Chapters 7 & 8

7

Jacy was meeting Morgan at the coffee shop at one. That gave her plenty of time to finally plant the roses that were still in pots. Abra told her that her mother used to grate soap around the garden and the smell kept the deer away, so Jacy figured it was worth a try. Abra and her went out and planted the roses and sprinkled grated Irish spring soap around them.
“Have you asked your cards about Morgan?”
“No, and I don’t want to. I want to be surprised. Good or bad.”
“Well that’s one way to do it.” Abra shrugged. Jacy put her arm around and they went inside to clean up from digging in the dirt.

“Abra! What do I wear?” Jacy screamed down the hall. Abra laughing came upstairs and started searching through Jacy’s closet. She picked out an olive sundress.
“Put this on. Hmmm with these sandals!” Abra threw a pair of flat sandals at her. “And leave your hair down.” Abra sat on the bed while Jacy dressed and did her makeup. Jacy came out of the bathroom and did a little twirl in front of Abra.
“What do you think?”
“Beautiful as always. Have fun!” Abra gave her a hug.

Jacy arrived at the coffee shop, she didn’t Morgan anyway and went to order a latte. She stood in line behind an elderly couple. She smiled seeing them holding hands. She felt an arm reach around her shoulder, turning her head there was Morgan.
“Hey!” He said with a gleaming smile.
“Hi.” Jacy felt a little weak in the knees looking into his blue eyes. They ordered coffee and went to sit at one of the tables in the window.
“How have you been?” He asked smiling at her and taking a drink of his americano.
“Not too bad.”
“Ezra told me you’re having a little trouble with the house.” Jacy was taken by surprised and swallowed her sip of latte wrong. Coughing into a napkin she looked at him with wide eyes. Once she gained her composure, she asked what he meant.
“Well, I’m not a witch like my brother and you but I’ve had my fair share of experiences with ghosts.” He said casually.
“I’m not sure it’s a ghost.” Jacy looked around the coffee shop, the older couple in the corner laughing and gazing at each other.
“I could come over sometime and check it out.” Morgan offered. Jacy realizing that maybe he didn’t call her just to have coffee frowned at her latte.
“Are you a ghost hunter?” She asked.
“Oh, no. It’s a little weird to explain. Ever since I was little, I’ve been able to like feel the energy of ghosts.” He looked at her waiting for her reaction.
“You’re a medium?”
“Kind of, I haven’t been able to talk to any ghosts, but I would be able to tell you if you had one.” He shrugged. Jacy mulled over this new information about him.
“Did you call me just to talk about ghosts?” she asked half jokingly.
His eyes darted around the coffee shop and he shifted in his chair, he leaned in over the table closer to her, and smiled and shook his head no. She smiled back at him and changed the subject.
They spent all afternoon in the coffee shop talking.

“Abra!” she yelled leaning against the front door. Abra came running into the foyer from the kitchen.
“So how did it go?”
“I think we have a real connection. Oh and get this he’s like a medium!”
“Like a medium?”
“He said he can’t talk to ghosts but can feel their energy.”
“That might be useful.”
“What smells so good?”
“Rose and I are making eggplant parmesan!”
“I’m so happy Rose is feeling better.” They went into the kitchen. Rose was sitting at the counter and reading through the newspaper. Jacy went over and gave her a little hug. Rose patted Jacy’s arm without looking up from the paper.
“Are you feeling better?” Jacy asked.
“Oh yes dear, nothing a good night’s sleep couldn’t fix.”

Jacy and Abra went into the living room to wait for dinner to finish. She filled Abra in on the entire coffee date. Abra told her about texting with Chase. They giggled realizing they were talking about boys like teenagers but were both giddy in their excitement of prospective relationships. Rose came into the living room to let them know dinner was ready and that she was heading home for the night. They bid each other goodnight and the two of them moved into the kitchen to eat. Abra opened a bottle of wine and Jacy got plates and forks out. They decided to take everything into the living room, sitting on the floor they dug in.
“I called about the lease on that shop, I’m meeting with the owner on Tuesday to look at it and put a deposit down.” Abra looked at Jacy, but she didn’t appear to be paying attention.
“Jacy, did you hear me?” Abra waved a hand in front of Jacy’s face, and then turned to see what she was staring at. Abra screamed when she saw the apparition of the older woman standing there in the foyer looking at them.
“Grandma?” Jacy squeaked. Her grandmother’s ghost smiled and waved a hand bidding them to follow her. Jacy rose and Abra tugged on her hand shaking her head. She turned and looked at Abra sitting on the floor shaking.
“It’s ok.” She said to her and helped Abra stand up. They followed the ghost to up the stairs and up into the attic. Her grandmother stopped in the middle of the room, and then pointed to a trunk that was tucked behind a bookshelf. Jacy looked at the trunk and then back at her grandmother. Her grandmother smiled and then vanished. Abra smiled and thanked her grandmother. She looked over at Abra who was standing in the doorway with her arms wrapped around her.
“She’s gone, help me move this bookshelf.” Abra stared at her, took and deep and walked over to Jacy. They moved the bookshelf and Jacy dragged the trunk out from behind it. They kneeled in front of the trunk and opened it. It was filled with old books and photo albums.
“This is what your grandma scared us for?”
“She wasn’t trying to scare us. She was trying to help.”
“Yeah, ok, I need more wine.” Abra got up and went down to the kitchen, she returned with a bottle of wine.
“No glasses?”
“I think we’re past using glasses tonight.” And she took swig of the chardonnay from the bottle. Jacy giggled and followed her lead. They dug through the trunk while they shared the bottle of wine. They flipped through the photo albums, glancing at the old photos of Jacy’s family.
“Is that Rose?” Abra asked looking at one of the old photos.
“Well no, that’s Annabelle with her, my great great grandma. So maybe Rose’s grandma? I knew her mom worked for my grandma, it’s possible that her grandma worked in the house too?”
“That makes sense.”

Jacy noticed that there were a few books that looked like grimoires and put them off to the side to read through later. It was getting late and they were both tired. They went down to the living room to clean up from dinner.
“So is your grandma, like haunting the house?”
“I don’t think so, I think it was just her spirit that came to help.” Jacy thought about how she had gotten interrupted while doing the spell but smiled happy that it still worked. They finished cleaning up and Abra made some chamomile tea for them. They sat and drank their tea in silence.
“I’m going to head up to bed. See you in the morning.” Abra kissed Jacy on the forehead and she bid her goodnight. Fay sauntered up to Jacy and jumped in her lap. The calico purred as Jacy stroked her soft fur. Jacy looked around the darkened room, the candles she lit earlier almost burned down completely. She felt a warm breeze blow in her hair and felt the warmth embrace her. She drifted off to sleep in the chair with Fay fast asleep on her lap.
8

