Jacy woke to Fay meowing by the bed. She checked the time, thankful that she didn’t oversleep but not happy to be up at five am. She got up and followed Fay downstairs. Fay sat next to her food bowl and meowed while Jacy struggled to open the can. Fay dug into her food while Jacy patted her back. Yawning she made coffee, standing with her elbow resting on the counter and her chin in her hand, waiting for it to brew. Once there was enough coffee in the pot, she poured it into her cup. She walked into the greenhouse and sat on the bench. Looking out the window it was still dark, just enough light was starting that she could see the ground covered in mist. Fay trotted in and jumped onto Jacy’s lap. She stroked the cat’s fur and Fay made herself comfortable. In woods she could see the faint glowing orbs again.
“There is no way those are fireflies this time.” She absently said to Fay. She sipped her coffee and watched the lights bounce around in the woods. They faded deeper into the forest as the sun began to come up and shine light across the yard.
“Why are you up?” Abra asked rubbing her eyes.
“Someone wanted to eat.” She cooed and gave Fay a scratch under her chin. Abra rolled her eyes and sat down behind Jacy. Abra began to braid Jacy’s long dark hair while they watched the sun come up and shine through the forest trees.
“I don’t think the lights in the woods over there are fireflies. I saw them earlier again.” Jacy said to her.
“Maybe we should investigate.” Abra chuckled. She finished Jacy’s hair, and tied it with a small ribbon that was on the window sill.
“I need coffee.” She said going into the kitchen. Jacy looked out the window and watched the mist float away in the light of the sun.
The Merry Broom would be opening in an hour, Jacy and Abra were rushing through the shop to make sure everything was ready. Jacy finished the chalkboard street sign just as Abra brought out a signing bowl and jar of powder. She sat down in the middle of the shop and Jacy joined her. Abra rang the singing bowl and sprinkled some of the powder on the floor.
With these words of blessing and protection
We launch The Merry Broom
May we have success and happiness in this new endeavor
So mote it be
Abra made the bowl sing one more time and they sat holding hands together over the powder. A knock on the front door brought them out of their thoughts. Jacy looked over her shoulder and saw Aria waving to them from the outside. Abra picked the bowl up and put it away while Jacy opened the door.
“I thought I’d check to see if you guys needed any help getting ready. But it looks like you’re all set!” Aria said as she gave Jacy a small hug.
“Yeah, just got done with the finishing touches.” Jacy beamed. Aria walked though and looked around.
“It looks amazing!”
“Thanks! I can’t believe that this is really happening. Abra and I have been dreaming about it since college.”
“It’s going to be great.” Aria said giving Jacy’s arm a squeeze. Abra walked back into the main room and gave Aria a hug.
“What do you think?” Abra asked her as she gestured toward the room.
“It’s amazing! Just what this town needs.” Aria said with a wide smile.
“You think? I was expecting a small town like to maybe have some resistance to a witch shop.” Abra shrugged. Aria laughed and held her hands over heart.
“Honeywick is full of witches. Our little coven isn’t the only one.” She said smiling and shaking her head. Abra and Jacy looked at each other raising their eyebrows.
“Why wasn’t there a store like this before then?” Jacy asked her.
“I don’t know, but I’m glad it’s you two that opened one” Aria said absently. She helped Jacy put the chalkboard sign out on the sidewalk and they said their goodbyes, with promises that Aria would stop in later.
“Abra, I’m starting to wonder if it is Elenore who is doing the things in the house, or if it’s someone else. You heard Aria, there are a lot more witches here than we were aware of.” Jacy said coming back inside.
“But who else would be trying to scare you out of the house?”
“I don’t know, but I think it’s worth keeping an eye out.” Jacy said as she flipped the closed sign over to open.
People were coming in and out all afternoon. Jacy and Abra barely had time to for a break. There was finally a lull in people coming in, when the bell over the door rang. Morgan walked in. Abra smiled at Jacy and nudged her to go over. Jacy walked over to him while he was looking at a display of crystals.
“Hi there.” Jacy sheepishly said.
