On this thirteenth birthday, Joshua’s grandma snuck him into his grandfather’s library. His grandfather wouldn’t have minded had he been alive, but Joshua’s parents might.
“You can have any three books in this library—any at all—provided you read three that I choose first and give me some proof you’ve read them.”
“What? Like a book report?” Joshua loved reading, but hated book reports.
Grandma laughed. “No. I’m sure you’ll have some ideas what to do as proof once you’ve read them.”
Joshua worried about his grandma. She had given him a handwritten book of spells.
It didn’t include any nonsense about meeting with the devil at a crossroad at midnight, but it definitely had spells and incantations.
He set it aside for a few days.
And then he punched a school bully out of school. The bully told Joshua he was going to press charges. If there was any chance a forgetfulness spell Joshua had seen would take care of the situation … well, Joshua would do it.
He gathered the ingredients, practiced the incantation, and tried very hard not to feel silly. The next day, the cast the spell on the bully. To Joshua’s surprise, it worked. Of course, the bully couldn’t even remember his name, but still.
Joshua put the book away for a few weeks just to be on the safe side. Once it was clear he wasn’t going to be blamed for the bully incident, he practiced magic with a fervor.
Joshua had always enjoyed werewolf stories and motifs. After mastering dozens of spells, he came across one to make himself a werewolf.
It seemed like the perfect project to prove to his grandma that he had read the book, too. He had to master spells and potions throughout the book in order to pull it off.
Weeks of preparation went into the project. He set the day before the full moon as his goal for completion. His werewolf charm would let him change whenever he wanted to and with some effort he could stay human on the full moon.
Still, it was traditional.
He asked called his grandma and asked if she could come by the next day. She agreed and he set the spell in motion.
When she came over, he stopped holding the transformation back.
Instead of changing to a wolf, though, he changed to a hedgehog.
Grandma busted out laughing. “Oh, Joshua. I can’t tell you how many witches I know who have become werecats the exact same way. In a few more books, I’m sure you’ll figure out what you did wrong.”
Joshua sighed. He was pretty sure he knew what he did wrong. He ambled off to play with Pete, his pet hedgehog.
Being a werehedgie wasn’t nearly as bad ass as a werewolf but he decided it was still pretty awesome.