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Hedge Witches Anonymous 

Despite it running in her family for generations, Amanda Carter had never shown any aptitude for magic. In fact, due to an incident caused by her uncle, which had resulted in all 807 residents of Forest Falls California needing to have their memory erased—along with 49 tourists and one passing motorist—most of the Carter family had been stripped of any recollection of magic, spells, and anything like a council of witches. 

        While she had never shown any aptitude for magic, what she did show was a natural talent for being genuinely happy. She’d just relocated to Santa Monica, found a job that covered the cost of her small apartment, and spent her days off on the beach, frequently dipping her toes in the ocean, and her nights dancing, frequently trying out the various men, and a few women. As far as Amanda Carter was concerned, she was living her dream life, and she was blissfully unaware of a secret world of magic, or the weight of the knowledge of any of the dangers that came with knowing such things. 

         If not for the incident—which we will not go into here, mainly for the reason that when everyone involved in a matter has had their memory erased…the details become rather scarce—Amanda may have led a very different life, and she may not have been walking on the particular street, at the particular time that she was on March 2nd, 1993, when she witnessed a young boy slip off his skateboard and fall into traffic. She would not have seen the bus barreling toward him, and so she would not have thrust her arm forward instinctively and shift his molecules out of phase and watch as surprised as everyone else as the bus passed harmlessly through him. 

         Amanda would not recall this happening, or the way the air turned unexpectedly cold in the minutes that followed, or the white-haired woman who would speak to those who had gathered before they all went back to their business, murmuring variations of how strange it was that they’d stopped to gather at all. 

         She would never be made aware of the meetings that took place half a world away in the next few hours, as a council of witches discussed what to do with the problem of the Carter family. Nor would she be aware of the way one of the witches slipped out of the meeting and called the pager number of her twin sister, then exchanged a private phone call discussing the matter of one Amanda Carter. 

         Three days later, during her shift at Monarch Records, Amanda watched as James, the manager of the store, shook hands with his newest hire, and brought her over to introduce Ms. Naomi Bian.

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