October

Jacy and Abra stood in the middle of their new shop. They just finished painting the walls a light mint blue and were admiring the work that they had put into it. New flooring and counters, bookshelves to hold anything they wanted, small oak tables and fresh paint smell circled around them.
“Think we’ll be finished by Samhain?” Abra asked Jacy, not looking up from the documents she was reading over.
“That’s the plan, right? I think we can do it.” Jacy moved one of the little tables to the middle of the shop and arranged it until she was happy with its placement.
“It’s in three weeks. I think you’re right though. Maybe we can recruit a little help from the coven.” Jacy smiled at Abra and went into the back room to get a few boxes to unpack. She brought out a box and set it on the floor, using a pocket knife she cut the tape and opened it. Candles and candle holders were in the box. She pulled two candles out of the box, holding one in each hand and looked around the shop.
“There.” She pointed one of the candles to a bookshelf closest to where they set up the service counter. She put the candles on the self and unpacked the rest.
“Hello?” She heard someone say from the door. Elise and woman were standing in the entrance.
“Hey ladies, I thought maybe you could use some help.” Elsie said from the door. Jacy smiled, thinking how Abra had just mentioned getting help.
“Yes please!” Abra said and went to hug Elsie.
“This is my wife Lily. Lily this is Jacy and Abra.” Elsie introduced them.
“Hi, Elsie has told us so much about you, I’m so happy to finally meet you.” Jacy said giving Lily a little hug. She showed them around the shop and told them about their plans for the space. They helped them move bookshelves and tables and unpack the rest of the boxes they had in the back room.
“Looking good so far. I’m so excited for you guys to open.” Lily said.
“Do you practice?” Abra asked her.
“Yes, but I’m solitary, which is why I’ve never joined in on all the Willow’s fun.” Lily smiled at Jacy and Abra and hugged Elise around the waist.
“Thank you so much for all your help today.” Jacy said waving goodbye to the two of them.
Jacy and Abra finished up doing the rest of the work in the shop for the day. Abra locked up and they headed home. They walked back to the house. Stopping to look at all the shops on Main Street decorated for Halloween. They stopped in front of a little boutique decorated with old haggard witches and spooky black cats.
“Have you finished reading the grimoires we found yet?” Abra asked.
“I still have one more to read.” Jacy said without looking away from her at the decorations. She watched the witch decoration move, it turned and stared back at her. Its mouth opened, and she focused on the witch’s face. The lips of the decoration moved slowly, speaking so low she could barely hear it.

“Run. Run. Run.”

Jacy heard it clearly. She couldn’t turn away from it. She watched and listened to the witch.
“Jacy, Jacy did you hear me?” Abra asked her, it sounded like she was far away.
“Huh, what? Oh no I’m sorry.” She said shaking her head and turning to look at Abra.
“I’m sorry, I must have spaced out.” She looked back at the unmoving decoration of the witch.
Abra grabbed her arm and they finished their walk back to the house. Abra talking about their plans for the shop and Jacy thinking about the house. The stood on the front porch for a moment watching the last of the sunlight disappear.
“So what should we do for your birthday?” Abra asked her. Jacy’s birthday was a few days away, and she forgot all about it.
“I forgot my own birthday!”
“Wow, you really are getting old.” Abra laughed.
“I don’t know, 31 seems boring.” Jacy shrugged her shoulders and unlocked the front door.

Jacy woke the next morning, it was her last day at Pete’s Bistro. She was sad to be leaving, in the short time that she had been working there, she came to enjoy it very much. There were a few regulars she adored, and she loved working next to Liz. Her and Abra on to their own adventure, one they had been planning since they met. She went into the bathroom to shower and get ready. She turned the light on and started the shower to warm up. The pipes groaned and rattled when she turned the water on. She rolled her eyes. She sat on the edge of the tub and while she waited for the water to get up to temp. The water turned a bright purple and then orange and then blood red.
“You’ve been doing this for months! If you want the water to look like blood, then just make it red! You don’t have to go through the whole rainbow!” She screamed in the bathroom. The spirit no longer scared the two of them. It continued to try but did the same things over and over that they expected it and knew what it was. The water turned clear again and Jacy undressed and got in the shower. She washed, dressed and did her makeup. She was drying her hair and the lights flickered, she waited for them to stop before finishing. Abra was sitting at the breakfast nook, and Rose was finishing up making breakfast.
“You looked less than amused. Get another fun shower?” Abra asked her.
“Every morning.” Jacy poured herself some coffee and sat at the table with Abra.
“I don’t know what to do anymore. And it’s like the ghost is actually a broken record.”
“Ghost?” Rose asked.
“Well I’m guessing that’s what it is. Keeps doing the same things every day, at the same times.” Abra told her.
“There isn’t any ghost in this house! You girls must be imagining things!” Rose laughed and went into the green house to water the plants.
“That was strange.” Jacy shrugged and headed to Pete’s.

It was quiet when she arrived, Pete was busy at the grill like usual, and Liz was filling up a few sugar jars at the front counter. The smell of bacon of coffee hit Jacy as soon as she walked in. She put her apron on and went to help Liz finish refilling the jars.
“How you doing darling?” Liz asked her.
“Ok. I’ll miss you.”
“Ha, we’re not going anywhere. You know where to find us.” Liz got up to unlock the front door and turn the open sign on. An older couple came in a few minutes later. Jacy recognized them as regulars, they came in every Tuesday morning. A tingle of sadness washed over her as she greeted and sat the couple at their usual table. She was pouring them coffee and glanced out the window. She could see Rose across the street with another woman. It looked like they were arguing. She couldn’t see the other woman. She gave the couple their coffee and told them she would be right back to take their orders. Still watching Rose and woman she shook her head, telling herself that it’s not her business. She willed herself to look away but couldn’t. Rose huffed off, and the other woman turned around and stared into Pete’s. Jacy felt like she was looking right at her.
“Ellie” Jacy said under her breath. She quickly ducked behind the counter and looked over to see that Ellie was gone.
“What are you doing down there?” Liz asked her.
“Oh, I uh, dropped my pen!” Jacy laughed nervously. She went over to take the couple’s order. Looking out the window, she couldn’t see Rose or Ellie. The rest of the morning was busy as usual. She sat down at the counter for a little break with a cup of coffee before the lunch rush. The bell on the door rang and she looked over her shoulder to see Morgan standing in the doorway. He came and sat next to her at the counter.
“On break?”
“For 30 more seconds.”
“What can get you?”
“Coffee please.” Jacy got up and poured him a coffee. His hand brushed against her when he reached for the cup and she felt a small spark of static touch her finger tips.
“Oh sorry.” He said. She smiled, a family of three walked in before she could say anything more to him, she greeted the family and told them to sit where they like. She took menus over to them and turned around, Morgan was gone. Under his tip was a note asking her to call him when she was finished with work. She smiled and put the note in her pocket.

Liz turned the open sign off, Jacy was sweeping the floor. Liz motioned for her to come to the kitchen. She followed Liz, there was a little cake and bottle of champagne sitting on the island.
“You shouldn’t have.” Pete opened the champagne and the three of them ate the cake and talked about Jacy and Abra’s shop plans.
“Best of luck to you both! We can’t wait to see it!” Liz gave her a big hug. She left with an extra slice of cake for Abra. She unlocked her car and got in. She started the engine and turned the headlights on. Something flew over the hood and banged into the windshield. She shrieked, covering her head. Slowly she released herself and looked out onto the hood of her car. A crow laid out on the hood. She got out of the car. She stared at the crow, it’s glossy black eye blinked. It ruffled itself upright and stared back at her. It cocked its head examining her. Let out a caw and flew away. She checked her windshield, a small chip in the middle of it, and a few feathers left behind. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and called Abra before driving home. She pulled up to the house a few minutes later.

