Mildred Hubble was not a normal girl. Not in the case of clothing or looks or personality. No, she was not normal because she was a witch. And she went to a school for witches. But even there she was not considered normal.
You see, Mildred didn’t come from a witching family. She was the first one with magical powers. That made her special.
Even if she didn’t think so.
But she got used to it. She didn’t mind being the odd one out. Heck, she didn’t even mind being called the “worst witch”. It was just something she had to get used to.
What bothered her however were the mean pranks of her classmate Ethel Hallow. Mildred didn’t understand what the girl had against her and normally didn’t mind the mean comments from the blonde girl, but this time it hurt. Ethel had manipulated her family tree, which they made in art and who showed them all their known family members.
Ethel knew that Mildred had never gotten the chance to meet her father, that she didn’t even know what he had looked like and had manipulated it and made Mildred believe that her spell-science teacher Mr. Rowan-Webb had been her grandfather. She had gotten her hopes up just to find out that it was not true.
Miss Mould had comforted her the next day when she had shown her how much her tree had grown and how it didn’t matter if she was from a witching family. Mildred had felt better.
The next day the girls were busy grooming their trees and getting the ready to plant them outside. Mildred was the last one in the classroom admiring her tree and smiling at her mum and grandmother. She was about to turn away and leave but something didn’t add up.
The young witch looked up and her mouth fell open. There! The branch next to her mum had sprouted another green ancestor ball!
Mildred tried to look at it properly but they were so high up, she couldn’t see the person inside clearly. But wait. What did that mean?
Her familiar cat Tabby sat next to her looking confused up to his mistress.
The person inside the ball was next to the one from her mother. It was not a family member she recognised and Mildred did not have a big family. But if this person was not from her maternal family side, then this meant …
“Tabby!” She exclaimed, ecstatic over her newfound knowledge, “Do you know what this means? This means he’s from my paternal side, maybe even my dad!”
The young witch scooped her cat up and cuddled him happily while bouncing around.
“I’ve gotta tell Maud and Enid! They’re gonna freak!” She said, letting her cat down gently and running outside, searching for her best friends.
Shortly after they ran back into the classroom, looking up at Mildred’s family tree.
“Wow! You were right! There really is another person up there!” Enid said, starring up in wonder.
“Maybe your spell yesterday really worked after all! That is bats!” Maud looked at the tree.
Mildred grinned, absolute happiness blooming in her chest. “Come one! Help me get the tree down here! I can’t see him from so far away!”
The girl transferred the family tree from the desk to the ground and Mildred finally got her first good look at him. It was a man with strong features. Short blond hair, piercing blue eyes, strong jaw. He looked weathered but had an easy smirk on his face. All in all he was attractive in a rugged way.
“So,” Enid started, looking unsure at her best friend who couldn’t stop starring at the man, “is this your dad?”
After a few moments Mildred choked out: “Possibly?”
“Well,” Maud said after a while, “You certainly look more like your mum.”
The three girls stared at each other when they suddenly heard footsteps – the heavy footsteps from a teacher. After a tense second the three bolted.
In the evening the girls met up in Mildred’s room, talking about the development of the day.
“So what are you gonna do now?” Enid asked the red-haired girl. Mildred shrugged.
“I don’t know. I mean,” She played a little with her pajamas, “I told my mum that I would look for him later and that was a maybe. But I didn’t expect the later to be, you know, now.”
Maud nibbled on a cookie. “But you wanted to find him for so long now. You finally have the chance. Why not use it?”
Mildred stroked her cat Tabby who enjoyed it immensely. Finally she righted herself and grinned at her friends, a determined look in her eyes.
“You know what?” She started, “You’re right. I finally got the chance to find him. So I should take it. I’m gonna find my dad!”
Her best friends smiled at her. “And we’ll help you!” They both exclaimed. Mildred hugged them happily.
The next day found all three of them in the library, searching for a way to make the person on the family tree either talk or at least tell them their name. They went there as soon as it was lunch and they were done with eating not wanting to waste a single second.