“Hey, congrats! Everything looks awesome!” Morgan smiled at her. “So, your sign out front says free tarot readings.”
“Yeah, it’s just a promotional thing for the grand opening. I’ve been doing them all day. Are you interesting in one?” Jacy asked with a smirk.
“If you’re the one doing it, yes.” He grinned at her.
“Follow me.” Jacy lead him to a back room where a table was set up with two chairs, there was a small table in the corner with myrrh incense burning in a copper censer. Jacy took a seat on one side of the table and Morgan sat across from her. She picked up the cards that had been on the table and began to shuffle.
“What’s your question?” She asked him.
“Will you have dinner with me tomorrow night?” He smiled and raised his eyebrows at her. Jacy pursed her lips and put the deck on the table and cut it. She put the deck back together and flipped over the card on the top. Morgan leaned over to look at the card.
“What does it mean?” He asked staring at the Temperance card.
“How’s seven o’clock?” Jacy asked looking up and smiling.
“Perfect. I’ll pick you up” He winked at her and stood up to leave. She followed him out of the room and stood next to the counter where Abra was. She waited until he left before squealing.
“What?” Abra asked her excitedly.
“We’re having out first official date tomorrow night!” Jacy squealed again and Abra joined her.
“It’s about time.” Abra joked with her.
A few more people came in before closing time. Abra cleaned up the snacks and drinks they had set out for customers while Jacy swept. They finished cleaning and had everything put away. Jacy locked the front door as they left.
“That was amazing! Now let’s go summon the dead.” Jacy exclaimed and pointed toward home. They walked back to the house, passing children dressed in costumes Trick or Treating. Every house they passed had jack-o-lanterns and decorations. Jacy’s house had the jack-o-lanterns out and a bowl of candy for the Trick or Treaters. Jacy smiled to see that the bowl had only a few pieces taken out. They decided to leave the bowl out all night since they had plans that couldn’t be interrupted. Fay meowed and rubbed Jacy’s legs and letting her know that she wanted food. Jacy went into the kitchen and fed Fay. She then went into the greenhouse and picked some herbs that were still growing. Abra collected candles and took them up into the attic. Jacy grabbed her incense and some sage and headed up to the attic. Abra was arranging the candles and sprinkling salt around them in a circle. Jacy joined in her in the circle and put the bowl of herbs in between them. She lit the herbs with a match and Abra lit the candles. They reached across the circle and held each others hands over the bowl of herbs. Closing their eyes they chanted.
A soft wind blew around them, the candles flicked. Jacy opened her eyes and looked up over Abra’s head. A figure faded in and out, Jacy focused her energy on the figure and the figure manifested. Her grandmother stood before her. Abra slowly opened her eyes and turned around quickly when she saw Jacy looking above her head.
“Oh!” Abra exclaimed.
“Don’t be scared, you asked me to come.” Mildred smiled at the girls.
“Grandma, we need your help.” Mildred nodded her head slowly up and down, signaling that she was listening.
“Elenor Moore, is she the one causing all this trouble?”
“Hmmm Ellie, no.” Mildred replied. Jacy and Abra looked at each other stunned. They were certain it was Elenor.
“Let me show you.” Mildred said raining her arms. Suddenly Jacy was at the top of the staircase, she saw her grandmother coming down from the attic and Rose waiting for her with what looked like a stack of letters.
“The letters” Jacy said, covering her mouth and then realizing that Rose couldn’t hear her. Rose waved the letters at Mildred and Mildred waited for Rose to say something. Rose began shouting, but Jacy couldn’t hear the words being said. She watched as Rose got closer to Mildred and Mildred tried to duck away from her. Mildred pushed passed, Rose grabbed her arm. Mildred tried to fight her off, but being the 100 year old woman she was too weak. Rose pushed her away, Mildred tried to gain her balance but she was too close to the top step of the stairs. Jacy gasped and reflexively reached out to grab her but her hand passed right through and Mildred tumbled down the stairs to her death.
Jacy opened her weeping eyes back in the attic. Abra rushed to her side and engulfed her in a tight hug. Jacy looked up and saw her grandmother fading away.
