Curse of the broomstaff, p.25
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       Curse of the Broomstaff, p.25

           Tyler Whitesides
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  “I guess Bookworm’s coming with us,” Walter said.

  “I’m not sure how I’m going to explain this to my parents,” Daisy said. “They told me not to bring home any more pets.”

  Bernard stepped up to the edge of Rho’s dumpster and grinned like a little kid. “There’s nothing I love more than diving headfirst into a pile of trash.” He put his hands together and dove into the dumpster, a quick “Geronimo!” escaping his lips before he hit the trash and vanished in the same manner as Bookworm.

  Walter and Penny stepped up next. “See you on the other side.” Penny put a hand on her uncle’s shoulder, and together they leapt into the dumpster and disappeared.

  Only Daisy, Spencer, and his dad remained, staring at Sach. It was strange that he appeared as young as Spencer but was actually older than all the Rebels combined.

  “I never could figure it out,” Daisy said.

  Sach raised his eyebrows. “Figure what out?”

  “Your name,” said Daisy. “The Aurans said they took their names from the thirteen colonies. Are you supposed to be Wisconsin or something?”

  Sach couldn’t hold back a smile. “I take my name from Massachusetts,” he said. “And this is Aryl, named for Maryland.” He pointed behind him as Aryl stepped around a pile of trash, right on cue.

  “And that is Olin,” Sach said, as the final Dark Auran stepped into view. “He was named for North Carolina.”

  Daisy and Alan drew back with the sudden appearance of the boys, but Spencer recognized them immediately. They strode quietly over to stand beside Sach. All three Dark Aurans in a row.

  “Hey there, Spencer,” Olin said. “Sorry our chat was cut short.” He handed Spencer a folded scrap of paper. “My end of the bargain,” he said. “That will tell you how to rescue Marv from the Vortex.”

  “But I never un-Panned you,” Spencer said, remembering his half of the deal.

  Olin grinned. “You will. One day.”

  Spencer nodded.

  “We have something for you,” Sach said. “Something we’ve kept hidden from the other Aurans for a very long time.”

  Aryl reached into his dark cloak and withdrew a book. It was small, and it looked very old. The pages were yellowed and frayed, and the leather cover was cracked. An emblem was painted on the front, faint after years of wear. It was a key ring, with skeletal keys splaying outward like rays from the sun. The covers seemed locked shut, with a small metal clasp sealing the book.

  Spencer bent forward and read the title in the dim corner light from the Auran building.

  “Manualis Custodem.”

  “It’s the original Janitor Handbook,” Aryl said. “The unabridged first edition penned by the Founding Witches themselves.”

  “They had pretty bad handwriting,” Daisy said, squinting at the title. “That doesn’t look like it says Janitor Handbook to me.”

  “Manualis Custodem. The entire work is written in Latin,” Olin explained, causing Daisy’s eyes to grow even wider.

  “This is what the Aurans Panned us for,” Sach said. “We stole this from them.”

  “Why?” Spencer asked.

  “They were talking about giving it away,” Sach continued. “But we knew how important it was to wait until the right person came looking for it.”

  “The key to opening the lock is one of the bronze warlock nails. Then you’ll need to find a trustworthy person to translate it,” Aryl said. “Somewhere in these pages lies the answer you seek: the true location of the Glop source.”

  Aryl pressed the old book into Spencer’s hands.

  “Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” Alan asked. “Why wait until it was just the three of us?”

  “It is safer for fewer to know,” Sach answered. “I assume you’ll tell the warlock in due time. You’ll need his nail to open it. The others should never know. If the Manualis Custodem falls into BEM hands, everything is lost.”

  “What do we do once we find the source?” Alan asked. “Do you know a way to destroy it?”

  Olin shook his head. “It can’t be destroyed.”

  “Then why do we need to find it?” Spencer asked.

  “The Manualis Custodem will tell you what to do,” Aryl said. “It will tell you how to bring them back.”

  “Bring who back?” Daisy asked.

  “The Founding Witches,” Sach answered. “They’re not dead. They’re trapped in the source. You have to find them and get them out. This was planned from the beginning. The Witches needed mortals to bring them back. That’s why the Aurans developed the thirteen clues. If anyone was resourceful enough to solve them, then they would be given the Manualis Custodem so they could find the Witches.”

  “One hundred and ninety-eight years ago, the Aurans started to waver,” Aryl said. “They wanted to be done with their task, and the only way to be released was by bringing back the Witches. They started talking about giving up the Manualis Custodem. But the time wasn’t right. So we took the book for safekeeping. We’ve waited a long time for this day.”

  “That’s why V thinks you went against the Witches,” Spencer said. “Why she thinks you’re evil.”

  Olin nodded. “She thought we were trying to stop anyone from finding the Witches. But we weren’t. We were just waiting for the right person to do the job. You have to find the source and bring back the Founding Witches.” He paused, glancing at Aryl and Sach. “That’s the only way this can end.”

  Spencer tucked the small book into a wide pouch on his janitorial belt. “We’ll do it,” he said, stepping up to the edge of the dumpster. His mind was swimming with all the things the Dark Aurans had just said.

  For a moment, Spencer wanted to be home, sitting in his room without a care in the world. But it would never be that way for him. He was a Dark Auran now, charged to bring back the Founding Witches.

  Then his dad put a hand on his shoulder and Daisy stepped up beside him. At least he wasn’t alone.

  Spencer took a deep breath, turned toward the dumpster, and jumped.

  About the Author

  Tyler Whitesides worked as a janitor at an elementary school to put himself through college. He graduated from Utah State University with a degree in music. In addition to writing novels, Tyler is an avid composer and arranger of instrumental music. He and his wife, Connie, who teaches third grade, live in northern Utah.

  Table of Contents

  Curse of the Broomstaff

  A Message from the Author

  Table of Contents

  “The clean way.”

  “That’s jaywalking!”

  “You wouldn’t get it.”

  “I’m the first one here, then?”

  “You are a stranger.”

  “That’s irony.”


  “A joystick!”

  “Who’s next?”


  “It’s a pattern.”

  “It doesn’t really work like that.”

  “We won’t forget this.”

  “Shake your leg!”

  “It’s all in the system.”

  “Smelled like oranges.”

  “Potato, potahto.”

  “It’s all right here.”

  “Woke us all up.”

  “Vanilla scented.”

  “A paint spill.”

  “Everyone Knows the Answer.”

  “To get to the other side.”

  “Don’t tell her I did that, okay?”

  “Hold your breath.”

  “And that’s a loose end.”

  “Rest in peace.”

  “So, that’s it?”

  “Straight on till morning!”

  “Fascinating place!”

  “It’s Rho.”

  “Just like Camelot.”

  “They left us no choice.”

  “I couldn’t be honest about anything.”

  “Who’s behind this?”

  “Now I’m your prisoner?”

  “How much c
an you trust her?”

  “I don’t know anything about that.”

  “With an attachment.”

  “Say the meanest thing you can think of!”

  “You gave it a gift?”

  “We’re going under.”

  “Being an Auran just got gross.”

  “It smells like an ambush in there.”

  “What kind of soda?”

  “I love a storm like this.”

  “And I’m supposed to like this plan?”

  “It doesn’t matter, Spence.”

  “I have to shut this down!”

  “Get out of here!”

  “We have something for you.”

  About the Author



  Tyler Whitesides, Curse of the Broomstaff



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