Calle and Shay laid huddled together on the couch in the living room. Almost in the exact same position they were in when they were on that abandoned road.
“I-I’ll pick up Leo from school,” Diane mutters.
With that, Shay finally looked up at Diane. Her eyes were full of something Diane had never seen before. There was sadness in it. Definitely still that hurt laced with contemplation. She looked on for a beat longer than in a huff, she laid back down. Diane took that as saying that Shay is okay with her picking up Leo so she headed for the door.
“What did I just see?” Shay whispered in Calle’s lap once Diane shut the door.
“I think we should wait for Leo to get here, okay?” Calle said brushing Shay’s locs behind her ear.
“I think they need to hear this too. We need to talk about it as a family.”
“I want to know what the fuck is happening,” Shay said leaning up and looking at Calle so fiercely. Calle looked at her in surprise, realizing the effects of her soothing quality seemed to be wearing off or Shay is growing an immunity — which hadn’t happened before.
“Please. Can you just wait for maybe ten minutes.” Calle said, trying to lace her words with calm. Hoping that Shay would just lay back in her arms until Leo and Diane get home.
“No. I need to get us out of here. What kind of shit is this?” Shay got up quickly, walking across the living room rug then turning up the stairs.
Calle figured it would be best if she just remained where she was and let Shay try and pack. She’d just cast a spell that would unpack her belongings as she packed.
Since her first method of calming Shay didn’t work, Calle found herself back in the kitchen making chamomile lattes and pulling out her lavender cookies for everyone to eat during their chat.
By the time Calle finished setting up everything on the kitchen table, Leo and Diane were home.
“SHAY! I got an A on my test! Let’s order pizza!”
“No! Leo. We need to leave. Come pack your things.” They heard her yell over the shuffling in her room — boxes being packed.
Both Leo and Diane looked at Calle questioningly so she indicated that they should come and sit at the table, “Shay. I need everyone to come downstairs and sit at the table.”
“NO!” and then mumbles in frustration, “I just packed this fucking glitter thong! How is it here?!”
“SHAY! Get. Your. Ass. Down. The. Goddamn. Stairs. Now!” Calle yelled in her firmest voice, used only heard when she was tired of everyone’s bullshit.
They heard more shuffling, frustrated grunts then a loud sigh, and then She appeared at the top of the stairs, looking down at Diane and Leo standing in front of the door.
“Everyone, in the kitchen,” Calle said again.
Leo threw her bag into the living room to the right and then glided to the kitchen to the left. Diane stood there for a beat looking at Shay. Shay quickly looked away and marched down the stairs and Diane turned to walk into the kitchen.
There were six seats at the table. Leo and Calle sat at either head of the table. Diane took a seat on the right closer to Calle and Shay took the seat closest to Leo.
“Grab a mug and a cookie.”
They all reach for a mug and a cookie in unison. Shay, aggressively avoiding any physical connection to Diane.
“So, this is our first house meeting–”
“Um. Do you live here now, Calle?” asked Leo expectantly.
“I will address that in a moment.” She turned and gave Diane a look that asked if she could move in and Diane gave her a happy little nod. Some of the tension released from her shoulders.
“Okay, well, Diane and I want to tell you guys that we are witches.” She paused for dramatic effect but Shay and Leo just stared so she started again. “We can perform spells and incantations. I have a familiar, Rockie. The jokes about Diane’s grandma being a witch are true and today, Shay was attacked by this shapeshifting beast that acted like it was Diane. For that, I am so sorry. We planned to tell you both tonight at dinner but… then you were attacked.” Calle looked at Shay who had tears in her eyes. Leo looked at everyone like they were crazy.
“Are you guys on drugs?”
“No, Leo. We are not on drugs.” Diane said while raising her hand up to conjure a small ball of electricity.
“W-Wait.N- No. What the fuck?!” Leo said as they hop out their seat and take turns looking at all three women seated at the table in shock.
