sue and me on the first Halloween we decided that he was old enough to be pranked. It wasn't funny...for him anyway. I sighed in my mind, 'so much for not tattling.'

Sue threw the remote in her hand at him, "Dummy, Dad bought it for us."

Jerry looked momentarily surprised, then he said, "Okay first...rude, and second..." he lunged for our bowl, "gimme some of that."

I raised my leg and kicked him back onto the couch. "No ice cream for you, young man. You're sick and delirious with a fever. You should have some scalding hot broccoli soup instead." I tried to mimic Mum's doctor's voice.

"Okay, first, eww, second, double eww."

Sue placed her feet on the TV screen, "Will you stop with the lists already?"

Jerry didn't reply. While we were talking, he had somehow snuck the ice cream bowl into his lap and was stuffing himself silly.

Dad returned and sat on the single settee. "Let's start," he said.

Sue interrupted, "Aren't we waiting for Mom?"

Dad shook his head; his ponytail swished along. "No, she already knows, and she agrees with my decision."

I stared at him suspiciously. "What decision?"

He smiled at us. "I just got a new job as the head of a clinic, and I'm going to take it."

The three of us cheered.

Me: "Fantastic!"

Jerry: "Cool!"

Sue: "More money!"

Dad chuckled nervously. "I'm glad you're happy, but that's only one part of the good news."

"What else?"

"Well...we...are moving!...yay," he grinned sheepishly.

Sue said a bad word.

Despite our protests, we still found ourselves in a moving truck on our way to the new town. Sue and I stayed with the moving truck while Jerry and Dad followed in Dad's car.

"Maybe it's a good thing we're moving," Sue didn't reply; she continued looking out the window. Trees flashed past in a green blur. The driver turned down the radio.

"We're still a long way out," he began. "You can lower the chair and catch a little nap."

I nodded, "Oh, thank you."

But I didn't want to sleep. I looked at the road. Although I was upset we were moving, I am still happy somewhat. For a fresh start.

I turned my phone on for a quick Google search. Then I paused. I still didn't know the name of our new town. So I looked at the driver.

"Where are we going, sir?"

"Huh?" He frowned in confusion but didn't take his eyes off the road.

"I said, where are we going?"

"Clearwater Ridge," he finally replied. "It's a nice small town."

"Thanks," I murmured.

I typed in Clearwater Ridge and pressed the search icon. It loaded for a bit and stopped.

"Eh?"

Sue finally turned and leaned over to glance at my phone.

I questioned the driver.

"There are wolves around Clearwater?"

"Ah, well, I ain't never seen one, but people say there are," he shrugged.

What the hell?

***

Sue and I stood under a tree a few feet away from the car, watching as Dad tried to drag Jerry out. After several failed attempts to skip the first day of school, Jerry decided that he was going to stick to the car even if it kills him... or if Dad kills him, whichever one comes first. I moved further back and whistled while studying my nails.

Note to all passers-by: I do not know these people.

After failing to drag him out of the car, Dad resorted to threats.

"Jerry," he began calmly, "get your lazy ass out of that car or so help me, you will be grounded for a month!"

Jerry was unfazed and tilted his head at Dad, "Does that mean I'm not allowed to go to school?"

Dad lost his calm. "Get down now!" he roared.

Jerry puffed his cheeks in a pout. This trick could have softened Mum's heart, but to Dad, he probably looked like a gassy blowfish.

Sue walked towards them with a hiss, "Time to end this shit."

I grinned.

Uh oh, Jerry's in trouble.

Dad sighed and sidestepped when she approached.

She said, "Jerry, love."

I choked on my gum and got a tiny heart attack.

Then she continued, "Get down from that car at the count of five before I show you what pain and suffering truly mean."

Jerry swallowed, and I sighed in relief.

Good, my sister hasn't been kidnapped by aliens.

Sue raised a glossy black manicured finger, "One, two, four..."

Jerry scrambled out of the car, "What the hell happened to three?"

Sue said, "It died... just like you would have if you didn't get down."

Dad started the car. "Have a great day at school, kids," he pulled away, "and Jerry..."

"Yeah?"

"You are grounded for a month."

"What the..."

The car disappeared out of sight.

A few early-bird students already passed by us. Dad was resuming his new job today, so he had to go extra early. In such a situation, Mom would have dropped us off, but she was yet to move in with us. She still stayed in our apartment in the city. She was a fully booked surgeon. I don't think she will be moving down here until at least two months.

The three of us walked into the school building. As much as I wanted to hate this town, I had to admit that it was artistic, and I have a soft spot for good art. I couldn't paint, but I could carve wooden blocks. Sue thinks it's special, but Jerry sees my animal sculptures as lame. It's a good thing that I don't give a hoot about what he thinks.

The building was twice the size of our former school, and our former school was huge. Despite the size, it gave a warm fuzzy feeling. It was the only school in town and was combined, so you could see kids both old and young in its halls. A wooden sign upfront proclaimed it as Lupus Academy.

At exactly seven o'clock on the dot, everyone was gathered in the main hall. Sue and I sat together at the front while Jerry sat two rows behind us. He said something about not wanting people to know that we're related.

I fiddled with the charm bracelet on my hand. I made one for me and Sue. My tiny carvings on a string.

Suddenly, a shadow fell on us. Sue and I looked up to see a girl about our age with three other girls behind her, sneering at us.

She had shoulder-length blonde hair—I couldn't tell if that was dyed or the natural color—and green eyes. She was dressed like your typical mean girl. She glared at us.

"Get up, newbies," she demanded.

Sue eyed her. "Why?"

One of the girls behind her answered, "Because that's our seat."

Sue turned back to look at her chair. "Hmm, I don't see a name here. Is there any name on yours?"

I checked mine. "Nope... so how is this your seat?"

The girl in front, obviously the leader, hissed, "Don't try to play smart with me."

I grinned. "Of course not. One can only play smart with smart people."

Sue snorted. "Good one."

"Thanks, sis. I learn from the best."

Another girl said, "How dare you insult her? She's the next..."

The leader raised her hand to silence her and looked down at us. Her nose was so high up that I was sure she must be breathing hydrogen. "You smell weak and pathetic."

I raised my hand to sniff my sleeve. "How did you know? The name of my perfume is 'Weak'."

Sue nodded. "Yup, and mine's called 'Pathetic'."

It was obvious that we were making fun of them.

One of the girls behind her, the quieter of the three, tugged on her jacket.

"Leave 'em, Sue. Let's go."

I guffawed. "Hey, sis, your namesake is a bitch. Hehe."

The two Sues looked like they ate something bad.

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