Jacy woke with Fay’s tail brushing her face. Fay was facing the end of the bed, switching her tail back and forth.
“What time is it?” Jacy asked herself. She dug into one of the pockets on the dress and found her phone. It was 7am, she had a deep dreamless sleep that seemed to pass much longer. Abra was still sleeping, the wine glass, empty in her hand. Jacy took the wine glass, and found the other on the floor. She went down to the kitchen and put coffee on. Remembering she was going to call Ezra, she poured a cup of coffee and sat down in the dining room. She took a sip of the hot coffee, and pressed call on Ezra’s number. A very groggy voice answered.
“Sorry if I woke you.”
“It’s ok. What’s up Miss Jacy?”
“I was wondering if we could maybe get coffee later, you me and Abra. I have some things I want to talk about.”
“Yeah of course.” They arranged a time to meet, and Jacy sat back in the dining room chair, holding the hot coffee close. It was colder in the house than usual.
“Why is it so cold?” Abra asked sitting down at the table with a cup of coffee and sweater wrapped around her.
“You look how I feel.” Jacy said, giggling at Abra curls plastered to one side of her head and makeup smeared under her eyes.
“Have you looked in a mirror?” Abra retorted. They both giggled. Abra took a sip of the coffee and reacting the heat.
“So what’s first?” She asked Jacy
“I think first we need to figure out how to get Rose to confess. Which means for now, we act like everything is normal.” Jacy raised her eyebrows.
“I’m sure there’s a spell for that. But can we take care of the heat first? The furnace light must have gone out or something.” Abra said giving an exaggerated shiver.
Jacy nodded her head. “Old house.” She said with a giggle. Jacy got up and gave Abra’s shoulder a squeeze as she headed to the basement. She turned the light on at the top of the stairs and walked down. She turned the lights on, it was so cold in the basement she could see her breath. She checked the furnace, took a long match and relit it. The loud click of the heat turning made her jump. And Abra shouted thank you from the dining room. Jacy smiled and shocked her head.
“Well that feels better already.” Jacy said sitting back down at the table.
“So we’re meeting Ezra at 10 at the coffee shop.” Jacy took a sip of her coffee.
“Ok, I’m going to go shower.” Abra got up from the table, leaving her coffee cup in its place. Jacy quickly went to the breakfast and grabbed her cards from the window sill where she had been keeping them. She shuffled her deck and pulled three cards like she always did. The Moon, the Six of Cups and the Two of Swords. She reflected on the cards and thought to herself that they made sense with the situation at hand. Fay came in and jumped onto her lap, purring and cuddling into a comfortable position. She left the cards on the table, petting Fay she finished her coffee.
Abra emerged at the door to the dining room, in her purple robe and hair wrapped in a towel. She sat back down and gulped her now cold coffee. She moved over next to Jacy to look at the cards laid out on the table.
“Huh, makes sense I suppose.” She said to Jacy before taking another gulp of her coffee.
“I thought so.”
“Go shower.” Abra said nudging Jacy’s shoulder. Jacy smiled and moved Fay over to Abra’s lap.
Jacy felt much better after her warm shower. She sat on the bed, still in her towel, and just looked around the room that was once her grandmother’s.
“Where did you hide that book?” She said to herself under her breath. She felt a soft breeze blow on her bare shoulders. She closed her eyes. She felt the soft breeze again and turned toward where it was coming from. The painting above the bed. Staring at the picture for anything that might be a clue. It was a painting of a lavender field, the perfect picture to have hanging above your bed. She tilted her head, stood up on the bed and took the painting down. There was a shelf behind the painting, On the shelf sat three books and a jar of what appeared to be dirt. She pulled the books off the shelf, the one she saw in the vision of the past was on the bottom. She put the other two back and hung the painting back in place. After she was dressed, she hurried down the stairs to find Abra. Abra was dressed and having another cup of coffee at the island in the kitchen.
“I found the book!” Jacy yelled.
“Really?” Abra perked up at the announcement. Jacy handed it over to her and she examined it in her hands.
