Shay started for the grocery store because Vivienne wasn’t waiting for her and the Hyundai was still parked outside of it.
She passed the candy store and the man who owned it, Lowell, waved from the display window where she was setting up several pastel-dressed dolls that held oversized lollipops. Shay waved back politely.
She was still unsettled by what Hanna’s grandmother had said.
It was bad enough that she’d had yet another dream of Matt’s death, which always brought the feelings of emptiness to the surface because they never seemed to completely disappear. But then, someone specialized in seeing was saying that she was going to need some alfalfa for good luck. She wasn’t sure how her day could possibly get any worse.
When they arrived back at the mansion after she’d helped Vivienne load the grocery bags into the car, she found out just how wrong she had been.
Grandmother Clarissa came down the stairs just as they were putting the last item away—the fifth and final box of protein bars that they’d bought for Ace. She was still dressed in her silk nightgown and Shay glanced at the microwave clock to see that it was only a quarter to twelve.
Grandmother Clarissa filled a teapot and set it down on the stovetop. “Good morning, girls. It is still morning, isn’t it?”
“Almost twelve,” Shay told her.
“Oh. I’ve been getting up later and later everyday.” She yawned and covered her mouth with a wrinkled hand. “I’m not as young as I used to be. Have you eaten yet, Shay?”
Without waiting for an answer, she turned to the fridge and pulled out a package of pre-sliced cheese and a loaf of bread. She put a rectangular pan down beside her teapot and began making several grilled cheeses.
Shay poured herself a glass of milk while she waited for her sandwich and sat down at the island counter. Vivienne took the seat beside her.
They both jumped as the home phone suddenly rang, and Shay’s head whipped around to where it was mounted on the wall.
Isobel . . . Shay thought hopefully.
Grandmother Clarissa put down the spatula in her hand to grab the phone and press it to her ear. “Hello? Yes. This is her.”
Shay sat up, her full attention on Grandmother Clarissa as her thin gray eyebrows drew together. Something was wrong.
“Oh. Oh, my. If it’s becoming a concern that girls and I can certainly come check it out. Really? You think so? Alright. We’ll drive down later. Goodbye.” She placed the phone back down on the hook.
“What’s wrong?” Shay asked.
“That was one of our sister covens. They said there’s been a series of attacks in the next town over.”
“Can’t they take care of it?” Vivienne said.
“It’s Sienna’s old coven.”
That made sense. Sienna’s coven was peaceful, and the girls in it only specialized in things of that matter such as healing, seeing, and potion making. Casting and anything else considered harmful were strictly forbidden.
“Mother Ophelia suspects that it might be vampires.”
“I’ll go tell the others,” Vivienne said. “Do you want them to suit up?”
“No, thank you, Vivienne. Not yet. I want to speak with Mother Ophelia first and find out what exactly is going on.”
Vivienne nodded and then ran up the stairs in a blur of movement.
Shay was glad she wouldn’t have to suit up because her jeans and sweater were quite comfy, and her jumpsuit tended to pinch her in certain places. But if Mother Ophelia was calling them for help, that wasn’t good. She usually tried not to interfere with things that she believed were just part of the natural world, so it must have been getting bad for her to seek out their help.
“I’m going to go put this away.”
Shay waved the paper bag from Hanna at Grandmother Clarissa and then went up the stairs. She stashed the mullein and frankincense in the nightstand by her bed and then headed to the spell room.
It was a large, wonderful smelling room filled from floor to ceiling with shelves of herbs and stones and every other ingredient a witch might need. A fireplace with an ancient pot hanging in it took up one whole wall. Shay went over to the shelves and went down the alphabetical row until she found the empty jar reading ‘Orris Root’. She unwrapped the bundle from Hanna, tucked it inside, and then screwed the lid back on.
She put the jar back, and started again at the beginning of the alphabet.
“A . . . A-C . . . A-G . . . A-L!” Shay declared.
She took off the lid of a jar filled with brittle, dried green stems and purple flowers. She broke a few sprigs of the stems and one of the flowers off and stuffed it down into her pocket.
“Some alfalfa for good luck,” she murmured and returned the jar to its spot.
Sienna walked by the open door, and then a moment later, her tow-head peeked back in. “Shay? Did you get my orris root?”
Shay nodded and stepped away from the shelf, hoping Sienna hadn’t seen her taking some of the alfalfa. She’d feel silly if the other girls knew about her superstitions and sudden desire for good luck.
“Vivienne said we’re going to visit my old coven,” Sienna said, her blue eyes sparkling with nostalgia.
“Well, are you coming or are you just going to stand there all day?”
Shay blinked and walked to the door. “I’m coming.”
Sienna let out a soft laugh, and Shay followed after her as they went down the stairs. She touched her pocket and sent a silent prayer to Hecate. She was putting a lot of trust in a tiny branch of alfalfa. She doubted there wasn’t much that could protect from the bad luck that seemed to constantly follow her like a dark cloud, just as it had for the past few months.
Read, Rate, Subscribe, and Comment
Author’s Note: In case some of you weren’t aware, I’ve been editing Duskville: The Hunt and some of the new edited chapters have been put up.