“Are we sure we can find a spell that will help us?” Enid asked after she put back the fourth book.
“We have to. There has to be something!” Maud countered and pulled the next book out.
After a few moments Mildred broke the silence. “There!”
The other two girls threw their books aside and ran to their friend who showed them a magic spell designed for the family tree. “It makes them talk!” She exclaimed and the girls grinned at each other before they sprinted back to the art classroom.
There, all sitting in a row, the trees were still waiting to be planted outside, but the ground was still not prepared for them. So the three girls dragged the Hubble family tree in front of a desk and placed the open book before them.
“Are you sure this is gonna work?” Maud asked, “I mean, no offense, but you’re not really the best witch.”
“I know,” Mildred said with forced calmness, “But I have to try.” She looked at her friends and they smiled at her encouragingly. Then they grabbed each other’s hands and closed their eyes, Maud and Enid channeling their magic to increase Mildreds. Mildred began to chant.
“Through time and space, inside this frame,
State your voice and tell me my father’s name.”
The two girls joined the chanting, hoping with all their power that it would work, for their friend’s sake.
They opened their eyes and let go of each other, waiting with halted breath for the outcome. When nothing was said their shoulders sagged in disappointment and the friends were about to console Mildred, when the man inside the ball started to speak.
“Don’t look so disappointed!” He said with a deep baritone voice and the girls stared at him in disbelief.
“It worked!” Mildred exclaimed happily, hugging her best friends.
“Well yeah. I don’t know what exactly, but if you say so then yes. It did.” The man answered.
Now Mildred began to be nervous. She looked at Enid and Maud and they shoved her forward, giving her an encouraging smile.
Mildred nodded and turned to the tree. “Sir, I’m searching for my father. Obviously it’s either you or at least someone closely related to him. So … can you tell me … your name?”
The girl with the braids got nervous the more she talked and in the end her voice was barely above a whisper.
The man regarded her curiously.
“I certainly can give you my name but … if you’re really my daughter, then you should think really hard about wanting to meet me.”
Mildred got more confused with every word. “Why? Why shouldn’t I want to meet you?”
The man shrugged. “I can’t tell you this, but just know that it will not be easy. You’re still interested?
Mildred nodded. The man sighed. “Oh well, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.”
He smiled at her. “My name is Alec Trevelyan.”
Later in the evening the girls were again in Mildred’s room sharing a plate of cookies. Mildred was contemplating the adventures of today.
“What do you think?” Enid asked. Mildred knew what she meant but honestly? She had no idea.
“I don’t know,” she answered truthfully, “I mean, I’ve always wanted to meet him and now he says that I shouldn’t. But I don’t know why.”
“Let’s think rationally. Why should Millie not meet him? Is there a good reason for it?” Maud asked.
“He could be really far away?” Enid said, “He could have not ended on good terms with Millie’s mum?”
“Or maybe …” Maud looked scared to her best friend, “He has a family already?”
Silence. Mildred didn’t meet her friend’s eyes and nibbled at a cookie.
“But I still want to meet him,” Mildred whispered after a while, still not meeting her friend’s eyes.
They smiled at her. “Then you should.” Maud said and hugged her. “You’ll find him.”
“And we will help you.” Enid added and hugged her, too. Mildred smiled at her friends
“Mildred Hubble! Are you having a party?” Ah, the loving voice of Miss Hardbroom.
Enid and Maud scrambled from the bed and hid away.
“No Miss Hardbroom!” Mildred answered, trying to think of an excuse, “I was just … practising.”
Enid started giggling, trying hard to supress it and failing spectacularly. Mildred and Maud stared with clear panic in their eyes. Before they dissolved into laughter, too.
Two weeks later and the three young witches spend their late afternoon in Mildred’s room, all bend over a blubbering cauldron.
“Okay,” Mildred said, holding out a hand and a knife in the other. “It says that for the tracking spell to work it has either to be something which belongs personally to the person we’re searching for or the blood of a close relative. Seeing as we don’t have anything from his possessions, it has to be a bit of my blood, right?”
