It had been a month since Jacy moved into her grandmother’s home. She was starting to feel at home. She had met many of the locals and appreciated their small town kindness. She cleaned up the attic and decided to put up her altar where her grandmother’s had been. In another corner of attic, she put up an altar honoring her grandmother. She planted the roses in pots and kept them in the greenhouse, deciding that she’ll plant them in the garden once the weather warmed. It was cloudy Saturday and Jacy ventured into town for coffee. The coffee shop was quiet and only a few customers were in sitting on the old red sofas that lined the coffee shops walls. She waved to Ezra and headed over to join him after placing her order for her soy latte.
“How are you today Miss Jacy?” Ezra asked. Jacy blushed. A tall man came over and sat on the other side of Ezra.
“Oh Jacy, this is my boyfriend, Liam. Liam, this is Jacy, Mildred’s granddaughter.” She shook Liam’s hand and made the acquaintance.
“And this is my brother, Morgan.” Ezra said gesturing toward a man with dark hair and bright blue eyes smiling at the three of them on the couch.
“Oh hi.” Jacy stumbled on her words.
“Nice to meet you Jacy. I’m sorry but I really should be getting back.” Morgan nodded and ducked out of the shop.
“He’s just visiting for a few days, he works at the clinic over in Merribrooke. Just in town doing some official business or something like that.” Ezra laughed. Ezra tilted his head to Jacy and pursed his lips.
“So Jacy, Ostara is next week. What are your plans?” Jacy was caught off guard, she had only told Rose that she was a witch. Could Rose have mentioned it Ezra?
“Oh, Miss Jacy don’t look so surprised, I can smell a fellow witch a mile away.” Ezra smiled at her.
“It’s his only real magical power.” Liam joked. Was it Ostara already? Jacy celebrated Imbolc with Abra before moving to Honeywick, Ostara had seemed to slip her mind with the move. “Actually, I haven’t made any plans yet.” She replied.
“Well you’ll celebrate with us then!” Ezra clapped his hands in joy and Liam laughed.
The next week Jacy met Ezra and Liam at their apartment. Jacy was excited that she wouldn’t have to celebrate alone. Jacy was expecting it would just be the three of them, but when she entered, she was greeted by a small group of witches.
“Welcome to our little coven! You know Liam, this is Elsie, Chase and Aria. This is Miss Jacy Horne!”
“Thank you for having me.” Jacy had never been part of a coven, she didn’t consider just her and Abra a coven. The kitchen table was piled with food. Deviled eggs, lamb, salad, hot cross buns, wine and many other dishes that Jacy couldn’t wait to try. The altar was decorated with colored eggs, purple, blue and yellow candles, rabbit statues and a vase of daffodils. They sang and danced throughout the afternoon and into the night, they planted seeds in tiny pots that they each took home with them. Jacy exhausted and happy and collapsed into her bed.
Jacy woke to the smell of coffee and pancakes. Rose was busy in the kitchen making breakfast. Jacy poured herself some coffee and leaned over the island.
“I think I’m going to go into town today and see if anyone might be hiring.” “What do you need a job for?”
“Honestly Rose, I know the house is paid off, but there are utilities and I have student loans and we need to eat somehow.”
“Well you could try Pete’s, the bistro on 6th.” Rose suggested to Jacy.
“Rose, have you ever been in the forest behind the house?”
“Once when I was a teen, why do you ask dear?”
“I remember that grandma always warned me not to go into the woods, but I swear I keep seeing lights out there moving around.”
“Ah, well I don’t know of anything in that forest expect for animals and trees.” Jacy finished her coffee and went to get dressed. She wore a long maroon skirt with a brown long sleeve sweater, she put on some mascara and called it good.
She pulled up to the bistro, an old house that had been renovated to accommodate the kitchen and booths. The building was painted cobalt blue and the wooden sign stood in the front reading “PETE’S”. Jacy smiled at the old structure and walked in.
“Hello welcome to Pete’s” an older raven haired woman greeted her at the entrance.