“Abra!” She yelled as soon as she entered the house. No one answered her. She looked in the living room, then went to the kitchen. She climbed the stairs calling for Abra. She went into Abra’s room, but it was empty. She headed towards the attic, turning ran straight into Abra.
“There you are!”
“I was just in the bathroom. Are you ok? You look like you’ve seen…well a scarier ghost.”
“I’m ok, I was just freaking myself out.” She laughed, they went into Jacy’s room so Jacy could change out of her work clothes.
“Call him!” Abra encouraged her after she told her about Morgan coming into Pete’s earlier.
“Ok, sometimes I forget that we’re adults.” She shook her head and listened to the phone ring. Morgan picked up. She explained about the supposed ghost and invited him over.
“He’ll be over in about fifteen minutes.” Abra and her looked at each other and then giggled. They went down to the living room to wait. The doorbell rang, Jacy answered it to find Morgan and Ezra standing in front of her. She stared at them for a moment.
“Sorry, I don’t think I’ve seen you two stand next to each other. You’re like twins.”
“We’re just a couple years apart. I’m the good looking one though.” Ezra laughed and hugged Jacy as they entered the house.
“Let’s see about that ghost huh?” Morgan said to her following her into the foyer. Jacy led Morgan through the downstairs but he didn’t pick up any energies. She took him to the upstairs bedrooms but still nothing. They went up to the attic. Morgan stopped at the doorway, looking into the room.
“Anything?” Jacy asked him. He walked into the attic room and looked around. Jacy tried to get something from his face, but his expression was blank.
“I can feel a little energy, it’s a good energy. It’s not really here though.”
“What do you mean not really here?”
“Like the ghost is just watching, that’s the easiest way to explain it.” He walked around the room and ran his hands along the shelves.
“That’s probably just my grandma then.” Jacy crossed her arms and watched him move around the room.
“What’d you find?” Ezra asked from the doorway.
“Nothing, no bad energy, not really even a ghost.” Morgan replied. They headed down to the kitchen where Abra was waiting with an open bottle of wine and a bowl of salad she made while they were upstairs.
“Well?” She asked them, Jacy just shook her head. They went and sat down in the dining room. They sat at the table and quietly ate the salad Abra made for them. None of them sure where what to do next to figure out what was going on in the house.
“Maybe it’s a broken hex?” Ezra broke the silence.
“A what?” Abra asked him.
“You said that it just repeats the same things around the same times, and that it mostly happens to Jacy right?”
“Yeah, I’m the one that sees most of it, Abra has only seen it when I’m with her….oh.” Jacy stopped and thought about it for a moment.
“You think someone hexed me?”
“Maybe, but they either didn’t do it right, or the spell got messed up somehow. Hence the broken record ghost.” Ezra said to her, raising his eyebrows.
“Broken record, broken hex. I guess it makes sense.” Abra said. They laughed at Abra’s small joke.
“Or someone installed a timer for a really lousy prank.” Morgan shrugged. Ezra glared at him and shook his head.
“What? Just giving all the possibilities, right?” Morgan put his hands up and they laughed.
“Ok, Morgan you check the electric and plumping. Abra and I will search the house for hex bags and things like that. Jacy you go get the supplies for a hex reversal.” Ezra said as he gulped down the last of his wine. They split up and went about the house on their tasks. Jacy pointed Morgan down to the basement where the electrical box and plumbing were. She went upstairs to the attic to get the supplies they would need. Jacy was in the attic going through her candles, when a book fell off the shelf. It laid flat on its spine and when she went to pick it up the pages started to flip finally landing on a page. Jacy looked at the pages in the open book, she grabbed the book and raced downstairs to find the others. She found Abra in the living room on the floor looking under the couch and chairs.
“Abra, look at this!” Abra shot up and knocked her head on the underside of the end table.
“Ow, what is it?” She took the book from Jacy, reading it with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. Her mouth opening and closing trying to form words.
“Should we tell the guys?” Abra finally asked her.
“I’m not sure, if this is true, then I think we need to make a plan.” She closed the book and Ezra came rushing into the living room. Morgan came up from the basement and just shook his head to signal that he didn’t find anything. They heard Ezra let out small screech and went upstairs to find him half way under Jacy’s bed.
“Are you ok?” Morgan asked him.
“Yeah, there’s a little bag under here, but it shocked me when I tried to grab it.”
“A hex bag?” Abra asked with wide eyes.
“I think so.” He pulled himself up off the floor and looked around the room. Jacy got down to look under the bed, Ezra warning her not to touch it, but she reached for it anyway. She pulled the small bag from under the bed and examined it.
“It smells like burnt hair” She said scrunching her nose. They went downstairs to the kitchen, Jacy back up to the attic to get the supplies for the hex reversal. She came back down to them staring at the bag on the kitchen island.
“Why did shock me and not you?” Ezra wondered out loud. Jacy just gave him a shrug of her shoulders and set candles down on the island. Abra prepared everything for the reversal, Morgan sat at the breakfast nook out of the way, while Jacy watched. This wasn’t something she knew much about, but it was one of Abra’s specialties. She placed the candles around the bag and lit them going counterclockwise.

The hex is broken
The curse is lifted
Jacy is lucky, happy, fortunate and healthy
She is free from all evil.

“Now what?” She asked Abra.
“We drink wine and let the candles burn out.” Abra smiled at her and went over to give her a little hug.
“Once the candles are burnt down, you need to bury the hex bag, in a uh graveyard.” She whispered to Jacy. Jacy nodded her head and went to get wine glasses out of the cabinet. They sat around the breakfast nook drinking chardonnay and talking about anything not related to magic. Jacy occasionally, giving Abra a look indicated they needed to figure something out about what she found in the book. An hour later Ezra and Morgan left. Jacy and Abra stayed in the kitchen waiting for the candles to burn down.
“Maybe I should just sell the house?” Jacy mused taking a sip of her wine. Abra raised her eyebrows and shook her head.
“I just hope all this curse and hex business ends soon.” She said looking over at the kitchen island.
“According to the book, the crystal ball we found, isn’t a crystal ball.” Abra said. Jacy put her face in hands and mumbled to herself. She got up and went to get the book so that they could take a closer look at what it said. It was Annabelle’s journal, her great great grandmother. The page that opened to her was about her great great grandfather, Oliver Thornheart. He had found a very large diamond and had it cut into a sphere as a gift to Annabelle.

After the candles burned out, Jacy and Abra made the walk in the middle of the night to the Honeywick cemetery. Jacy buried the bag under a tree that grew near the back edge of the cemetery. Jacy walked by the gravestones of her family. And left a penny on the top of her grandmother’s grave as they passed. They headed back to the house by moonlight and both fell into a deep sleep in their beds.

Chapter 6

6
Jacy and Abra were busy decorating Litha. The doorbell rang and Jacy found Ezra and Liam standing on her porch. They came in carrying trays of food and flowers. They took everything out to the back yard and helped Abra finish setting up. Jacy answered the door for Aria and Elsie.
“We’re just waiting on Chase?”
“He’s late for everything, he’ll be late to his own funeral.” Elsie rolled her eyes. Jacy showed them to the backyard where the others were almost finished setting everything up. In the middle of the backyard Liam and Abra had built the workings for them to have a bonfire. Food was out on the tables that Jacy set up and Ezra was arranging a place to make flower crowns. The doorbell rang again and Jacy rushed to answer it. Chase was standing with a dozen pink carnations.
“What are those for?” Jacy asked him.
Chase looked down at his feet and mumbled “Abra”
Jacy giggled and told him that were in the backyard and that she’d be out in a moment. Jacy went into the attic to get a few extra candles. She shivered when she stepped in the attic. It was freezing, goosebumps went up her bare arms as she reached to turn the light on. Her hand found the switch and flicked the light on. The room was suddenly warm, the cold was gone. She stared straight in front of her and felt frozen in place. She willed her body to move and turn around. She left the light on and walked down the stairs and through the kitchen. Holding herself she walked out to the backyard, she felt like she was moving through water. For a moment she watched her friends laughing and ready to celebrate the summer solstice. Abra looked at Jacy and seeing the look on her face dropped the flowers she was holding and ran to Jacy. She let out a distressed scream and collapsed in sobs into Abra’s arms.