“Let’s bring it with us.” Abra said handing it back to Jacy. She put it in her satchel bag that she used as her purse. They had a little bit before they were suppose to meet Ezra, they decided to go clean up the attic before going.
“I don’t remember this being such a mess.” Abra said walking into the attic. Jacy shook her head and looked around. They began picking up the candles, herbs and broken glass that were spread around the whole attic.
“I think something happened after we checked on them last night.” Jacy said sweeping up some herbs. “It wasn’t like this when we came up to make sure the candles were out.” Abra nodded and picked up some broken glass next to their window.
“We were probably sleeping. I never want to run through that forest again.” Abra muttered to herself. Jacy looked around the room and noticed that the small window in the attic was open. A black feather sat on the window sill. She picked the feather up and shook it at Abra.
“It was probably that crow from the cabin.” Jacy said letting the feather fall out of the window to the ground. A little chime went off on Jacy’s phone letting her know it was almost time to meet with Ezra. She tilted her head toward the door and Abra followed her downstairs. It was sunny, but there was still frost on the ground.
“Might be an early winter.” Abra said absently glancing at the sparkling grass. Even with the chilly air they still decided to walk into town.
Getting into downtown they noticed that most of the shops were closed. A soft mist was just dissipating from the streets. The coffee shop was empty except for an older man reading a newspaper. They ordered their coffees and sat down on the couch by the faux fireplace.
“Where is everyone?” Abra whispered. Jacy just shrugged. The bell over the door jangled and Ezra walked in. Jacy waved to him, he nodded back and went to order a coffee. He sat down in the chair across from the couch, crossing his legs and removing his sunglasses in a single move.
“Good morning ladies. I take it you had a nice night?” He said before taking a long drink of his coffee.
“That’s one way to put it.” Abra chuckled, giving Jacy a glare. “Where is everyone? It’s like a ghost town today.” She finished.
“It always is the day after Halloween.” Ezra said mocking a spooky voice.
“But why?” Jacy asked her brows furrowed.
“Mostly old superstitions.” He shrugged. He removed his gray scarf and folded it next to him on the chair. “So I hope you have a good explanation for not joining the party last night.” He teased.
“I’m so sorry, we completely forgot. It was suppose to be a simple spell, and it took us on a crazy night. I don’t even know what time we got home.” Jacy said rubbing her forehead. Ezra looked back and forth between the two women, who still after their showers appeared exhausted.
“Tell me…everything.” Ezra leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees and fisted hands under his chin. They told him everything, Jacy stopped Abra before they told him about the cabin.
“This sphere, do you have it?” He asked. Jacy was taken aback at his first question.
“No.” She lied. And decided not to tell him about the book. He examined her a little longer and then nodded his head, taking another drink from his coffee.
“I think this conversation could have used something stronger than coffee.” He remarked.
“That’s probably true. So, does the coven practice blood magic?” Jacy asked him, raising her eyebrows while taking a drink from her cup. He tilted his head, his eyes darted between them.
“The coven? No. What each witch does in their own time, I can’t say.” He replied.
“Do you?” Abra blurted out.
“No, the sight of blood makes me queasy.” He said with a dramatic flutter of his shoulders.
“How long has Aria been in the coven?” Jacy asked him.
“Maybe just a few months longer than you. She joined right around the time that Millie died.”
“What took so long? she had been here for a couple years hadn’t she? You found Jacy right away.” Abra asked.
“After Anthony died, the owner of Carina’s, she just showed up out of the blue. No one even knew that Anthony and Carina had children, let alone grandchildren. It was just strange. It took some time for people around here to trust someone they didn’t know and had never heard of.” He let out a long sigh and shook his head.
“Was she at the party last night?” Jacy asked.
“She made an appearance and left early.” He answered. Jacy started to tell him about what happened at the cabin, but before she could get into the details, Elsie and Lilly walked in. They waved and came to sit down with them after order their drinks.
“Hey, what happened to you guys last night?” Elise asked them.
“Oh, we got caught up in a spell at home.” Jacy replied and smiled.
“I understand that, well tomorrow is the new moon, so you two better come and witch it up with us.” Elsie laughed.