“Just find a spot and I’ll be with you in a jiffy.” Jacy already liked the place and decided that even if they didn’t have an opening she’d be happy to come in again. She sat at the counter and ordered a coffee when the girl came by again. Her name tag read Liz.
“So, you must be Mildred’s granddaughter?” Liz smiled as she poured the coffee.
“Um, yeah, how did you know?”
“I’ve never you seen you in here before, mostly regulars come in here, and there’s been lots of talk of Mildred’s grandbaby coming to town.”
“Ah, of course. Hey, listen, I’m looking for a job, and was wondering if you guys had anything available?”
“Let me check with Pete back in the kitchen.”
“Thanks” Jacy sipped her coffee while she waited for Liz to talk with Pete. She looked around at the few older couples that were in the booths of the bistro. It reminded her of one of those old fashioned milkshake shops her dad had taken her to when she was younger. Liz looked around the corner from the kitchen and motioned for Jacy to come back. Jacy followed her into the kitchen to find a tall, large man standing over a stove.
“Ah so this is Mildred’s girl! Lizzy here tells me you’re looking for a job.” he exclaimed in a booming voice. He brought images of giants to Jacy’s mind.
“Hello, I’m Jacy Horne. Yes, I am”
“Well, we could always use an extra pair of hands out front, Liz here will get ya the paper work back there in the office.”
“Of course, any kin of Mildred’s is sure to be good people.”
“Ok, wow, thank you!” Jacy followed Liz into the back office. Liz left Jacy in the office to fill out the paperwork. She looked around the small room and noticed a picture on the wall. A tall young boy standing next to another boy. She looked at the picture, realizing that the tall boy was Pete and the other boy was her father. They were standing in front of the Horne house, her grandmother, a younger version, standing in the background on the porch.
“What is she holding?” it looked to be some sort of ball, it has a shine to it.
“A crystal ball maybe?”. Jacy finished filling out the forms and put them on the desk where Liz had told her to. She walked through the kitchen, but it was empty. Pete and Liz were out front talking with a customer.
“Ah, Jacy right?” It was Morgan Penwater.
“Um, yes hi again.”
“We were just having a little chat, it’s not often we get to see the other Penwater boy.” Pete laughed and patted Morgan’s shoulder, heading back into the kitchen.
“All set honey?”
“Yeah, so when can start?”
“How’s about next Monday?”
“Sounds good, thank you so much.”
Morgan smiled at Jacy.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t stay long last time we met, sit please. Liz! Another coffee for Jacy here.” “Thank you. You’re a doctor then?”
“No, I’m a nurse. I do some work here with the local doctor when he needs help.” Jacy smiled and her cheeks flushed.
“How are you settling into Mildred’s, your grandma’s?”
“Good, do you know if Pete grew up here?”
“Yes, he did. Him and my dad grew up together, they were good friends. The had another friend, dad said he left when they were teens I think, I can’t remember his name” Jacy took a sip of coffee
“Yeah that’s it”
“My dad, I saw a picture of him and Pete as boys in the office.” Jacy noticed Liz and Pete watching them from the kitchen.
“I should really get back and see if Rose needs any help at the house.”
“Tell her hi for me. It was nice to see you again.”
“You too. Thanks Liz, and Pete, see you soon.” They waved to Jacy as she left.
On her way back Jacy decided to stop at the Library, she decided she needed a library card if she was going to stay here. The old building was quiet and mostly empty, a few kids looked like they were doing school work. Jacy went to the front desk and requested a card. The head librarian looked about Jacy’s age and reminded herself to call Abra later. Jacy got her card and wondered over to the archives. She started with the building of Horne house, but couldn’t find anything. “Oh of course, it wasn’t Horne house until Grandma married John Horne. What was grandma’s maiden name?” Jacy racked her brain for a moment trying to remember her family names. “Redwood!” She looked up Redwood and found the marriage announcement for Mildred Redwood and John Horne, reading the announcement she found her great-grandparents Thomas and Lillian Redwood. Did Thomas build the house? She didn’t know. Going through the old newspaper articles she came across one about a house fire. Looking at the old picture she could see that it was her grandmother’s house.