They decided to end the festivities early and the coven left Jacy and Abra sitting in the living room.
“Are you sure you guys will be ok?” Chase asked Abra
“We’ll be fine. I’ll give you a call later.” Abra tried to smile at him. Ezra came over to them and kneeled in front of Jacy who was still sobbing against Abra.
“You let me know if you need any help with whatever is going on. Ok” He said putting his hand on her knee. She nodded and gave his hand a squeeze. After they left Abra and Jacy sat in the living room in silence except for Jacy’s cries.
“What happened?” Abra asked her. Jacy tried to catch her breath to talk, she opened her mouth but only whimpers came out.
“It’s ok. Tell me when you can.” Abra squeezed Jacy close to her. Jacy didn’t know how to explain what happened. She didn’t know how to tell her about the cold, about what she saw in the attic. She let go of Abra and wiped her face with the back of her hand. She sat up and looked at Abra.
“In the morning we’re going to find that ball.” She firmly stated. Abra nodded in agreement.
Abra slept in Jacy’s room with her, Fay in her normal spot on the end of the bed between their feet. Jacy tossed all night, the image of the man standing in front of her in the attic returning to her. His eyes blank, his face contorted. She woke and sat up, Fay and Abra sleeping peacefully. She got out of bed and went into the bathroom to get a drink of water. She gazed at herself in the mirror, her dark hair matted on one side of her head made her smile. She pet Fay on her way around the bed and climbed back in covering her head with the blanket.

The sun shinned through the windows waking Jacy. Fay and Abra still sleeping. She crept out of bed and went down to the kitchen. She made coffee and called Pete’s to ask for the day off. Abra came downstairs stretching her arms over head. She poured a cup of coffee and sat across from Jacy at the breakfast nook. Jacy tried her best to explain to Abra what had happened in the attic. They drank their coffee and went back upstairs to get dressed. They both donned hiking boots, jeans and t-shirts. Jacy packed a bag with flashlights, sweaters, water and bug spray. They weren’t sure what they might encounter and thought about asking someone from the coven to come with them. They stood at the edge of the forest, at the start of the path Jacy had found.
“Are you ready for this?” Jacy asked Abra
“Are you?”
“No.”
“Remember that quote? A witch shouldn’t be afraid of the forest because she’s the most terrifying thing in it or something like that? And there are two of us.” Abra said holding Jacy’s hand as they started on the path. They walked along the path, large pine trees surrounding them.
“I don’t know where this path leads, and of course it might not even be on this path. It could out there in the trees somewhere.” Jacy huffed.
“That’s just your anxiety talking. Let’s just see where this path takes us.” Abra tried to assure her that they would find what they were looking for. The sun speckled through the thick tree tops, giving them light to see where they were going. Jacy could no longer see the break in the trees that they entered from. She made a mental note to stay on the path. She didn’t want to get them lost out here. Birds chirped and sang songs above them in the trees. Jacy might have felt afraid to come into the forest, but now with nature all around her she felt safe and at peace. Abra and Jacy walked hand in hand basking the beauty of the forest around them. They walked for seemed like hours when they came to the end of the path. A wide creek and a little log cabin came into their view.
“It looks like an old hunting cabin.” Abra said. They went over a wooden plank that was set up like a bridge over the creek. Jacy tried to peak into the windows but couldn’t see anything in the dark cabin, the window covered in dust.
“I don’t think anyone has been here in a really long time.” She said to Abra. They went around to the front and tried the door. It was unlocked. Stepping into the old cabin, dust and mold hit their noses and they both flinched. Jacy dug in her backpack for a flashlight. The main room in cabin was covered in dust. There was an old wooden table with two chairs, a worn recliner in the corner and wood stove in the middle. A little kitchenette over by the window facing the stream. There were some pictures on the walls and they went over to get a better look at them. Jacy’s grandfather stood tall next to the front of the cabin with a small boy standing next to him.
“That’s my dad” she excitedly told Abra. “This must have been my grandpa’s cabin.” They went to the back room, one bedroom, an old metal frame and mattress sat in the middle of the bedroom. There was a wedding picture of her grandma and grandpa on the little table in the corner. Jacy opened the drawer of the table, a copy of A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was the only thing in it. She flipped through the old pages before putting it back in the drawer.
“Let’s search the cabin and see if it’s in here.” Jacy shrugged to Abra. They searched the cabin but didn’t find the ball they were looking for. They went over to the creek to wash their hands of all the dust they kicked up. They would both need showers. Jacy sat down next to the stream, unsure of what to do next. She gazed at the water and breathed in the fresh air. Further up stream she saw someone glistening under the water.
“Do you see that?” She pointed to where she was looking. They stood up and walked up stream.
“I think that’s it!” Abra said. Jacy stepped into the water, it was cool and went over her boots. Holding onto Abra’s outstretched arm, she reached for the glistening object with her free hand. She got ahold of it and pulled it out of the water.
“This must be it!” She said. Abra helped her back onto shore and they gazed at the smooth ball.
“Rose quartz maybe?.” Abra said examining the ball in Jacy’s hands. Jacy put the ball into her backpack and they headed back to the house.

Rose was in the greenhouse watering the plants when they got back. Jacy and Abra went into the kitchen and put their stuff down at the breakfast nook. Jacy opened her backpack and took out the ball.
“Maybe I should put it in the attic, since that seems to be where things have happened.” She said.
“How does that thing protect the house?” Abra asked her.
“I have no idea.” Jacy said walking through the house. Rose put the kettle on while she watched them go toward the stairs. Jacy went to put the ball on her altar but decided to hide it instead.
“Why are you putting it in there?” Abra asked as Jacy put the ball into a wooden box that was sitting on the floor next to her altar.
“I just feel like it needs to be hidden.” Jacy said shrugging.
“I’m going to go shower, that cabin was so dusty.” Abra said as she went back downstairs. Jacy put the box under the table and put a few blankets on top of it. She sat back on her feet and looked around the attic. She grabbed her crystals and candles from the altar and made a circle around her on the floor. She lit the candles calling on the four directions. She lit sage and placed it in her abalone shell in front of her in the circle. She sat in the circle, closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind. Only thinking of her grandma. She said out loud.

Here these words
Hear my cry
Spirit from the other side
Come to me
I summon thee
Cross now the Great Divide
Mildred!