“Promise.” Abra said. They all sat together and chatted for a bit longer until it was time to leave and open The Merry Broom. Jacy and Abra headed down the street to their shop.
“That was weird right? The way he immediately asked about the sphere?” Abra asked as she unlocked the door.
“I thought so, that’s why I lied.” Jacy shrugged and turned the lights on walking into the shop.
The shop was slow, but with the downtown being almost empty, they weren’t surprised. They decided to close early when Jacy remembered she had a date that night with Morgan. Getting home they smelled something coming from the kitchen. Rose was cooking meatloaf and joyfully wiping the counters.
Jacy nudged Abra with her elbow. “Remember, normal.” She whispered. Abra nodded and greeted Rose asking if there was anything she could help with. Jacy went upstairs to change. She locked the door to the bedroom and took the sphere out of the box where she had placed it. She took the painting down and found a small wooden pedestal being the jar of dirt. She placed the sphere on the pedestal and made a tight smile when she realized that was where it was suppose to be. She put the painting back and get dressed.
Abra and Rose were laughing in the kitchen when Jacy came down. She smiled and did a twirl to show off her black skater dress. Abra clapped her hands excitedly.
“I’m off, you girls be good” She said waving to Abra and Rose as she twirled again and left. Morgan was just about to knock on the door when Jacy opened it. They both laughed.
“I thought we’d go to Merribrook for dinnner. More options.” He said winking at her.
“That’s perfect.” She smiled and looked out the window, watching the moon reflect on the river as they drove over the bridge. They drove into the lit up town, compared to Honeywick it was like an actual city. Jacy watched the lights go by while they made talk.
“Ah there.” Ezra said as he parked the car next to a curb.
“Oh I love French cuisine. How did you know?” Jacy teased him when she saw the sign hanging about a staircase. He shrugged his shoulders and offered his arm for her to hold. He opened the door for him and they were greeted by a short man in tux.
“Reservation for Penwater.” Ezra told the man. The host led them to their table and offered them both menus and a wine list before telling them the evening specials. The host went back to his station at the front door, and the waiter came to take their drink orders. Ezra ordered a bottle of merlot.
“Did you do anything fun for Halloween?” Jacy asked him
“Not really, I had to cover a shift at the ER, Halloween is always a busy night.” He smiled and took a small drink of his water. The waiter returned to take their orders. Jacy ordered the sole meunière and Morgan ordered one of the specials, lapin au vin.
“My French is a little rusty, what is lapin au vin?” Jacy asked him.
“Rabbit stew made with wine.” Morgan absently replied. Jacy took a deep breath, suddenly feeling flush. She looked around the restaurant and watched as each customer’s meal turned into the dead rabbit from the cabin. Their wine glasses filled with blood. She watched a man cut into the hair with a steak knife and take a bite of the raw meat from his fork. Blood trickled down the man’s stubbled chin.
“Jacy, Jacy…are you ok?” Morgan looked at her curiously. Jacy shook her head and returned her gaze back to Morgan.
“Yeah, excuse me. Bathroom.” She replied while taking a deep breath. Looking around for the bathroom, everything looked normal again. She leaned her hands against the sink and looked in the mirror. “It’s just nerves.” She said to her reflection. She washed her hands and returned to the table.
“Are you sure you’re ok, you kinda spaced out there.” Morgan asked her, reaching his hand across the table to touch hers.
“Yeah, probably just a little from all the fun last night.” She smiled and took a drink of her wine.
They pulled up in front of Jacy’s house. The lights in the living room were on. The pumpkins still sat on the door steps.
“Thank you for dinner, I had a good time.” Jacy said smiling at him from the passenger seat.
“Me too. Can we do it again sometime?” He asked.
“Yes, defiantly.” Jacy smiled, unbuckled and reached herself over to give him a quick kiss. Their lips touched. Jacy was watching her house go up in flames. A figure appeared in the window. Morgan, trapped in the burning house. She quickly pulled away, touching her lips with her fingertips.
“Are you ok?” He asked her. She forced a smile and said goodnight.
She rushed into the house, slamming and locking the door behind her. Abra came around the corner from the living room, she was in her robe with a book in her hand.
