Welcome to Day 8 of “writer torture” aka NaNoWriMo duelling with the US Presidential Election. Let’s prescribe drugs now. Again, unproofed, unscripted, unoutlined, undulating (oh, no, that’s wrong). If you are reading this, thanks. It means more than you can know at this stage. Cheers!
Word Count: 12, 614 (ut-0h, catch up needed….or just a weekend)
Phoebe woke up on Halloween morning feeling brittle. There was no other way to describe the feeling of clenched teeth, headache simmering in her temple, and emotionally on edge. There was nothing tangible to blame it on.
The sun rose over the ocean in colorful grandeur, which she tried to appreciate as she jogged, but the throb in her head was a definite impediment. And, despite herself, she remembered running into Kaden that one morning jogging and felt a strange little hollowness inside at his absence, which was silly. She was unlikely to ever see him again. Unless something happened with Chloe and Kaden’s bandmate.
She only ran a half mile and sat on the beach and watched the eruption of colors over the Atlantic. No matter how many times she witnessed the sunrise, it never failed to awe her. It gave her a sense of being in tune and in touch with the natural world. And, as a witch in touch with Gaia this was one of the most important elements.
She closed her eyes and thought of Kaden. Sometimes she could feel the heartbeats of people she knew, she could sense them in their surroundings if she meditated hard enough. She thought she could see him lying on his bed, sprawled on white sheets, his chest naked, asleep, dreaming. She smiled because it comforted her. She was glad that he was safe and happy, or if not happy, at least content. Yet, a part of her wished that they had become something more to each other, which, frankly, when she gave it any real thought, other than operating on her emotions, struck her as verging on moronic. He was superficial. He had women like some people had cornflakes. He was self-obsessed. Yet, she was pretty sure that there was something more to him. Something she wanted to know.
As the sun rose higher, more people came to the beach for exercise. Most greeted Phoebe. She stood up and wiped the sand from her shorts and walked back to her house and hoped that the rest of the holiday would bring her better spirits.
“I don’t understand why you can’t do a spell to make Tyler love me,” Amber Mason said, her bottom lip protruding. Ah, this is what the books meant when they said a woman pouted. Phoebe had never actually seen a grown woman pout.
“I can make a spell so that you are open to love, but I cannot make someone love you. I can’t take away his free will unless he wishes it,” Phoebe said. Her palms on the counter as she gazed at the tall, gaunt blonde woman.
“Because that’s doing harm.”
“Are you saying I’m going to hurt him? That’s ridiculous. I love him. I’m sure we’re soulmates, if he’d just notice me.” Amber Mason sighed. “I don’t think you can even do a spell like that.”
Phoebe felt no need to justify herself, especially since it seemed like Amber was just trying to get a rise out of her. “Regardless of whether I can do that spell or not, I’m not going to. It betrays my ethics.”
Amber looked down her nose at Phoebe and jabbed her finger with its extremely long, extremely red fingernail at Phoebe.
“You’re going to regret not helping me,” Amber said, turned on the heel of her Dolce and Gabbana boots with their jeweled heel and stamped out of the shop.
Phoebe’s cat, Tiki, meowed as she jumped onto the counter and rubbed against Phoebe’s arm. Phoebe picked the cat up and held her close and rubbed her chin against the cat’s head.
“This is not going to be a good day, Tik my love. I feel it in my bones.”
Phoebe closed the shop at lunch, flipping over the open sign as she always did and decided to drive to Chincoteague for lunch, until she saw that the tires of her car had been slashed. Is this what Amber Mason had meant when she said that Phoebe was going to regret it?
Four new tires. She vaguely wondered if Cal at the garage would be able to fix them. Either way it was an expense she couldn’t afford right now. She picked up Tiki and entered her house. She really needed to relax. Every part of her, from muscle to bone, felt stiff and tight with anxiety. Not to mention the fact that she felt like she was on the verge of tears. Slashed tires. Was she going to cry over that? Maybe. No one had ever disliked her that much. She stayed unobtrusively in the background, that’s what she had always done best. That’s why Chloe and Deirdre and Serena went and had adventures and she stayed home. She was tired of staying home now. She wanted an adventure. She wanted to go to Malibu and see what the Pacific Ocean was like. She wanted to know what it was like to kiss a man like Kaden without worrying about what tomorrow would bring. Except that she knew that she was always the type to care.
Instead she fixed a peanut butter and cherry preserves sandwich on multigrain bread and sat on her deck and watched bees hover over her aster flower while she dreamed of just using the credit card she never did, charging a ticket to Los Angeles and having a new experience.
She was still sitting there, with her cat on her lap, when Aunt Philo arrived in a thick aroma of lavender. Aunt Philo stood looking down at Phoebe with her hands on her hips.
“I could feel your bad mood everywhere,” Aunt Philo said.
Phoebe shrugged. “Sorry. I haven’t had a great day so far.”
“Your day is what you make it.”
“Oh, please. That’s crap. I didn’t have anything to do with how bad my day is.”
“You woke up feeling sorry for yourself.”
“Uh, no, I didn’t. I woke up with a headache and then I went jogging.”
“You woke up feeling ill toward the world and you had a headache.”
Aunt Philo frowned. “What happened to your car?”
The days of Phoebe being surprised by her Aunt’s readings had long since passed. She felt tears sting her eyes.
“Someone slashed my tires.”
“I don’t know. It might have been Amber Mason. She didn’t like the fact that I wouldn’t do a spell to make Tyler Pittman fall in love with her.”
“That’s doing harm,” Philo said.
Phoebe nodded. “That’s what I told her. She just accused me of not being able to do the spell and then she threatened me, telling me I’d regret it.”
Philo nodded. “I don’t think she did your tires though.”
“Really? I can’t even begin to imagine anyone else who’d want to do that to me.”
“It’s something dark, Phoebe. Something really dark.”
The breeze picked up around them and swished yellowed leaves from the weeping willow onto the deck. Phoebe felt a shiver run down her spine. Tiki’s fur rose and she stood up and hissed and meowed as she ran delicately back into the house.
Philo shook her head and her lips thinned. “I’m feeling something really bad. This is like nothing I’ve never come across before.”
Phoebe didn’t feel too intimidated. Aunt Philo never usually dealt with anything dark. The most dark was someone being upset because their love spell had brought about an inappropriate result. How dark could this actually be? Someone being upset because Phoebe didn’t do a spell?
“No, dear, much worse,” Philo said in answer to her unasked question.
Phoebe frowned. “What’s worse? Serena?”
“I don’t think so. It feels unfamiliar. Distant. I don’t think it’s like us at all.”
“And they slashed my tires.”
“That’s just the beginning.”
Halloween night in Pleasant Point Cove had always been one of the happiest nights in Phoebe’s life. It had been tradition in her family to have the bonfire on the beach and Celtic songs would be sung and there would be dancing and food and happiness.
Philo’s prognostication had dampened Phoebe’s anticipation. A light rain began to fall followed by a wind that doused the bonfire despite the fact that it had been burning strongly. Smoke rose from the logs, its color shifting from gray to blue to a deep red.
Caroline pulled her children and older relatives back to the house while Philo and Phoebe stood in the rain staring at the logs. Phoebe could have sworn she heard cackling laughter in the wind.
Philo shook her head and rotated, looking all around as if she would see what entity had doused their fire with the softest touches of rain.
“What’s going on?” Phoebe asked.
“I don’t know. We may have to do a circle when Caroline gets everyone settled.”
“But you think it’s bad?”
Philo dug her bare toes into the cool sand and then glanced at her niece. “I know it’s bad.”
end of Day 8