Chapter 2. A
Cameron's beautiful face lingered in my mind during my sleep. I
could see him as clearly as though he were standing in front of
me, his curly hair brown as chocolate. I watched as his
glistening blue eyes watered - he was crying. Immediately my
dream turned into a nightmare. I yelled at him, wanting him to
recognise me right in front of him, only he couldn't see me. He
was holding a cup of coffee, which he handed to my father,
suddenly standing next to him. My father looked at the coffee,
then put it down and turned his back to me. I yelled louder, but
still nobody heard me. I watched my father and Cameron,
wordlessly comforting each other with their eyes. Then I saw
Joseph. He walked in front of them solemnly. He was there in
body, but his eyes were distant. They lacked their usual light
and glitter, replaced with a dead grey. I called to him, longed
to hug him, but I got no response. I ran to him, reaching out -
"Miss? Excuse me, Miss? We're here." A raspy voice woke me. I
opened my eyes reluctantly and looked out my window. I could
barely remember the plane trip - couldn't register how I made the
transitions from taxi to plane to taxi again. And yet, as the
driver pointed out, I had arrived. Melbourne. I payed the driver
then stepped out of the car. I didn't hear him disappear down the
I looked around slowly, trying to take in all my surroundings. I
could see the night sky lit up with lights of every colour, sky
risers leaning upwards. The streets were crowded with cafés,
restaurants and shops. I could see millions of people walking
swiftly, talking and laughing amongst one another. I sat down
where I was and pulled out my map. I was aware of noise - lots of
it. I could hear cars speeding down the roads. Music, presumably
coming from the many cafés or perhaps one of the little shops. I
sat on the side of the street, hood of my jacket pulled over my
head. I was hot - it was summer - and nonetheless I felt the need
to cover myself up. I watched for a while, observed everyone
around me hurrying to their destinations and noticed how they all
avoided my eyes. I realised that to them I probably looked like
just another street kid. I felt a shiver down my spine when I
realised that I could no longer call myself a human. I watched a
couple sitting on a patch of grass near a long river, which my
map named as the Yarra. I watched them cuddle and laugh together
in perfect harmony. That, however, reminded me of Cameron, and I
studied the map harder just as a tear trickled down my cheek.
The time on my small silver watch read 11 o' clock by the time I
reached Federation Square. I was never any good at reading maps
and that night was no exception. I looked around me at all the
tables and chairs at the little restaurants and wondered what to
do next. I ended up sitting down at a bench overlooking the
river. It wasn't long before I felt a slight increase in weight
on the bench. I turned to my side and saw a young boy sitting
there. He looked a little older than me, maybe eighteen or
nineteen. Immediately I turned away, eager to avoid any
unnecessary communication until I got to my mother. Everything
felt so strange since the transition from human to witch, like I
was seeing the world and executing actions through someone else's
body. My wishes for solitude went to waste, though, when the
human next to me spoke.
"Pretty, isn't it?" He murmured, gesturing to the river. I
followed the path of his hand, onto the river where the
reflections of the city were dancing on the surface of the water.
I shrugged, trying to hint at the fact that I wasn't up for any
sort of interaction. This didn't stop him.
"So where are you from?" He asked me, eyes on the map sitting in
my lap. I sighed and smoothed my torn jeans.
"Queensland." I stated. I looked at him. His dark hair fell
unevenly over his eyes, matching his dark eyes. He smiled at me,
revealing uneven teeth.
"Me too. I moved here two years ago." He told me. I nodded,
avoiding his eyes and wishing my mother had provided me with
easier to read directions to where she wanted me.
"You need some help?" He offered. I briefly considered saying no
and walking away, and then remembered I had nothing to lose.
"Yeah, kind of." I replied, handing over my map, "I need to get
to there." I pointed at the red circle on the crinkled paper. My
"I can take you there." He suggested, "I'm actually headed over
there anyway." I thought for a moment before answering. I had
always been taught about stranger danger, and times exactly like
these. I knew that no was the appropriate answer. I also knew
that I had no other choice. I nodded at him.