She sat in silence with her eyes closed, visualizing her grandma. A gentle breeze brushed her cheek, almost as though someone had barely blown at her. She opened her mouth to speak but was startled with a loud crash. Her eyes shot open and she rushed downstairs. Rose was cleaning up a pot of soup that had fallen on the floor.
“I’m sorry dear, it was like it jumped off the stove!” Rose said to Jacy.
“It’s ok, let me help.”
“Everything ok in here?” Abra asked coming into the kitchen with a towel around the back of her neck.
“I just haven’t been myself today.” Rose said.
“I hope you’re not getting sick. But maybe you should go home and rest.” Jacy told her. “We can handle dinner on our own.”
“I’ll make pasta.” Abra offered. Rose smiled at Abra and gave Jacy’s arm a squeeze and then left.
“What happened?” Abra asked.
“I don’t know. I was in the attic trying to communicate with grandma, I felt her and then I heard the crash and came down her to find Rose cleaning up the soup.”
“Maybe someone or something didn’t want you talking to her?”
“But why?”
Abra made them spaghetti and they ate in the living room sitting on the floor. They talked mulled over ideas about what the ball is and how it works. Jacy’s phone rang, a number she didn’t recognize came up on the screen. She hesitated and then answered. Morgan was on the other end of the call.
“That was Morgan, Ezra’s brother. He wants to get coffee this weekend.” Jacy told Abra.
“Ooo, well then, I will find something else to do.” Abra winked at her and they clinked their wine glasses.

born in the woods

Note: I am very thankful for modern medicine, I have had two natural births in hospital settings and they were excellent. This is purely my imagination, I think. 

My sister is scheduled for an induction tomorrow. So assuming that baby doesn’t come tonight, she will be heading the hospital in the morning to give birth.

So I was just sitting outside, a light breeze blowing. The air chill and fresh, but warm for January. Thinking about the new life that will come into the world soon. Thinking about how, after the miscarriage that almost took my life, I have decided not to have more children. And then I had a scene play through my head.

EOravvjVAAEz1ee

There I was, in the woods, a forest. Surrounded by trees. Leaves and moss under my feet. Wet sliding down my thighs. A familiar surge in my stomach. I kneel on the ground, it’s soft and squishy from rain. My knees sink into the mud below. I put hand on the old tree in front of me, the other cradling my bulging abdomen. I inhale, air gulped into my lungs. I can taste the mixture of pine, dirt and blood. I scream, birds fly from the tops the trees, chirping and cawing as they settle in the distance. A deer comes near, gazing at me, with an understanding bow of its head, it moves on. I scream again, alone in the forest, ache moves through my body. I place my hands on the ground and dig into the soft dirt, holding onto the earth. Grass and mud between my fingers, I push. I reach down between my legs and feel the small head that is burning to breathe. I put my forehead to the ground, and slowly rock my body back and forth, I suck air in deep breaths. Tears and sweat run down my face, droplets on grass blades. The wind blows and whispers across my back, almost there. Another scream, teeth gritting, another push. A tiny, soft body in my hands. A cry, a first breath. I bring her to my chest. She’s warm and smells so sweet. I lean against the pine tree, she finds my breast. She starts to nurse, and I watch the blood melt into the Earth.

Chapter 5

  5

June

Jacy was meeting The Willow Coven at the coffee shop to make plans for Litha, summer solstice. She couldn’t believe it had only been four months since she moved to Honeywick. It felt like she had been here her whole life. She waved to her friends and went to order her soy latte. “We’re just waiting for Chase.” Liam said as she sat down at the table. 

“How’s the house?” Elsie asked her sipping a cup of tea. 

“It’s been quiet, nothing has happened. So maybe the reversal spell worked.” Jacy said taking a sip of her latte. 

“Let’s hope it keeps working.” Ezra said smiling at Jacy. 

“What do you guys normally do for Litha?” Jacy asked. 

“Last year we had a BBQ and bonfire at Chase’s. Which is what I think we were planning this year.” Aria told her. 

“Why not have it at Jacy’s” a voice behind her spoke. Jacy turned around to see a woman with tight dark curls in a short black strapless dress standing there with her arms open. 

“Abra!” Jacy squealed and everyone in the coffee shop turned to look at her. They hugged and jumped together laughing. When they released their embrace Jacy turned to her new friends with her arm around Abra’s waist. 

“This is my best friend Abra, this is Aria, Elsie, Liam and Ezra.” 

“And Chase.” Chase said ducking into the group. Chase held his hand out to Abra, she took his hand in hers and he led her to sit at the table. 

“I thought you weren’t coming until next week?” Jacy asked Abra. 

“I just had a feeling that I needed to come earlier.” Abra replied. 

“Chase, Abra here thinks we should have Litha at Jacy’s this year. What do you think?” Aria asked him. 

“I think it’s the perfect place. Her backyard is much bigger than mine, we’ll have more room for the events.” Chase said. 

“Ok it’s settled then, Litha at Jacy’s, unless you object Miss Jacy.” Ezra smirked. 

“No objections from me.” Jacy smiled happy to have her best friend with her finally. 

Jacy showed Abra around the house while she filled her in on the few strange things that had happened since she moved in. 

“Maybe you could use a roommate? I mean the house is big enough.” Abra suggested to her.

“And where will I find one of those in this small town.?” 

“I could move in.” Abra shrugged. 

“You can’t just uproot your life to come live with me.” 

“But I already did.” 

“What?” 

“Let’s pour some wine and I’ll tell you all about it.” Abra said putting her around Jacy. 

“It’s three in the afternoon!” Abra looked at Jacy with her eyebrow raised. 

“And? We’re going to need it” Abra retorted 

They went into the kitchen and Jacy opened a bottle of Chardonnay. She poured two glasses and ceremoniously handed one to Abra. They went and sat at the dining room table with their wine and some crackers to snack on. 

“Ok so what happened?” Jacy impatiently asked. Abra took a gulp of her wine and sighing leaned back in the chair.

“Trevor broke off our engagement. Decided that some girl he met on a business trip is his soulmate or whatever.”

“I’m so sorry Abra.”

“Yeah me too. Anyway, the lease was ending on the apartment, the magazine was going under and laying people off left and right. It just seemed like everything was coming to an end. My cards told me to make a change. So, I quit before the magazine shut it doors, and decided not to renew the lease and now I’m here.” Abra raised her glass toward Jacy, they clinked glasses, and both took big gulps. 

“If you’ll have me?” Abra gave Jacy a little smile. 

“Of course! You can move in right away!” Jacy said reaching over to give her friend’s hand a squeeze. 

“I have missed you so much!” Abra said squeezing Jacy’s hand back. 

“Same, and now that you’re here, you can help me figure out all this crazy stuff about this house!” Jacy jumped up to go find the newspaper articles to show to Abra. 

“Look here, that’s Annabelle my great great grandmother, and there is a picture of my grandma Mildred in the Bistro office and she’s holding the same ball thing that Annabelle is holding.” Jacy showed Abra the copied article. 

“Any idea what it is?” 

“No, that lady Ellie said I had to find it. I think it might be in the woods behind the house.” Jacy filled Abra in on her encounter with Ellie Meadows. 

“Well that’s terrifying.” Abra said drinking the last of her glass and pouring another. 

“It was. I don’t understand any of it. And grandma’s grimoire has been no help.” Jacy sighed and finished her glass. 

Abra poured Jacy another glass and sat at the table going over the articles. They decided that they would venture into the woods after Litha and try to figure it out. 

“Do you think Annabelle was a witch too? I mean, she had the ball thing first, maybe it’s some special witch ball.” Abra asked Jacy. 

“I didn’t think of that. Maybe.” Jacy made a mental note to go through the old trunks in the attic, maybe she could find something there that might give them a clue. 

Abra moved the few boxes she brought with her into the bedroom across from Jacy’s room. She set up her altar by the window that looked over the greenhouse. Abra was smudging the room with palo santo and the smell wafted down the hallway and brought happy memories to Jacy when she caught the aroma. 

“Whatcha doing?” Jacy said peeking into Abra’s new room. Abra smiled and waved for Jacy to come in. Abra showed Jacy her altar set up, and they decided to go out for dinner to celebrate. 