“Don’t go!” She shouted. Mildred pointed the the direction of the woods and disappeared. Jacy jumped to her feet, and rushed down the stairs out the back door. Abra rushed after her. They ran into the woods. Jacy stopped and let Abra catch up.
“Do you hear it?” Jacy asked
“Yes, the song” Jacy held Abra’s hand as they ran toward the song. As they ran they saw the lights bounce up and down deep in the woods. The song grew louder. They passed the old hunting cabin as they ran.
They stopped at the edge of a clearing. Another circular clearing, just like the one they saw from their hike. They stood in the shadows of the trees. The song stopped.
“What happened?” Abra asked her gasping for her breath.
“Grandma, didn’t fall. Rose pushed her.” Jacy said looking out into the field. She sat down, leaning her back against a tree and began to cry. Abra sat next to her and held her.
“Shhh, do you hear that?” Abra asked looking around them. Jacy lifted her head and stared out into the field. A group of people, wearing robes and carrying dried brush and torches walked out into the field. They laid the brush down on the ground and lit the brush on fire and formed a circle around it. They began to sing.
“The song.” Jacy whispered. Abra shook her head in agreement as they watched. The group stopped singing and one of them came forward in the circle. Holding a chalice, went around to each person as they took a sip. The group murmured words to softly for Jacy and Abra to hear. After everyone had drank, the chalice was poured on the ground and the singing continued. Another came onto the field, carrying what looked like a deer. They entered the circle and laid the deer next to the fire. Taking out a large hunter’s knife from a pocket in their robe, the person bent down and held the knife over the deer as though they were going to stab it.
“Who are these people?” Abra whispered in Jacy’s ear, without looking away.
“I can’t tell who any of them are. The hoods on their robes are blocking view of any faces” Jacy whispered back.
The one holding the knife chanted loudly in a language that Jacy and Abra didn’t understand. The rest of the group bowed their heads and began to repeat the chant. The knife swung down into the side of the deer. Jacy let out a small gasp and quickly covered her mouth with her hands.
The person carved into the deer, pulling organs from the body. Another brought two bowls to the person. The heart of the deer was placed into one and blood drained into the other. The chanting stopped and the person stood. They held up the bowl with the heart and once again chanted in the unknown language. Tossing the heart into the fire, the flames shot up towards the night sky. The fire crackled and danced illuminating a few of the faces. Jacy’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open when she recognized her parents.
“This isn’t real.” She stuttered to Abra.
“Those are my parents.” Jacy replied tilting her head and watching the deer cutter rub blood onto the foreheads of the rest of the group. Jacy stood and walked out into the field.
“Jacy, what are you doing?” Abra clambered after her. Jacy walked toward the group. She moved around them and stood in front of her mother. Her mother looked right through her. Abra quietly came up next to Jacy and grabbed her hand.
“It’s ok, it’s like a vision from the past. They can’t see us.” Jacy squeezed Abra’s hand to reassure her. The person with the bowl came up to her parents, they disrobbed and stood naked. Blood was rubbed on their foreheads and a symbol was written on her mother’s stomach with the blood. Snow started to fall. Jacy looked up and down, inside the circle there was snow on the ground and the sky was full of clouds bright from the moon behind them. Abra looked around in awe. She could see outside the circle was still fall with bright colored trees and dying grass.
The young couple moved forward, Jacy’s mother was helped to the ground and laid down on a wool blanket. Her father kneeled at her feet. Another person came and kneeled at her head.
“Elenore?” Jacy looked at the young woman with dark raven hair.
A figure that Jacy hadn’t noticed before came forward and kneeled at her mother’s side facing the fire. The person by her mother’s side spoke and Jacy knew the voice as her grandmother’s. Jacy moved around to see the it was her grandmother sitting there. A small knife in one hand and diamond sphere in the other. Abra stood next to Jacy still holding tightly to her hand.
“What are they doing?” Abra asked while looking around.
“I think, I think maybe a fertility spell?” Jacy shrugged her shoulders.
Her grandmother spoke louder.
Mildred: Mary Horne, Do you accept what the fire will give to you?