"That would be great." I said, my voice distant as I began to
fall back into that state between asleep and awake.
In the car, the man introduced himself as Jarrod. He told me that
he lived not far from where I was going, and that he attended the
local high school - turned out he was seventeen. I nodded
throughout his whole self introduction, not really listening and
just grateful that I had found a way reach my destination. I
wondered why my mother had instructed me to only take the taxi to
the city, not all the way. I realised as I ran my fingers along
the black leather seats of Jarrod's car that I couldn't let
Jarrod drop me off right at the location, I had to keep the
secret better than that. So I interrupted Jarrod mid sentence
when he was saying something about his father being a builder and
"Just drop me off somewhere close, please." I noticed his
surprised expression, but he only nodded. I wondered if he was
simply surprised that I had broken my half hour silence only to
tell him I didn't want to be dropped off right at the street
instructed. If so, he kept it to himself anyway. In fact, he
didn't speak again after that, and I was grateful to only listen
to the radio as I watched the city skyline fading slowly into the
background as Jarrod drove further and further away.
I realised that just like in the taxi, I was asleep by the time
we arrived five minutes away from the spot marked on my map. I
had been in the same nightmare as before, screaming and yelling
at Joseph, Cameron and my father only to receive blank stares.
Jarrod said goodbye before driving away and I waved limply after
him. I headed down the street he had told me to, my heart
thumping in my chest.
I turned down the street that was supposedly home to my mother
with my stomach churning. I suddenly felt the need to throw up
with nerves. I hadn't seen her in years . . . I didn't know what
she looked like anymore, or if she had changed. I didn't even
know if she would still be waiting for me like her letter had
promised, or if she had given up long ago. I hurried towards the
end of the road, my legs feeling like led.
I couldn't see well through the darkness, but I could see that
there were only two actual houses on the street. Everything else
was just forest. I wondered whether one of the houses was my
mothers, but in a tiny scrawl on the top of the map she had
indicated that I was to go all the way to the very end of the
road - where there were no houses. I moved onwards, finally
standing in front of the forest. I took in the fact that there
was no house within sight of where mum had pointed me, much less
my mother herself. I then burst into fast, uncontrollable tears,
leaning down against a huge rock. Of course there was no-one
there. I had been only ten when my mother left me the letter -
six years ago. Anything could have happened since then. I had
thought that perhaps I wouldn't have had to deal with everything
I was going to go through on my own, that there would be just one
other person out there who understood, who could help me. I
didn't know what was going to happen or what to expect. My future
was like a huge black hole, and I was just waiting to fall into
it. I lay against that rock for hours, shaking in time with my
I opened my eyes and looked around at 6 o' clock in the morning
the next day. I stretched and slid off the rock I'd fallen asleep
on. I was amazed that I had managed to sleep fairly well despite
the fact I was sleeping on a rock. I looked around as the
memories from the night before slowly flooded back to me. I
glanced into the forest ahead of me and wondered what I was to do
next. I was just considering moving forwards into the forest when
something caught the corner of my eye. I turned to see a dark
silhouette leaning against one of the largest trees. I
instinctively backed away. The silhouette moved closer towards
me, darkened by the shade of the trees around it. I fled into the
sunlight closest to the road. I then turned, preparing to run.
"Ruby?" The voice caught me by surprise. It was cautious,
sounding as scared as I felt. Reluctantly, I turned, just as the
silhouette moved into the sunlight with me. I scanned over the
beautiful, pale face and the straight, golden hair. I squinted at
the unmistakable brown eyes, identical to my own.
"Mum?" I replied, warily. I took a step closer to the beautiful
woman and watched as her face contorted into a smile. I mirrored
"Ruby!" My mother exclaimed, arms spread wide. I forgot that I
should have been angry that she left me, Joseph and my father.