“One dead in house fire at Thornheart residence. Oliver Thornheart perished in the fire, his wife Annabelle and daughter Lilian escaped without injury. Honeywick community to help rebuild.”
“My goddess. Thornheart, I never knew my great great grandparents’ names. Amazing.” Jacy read the article stunned by her discovery.
“Do you need any help?” the librarian asked, startling Jacy.
“Yes, how do I make a copy of this article?”
“Rose are you here?” Jacy called from the foyer of the house. When she got no answer Jacy went into the living room and put her things her down, sitting on the leather chair that swallowed her up she took out the fire article and a few others she made copies of. Oliver built the house in 1897, Lillian was born the following year in 1898. The fire of the house was in 1911. Jacy flipped through the papers and stopped when she saw the picture of Annabelle and Lillian standing in front of the rebuilt home. Annabelle’s arm around Lillian and in her other hand the ball she saw her grandmother holding in the Picture at the bistro.
“What is that?”
“What’s what dear?” Rose stood in the doorway and Jacy jumped.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“It’s ok, I just found some old newspaper articles at the library. Rose, do you know what this is? I saw it in another picture, grandma was holding it.” Rose squinted at the picture.
“Hmm no idea. Sorry.” Rose hurried out of the room and into the kitchen. Jacy put the papers on the table and followed her.
“How did it go at Pete’s?”
“I start next Monday.”
“That’s wonderful dear, Pete and Liz are a nice couple. Been married forever, no kids though. Liz always jokes that the bistro is their baby.”
“Rose are you married?”
“Nope, never found the one sort of speak.”
“No reason to be sorry, I’ve been very happy with my life, and it isn’t over yet.” Jacy smiled and Rose poured her a cup of earl grey tea.
“Do you know anything about Oliver and Annabelle Thornheart?”
“Not much, your grandma only knew a little about her grandparents and she never said much.” Rose poured Jacy and herself some earl grey tea and they sat together in silence for a long time. Jacy wondering what the shining ball was and if it was still in the house.
“Rose why don’t you take the day off tomorrow?”
“Oh sure, thanks dear.” Jacy had decided that she wanted the house empty tomorrow so that she could do some spell work alone.
Jacy made herself some coffee and got out her pendulum. She was going to try to do a location spell to see if she could find the ball from the pictures. She went up into the attic and dug out the worn blueprints to the house. She laid them on the floor, she placed a candle on each side of the paper to represent the four directions. She lit the candles, calling to the winds of the north, east south and west. She held up her pendulum and steadied her hand holding it over the blueprints.
Object I seek, come to me
Wherever ye hide, I shall see
And as my word so mote it be
The pendulum slowly started to move back and forth. Then began to spin. It stopped and pointed to the back of the greenhouse. She extinguished the candles and headed down to the greenhouse with her pendulum in hand. Standing in the middle of the greenhouse, she held out her citrine pendulum and asked if what she was looking for was in the greenhouse. The pendulum swayed from side to side indicating no. Jacy took a deep breath, the sun came out from behind the clouds and bounced off the crystals her grandmother had hung in the windows, rainbows filled the room. Jacy looked up and gazed between two crystals, she could see a small clearing in the woods that led to a path.
“It’s in the woods.” The pendulum moved vertically up and down, telling her yes. The doorbell rang taking her away from her thoughts.
Jacy put her pendulum in her pocket and went to answer the door. An older portly woman stood in front of her. She was dressed in fuchsia floral dress and her long gray hair was braided and hung down her back. She had deep brown eyes that looked just past Jacy as she spoke.
“You must be Jacy, I’m Ellie Meadows, I’m an old friend of your grandmother’s.” There was something in Ellie’s tone that put Jacy off, but she couldn’t tell quit what it was.
“Would you like to come in?”
“Thank you.” Jacy showed Ellie to the living room and she said on the edge of one of the reading chairs.
“Would you like some tea?” Jacy asked before sitting down.