They went to Carina’s, the only restaurant in town other than the bistro. They were greeted by Aria.

“Hey! Just the two of you?” Aria beamed at them. They followed Aria to a table by the window looking out onto main street. Aria handed them menus and took their drink orders. 

“This is a nice place for such a small town.” Abra said looking over the menu of Italian dishes. Aria returned with the wine they ordered and Abra asked about the restaurant. 

“My grandpa opened it, named it after my nonna. I’m the manager now, took over a couple years ago, but I try to be out front as much as possible. If there’s nothing else I can get you, your waitress will be right with you.” Aria switched from friend to professional faster than Jacy could blink. They ordered their food and caught up on everything that had happened to the two of them since Jacy had moved. 

“Tell me more about this Morgan.” Abra insisted as she drank her wine. 

“I don’t really know him. He’s Ezra’s brother and he’s a nurse in Merribrook. That’s about all I know.” Jacy shrugged her shoulders and took a bite of her eggplant. 

“Ezra said he gave him your number, right? So maybe you’ll get a chance soon to find out more.” 

Jacy smiled at Abra, not wanting to talk about romantic interests after what Abra had told her about Trevor. Jacy changed the subject to the upcoming Litha celebration. They made plans for decorations and food while they ate their meals. 

“For such a small town, I think this was the best Italian food I’ve ever had.” Abra said to Aria as they left. They walked down main street arm in arm, Jacy giving Abra an early evening tour. Abra stopped and stared into an empty store front with a for lease sign in the window. She let go of Jacy and peered into the window. 

“This would be perfect!” Abra excitedly said. 

“For what?” 

“The shop we always talked about silly!” Abra gabbed Jacy and directed her to look into the windows. Jacy saw the empty inside, it was hard to see anything with only the street lights. Abra got out her cell phone and turned the flashlight on to get a better look. The walls were bare, there was a counter at the very back, everything looked covered in dust. Jacy gazed into the window with the shop and thought of the plans that Abra and her had made years ago. 

“It would be perfect.” Jacy agreed. 

“But?” Abra said with her hands on her hips. 

“But right now, I’m only a waitress, and the only inheritance I got from my grandma was the house. I can’t afford a deposit or anything.” Jacy frowned. Abra chewed her cheek in thought. 

“I could.” Abra said looking into the window. 

Jacy looked over at Abra, and without questioning rushed over and enclosed Abra in a hug.

“Calm down, I’ll call the number in the morning and find out all the details!” 

Jacy smiled and grabbed Abra’s arm leading her back to the house. 

Jacy woke to Fay hissing on the end of the bed. She sat up and looked around the darkened room. Seeing a shadow in the corner of the room, she quickly turned the light on and found nothing there. Her heart racing, she assured herself that it was just the dark playing tricks on her sleepy eyes. She looked at her phone, it was three thirty in morning. She got up to go make some tea to help her get back to sleep. She went downstairs to the kitchen, she put the kettle on and scooped out some chamomile into the tea pot. Fay rubbed on her legs and she bent down to pick her up. 

“What happened Fay? Did you have a bad dream, or did you think you saw something too?” Fay nuzzled under Jacy’s chin. The kettle whistled, and she pour the hot water over the tea leaves. She leaned over the island and looked out the windows into the dark. There were lights in the woods again. Jacy raced up the stairs and woke Abra to show her the lights. Abra came downstairs with her, they huddled by the window watching for the lights.

“There! Do you see them?” Jacy pointed out the window. 

“Yeah, what is someone doing out there at this hour?” Abra asked. They sat and watched the lights flicker and move deeper into the forest. They each drank two cups of chamomile tea, but neither could fall back asleep. They stayed at the breakfast nook until sunrise when Rose came in. 

“Did I miss the party?” Rose joked. 

“No, we just couldn’t sleep. Rose this is my best friend Abra, she’s going to move in with me.” 

“Oh, how lovely.” Rose said. “How about some breakfast?” Rose asked the two. 

“I have to go shower and get ready for work, hopefully I can make it through the day with such little sleep.” Jacy went upstairs to get herself ready. She came back and joined Abra for breakfast before going off to work. 

“I’ll call and see about the lease on that store front. I’ll see you later!” Abra called to Jacy as she walked out the door. 

Chapters 3 and 4

3

March

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.”
“Wait, really?”
“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
“Ben?”
“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.”
“I’m sorry.”
“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.

4

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.
“Morning Pete!”
“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!
E

“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?”
“Uh, what?”
“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.

Chapter Two

Jacy turned to Rose with her mouthed gapped.
“How did I not know this?”
“Oh, you knew dear, you just forgot. It’s been a very long time since you came to visit.”
“Yes, that’s true, I think I was thirteen the last time I was here.”
“It has been quite a long time. Shall we have some tea?” Rose gestured for Jacy to follow her.
Rose brewed some passionflower tea for them and they sat down at the breakfast nook together. “And I see you picked up the craft all on your own.” Rose said nodding to Jacy’s pentagram necklace.
“Yes, I did.” I’ve been practicing for almost ten years now.” Rose smiled at Jacy,
“Wait, are you a witch too?” The thought never occurred to Jacy that Rose might also be a witch. “Your grandmother taught me a little bit, but I don’t consider myself a witch like you and Mildred.” Rose replied.
“I remember her teaching me about teas and herbs, but I don’t think I ever connected it with witchcraft.” Jacy thought out loud to herself.
Fay walked into the kitchen and jumped up onto Jacy’s lap, purring and making herself comfortable. Jacy gazed out the window, absentmindedly petting Fay’s fur. Lost in her thoughts as she watched the sun set.

“Well it’s getting dark, I should be getting back. I’ll see you tomorrow. Sleep well dear.” Rose said, she put her tea cup in the sink and Jacy waved to her as she left.

“Maybe the grimoire upstairs will have more answers?” Jacy said to Fay. The cat sleeping on her lap. The sun set and looking into the woods she could see small lights flickering and moving deep in the woods, as though a group of people were carrying candles. She gasped and stood, Fay jumping to the floor. Jacy rushed to find her coat and ran outside toward the forest. She stopped at the edge, trying to will herself to go in and follow the lights. She could hear faint singing, it sounded old and inviting. She moved her feet but didn’t move any further. The lights and singing faded away and she knew it was too dark now to catch up. She headed back in the house feeling defeated.

She rummaged around in the kitchen and found an unopened bottle of cabernet sauvignon. She poured herself a large glass and went into the living room to sit. She listened to the wind start to howl outside. Her grandmother’s windchimes singing their song on the front porch. She wandered over to the bookshelf and browsed the old books her grandmother had. She pulled Alice in Wonderland off the shelf, “One of my favorites” she said to herself. She sat back down to read.

The forest is dark
I am running
Wind screams through my hair
The white dress I wear torn
My feet bare on the forest floor
There is light
There by the water
Singing
I hear the singing
I run faster to toward the sounds
There by the water, in the lights
Grandma smiling at me

Jacy woke up in the chair in the living room. Groggy she stood and looked out the window, dawn. Fay was sleeping on the floor next to where Jacy was.
“Fay, I had a dream about Grandma, I think.” Trying to remember the details. She watched the sun rise and the frost sparkle as the sun beamed down. The living room filled with sunlight and she let the warmness touch her face.

A conversation with death

The water rushed in my ears, I stood over my body that was lying in the blue tub. Blood ran down the drain with the water from the shower head.

“It’s cold” I said to the figure standing next to me.

