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Bewitched by Bones

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Arkadia Adams, troubled and testy teen, must defeat the darkness in the past before it destroys her future.

Submitted: May 11, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 11, 2018




Bet your broomstick they’d better beware. Better they stop judging me or I’ll start cursing into his diamond studded coffin.

Seriously, dead Uncle Shamus doesn’t deserve his funeral. Let alone on my sixteenth birthday when I should be partying instead of standing over him. My rage, slicing up my esophagus, fuels the taste on my tongue. Bitter. A disgusting bite of Brussels sprouts to match Aunt Elektra’s embalming parlor — a large chamber bedazzled with crystals hung from the ceiling. Lacy drapes, drawn over the pentagram etched windows, ward off nosey pedestrians while the beaded doors on either side of his casket conceal the stairs leading to Elektra’s deceased clients. Not that I’m interested in her work. I’m itching to ditch this ceremony and this stanky stench. A noxious concoction of blue cheese and crotch rot infused with the wax of a thousand burning candles. Glowing on the dark walls, the flames create stick-figure shadows of my mom’s Wiccan relatives. Old and pruny, dozens of them wait behind me worshiping Shamus. Deceitful prick. Clothed in a hero’s robe no less. Hero my ass!

I wanna strangle him. Rip his sewn smile from his smug mouth. Shake his cold corpse until his bones crack. Until he crumbles to the blood colored carpet. Until my family finally acknowledges the atrocity he committed. It’s why I began it in the first place.

“Turn’s over.” My step-monster, Madea, elbows me. “Step aside.”

“Don’t touch me.”

She tsks. “Show some respect. Bad enough you wore white. And a mini skirt at that. This isn’t one of your ecstasy raves.”

“Screw you. You’re no expert on fun.” I scrutinize Madea’s hoggish nose, wrinkled and blotched by that big blistery wart. Ever heard of laser surgery? Blitz it off bitch along with your shitty personality. “Take your Xanax and get outta my life.”

“That’s your job.” She blurts.

“Ladies, ladies.” Father points a bony finger behind us to the red velvet chairs arranged in rows and separated by an aisle. “Sit or leave.”

“Ah. Think I’ll go with the second option.” I stalk down the aisle littered with dried up rose petals identical to chunks of charcoal. Perfect for a barbecue. Cozy. Let’s sing Kumabaya and roast marshmallows while we’re at it.

I saunter to the rear of the parlor where Aunt Elektra and another of my aunts gossip. Elektra hunches lower in her chair, her onyx amulet glowing bright beneath her blouse. Wise choice. I’d want a protection amulet too if I’d worked on evil Uncle Shamus’ corpse. Or any corpse for that matter.

“Keep moving.” Elektra bares her lip-stick stained teeth.

“Rebel girl.” My other aunt raises her overgrown brows. “Little sass could use a lesson or two.”

“Agreed.” Elektra scans my outfit then snorts. “Glad your mom’s not here to witness you in this state.”

“F-U.” I scream. The entire room silences. “How ‘bout I tear your lips off.” I spit on Elektra’s extra-wide loafers.

She snorts again.

I stomp. “Mention my mom again and you’ll be the one in a coffin.”

“Arkadia!” Father storms for me, that silver streak in his hair highlighted under the candles. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Save your worries.” I hold my hand up. “Not like you listen to me anyway.” I squint in Madea’s direction.

She glares. “Ignore her attention seeking behavior, Athan.”

“Yeah.” One of my cousins mimics in a whiny voice. “Go home skanky slut.”

I ball my fists ready to punch her.

“Call the cops.” Another of my cousins says. “Check her for crabs. Or crack.”

“Shush.” Madea side glances them while she motions father back.

He obeys. No surprise there. Any relationship he and I used to have she’s warped to her advantage. She’s coiled him round her excessively long fingernails, eggplant hued and hideous same as her.

“I’m done with you. Done with this!” I blam the door open then tread the the few stairs into the humid Georgian air.

Night arrives faster than the cicadas, chirping in those rose bushes below. A few hop to the sidewalk where I roam and glance overhead at millions of stars. Shining in the sky like pieces of a shimmering puzzle, the stars outline the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Orion. Constellations, my lovelies, they offer me a fragment of stability. When my heart stays cracked in my chest, least I know the stars won’t leave me. Won’t betray me.

I approach two twisted maples, their barren limbs swaying over a bunch of bums seated on that curb, the street before them jammed with traffic.