“No thank you. I can only stay a moment.” Jacy sat across from her on the couch.
“Miss Horne, you should get out of this house as soon as possible.”
“I, what why?”
“Trust me child, there is something here you do not want to mess with.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You don’t need to understand you just need to leave!” Ellie shouted, and Fay hissed from the doorway. Jacy looked at the cat, her back arched and her tail fluffed stood at the doorway looking at Ellie. A shiver ran down Jacy’s neck.
“I think you should go.” She stood and motioned to the door. Ellie clutching her purse got up and walked to the door. Jacy opened the door for her and waited while Ellie stood in the foyer eyeing Fay.
“Listen to me girl, if you do not leave this house, it will take you just like it did the others. You either need to leave or go out in the woods and find what your grandmother lost. And I think you have a better chance of just leaving.” Ellie sneered and walked out the door.
“Oh! The ball thing! Wait!”. Jacy rushed out the door but Ellie was nowhere to be found. Jacy looked down the road but didn’t see anyone.
“Where did she go?” She went back in house and stood in the foyer, Fay came and rubbed against Jacy’s legs.
“It’s ok Fay, she’s gone now. I don’t understand anything that just happened. But I think I need to find that ball thing, whatever it is.” A shiver ran down her neck again, and she decided to smudge the foyer and living room to get rid of whatever energy Ellie had brought in the house with her.
It was Jacy’s first day at Pete’s. She did her make up and put her long dark brown hair in a neat bun on top of her head. She dressed in a green button up shirt and black mid length skirt. She hid her pentacle necklace in her shirt and looked at herself in the mirror. She went up to the attic, lit a candle and stood in front of her altar.
Bless me Goddess, on this day
Help me as I work and play
To reflect your beauty now
Lend your strength and please allow
This day to be all it should be
In love I ask this. Blessed be.
Jacy went down to the kitchen and poured some coffee, she added a little soy milk and stirred it clockwise, with intention of manifesting a good first day at her new job. She could see Rose in the greenhouse watering the plants. She sat down at the breakfast and waited for Rose to finish. “Good morning. Are you excited for your first day?” Rose asked.
“A little nervous, but yes.” Jacy sipped her coffee and looked at the window. She ate a banana and toast with apple butter and was ready to go.
“Wish me luck Rose!”
“Luck!” Rose waved to her from the porch.
Jacy pulled behind the bistro and saw Pete stepping out the backdoor.
“Good morning Jacy. Nice car.”
“Thanks, it was my dad’s.”
“Well are you ready? Lizzy will show you everything you need to know. You can put your things in the office.”
“I am, thank you again.”. Pete nodded as she went inside. She found Liz out in the front setting out placemats and getting ready to open.
“There she is! Grab those sugar jars and refill them please honey.” Liz pointed to the row of jars on the front counter.
The morning rush was more than Jacy had expected, she mixed up a few orders and dropped a plate of eggs in the middle of the bistro, everyone had turned to looked at the clumsy new waitress. Jacy was sitting at the counter with Liz during the lull before lunch.
“You’ll get the hang of it honey, don’t worry.” Jacy smiled at Liz. The lunch rush and afternoon went much smoother for Jacy. She made a few mistakes but was happy that she didn’t drop any more food.
“Dinner is never as busy as breakfast and lunch. Dinner time is mostly young couples and sometimes a family or two.” Liz told Jacy as they cleaned the tables. Dinner went perfectly, and the few easier hours gave Jacy some confidence in her ability to do this job. Jacy and Liz cleaned up the front tables and floors and Pete cleaned the kitchen and took the trash out. “You did good kid.” Pete waved to Jacy from the kitchen.
“See ya tomorrow honey.”
“Thanks Liz.” Jacy went out to car, someone had left a note on her windshield. Jacy pulled the little piece of paper from the wiper.
Jacy. Meet at my place 11pm!