Mary: I do
Mildred: And do you accept what the fire will take from you?
Mary: I do
Mildred: So it shall be
Mildred took the knife and made a small cut into Mary’s stomach. She held the diamond sphere over the cut and began to chant. The fire danced and flames moved like a stream into the sphere bouncing around and down into the cut on Mary’s stomach. Her stomach glowed from the inside and the flames retreated back into the fire. The group huddled around Mary as her father laid down on top of her. The scene faded away, Jacy and Abra were left standing in the middle of an empty field.
“What the fuck was that?” Abra loudly exclaimed.
“Uh, my conception?” Jacy began to laugh and Abra threw arms in the air shaking her head.
Abra started to walk back towards home, Jacy noticed what seemed to be house lights off the other side of the woods.
“Abra, wait! Look!” She yelled. Abra turned around and saw the lights in the near distance.
“Probably another hunting cabin.” Abra shrugged her shoulders. Jacy grabbed her hand and dragged her along to the edge of the field. They found a small trail and followed it. Not far from the field a small cabin stood with smoke coming out of the chimney and lights flickering in the windows. They slowly crept up to one of the windows and peered in. Aria was standing over a table, a dead and gutted rabbit sprawled out on the old wooden table. She was chanting under her breath and dipping her fingers in the rabbit blood, she brought her fingers to her mouth and slowly licked the blood from her fingers. Abra made a gagging sound. A loud cawing came from above them, Jacy looked up and saw a crow sitting and the roof looking down at them. Aria alerted by the noise, moved toward the window. Abra pushed Jacy down and the sat against the wall of the cabin out of sight as much as possible. The window opened.
“What are you making noise about now?” Aria asked the crow. Her voice was deeper than usual, but a voice Jacy had heard before.
“Stupid bird.” Aria muttered and slammed the window closed. Jacy stood and peeked in the window. She squinted at Aria’s neck line, she was wearing a thin gold chain with an onyx pendant, one she knew are her mother’s. The one she was wearing when the car crash happened.
“How?” Jacy said under her breath. She shook her head and looked over at Abra, who was watching a small rabbit hop out into the field. She turned around and looked in the window with Jacy. Aria held the rabbit’s lifeless body over a bowl and drained the blood into the bowl. She put in some herbs that were laying on the table, mixing it with her index finger. She drank the bowl. Abra bent over vomiting, Jacy hushed her and Abra reached her hand up to give Jacy the finger.
“Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go.” Jacy whispered. Abra stood to catch her composure, the cawing started up again, and they ran.
They reached the greenhouse and sat down on the stone bench.
“What was that?” Abra angrily asked.
“I don’t know. I think I’m going to call Ezra.” Jacy said, standing up. Fay walked in meowing and rubbing against Jacy’s legs.
“Yes, first food.” She said as she bent down to pick up the chubby calico. Abra followed them into the kitchen and pulled down a bottle of wine along with a couple of glasses. Jacy opened a can of cat food while Abra opened the wine. Fay dug into the bowl and they sat down at the breakfast nook.
“She was wearing a necklace that looked just like one my mother had.” Jacy said looking out the window.
“Well, not all necklaces are one of a kind.” Abra shrugged and took a gulp of wine.
“So in the field, whatever that was. There was a book sitting on the ground next to my grandma. I didn’t see it with the other books in the attic. It must be around her somewhere though, right?” Jacy asked, her eyes wide with thought.
“Maybe, I think we should just sleep tonight though.” Abra said.
“We should probably make sure the attic isn’t on fire as well, I think we left all the candles burning.” Jacy giggled. Abra followed Jacy up to the attic. The candles had burned down and were out.
“Let’s clean up tomorrow.” Jacy said turning around and heading back down the stairs. They went into Jacy’s room. Abra brought the wine bottle with her and set it on the dresser. The sat on the bed, exhausted and not sure if they would be able to sleep. Fay came into the room and jumped on the bed between them. The sat in silence sipping the wine until the bottle was gone. They fell asleep atop the covers, still in the dresses they found and with all their halloween makeup. Mildred stood at the bottom of the bed, watching the two friends dream.