The girls nodded but looked nervous at the knife in Mildred’s hand.
Mildred breathed in and started to cut into her palm, letting a few drops escape her blood vessels.
“Millie, are you sure about that?” Maud asked for the 8th time.
The three girls had researched and had found a tracking spell and spent the last few weeks preparing. The plan was that starting tomorrow it would be two weeks of vacation. Mildred was to use them and search for her father. And in doing so they decided for this spell. It would lead her to him and would also clear the question, if this person was really her father.
The potion and spell would only work if it was the blood of a close relative. It had to be a sibling, child or parent; otherwise it would lead to nothing.
And now the time had come. Tomorrow would be the last day before holidays. Mildred had packed already. The plan was to first return home, passing a time where her mother wouldn’t be, pack another bag with necessities and then start the search for her father with her broom.
Mildred looked at her two friends with determination in her eyes, breathed in deep and let a few drops of her blood fall into the cauldron.
Then she closed her eyes and concentrated, starting to chant.
“Oh magic of mine, search for my father and don’t let me sway,
Be like a needle in a compass and lead the way.”
Mildred repeated the spell, concentrating harder, then looked up. The cauldron bubbled dangerously and the girl was already dreading a disappointment, when all liquid suddenly vanished from the vessel and they heard a strange sound. Like two objects meeting each other.
The three girls looked inside and Mildred grabbed the object, inspecting it. It was a watch. But instead of a clock face and pointers, it had one floating needle inside, always pointing in one direction. Mildred turned it a few times, but it didn’t sway from its destination.
The three girls grinned triumphantly at each other.
“Mildred!” Maud exclaimed, “You did it!”
The girl in question could only nod in amazement before she was tightly hugged by her friends.
The next day Mildred was a nervous wreck, she couldn’t wait to get home. When she was finally able to leave, her friends wished her good luck and told her to not give up. They even had a surprise for her.
They had charmed her backpack, so that she could put more things inside and even hide her broom! Mildred thanked them and promised to give her best.
Mildred flew home on her broom. When she arrived she put her things away, changed clothes, grabbed all money she had saved up and packed her bags with all necessities like water, food, clothes, a tent.
In the end she stood on the balcony, backpack on der back, broom in the other, her compass on her wrist, ready to start her search.
Mildred knew that she should wait for her mother to come home, but she was scared of what she would say. So she had written her a letter and left it on the table, hoping for her mother to find it.
“Okay Tabby,” she talked to her familiar, “I know it could be dangerous, but I can’t take you with me. You have to stay here and be a comfort to mum while I’m away, okay?”
The tabby cat meowed unhappily, cuddling up to his mistress. Mildred smiled and stroked him behind the ears. “I know. But you need to stay here. I can’t take you with me, okay? I’m gonna be fine.”
The grey cat meowed again, looking reproachfully up at the young witch and she shook her head. “I have to do this by myself, you know that. I can’t take you with me. I can’t take care of you while I’m traveling, okay? Mum knows what to do, so you’ll stay here and let yourself be spoiled by mum, okay?”
Tabby was still meowing unhappily but seemed to have finally accepted his fate. He meowed sadly at her and Mildred took him in her arms, cuddling him.
“It’s gonna be okay. I’m gonna be back soon, if not in a few days then at the end of vacation the latest. You know I have to get back to Cackle’s, don’t you?”
Finally Mildred put her cat down, magiced her broom to hover so she could sit down and glanced for one last time back to her living room.
“It’s alright, I’m gonna be back soon.” She whispered more to herself than anything else. Finally she flew away, waving at her cat that meowed sadly after her. Mildred waved at her cat and slowly made her way to the distance, following the needle.
“Don’t worry,” She whispered, “I’m gonna find you, dad.”
Just as Mildred flew out into the sky Julie Hubbles entered the elevator to her flat, now knowing that her only daughter had left her to search for her father while explaining everything in a letter.