 “Looksie here, fine girl.” One bum rises, repositioning his packsack on his shoulder. He waggles a paper bag wrapped bottle. “Be a dear and refill me.”

“Refill yourself.” I swerve right then zig-zag between cars parked in the grass. My skirt pocket buzzes. Great. More rude peeps ruin my star-gazing moment. I retrieve my phone and spy a text from my boy-toy, Ajax.

“CU46. My bed or yours?”

I swipe the screen, tapping out an answer.

“LH6. Our special place. CU soon.”

A hot bounce’ll be a real reliever. Me on top, smashing him dominatrix style. Too bad he’s against no strings attached. He’s too close. Five months too clingy. Time to cut that carrot and nab another flavor. Besides, no boy can fill me with what I crave.

I wander into the woods behind Elektra’s parlor and along a winding path. Lined by bird-foot violets, I bend and pluck a handful, savoring the scent. Lavenderish. My fav. Swarming into my nostrils, the scent calms me. An aphrodisiac combined with the owls hooting in the tree-tops, the squirrels chattering inside fallen logs, and the moon ascending. Yellow and full, the moon twinkles through the canopy of budding branches then gleams on the trail I follow. I enter a small clearing, crammed with over seventy-five graves, a few shiny and freshly dug. Others are cracked, caked with moss and date to the year eighteen-fifty-nine. My family’s cemetery. My ancestors. Many of whom my mother described, specifically the one in the grave I advance toward. The one with the cracked headstone and smudged writing.

Rest In Peace. Dimora Adams— my great, great grandmother. According to legend, she practiced magic during the Civil War. She shrouded numerous slaves in an invisibility spell and led them through the Underground Railroad. Apparently, I most resemble Dimora. Particularly my ebony eyes. Set farther apart than most people’s, they mirror those black apples stamped to my iPhone and in father’s opinion mark me as a demonic witch. Great compliment. Don’t ya think?

Evidence that he hates me. My mother? Well. I never got a chance to hear her view of me. A decade’s gone by without her. Without father ever reminiscing the fleeting moments when she rocked me to sleep. When she kissed my cheek. When she left my room and every time I called for her to return so I could have one more hug, one more story. She told me of warlocks and witches who saved entire villages from beasts lurking in the wilds of Savannah. Once I watched her paint one of those beasts on a canvas. A Yetiklops is what she called it. Father incinerated the painting cause he didn’t want me obsessing over it. He didn’t want me talking of her or looking at her pictures. Cruel beyond words. Her memory aches in my gut, burning like acid poured down my swollen throat.

I shudder in a breath and hold it beside her angel sculptured tomb. Hair carved from marble, wings spread out. Her arms stretch in my direction as if she might flap from the gravestone and reach me. Hug me. Comfort me. Feet to feet. Finger to finger as we did in yesteryears.

“Mama.” I slide my hand over the cool marble. Over her death date. Over each letter of her name. F-I-O-N-A“Give me a sign you’re here.” I press one of the tender petals in my palm then settle the rest of the violets before her grave.

“Pretty flowers you got there.” A man slurs. I jump.

I slowly turn to that drunkard with the paper wrapped bottle. A vinegary smell wafts off him, intensifying my pangs of longing. I salivate once he reaches inside his tattered jacket and removes a bag of powder I clearly recognize. My saving grace over the past year.

He dangles it before me. “Care for some?”

“Would I ever.” I lick my lips.

Three months in rehab might’ve erased my withdrawal symptoms. Definitely not my desire. My lungs beg to smoke it. Even tho I shouldn’t. Even tho they spent thousands on my treatment. Truth is I don’t care. Nor do I consider right and wrong different anymore. Choices are choices. That’s it.

I hand the man two hundreds.

“Benny. My dude. Come to papa.” He sniffs the bills. Smiling, he removes a glass cup and a lighter from his pack. “Your snazzy tip gets you these.” He positions the cup atop the grass then pours the powder in and lights it.

I lean over, hungrily chasing the dragon fumes, inhaling deeply as the drug passes into my nose. Into my chest. An escape from the awful. From the way she died. From the way Uncle Shamus hexed her. From the times father claimed I was fibbing. Fib this frickers! Watch my tears fade to the bottom of my skull. My thoughts drift. My body heats. Thrums. Hums with utter euphoria while I simply let go. Simply enjoy the high and tell myself I’m not an addict. I’m a hurting soul in need of this half hour of pleasure.