“Hey, are you ok? How did it go?” She asked, and reach out to touch Jacy’s arm. Jacy hung her coat up and kicked her shoes off, and collapsed onto the couch.
“Well, first I had a hallucination or something in the restaurant, then just now when we kissed, a vision of him burning in my house.” She threw her arms in the air.
“So, good then?” Abra said pursing her lips. Jacy tossed a throw pillow at her.
Rose was in the kitchen making coffee and breakfast when Jacy woke up.
“Good morning, you’re here early.” Jacy said grabbing a cup from the cupboard.
“Had trouble sleeping, I figured I’d stop by and make sure you girls had more for breakfast than coffee.” Rose teased.
“Well, thank you.” She smiled at Rose, and went to sit at the breakfast nook. She looked out the window and saw more frost covering the ground.
“Is the start of November usually this cold?” She asked blowing on the hot coffee.
“No, the frost normally doesn’t start until around Thanksgiving.” Rose said placing a plate of toast and an omelette in front of Jacy.
“Thank you. Rose, you know you don’t have to do all this?” Jacy said before taking a bite from the toast.
“I know, it’s just taking care of this house is all I’ve ever known. My mother came to work for your grandma when I was still young. I basically grew up in this house.” She let out a sigh. Jacy nodded and cut into the omelette with her fork. Abra came into the kitchen stretching her arms over her head and yawning.
“Oh good, coffee.” She poured herself a cup and joined Jacy.
The sun had just set when Jacy and Abra left the house. They stopped at the store to pick up a bottle for the evening with the coven. They were meeting at Chase’s. Chase lived on a farm just outside of town. They pulled onto the dirt drive way and saw the flickering of a bonfire out behind the main house. Jacy parked the car by the front of the house and they walked around back. Elsie, Ezra and Chase were sitting at the patio table talking and laughing.
“Ah there they are!” Chase said when he saw them walking up. He took the bottle of wine from Jacy and gave Abra a gentle kiss on the cheek. Abra and Chase had been dating for a couple months now, but Abra wasn’t ready to call it official. Jacy leaned her hand on the back of Ezra’s chair.
“Where’s Liam and Aria?” She asked.
“Liam is finishing up grading papers, he’ll join us later. And I haven’t heard from Aria since Halloween.” Ezra said reaching for the bottle of wine.
“I haven’t heard from her either.” Elsie sat back in the chair and checked her phone to see if Aria had responded to her texts. “Yeah, nothing.” She held her phone up quickly to show them.
“I’m sure she’s fine.” Chase said, pulling a chair out for Abra to sit. The bonfire crackled in the silence. Elsie excused herself and went into the house. She returned with a large platter, filled with cheese, fruit, freshly baked bread. She placed the platter on the table next to a jar of salt and bowl of ground herbs.
“Shall we begin?” He looked at around at everyone with his eyebrows raised. They all nodded. He took the jar of salt and walked toward the bonfire. Elsie took the bowl. Jacy took Abra’s hand and they followed behind Elsie and Chase. Ezra motioned for them to stand around the fire, he walked behind them and made a circle of salt around them.
The circle is cast.
He set the jar down by his feet and reached his hands out to his sides, signaling them to join hands. The began to move clockwise, walking around the circle, it reminded Jacy of “ring around the rosy”. They stopped and lifted their hands up to toward the sky.
Spirits of the East
Bring us new beginnings
Spirts of the South
Warmth and light
Bring us joy and bounty
Spirts of the West
Oceans, mountains and deserts
Bring us the security of the ground beneath our feet
Spirits of the North
Winds and polestar
Show us vision and wisdom
Elsie picked the bowl up and tossed some herbs into the fire and then pasted the bowl. They each threw some of the herbs into the fire. The fire sparkled and shot up higher. Reaching over their heads now. Jacy could feel the heat on her face. The fire died back down, they released each other’s hands. Ezra spoke again.
We thank you
The circle is now open, but never broken
They walked back to the patio where Liam was standing, he pulled his hands from his pockets and reached his arms out.
“That was beautiful!” He exclaimed and brought everyone together for a group hug. They all sat around the table, ate, ate drank and laughed the rest of the night.