“Ezra!” She checked her phone, it was 9:30. She had time to go home and change. Jacy pulled up to the old house. A light in the attic was on. She unlocked the door and turned on the foyer light. “Rose are you here?” She called. No one answered her. She put her stuff and climbed up the stairs, cautious she opened the purple door that led to the attic.
“Hello?”. She slowly climbed up the tight staircase. Looking into the attic, she didn’t see anyone. She walked around, and nothing looked out of place. She went over to her altar, laying across the middle of her altar was a dead crow. It’s large black beak open, dark eyes glossy and lifeless. Jacy felt like she might throw up. Fay couldn’t have brought a bird all the way up here and Rose wouldn’t do such a thing. She immediately thought of Ellie Meadows, but how could she have gotten into the house? The door was locked, and Rose wouldn’t have let her up to the attic. She texted Ezra that she might be a little late, she quickly explained about the bird and that she needed to do some serious workings to cleanse and protect the house. Ezra instantly texted back that they were all on their way to her to help. Jacy stood, looking at the dead bird on her altar. Her mind raced. She checked the attic to see if maybe the crow could have flown in and just died. There was no way in except the door and window. Both were closed when she got home. She went down to the living room and waited for her friends to arrive. The doorbell rang and with relief Jacy opened the door. Ezra, Liam, Elsie, Chase and Aria all stood on the porch with concerned looks on their faces. Liam and Elsie were carrying big tote bags.
“We brought supplies.” Liam said holding his tote bags up.
“You guys didn’t have to come, I can take care of it.”
“Don’t be silly Miss Jacy, what do you think covens are for?” Ezra smiled and pushed pass her. “Where is this dead crow?” Aria asked.
“Up in the attic on my altar.”
“I’ll take care of the crow; you guys get set up.” Chase said. Ezra looked in the dining room and directed everyone in there. They moved the table out of the way and started unpacking the tote bags. Candles, black salt, rosemary, sage, more crystals than Jacy had ever seen at one time, bells, small cauldron and array of other herbs. Jacy walked into the foyer and took some deep breaths. Fay came and rubbed against her legs.
“There you are.” Jacy said picking the cat up and giving her a little hug while petting her head. Chase came down from the attic with a cotton sack in his hand.
“Jacy, grab some fresh basil, juniper berries and four iron nails. Ezra should have all that.” Ezra gave Jacy everything that Chase asked for and went out back to look for him. Chase was middle of the backyard digging a small hole with the cotton sack sitting on the ground next to him. “Thanks, you know as far as I can tell it died of natural causes.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m the only vet in town.” Chase laughed.
“Ok then, ready?” Chase knelt next to the small grave he dug. He laid the crow inside of the cotton sack in the ground, he put the basil on top of the sack and they covered it with the dirt. Chase took the nails and pushed one into the ground at the top and bottom and on the sides around where the crow was buried. Then he burned the juniper berries on top of the small grave in a little cauldron.
“That should help the crow move on.” He said as he stood up. “We should probably go help the others.” They walked into the dining room,
“We’re all here now, lets cast the circle.” Ezra said. Jacy and Chase joined the others on the floor. They all held hands and Elsie started.
Now, I cast the sacred circle.
The circle is closed,
So that only love may enter or leave its field.
As I will it,
so mote it be.
“We’re going to do a protection spell.” Liam said as he sliced a lemon into three pieces. Elsie lit the candles, and Liam handed Jacy the slices of lemon. Ezra gave Jacy his grimoire and she read from the page it was open to with the lemon slices in her hand.
Let this lemon do its task
Protect this home is what I ask
Remove from here this dark despair
As this lemon dries in the air
I wish no harm
My only intent is to be free again
Jacy dipped the slices of lemon in a bowl of salt and then set them on a plate as the spell instructed. Aria put St. John’s Wort, dragons blood powder, sage and black salt in a little sachet and put it next to the lemons on the plate.
“Carry the herbs with you, put the plate of lemons on your altar and bury them once they have completely dried out. And hopefully all will be well.” Ezra said.
“Well do we still want to do the welcoming ritual?” Aria laughed.
“The what?” Jacy looked at Aria confused.