Except it’s not thirty minutes. It’s more like five before the high fizzles and I’m left yearning another hit from the bag that’s as empty as me. My hunger. My anger. They slam beneath my ribs then morph into nausea.

I dry heave on all fours, fisting the grass. “Get me more. I’ll pay anything.”

“Hell no.” Ajax busts from behind a thicket of trees. He charges for the man. “Baiting my girl when she’s at her weakest. She’s relapsing! Jerk.”

“Blame her.” The man scowls, seizing my wrist. “She took the deal and she’ll take another.”

“Drop her, dope slinger.” Ajax pries me from the man’s grips then wallops him in the gut. The man plummets to the ground then totters to his feet. “Outta here before I stick the cops on you.”

The man staggers for the forest. I race after.

Ajax snatches me by the waist. “You’ve had enough.”

“Forget that. No one controls me.” I jab my heels into his shins. He clutches me harder. I swing myself around, thrust him to the ground and straddle him. “Here’s the thing. You want me. I want you. No fuss needed.” I slip my hand up the zipper of his jeans.

 His jaw clenches, his thighs tensing beneath me.

“Exactly how you like it.” I bite his bottom lip then scrape my nails over his muscled chest. “Mutual benefits.”

 “Absolutely not! You’re upset and wasted.” He rolls me off him and onto the grass. “Can’t take you like this.”

“Course you can.” I square my arms, sweat suddenly beading on my forehead. It drips into my drooping lids while my blood beats wildly and my vision hazes. All around me things blur. My mother’s angel-tomb. My family’s graveyard. The forest in the background. Even Ajax. I teeter, falling into his arms.

Literally, my mind splits in half. I separate from my skin, flying out and gaping at myself below.

No. No. No! Tell me this ain’t happening. I weep in palms. Stupid Uncle Shamus. Stupid funeral. Stupid me. I don’t wanna die!

“Please!” Ajax shakes my motionless body, patting my pallid cheeks. “Arcadia!” He cries into the air where I flail.

I belly-flop toward him but ping-pong off something hard. A block? A force field? What is it? I pound on the invisible barrier. “Ajax. Save me!”

He can’t hear me. Can’t see me.

“Give it up girl.” Someone hisses.

 I dart my gaze up. Down. Around. Nothing seems abnormal other than this barrier, my out of body experience and the constellation Orion. It’s out of place, sagging like a frown. Teeth, whiter than bone, appear from the stars as do ears and a tail, becoming more visible once a cat descends from the sky. Black and exceedingly furry, the cat glides, it’s grumpy pout aimed in my direction.

“You just had to do it. Didn’t you?” The cat smacks me.

“Owww.” I rub my nose.

“That’s for disturbing my slumber.” He bats me again.

I shield myself. “Quit it.”

He claws my ear. “That’s for being dumb.”

I wince, the scratch on my ear throbbing. “Since when do cat’s talk?” I peek between my fingers.

“Doesn’t matter. You did it so now I have to take care of it.”

“Take care of what?”

“Never mind.” He twirls his paw in the air. A milky vortex forms. “Step in.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Got that right, hun.” He waves me to the vortex. “See you on the other side.”

“Other side?”

“Shut it and go!” He shoves me forward.

The vortex sucks me in like a straw-slurpin’ shark. I whirl uncontrollably in this dark dusty tornado, spinning me forever, my stomach churning. If spirits have stomachs. Which they must since mine’s sloshing and gurgling. I barf. Gooey gunk backsplashes my face. Gross! It blinds me.

I shriek, unable to wipe my slimed eyes, the vortex funneling me so fast I lose my consciousness.

Everything blanks.

I wake to the sound of cicadas. Cheeping around me, they linger in the dewy grass while above, in a twisted tree, an owl hoots. A star shoots across the sky, the constellations glinting atop a couple yards away. Between two Georgian maples, they kiss. Um... More than kissing. He’s totally feeling her up, groping her ball-gowned butt. She’s moaning. Yep. They’re closing in on third base and here I can’t determine why I’m still in my family’s cemetery. Why the trees look shorter. Why guns echo beyond the woods. Why three quarters of the graves are gone, mom’s included.

Weirder still, I swear the boy’s decked out in some blue uniform and the girl’s in one of those bar wench costumes. Or she was. The boy just loosened her bodice. He’s caressing her boobs.

Whoa! No way I’m laying here while they get it on. I rise, shake the barf off my skirt and head for them.

