Dear readers, tonight with us is a college students, doing normal things — taking classes, dating, thinking about a Masters Degree, helping in her community, and being a witch. She is here to talk about witchcraft, vampires, and fighting tech conglomerates.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I spent my entire childhood in Paisley, Scotland. It’s – what do you want me to say. It’s a town. You’ve seen one Boots the Chemist, you’ve seen them all. These days, most people can’t agree where Glasgow ends and Paisley begins. I have some memories of living with my mum and dad in a Council Estate, but then I was able to live with my Gran in her house when I started school, and it was a bit more posh.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
So not to brag, but when you’re as potent a Sister as myself, you find very few toys that work as expected, all the time. Until you learn to control your Skill, of course. That’s why I loved the old drum set that I got second hand. Nothing that can really go wrong with it. It’s how I got into punk rock. I remember my first Christmas, when I had my hair all blonde, and spikey. You know Christmas is a big thing. But I couldn’t get the Christmas crown to stay on my head! I just had to drench it in hair spray until it stood. And then the turkey just reeked of the spray, I could barely get it past my throat!
What do you do now?
So this was my chance to see something other than Scotland, so I decided to go to a Yank Uni. Apparently the first place to give ladies degrees in the States, so of course you know Sisters soon followed. I getting to meet a lot of new Sisters, and learning to solve people problems without my Gran hovering over my shoulder. And the Uni is on me to pick a major.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
It’s hard to talk about. My everlasting shame. Did you know vampires could go tame? Live a normal life, find willing Meals, that sort of thing? Well, I wish someone told me before I vapourised three of them with a bolt of lightning without so much as a ‘how do you do’.
What did you first think when the Sisters were mad at you for killing the vampires?
Flummoxed. I thought, ‘did we growing up hearing the same Traditions told to us over, and over, and OVER’? Because in all of them, the only good blood sucker is one that’s powder. I never thought that I couldn’t turn to the Traditions for guidance.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
I thought the Sisters would Seal my Skill after that. I was a near thing, too, given the read of the room. Lucky, once more, My Gran came through for me. One international phone call later, I had the perspective I needed to see it through. But I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a Sister.
What is the worst thing about living in a co-op with nine other witches?
Look, to be polite, we call ourselves Sisters. Witches are the hags that Men like to drown, and then burn. That’s not us, thank you very much.
My apologies, what is the worst thing about living in a co-op with nine other Sisters?
So, you can’t keep a Sister out of your head. So that means even when I was in my room, we all caught whatever any of us was thinking and feeling at all times. I mean, you live with your family, you learn to tune it out, but nine of them? Also looking in your head? It’s a positive riot. And if Jackie has another bloody nightmare about bad breath, I will smother her in her sleep!
What is the best thing about it?
You learn a lot of different ways to solve problems. Vampires aside, you grow up, your Gran teaching you ‘this is how you treat gout’, or ‘this is how you get a ghost to leave’, you think that’s the only way to do it. And then you see another Sister do it completely backwards, but then it works anyway! It’s almost like the sun decided to sleep in for a quarter hour that day. It’s taught me that I don’t have to do everything exactly like my Gran taught me, I can do things my way. Figure it out. Make mistakes.
Tell us a little about your friends.
My friends in Paisley are probably smashing windows with cricket balls and ear drums with screaming into a microphone! As for my Sisters over here. Well – Sophie looked out for me the most when I first got here. And she told me to call my Gran with the whole vampire thing. But – we don’t talk much about Sophie any more. Actually, can we change the topic?
Any romantic involvement?
Ach! Out of the frying pan! Most lads don’t know if they should kiss me or kick me at first glance. If I ever meet one who can keep his jaw attached to his skull the first time, maybe I’ll give him a second glance.
What do you hate?
Well, hate is a strong word. It’s like that over-hyped space goblin likes to say. ‘Fear leads to Hate. Hate leads to Anger. Anger leads to premature wrinkles.’ But – The Concern. I mean, growing up as a Sister you really don’t know much of them. What does Big Tech have to do with you when cellphones are useless lumps in our hands? Our spheres don’t really intersect. But what they did – I’ve never come closer to hating something in my whole life. Ach, I promised I wouldn’t talk about Sophie again.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Whatever the bloody bartender hasn’t watered down! $5 dollars for this swill? You’re off your head! How much is that in pounds, it changes every day? It’s too much.
As for colour, I mean, this is textual medium. Can you see me pointing to my hair? I’m pointing to my hair. Blonde. It’s blonde. Is that a colour?
So, I never appreciated the stars very much, but I think that’s because of all the lights in Glasgow. I come here, it’s a small town, and one evening I’m leaving a concert in the wee hours, and I’m gobsmacked by all the stars in the sky. I never knew there could be so many. So now most nights I like to spend a few minutes stargazing. It’s a good excuse to not have my loud mouth running off for a bit.
What does the future hold for you?
My future doesn’t hold much more than when I left Paisley. My Gran’s the only Sister in the whole neighborhood, and she can’t do this forever. After school, I’ll take her place. But it’s good to know I can do things my way. And maybe – I don’t have to fret about the Traditions quite so.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
So, when the Legion played merry hell with the Concern’s stock prices, all the students here thought it was pure dead brilliant. The lot of posers thought they would squeeze them too, even though they still expect 2 day shipping or new music to magically appear for free in their bloody phones.
But – some of them aren’t posers. They know a lot more then they let on. As a Sister, I know this. I suspect they were sent by the Legion, to start trouble. And their desire to hurt the Concern burns dangerous. And the Traditions say that Sisters should not meddle in the World of Men. But – after everything that has happened, I’m sorely tempted to find out more from them. About what I could do. If my Sisters ever find out, they’d Seal me for sure.
Greg Neyman is a practicing physician, computer programmer, data scientist, and now, an author, apparently. He lives with his wife, daughter, and miniature poodle in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
You can find Sydney on the pages of Sophie is Scarlet.
Join us next week to meet a meet a cybernetically-enhanced man, fighting dragons. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.