“Come with me child, soon you will not know the meaning of the word” It replied

“Where am I going? Heaven? Hell?” I asked

“There are no such things, there is only a place of nothing where there is no cold, no pain, nothing.” It said to me holding out its hand. I reached out and took its hand. It led me through the bathroom door and out of the house. I no longer felt cold. But I wasn’t warm either, I felt nothing now.

“Will I see family and friends that died before me?” I asked while it led me down the road.

“That’s not up to me, they are free to come and go as they please.” It said looking straight ahead.

“Will they miss me?”

“Of course they will. You were very loved. Didn’t you know?”

“No” I said, wishing I could cry, but without my body no tears came.

Then it stopped and turned toward me.

“My child, it really isn’t your time. We can go back, you can go back. There is still time.” It said to me as an ambulance rushed by.

“But it hurts so much.” I stuttered back

“Of course it does. That’s how you know you’re alive.”

“I don’t want to hurt though. Do you know how I make it stop?” Then it reached up and touched my cheek with its hand.

“You just keep going. Things hurt, and then they don’t. Sometimes that pain comes back. But if you keep going and ask for help, and let them love you, maybe it will hurt a little less”.

I nodded, it almost made sense. I took its hand and said “Take me back”

And death smiled and nodded its head. “As you wish my child”

I woke up, with a nurse prodding at me and fussing with an IV.

“Oh good you’re awake. How do you feel?” the nurse asked laying a hand on my shoulder.

“I’m cold.” I said

“I’ll get you another blanket, don’t worry child, everything will be ok.”

 

I

 

Song in the Woods Chapter One

I’ve been editing this story that I’ve written. I let my imagination run wild with it and it has gone so far from where I originally intended for it to go. So I am going to start from the beginning and rewrite the whole thing. I will try my hand at actually plotting it out to help me stay on track for what it is that I actually want. But I allowed this story to take forms that I honestly am not sure where they came from. However, I am fond of this mess of a book that I wrote. So I am going to in a way publish it here. I will post a chapter a week and hopefully someone out there will enjoy it. Shall we begin?

 

It was a dark and stormy night, which is how you might think this story would begin. But it may very well be how it ends.

1
February

It was an unusually warm evening in early February. Jacy pulled her olive green ’65 Mustang into the driveway. The house sat at the edge of town, surrounded by forest. A slender woman with gray hair waved from the front porch.
“Miss Horne! Welcome! I wanted to be here in case you needed anything.”
“Oh, Rose! Please call me Jacy”
Jacy beamed as she reached for Rose’s hand, and Rose pulled her into a hug. She followed Rose into the foyer of the large brick house. Rose was the caretaker of the home, Jacy’s grandmother had lived in the house since she was a little girl, with her passing Jacy was now the owner of the Horne Estate. She remembered when she was younger playing on the old wooden staircase and in the greenhouse in the back. Her grandmother spent many hours in the greenhouse and Jacy was always by her side watching her grandmother plant and trim and harvest all the herbs and plants that were kept there.
“Well, welcome to Honeywick. I haven’t seen you since you were just a little girl. You sure have grown up!” Rose exclaimed. A fluffy calico cat followed Jacy from the car and into the house.
“Ah Fay, there you are, what do you think of our new home?” She said as she leaned down to pet her furry friend. Fay rubbed against the open-door jam and made an approving meow. Rose helped Jacy unpack her car and move the few boxes and suitcases into the dining room.
“Thank you so much for the help Rose, but I think I can take it from here.” She smiled at the older woman.
“Of course, you have my number so call if you need anything and I’ll see you in the morning! Have a good night.” She waved and gave Fay a little scratch under her chin as she left. With her hands on her hips Jacy looked around the room and sighed.
“Well Fay, feels like we have a bit of work to do, will you help me find the sage?” Fay licked her paws and ignored Jacy for a few moments before she jumped down and rubbed on a box under the dining table. Jacy opened it and pulled out a red wooden box. She grabbed out a wrapped sage bundle and a polished abalone shell. She lit the sage  with a match and walked around the dining room wafting the smoke up to the corners and around the windows. She continued throughout the house with Fay at her heals. Chanting under her breath.

“Smoke of air,
and fire of Earth
cleanse and bless this home and hearth.
Drive away all harm and fear, only good may enter here.”

She finished at the front door, directing the sage smoke around the doorframe and the stained-glass windows that sat on both sides of the entrance. She was sure that her grandmother’s house had good energy, but after her grandmother’s tumble down the stairs that led to her death, she felt she couldn’t be too careful.
“That should do it for tonight, tomorrow we’ll wash the floors and unpack”. Fay followed Jacy upstairs to the master bedroom. Rose had laundered and made the bed for her. She heaved her suitcase onto the bed and unpacked her bedroom and bathroom essentials. She placed a copper bowl on the nightstand and arranged some crystals in the bowl, amethyst, rose quartz, smoky quartz and howlite. She put on some black sweat pants and baggy gray sweater, Fay followed her back downstairs to the kitchen. She put the kettle on the stove and opened the cupboard. She was surprised she remembered where her grandmother kept her teas. She stared into the cupboard until she found the blend she was looking for, her grandmother’s blend for respite, it had been a long drive to Honeywick and she was a little fatigued by the move. She scooped out two tablespoons of tea into the tea pot and waited for the kettle to boil. Her cell rang while she was looked around the kitchen.
“Abra!” Jacy said when she answered. “How’s the house?” The familiar voice answered back. Jacy and Abra had met in college, the only witches they knew, and spent many hours studying and practicing their craft together. The kettle whistled as they talked, Jacy steeped the tea while they chatted about events of the day.
“I just don’t know what I am going to do in this big house all alone.” Jacy sighed and Fay meowed as though she was insulted. She pet the top of Fay’s head and whispered, “Well, not ALL alone.” With promises of visits and miss you’s the friends ended their call. She poured the tea into one of her grandmother’s tea cups and went to sit at the breakfast nook, looking out the window she gazed at the forest edge that began a few yards from the back of the house.
When she would come to visit her grandmother warned her not to go into the woods, to stay in the yard. Thinking about it now, she assumed that her grandmother was just worried about her getting lost. Sipping the tea and petting Fay, she noticed movement out of the corner of her eye by the tree line. She looked, and nothing was there. She kept watching. A deer came out of the tree shadows and wandered into the backyard. She laughed at herself for being so silly.
“What do you think Fay? Maybe we should go on an adventure after everything else is settled.” Fay meowed and nudged Jacy’s hand with her head. She finished her tea and the two of them headed up to bed.

“Goddess above, queen of the night
help me sleep in your healing light.
Restful sleep come to me, relax my body and let my mind be free.
Grant me calm and peace tonight and let me wake in the Gods golden light.”