Something whomps in the forest. I bolt behind a bush and inspect the tiny purple petals poking through the soil. Yep, they’re bird-foot violets. The whomps louden.

The girl yelps.

She swats at the boy’s gloved hands. “Cease this. There’s danger afoot.”

Danger afoot? Who talks that way? I smother a laugh.

“Ye needn’t worry of danger. My protection be with ye now that we’re together.” The boy kneels before her. “I pray ye. My constitution be quite strong. Allow me access, dear Dimora.”

Dimora? Like great, great grandma Dimora? Press the pause button.

I bob up. “Someone start speaking.”

The boy whips in my direction then thuds to the ground much quieter than the next onslaught of guns popping.

Fainting wus. Can’t protect himself let alone Dimora. Not that she needs protecting from what mom said. From how I see it I’ve lost my mind. How else could I be totally scoping out my ancestor? She’s the spitting image of me. Raven hair. Eyes as jet black as mine. Even her pert nose curls slightly at the tip.

She tosses her attention from me to the boy. “Yer not supposed to be here.”

That’s not strange at all. “Enlighten me.”

She examines my clothes, crinkling her nose as she covers herself up. “Ye be in yer skivvies.”

“I’m not—” Hold it a sec. I must not resemble myself here. Good. Whoever she thinks I am I’ll pretend to be. Might work in my favor and buy me some time to weed out where that nutzo cat is and why he threw me into the past.

Dimora shakes her head. “Ye’ve gone daft.” She strips off one of her petticoats and hands it and her shawl to me. “Put these garbs on. Or they be calling ye a trollop.”

They already do. I pull the petticoat over my hips and criss-cross the shawl around my chest as if it’s a toga. Or a wilted swan slapped to my torso.

Dimora huffs. “It shall suffice.”

Suffice for the zombie apocalypse. After all, I am walking among the dead. Smack dab during the Civil War. During the worst battle to hit Savanah; Sherman’s March to the Sea. December twenty-first, eighteen-sixty-four if my history lessons serve me right.

A canon booms in the distance. More of those whomping sounds follow while a bunch of trees in the forest sway under this thick haze that’s blooming in the air. Probably from the gunpowder.

“Rebels be tracking us soon.” Dimora crouches alongside the boy and grasps his arms. “Mustn’t let them find my fiancé.”

Fiancé? Odd. Mom never mentioned Dimora marrying. Maybe he’s some boy-toy like my Ajax. Except this one’s gotta be a coward deserting his brigade while the others are fighting. For what reason? To smash a girl? As if I can ask. I’ll blow my cover. Then I’ll never find that cat or return to the present.

“No dilly-dallying.” Dimora gestures me to the other side of the boy. “Least ye can do is assist me after ye failed yer first duty.”

Whatevs. I’ll go with it. I lug the boy’s legs into my grip, hoisting him forward. Beats me where we’re going. The path is overgrown, packed with trees, void of the defined trail I’ve traveled more occasions than I can count. But that’s in the future where everything is light years changed. Where I’ve never once heard these whomps. Another one reverberates, sending slow vibrations beneath our feet.

Dimora peers over her shoulder, fright in the deep crease of her brow. What is it? I follow her gaze. A huge apeish thing with one eye and bloodied fangs towers over the tree-tops, it’s legs the size of me, its arms big enough to wrangle an elephant. It tromps closer, erupting chills over my skin.

I trip on a tree root. Losing my hold on the boy, his bottom half bumps the ground where I collide nose first with a log, that beast charging behind. I scramble upward, my pulse thumping in my throat.

“Shield yourself.” Dimora throws her fingers up and chants. “Uanescere magnum beastia.”

I duck. White electricity crackles from her palms, striking the beast. It disintegrates into a thousand dust particles blowing up and adding to the haze. To my questions about mom. About her painting of the Yetiklops. Her picture, identical to that beast, proves one thing. They were wrong. Those Latin words Dimora just recited — Uanescere magnum beastia — Uncle Shamus chanted those a decade ago before mom vanished. Before anyone else besides me witnessed what he had done. What they recovered still haunts me; her leech infested body. It washed ashore three days later when the cops retrieved it and determined from some anonymous source that she’d jumped off the Savanah River Bridge. A complete lie someone must’ve spun to hide a dark secret. Whatever that secret is I’m going to uncover it.

“One thing be certain. Spies be everywhere.” Dimora slings her focus upward where gray clouds swirl and enlarge. “I shan’t have used my powers. More be coming thanks to yer negligence.”