Instead, a warm tear trickled down my cheek and I ran into her
arms. We stood like that for a long time, simply enjoying the
feel of knowing one another were close. Then mum pulled back.
"Ruby, follow me." She half whispered. I nodded and walked after
her through the forest.
After walking for around fifteen minutes, we came to a small
clearing. It was beautiful and green, dew dripping off the grass
and trees around it standing over like a shelter. There, right in
the middle of the clearing was a house. It wasn't large, but it
wasn't tiny. It was as big as it could be whilst staying hidden.
And it was beautiful. It was brick, with a small balcony at the
front. On the balcony was a chair and a tiny circular table,
where a book lay open. I smiled. It was perfect. I glanced up at
my mother's clear face, to find her staring at me.
"It's been so long." She whispered. Then she took my hand and led
me through the house, into the lounge room.
I was surprised at all the furniture, and how homely the place
looked. Mum explained that she had friends who worked in a home
ware shop, and that they helped her out wherever they could. She
met my blank stare at the word 'friends' with a simple
"They are the same as us." I nodded. I knew what she meant and I
didn't want to think about that just yet. My mother seemed to
sense that, and changed the subject.
"How's Jarrod?" She whispered. I looked away from her, not
wanting her to see me get emotional again and worry about me.
"He's well. Angry at me though." I smiled half heartedly at her.
"And your father?" She continued, "Is he well?" she leaned in
towards me and I could see the concern in her eyes.
"Yes, he is." I answered her. My mother looked relieved. I told
her what I had told my father and Jarrod. I left out everything
about Cameron - mum didn't know I'd had a boyfriend, and it would
have only added more explaining to the mental pile of things we
needed to sort through.
"Los Angeles." She repeated when I was done, "you really thought
it out." She flicked a blonde strand of hair out of her eyes. I
"It was hard." I admitted. Mum nodded. She understood. I watched
her lean against the blue fabric of the lounge we sat on. I
almost smiled at how mismatched the whole lounge room looked.
There was a blue lounge; a red chair and a white leather chair,
all huddled around the plasma T.V. I gestured towards it.
"I see you've done well for yourself." I stated, smiling
slightly. Mum grinned.
"Yes. Money is an upside to being a witch." I marvelled at the
way she didn't even flinch when she spoke the word. I couldn't
even form it on my tongue, let alone use it. I watched mum's eyes
"Speaking of which," she started, "we have a lot to talk about
now that the matter of how you got here is sorted." I cringed.
The part I'd been avoiding.
"When did you find out? What happened?" She asked me. I was
reluctant to answer - this story involved some mention of
Cameron, so I skipped over it.
"Mum, it's confusing," I confessed, "Everything feels so new. I
don't know what to expect or how to act anymore. In fact, I don't
think I'm ready to talk about that just yet." I moved my eyes
downwards. Mum placed a hand on my shoulder in a gesture of
"You will get used to it. Interacting with humans gets easy
again, eventually it feels natural." I nodded and shrugged her
hand off my shoulder.
My mother showed me around the house after our conversation,
insisting that I might get lost if she didn't. The tour ended at
my new bedroom. I was shocked when I opened the door to find a
bed, desk, computer, chair and wardrobe. My mother looked
"I had a feeling you would come eventually." She murmured. I
stepped into the cosy room. I noticed that up by the window above
the desk, mum had hung a painting I had done when I was only six.
I felt touched that she had kept it all these years. My mother
hovered in the doorway whilst I looked around. I felt the blue
duvet that was thrown over my bed, and was suddenly reminded of
how tired I actually was. The only sleep I had gotten the night
before was in the taxi, Jarrod's car and on the large rock
outside the forest. I yawned in response to my thoughts. Mum came
over and placed a hand on my back.
"Get some sleep. We can talk tomorrow." She advised me in that
soft voice of hers. As I lay in bed I thought about how long it
had been since I had slept in the same house as her. Too long, I