Jacy slept better than she thought she would. The sun began to light up behind the curtains. Fay was curled up by her feet still sleep. She tried to slip out of bed without waking her but had no such luck. The cat bounced up and off the bed and followed her to the bathroom. Jacy washed her face and brushed her teeth. As she was getting dressed she heard a loud crash downstairs. She pulled a black maxi dress on and rushed down the stairs to find Rose and man picking up glass pieces from what looked like a vase. Water and flowers strewn over the hardwood floors. Jacy giggled and went to help. She picked up a daisy that was laying by the last step.
“I am so sorry! I ordered flowers to brighten up the place a little and clumsy me dropped them.” Rose gasped as she noticed Jacy.
“We’ll get it cleaned up.” Jacy reassured her. She helped them pick up the glass pieces and mop up the water. She gathered the flowers and went to find another vase for them. Rose and the man followed her into the kitchen where Jacy was arranging the flowers into a smooth yellow vase.
“Oh! Where are my manners! Jacy, this is Ezra Penwater, he owns the bookstore next to the flower shop. He was nice enough to deliver the flowers for me.” Rose smiled to Jacy. Ezra looked to be about Jacy’s age.
“Hello, I’m Jacy.” She said as she stuck her hand out to shake his.
“You must be Mildred’s granddaughter, we’ve heard you were coming.” Ezra smiled at her.
“Who has heard?” She asked.
“Honeywick is a small town dear.” Rose laughed. “Everyone knew Mildred, and everyone heard you were coming.”
“Well I better be getting back to open the shop, it was nice to meet you Jacy and stop in sometime and say hi. It’s Penwater Books, easy to remember.” Ezra smiled and waved as he left. Rose made the coffee and they sat down together. Rose looked out the window and sighed.
“I see the deer have gotten to the rose bushes again. They never bothered them with your grandma around, but they have just been eating them up since she passed.”
“How did she keep them away?” Jacy questioned.
“I’m not sure, she didn’t teach me all her tricks.” Rose giggled while she sipped her coffee. “I have some errands to run, but I’ll be back this afternoon, call me if you need anything, ok dear?”
“Of course, thank you for the flowers, they’re beautiful, and that yellow vase suits them much better I think.” Jacy smiled at Rose as she left.
“I guess with Rose gone, we should better get to unpacking.” She said to herself.  She walked into the dining room where her boxes and the rest of her suitcases were, she didn’t have much to bring with her, so she knew it wouldn’t take long to unpack everything. After the unpacking she decided to wash the floor.
“Just for a little extra positive energy for the house.” She told Fay. She mixed rosemary and frankincense into a bucket of water and used it to mop the floors. Once she finished she went back into the kitchen to find some jasmine tea. She brewed the tea and sat down at the breakfast nook with her tarot cards. She shuffled and thought of the house. She pulled two cards after cutting the deck.
“Of course.” She said out loud rolling her eyes. The six of cups and The two of cups.
“Interesting” She squinted at the two of cups.
“Outlook good I suppose Fay.” The cat was sunbathing in the window.
“I see you found a spot for yourself.” She pet Fay’s back and puts her cards away. “You look comfy, I think I’m going to venture into town and explore.”
She walked to downtown, a bustling streak of old buildings and lampposts. She ventured into the only coffee shop and ordered a soy latte. Armed with her coffee she headed down the sidewalk to find Penwater Books. A little bell rang over the door as she entered the shop. Books were stacked-on shelves up the ceiling, tables full of new bestsellers and older books. The shop had that old book smell and she loved it. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, delighting in the scent.
“Hello again.” She opened her eyes to see Ezra standing in front of her, he was rearranging books on one of the shelves.
“Hi, I was just walking around downtown and thought I’d stop in, since you mentioned it.” She blushed.
“I was hoping you would. It’s nice someone is finally living in that old house again. Things just aren’t quite the same since Mildred died.” A line of sadness crossed his face.
“Did you know my grandma well?” She asked.
“My dad knew her better than I did. He opened the bookstore when I was still a baby, after my mother died. But even after he passed, Mildred would still come into the shop about once a week and have me order all sorts of books for her.”
“I’m sorry about your parents. My parents died 2 years ago. Car accident.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Go ahead and have a look around.” He moved behind her and went to greet a couple that walked through the door.

Jacy went into the flower shop next door, a strong rose smell guided her over to where there were a few new bushes ready for planting. She bought the roses, figuring she’d replace the ones in the backyard. Hoping she could figure out how her grandmother kept the deer away.
“We normally don’t have these, usually just cut flowers but these were delivered by mistake. It’s too early for them too.” The short stout shop owner said. Jacy smiled and paid for the roses. Happy she brought a big basket with her on her walk. Perfect for carrying the bushes back to the house.
She went through the house and put the roses down in the greenhouse. She hadn’t been in here yet and decided to look around and see what needed to be done. Everything looked perfect. Her grandmother’s herbs looked healthy and the other plants were doing well.
“I suppose Rose has kept them going.” She found Fay still in the window, even though the sun had moved off her.
“Fay, should we go around the house and find a spot for my altar?” Fay looked up from her comfortable spot and jumped down to Jacy’s feet. They ventured into all the rooms downstairs, and then headed up the wooden staircase to the second floor. Jacy stopped in the middle of the hallway and tilted her towards the door at the end of the hall. The door was painted a deep purple, and she wondered how she missed it before. Fay followed her through the door. Inside was a narrow staircase, she climbed the stairs.
“I don’t remember this.” She found herself in the doorway to the attic. The room was dusty, and everything was covered in sheets. There was a table by the stained-glass round window at the end of the attic. She carefully removed the sheet from the table. A small cauldron, candles, a few crystals, and very old book sat on the table.
“Fay, it’s an altar!” Jacy gazed at the table in shock. “Grandma was a witch?” She said it louder than she meant to.
“Yes, she was.” Rose answered from the doorway.

A part

B4CF09E8-29CE-44C9-BBD1-80BC4A541C37There is a small part missing from the house. It’s just a little piece, it doesn’t really matter that it isn’t there. The house won’t fall down without it. But I notice that it is missing. I notice that it is not there, every time I walk by where it should be. The shadows play tricks on me, in my the corner of my eye, making me think that it’s there, but I know it isn’t. And when I look again I can see that it is not there. I don’t know where it went or why it’s missing. I don’t know how or when. All I know is that it is gone, I don’t really even know if it was there before. Was it there before, or did I just imagine it? Either is possible I suppose.

Most days I feel like the part that is missing. I know that sounds strange, don’t I mean I feel like a part is missing from me? No, that’s not what I mean. It’s much more like I am missing from everything else. And I am constantly trying to be the house, to have the space to hold, comfort and protect. I will let the wind and rain crash down on me, so that I can stay standing for the ones I protect.

Maybe I am the house and the missing part. Both at the same time.

Free writing

0F2F6B3D-5520-448C-91AA-07101205D576.jpegI took a nap and had strange dreams about people I don’t know and things that don’t exist. I was thinking of a poem the other day. Something about birds and the moon and then I forgot it. He keeps asking me how stars are made. I’m not sure though. I’ve only watched them, I’ve never thought about it or wondered how. I dreamt of blood coming from my body, watching it flow into a river and disappear over the waterfalls. And then it snowed. I heard small voices before I fell asleep. Laughing and whispering. The ghosts telling each other jokes I assume. I’ve been feeling strange the past couple days. I felt the popping in my abdomen while I slept, something changed. Something shifted. I keep trying to figure out what it was, but it’s still hiding from me. I can’t seem to focus quite right, my eyes have been foggy and my mind has been blurry. Maybe it’s just the changing of the weather. I burnt bay leaves today, they smelled wonderful. Later I burnt popcorn, it didn’t smell nearly as nice.

The cold that you feel
Out in the night
Nothing is real
No one within sight

The wind howls deep into your spine
The chill in your bones
Wraps around you like twine

The call in the dark
It’s waiting for you
Don’t worry about that noise you heard

The shadows watching
As you walk on by
Looking for warm bodies
Where they can hide

Run now, quickly
Try as you might
You can’t escape them
Not in the night

The moon she shines behind the cold clouds. I want to run through the fog, feel my feet on the frosted grass. Take the hand of the night and rise with the sun.