“My negligence?”

She plants her hand on her hip. “I have every right to be vexed. Ye abandoned yer post. Accept it. ‘Tis yer fault.” She lifts the boy and gestures me to copy. “Best we can do is usher my fiancé to safety, band together and hope ye haven’t risked our whole family.”

Sounds familiar. Getting blamed for creating family problems even though I’ve no clue what my so-called duty was or who I am anymore. Or why my heart is sinking. My entire spirit feels unlike it was. Shameful. Sad. Sorry for the poor choices I’ve made. If only I’d honored mom’s memory instead of tarnishing it. Instead of doing drugs, banging boys and wasting time. Time I’m determined to alter. Somehow.

Another cannon detonates. Screams resound after.

“Make haste!” Dimora quickens ahead, her pace unbelievably fast considering we’re carrying this hefty boy down a rugged path, crowded with underbrush, shrubs and trees for as far as I can see.

Not one sign of civilization exists except for the distant guns bratatating and that one large field over twenty yards away. We hustle toward it, the clouds growing blacker by the second. Thunder clacks. Lightening splatters across the sky; a giant spiderweb, its enormous silvery strings voom in all directions. Rain follows, pounding on the trees, blipping off the leaves and pelting us. We hoof-it as quickly as possibly, branches beaning my ear where the cat scratched. Honestly, he said he’d meet me on the other side. Unless I misunderstood his meaning. Maybe on the other side he’s not a cat. Maybe he’s human. Maybe mom. Maybe Dimora. Maybe someone I’ve never met.

My mind reels at my revelation. At my realization that perhaps this future cat-self needs me to do something. To change something. What? We close in on the fields. Both of us shivering, the rain soaks us along with the cotton plants sprouting from the soil. We rush across the field, my teeth chattering as water drips from me. As we near what appears to be a mist. A big bubble, it envelopes us once we step inside. Once everything outside it disappears and a mansion materializes. Before us, it stands tall with a steel door and more than fifty windows speckling its brick exterior from top to bottom. The door she prods ajar reveals a massive foray. A candle-lit chandelier dangles in the center above two staircases. Spanning from a long balcony, the staircases curve to the alabaster floor where a small old woman wanders.

“Brought us another one have ye?” She helps us settle the boy on the ground, his black skin now visible under the light. “I be fixin’ him up. Be takin’ him to eat with the others.”

Others? What others? I hear talking. Laughing. Conversations reverberate from the hall to my left. Clanking sounds after like cutlery plinking on plates.

“This one be mine. I be caring for him myself.” Dimora crouches alongside the boy, her face crumpling as if she might cry. “Promise. I never meant for mother and father to sell ye. See what happened to them? What ye endured? The beatings that horrid plantation owner whipped into ye. Ye and I shall rise up and pave a good life. A legacy of compassion and tolerance.” She skates her hand across his broad nose to those veined scars etching his face.

The number ten, branded to his neck, tells me one thing. Her fiancé was a slave. I cover my widened mouth, whispering an apology for misjudging him. For thinking he was a coward when it must’ve taken such valor to escape his masters and this bloody war.

His lids flutter up. “Dimora.” He reaches for her.

“Andre.” She slips her lips over his, their love evident with each motion their mouths make. Their hands searching each other’s bodies, they’re enraptured by their passion and oblivious to me.

To the woman who scowls my way. “Ye were supposed to stay here.”

“So I’ve been told.”

She folds her arms over her plump torso. “I be worried sick.”

Dimora comes up for air, glimpsing at the woman. “Found her in the woods barely clothed and unaware of her surroundings. Unaware of me. She be going daft.”

The boy glances in my direction, shock plastered on his face. “There be a second angel as glorious as the first.” He flicks his gaze to Dimora’s.“Who be she?”

“My twin sister.”

Twin sister? Dimora never had a twin sister. Did she? Father didn’t mention a twin sister or any of my ancestors for that matter. He burned the family-tree artifacts, albums and books mom left me in our attic. No wonder I never learned of my Great-Great Grandfather Andre. Explains why my skin’s a shade bronzer than father’s. Not why everyone else besides mom failed to acknowledge Dimora’s existence when she’s this feminine bad-ass. Courageous with a capital C. She opened her house to strangers, fought for their freedom, and shielded them and this house under what must be her invisibility spell.

I bow before her. “I’m in awe of you.”

“Awe of her?” Someone yells from the balcony, the flames on the chandelier flickering. A girl races down the stairs.