“We had planned to do a little ritual, more of a party, to welcome you to our coven. But we can understand if you don’t feel up to it now.” Ezra said. Jacy eyed the bottles of wine they brought with them.
“If there’s wine involved, count me in.” They all laughed.
“Ok, close the circle and let’s get cracking!” Elsie closed the circle and they took the wine to the kitchen to open it. They cleaned up the dining room and arranged candles on the table. Chase lit jasmine incense to burn and they all sat down with wine, shadows on their faces from the candle light. Liam and Elsie were in the kitchen preparing food them all.
“Jacy, would you be opposed to me giving Morgan your number?”
“He asked for your number.”
“Oh, no that would be fine.”
“Good, because I already gave it to him.”
“Ezra!” Ezra threw his hands up gave her the sly smile he has.
“Oh please, I already did both your charts, you two would be wonderful!” Ezra winked at Jacy.
“Cheese, crackers, strawberries and dandelion greens salad with nice almond balsamic.” Liam and Elsie put all the food on the table.
“Thank you, guys, for coming, it’s nice having other people here.” Jacy said to everyone.
“Raise your glasses!” Ezra instructed. Aria lit sage and let it burn in a little black dish and read from her book of shadows
May our hearts be gentle
May our minds be still and open
May our spirits be unshackled
May our awareness be keen
May our conscience be clear
Our nature giving
May we be a healing energy
May we be a benefit to all
May our lives enrich others
May we know what matters
And live in harmony with nature
Ezra turned to Jacy, “Let us dance by moonlight with wildflowers in our hair and let us huddle together and keep love in our hearts. We are the children of nature. Welcome to The Willow Coven” They all clinked their glasses and drank.
“Are you sure you’ll be ok alone tonight?” Elsie asked Jacy.
“I’m sure, thank you so much for coming.” They all hugged and said their goodbyes. Jacy went and sat down in the living room to finish her wine. Fay came over and jumped on her lap.
“Fay, I just don’t understand what happened earlier. Why would someone leave a dead crow on my altar? Chase said it died of natural causes, so I’m glad they didn’t kill it, but still poor thing.” Fay purred while Jacy stroked her black fur.
“I’ll ask Rose tomorrow if anyone came to the house. I can’t imagine she let someone into the attic.” Jacy sat with Fay and finished her glass of wine. She checked to make sure the front and back doors were locked and bolted. She noticed that one of the coven members had hung dried rosemary above each door.
“I guess I could use the extra protection.” Fay followed her up the stairs and into the bedroom. She washed her makeup off, brushed her teeth and got comfy in bed with Fay laying and purring at her feet. She texted Abra telling her that she’d call soon. She drifted off to sleep.
Jacy woke to her alarm blaring at her. She smelled coffee. She got up and showered and ready for work. She went into the kitchen where Rose was getting breakfast ready.
“Morning, dear! How was your first day?”
“It went ok, I made some mistakes, but I really liked it.”
“That’s all that matters then.”
“Rose, did anyone come over yesterday while I was at work?”
“No, were you expecting someone?”
“No, the attic light was on, and there was a dead crow on my altar.”
“Oh my goodness! Is that black magic or something?” Jacy sighed.
“No, there is no black or white magic, it’s all about intention. I’m just not sure if it was just a natural accident or something else.” Jacy poured her coffee and went to sit at the breakfast nook. “Well no one came over that I’m aware of. And I don’t usually go into the attic, I wouldn’t want to mess anything up!” Rose said as Jacy sat down. She took her tarot cards out. She didn’t feel the need to hide them from Rose, since Rose knew her, and her grandmother practiced witchcraft even if she didn’t understand everything. Jacy pulled three cards, the three of swords reversed, the ace of swords, and the nine of pentacles. Jacy studied her cards and drank her coffee.
“Are you ok dear?” Rose asked handing Jacy some toast.
“Yeah, just thinking about yesterday.”
“I’m sure everything will work out, dear.”
“Thanks.” Jacy finished her coffee and breakfast and headed to the bistro.