Stuff: I’m mentally wearing down and I still have other things to do (besides nano). I’m 4416 words from the finish line. I have the remaining scenes in my head, which if I get them written should take me well over the mark.
Total word count: 45,584
You can read previous sections here.
That second evening, I meet Phoebe’s oldest sister, Philomena, and their Aunt Aurora. Aunt Aurora watches me with a dubious expression for which she is not quick to offer an explanation. Philomena, however, welcomes me openly. There are two other sisters and several Aunts. It sounds like a family of women, much as mine frequently seems. Perhaps that’s the witch way. How would I know? My witch reality has only existed for a little over two months and most of that has seemed surreal.
The Aunts own a café, which does very good business and briefly I marvel at how we’ve all been drawn to foods except for Cousin Phoebe and my sister, Amy, who deal with herbs and essential oils. And, of course, there’s my mom who doesn’t seem to have any witchy crafts, not that I’d really know what a witchy craft was. Honestly, I didn’t believe real witches existed, you know, except for Wiccan kind who I am led to believe don’t actually have supernatural powers to the extent that we seem to. The joke is most definitely on me.
Aurora who has been silent, except offering a succinct answer when Phoebe or Philomena would ask a direct question, suddenly sets down her empty cocktail glass, which had previously held some purple creation that arrived with dry smoke billowing from it. Very spooky, and I like it.
“Are you lying to us, girl?” she asks me.
“Uh, no. And, about what exactly?”
Phoebe shakes her head, whether at me or her Aunt I don’t know.
“Aunt Aurora, I spoke to Aunt Lea when she asked if Sophie could stay here. It’s all true.”
“I don’t understand why they aren’t protecting the girl and doing the ritual,” Aurora says.
“Ritual?” I echo. Great, just another thing I don’t know..
“For something as important as the Light Union is there always a protection ritual, or should I say in the past century or so it’s been the normal thing to do, because, evil will try to end the Union by killing the father or mother before the baby is born.”
“I don’t understand how killing the father once the mother is impregnated affects anything,” I say.
Aurora lips fold inward creating a severe, disapproving line. “What I cannot understand is how Sorcha Reid allowed her very powerful granddaughter to get to the age of 26 and be so utterly naïve and stupid.”
She waves her hand. “It’s not your fault. I see that. You just thought you made these wonderful soups after a few years at a culinary institute. You didn’t really know that you were doing magic.”
She sits back, contemplating. And then I realize she’s contemplating ordering another cocktail because she calls our server over, who literally scurries, I suppose because this is Aurora’s establishment. Once the server has left, Aurora focuses on me again.
“Your mother or Sorcha, a woman of power in your family, should have done a protection spell on you and the witch slayer immediately. This isn’t a normal baby. It’s light, formed by you and the witch slayer. If something happens to the witch slayer or you, goddess forbid, that half of the light dies, which means all of the light eventually dies. I find it horribly nonchalant, verging on negligent, that your mother has not stepped up. A baby like this means so much not only to the witch community, but the world and the only possibility of it is every four generations,” Aurora says, her voice seething with anger.
All of the information I receive any more seems to arrive in a deluge which drowns me for several seconds until I can surface and find my brain. Aurora’s right. Mom or Gran should have done something. I know they must know. The instant they saw the streaks in my hair they knew what had happened between Anton and me. Why didn’t they?
“What should I do?” I ask.
The server returns with Aurora’s smoking cocktail. She studies it briefly as if looking into it for the answer before raising her gaze to meet mine. “If I were you, I would return home and demand a protection spell. It should be done by your mother for it to be as strong as possible. Other female relatives would suffice, but it wouldn’t offer the same strength level, which is so very important for the evil that might come. Presumably you’re in contact with the slayer and he can be present? Why isn’t he here with you? This is all very disturbing.”
“You’re telling me” slips out before I think.
Phoebe smiles. “Aurora, Sophie just discovered in the past couple of months that she was a witch. One of the red witches.”
“I know who she is,” Aurora says. “The shame is that no one ever told her.
That is the shame all right.
My dreams are filled with fire and Anton. Sometimes the fire is just heat and passion while at others it’s a killing flame which awakens me, to find sweat pouring down my body, and my abdomen strangely on fire. I think of what Aurora said about this baby being light. Light and flame.
Once I even had a ridiculous daydream about Anton finding me and protecting me, until I shook my head, thinking when did I become a damsel in distress who needing protecting? What I need is someone who can teach me how to use these powers I’ve been gifted with.
On the fifth evening, after a visit to her Aunts’ café, Phoebe, Moira, and I are sitting on the deck, listening to the ocean waves crashing against the beach more angrily because of the sharp December winds. The firepit, although dancing and leaping in the wind, pours out a substantial amount of heat.
“I saw your Anton in my dream last night,” Phoebe says off-handedly. “He doesn’t know you’re here.”
“How’s that possible?”
“Your mother told him that you’d gone to San Francisco. He went there.”
“Why would she tell him that?” I ask, half to myself and half to Phoebe.
She shrugs. “Do you want an honest answer or what I think you’d like to hear?”
“An honest answer.”
“Your mom doesn’t want you to host the Light Union. That’s why she didn’t do the protection spell.”
I wait expecting some kid of epiphany. I don’t have one. I glance at Phoebe. “What then?”
Phoebe’s look is apologetic. “Maybe your Mom has another deal going on. I’m sorry, but if you want me to be honest than I have to say this. Maybe you weren’t the one she intended to have the child of the Light Union?”
I laugh. “Really? Up until a day or two before Thanksgiving, I didn’t even know about the Light Union. Are you suggesting that Mom has had a plan?”
Phoebe shrugs then nods. “I’m kind of thinking your sister Isla was supposed to be the one.”
She reaches out a hand and pats my shoulder. “That is what my instinct tells me especially since she didn’t do a protection spell to keep you all safe. We could visit the Aunts and get more information.”
I smile and shake my head. “That’s okay. I’m heading back home—”
A sharp pull in my abdomen and then terrible cramping has me hugging my arms around my body. Phoebe is instantly to her feet.
“I’m calling the Aunts.”
A half hour later, Aunt Aurora pats my hand, but her eyes are huge with disappointment. She shares a glance with Phoebe and then a slight jerk of her head.
“I’ll be right back,” Phoebe says and then follows Aurora out of the bedroom.
Aurora’s angry whispering reaches my ears, but I can’t make out the words. Moira jumps up on the bed and places her muzzle on my shoulder. I close my eyes. Anton fills my images.
“Did they kill him?” I ask softly. “Did they kill Anton? Is that why I lost the baby?”
The thought makes me feel hollow inside. Certainly, my mother, who I’m not sure I know anymore, would never do that. I might not have loved the witch slayer, yet, but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity.
“I don’t think so but ask the purple one. She knows a lot.”
end of day 27a