The old woman gasps.

Andre’s eyes nearly pop from his skull as he snaps his stare from Dimora to me to the other girl identical to us. “There be three of ye?”

“No. This one be a devil.” Dimora heaves her hands in the air same as she did in the forest when she obliterated that Yetiklops.

“Don’t!” The other girl points at me. “She be the imposter.”

“I’m not an imposter.” I stalk toward the girl, her insidious vibe attacking me as if a black widow is crawling up my flesh. A sick sensation swirls in my stomach making my skin itch with a rash breaking out on my hands while smoke shrouds her body. Until she fades away. Until she reappears. Until she’s transformed into my step-monster, Madea.

WTF! I stumble rearward, landing on my side.

“Arkadia. My child. Show some respect. Ten years I’ve waited for this.” Madea cackles, the wart on her nose shaking in time with the room. In time with Andre’ and the old woman who freeze leaving Dimora and I gaping at Madea. “Like you said. I’m no expert on fun. But I am an expert on getting what I want.” Madea waves her hand at the ceiling, creating a milky vortex where images of the forest surface. Dozens of Yetiklops howl and tromp over trees as they head for the cotton field. “My army is awaking. Join me, my Wiccan sisters. We shall bring the future to it’s knees.”

I narrow my eyes. “Count me out.” 

“Suit yourself.” Madea says. “What happened to your mother shall happen to you.”

“You killed her?” Should’ve known Madea was behind mom’s death and father’s three-sixty personality change. “Bitch!” I run, leap and kick Madea in the shoulder.

She cackles louder. “Play the fool. Be like Shamus. I got control of him. Your father. Your mother. The entire family. Leave it to me. I shall control you also!” She flings her fingers up. “Affer mihi imperium.” Black volts spew from her. Stoping inches from me, they collide with Dimora’s white volts.

Dimora slowly nudges Madea toward the staircase.

“Yield sister. I will win!” Madea pushes against Dimora’s volts, almost knocking her down.

I whisk around and grasp Dimora’s uplifted arm that suddenly looks wrinkled. Aged and pruned along with her neck now encircled by Aunt Elektra’s onyx amulet. Wait? Dimora is Aunt Elektra in the future? How is that even possible? Guess anything’s possible when you have twin witches for ancestors. One good. One evil. One easy decision.

 “Zap her.” I shriek.

Aunt Elektra levitates, bringing me with her as she continuously chants, “Novis exponentia. Novis exponentia...”

I use the force flowing through me, combining all my energy with Elektra’s. My powers. Fierce. Constant. The strength of ten tigers bursts from me with a blinding light. It hits Madea, whamming her to the floor. She blasts into a fiery blaze then crumbles into a heap of ash while above the Yetiklops vanish and the milky vortex, again sucking me in, spin-cycles me into unconsciousness.

What feels like days later I rouse atop a bed. A soft bleep echoes from the monitor attached to my wrist as I spot a small window lingering to my left. On my right, two chairs, flanking the white wall, are filled by father and Ajax.

“Look.” Father yells over his shoulder as he nears me. “She’s up.”

 Mom rushes through the open door.

Oh My God. “Mama!” 

“Thank the stars.” She clasps my outstretched hand, the sun beaming through the window and brightening the gentle slopes of her face.

I throw my arms around her. “You’re here. Finally here.” I sob on her shoulder, my sorrow melting into our hug. “Means more than anything in this world to see you again.”

 “Ditto, my love.” She skims one of my hairs behind my ear.

My heart warms. Becoming whole, I welcome the brave witch I’ve evolved into. 

 “So glad you didn’t break a bone when you fell in the graveyard.” She kisses my forehead. “Ajax found you.”

He grins at the foot of the bed. “Hey there, beautiful.”

 “Knock. Knock.” A woman calls from outside my hospital room. “Safe for me to see my favorite niece?”

Aunt Elektra hobbles in carrying a black cat, its grumpy pout aimed at me. She settles it on my lab where I pet it. Where it kneads my covers, purring, its tail curving up and stroking the tears from my cheek. Truth is, a lot of things I should’ve done differently. Saving my family is not one of them. Nor is receiving my second chance to recreate my life. I won’t waste it.

Elektra leans on the side of my bed. “Thought you’d like to know. Shamus willed his cat to you.” She winks at me.

Bet your broomstick we’d better keep this between us. Better I abandon my past and embrace my future.

© Copyright 2018 Joy Shaw. All rights reserved.

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