“Leo, Dear. Can you please sit down? I understand what kind of shock this could be to you, I really do and I sympathize but what I am asking for everyone is to temporarily hold off the excitement or shock or… fear. I would just like to say one more thing.” Calle said, hoping everyone would really just relax.
Leo took a deep breath and sat back down in their chair indicating for Calle to continue.
“Thank you. I’m sure you guys remember Violet, she was actually apart of a coven Diane and I was in. You guys know her from that party. She did a reading today that gave me a warning that something was coming. we had no idea what that meant and I still don’t but today has shown us that there are dangers out there. Diane and I have never had to face anything like we did today. Our magic is mostly focused on plants or small spells. It has never been used for defense but something is going on and we hate that you were in the crosshairs, Shay. we will do anything we can to make sure you are safe.”
“I just want to chime in and say that dangers for the witch community is very rare so we are sure this is just one incident but we will boost our power just to make sure you guys are safe.” Diane said, a finger in the air. “We did in fact plan on telling you both soon since you just moved in and I didn’t want you guys to wonder.”
Shay sat there brewing, legs tapped and her arms were crossed until she exploded, “Diane, I’ve known you since we were kids and you have never said a word! All those sleepovers and drunken nights and not once did you tell me? But now that I moved in. It was necessary! Interesting. Leo. Let’s go pack our shit.”
“Wait.” Diane jumped up, chair clattering on the floor. “Please just wait one second.”
Leo and Shay paused for a moment.”Listen, I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Growing up, I didn’t think my family was different, candles lit themselves and objects floated around the room. It wasn’t until junior year of high school that I realized things were different and by then, I was scared to let anyone know. I’m so sorry.” Diane’s eyes brimmed with tears. “I never wanted you to get hurt. I-I just thought you would be safer for you not knowing and things will just stay the same. I didn’t want things to change or for you to hate me but I realized it can’t be hidden anymore with you guys here. Things happen. I wanted you to feel safe-.”
“This is bullshit. Too much bullshit. Leo! Come on!” and turned one foot. Leo stayed where they were.
They took a deep breath and sat down, grabbing onto Diane’s hands. Entwining their long and thin fingers with her short and chubby ones. “Diane. I understand why you didn’t say anything but I really wish you did. We love you. There is nothing that will change that. Shay is just going to need some time. We have been lied to and hurt before and you know that. We have been in traumatizing situations. That you have been there for. She will need some time to process.”
Diane pulled Leo’s hand up to her lips and kissed their knuckles, nodding. After a moment, she released their hand and they got up slowly then retreated to the stairs. Leaving Diane crying at the table and mournful looking at Calle at the table. The pair of them held each other’s hands.
As if sensing it, Calle’s familiar appeared at the window. Today, Rockie he had black fur with piercing grey eyes and a brown arrow looking mark trailing down his back. He hopped from window to counter to table and planted himself on their joined hands and began licking Diane’s risk for comfort.
Leo made it in the room just in time to narrowly miss a pair of socks flying towards their face.
“WHOA! Watch it, Shay!”
“Sorry. Have you packed yet?”
“No. I haven’t. I think we need to talk about this — remember. We are a team and you can’t just make choices for me.”
“You really want to live with THEM?”
“You mean our friends for years? Yes, of course I do. Living with witches is better than an alcoholic father with his head in a plastic bag.”
“That’s fair… but they have been keeping things from us!”
“You mean like you have been keeping one from them?” Leo whispered urgently.
“It-It’s not the same thing. You know it isn’t.”
“Then why are you keeping it from them?”
“Because- they just wouldn’t understand.”
“That sounds exactly like what Diane said. That fear of judgment? Of course, there is fear.”
Shay settled herself down, she sat on the bed and put her head between her knees. Her breath finally slowed. Leo moved from the doorway and closed the door. They seated themselves next to Shay and began rubbing her back. “Shay. I can only imagine how scary it must have been to have had that experience. I get it. I just don’t want you to make a rash decision without talking it through. I mean witches — CRAZY! Who would have even thought about having friends who are witches?”
“I know. You seem to be taking this better than I am.”
“Yeah, that’s because I had a feeling. At least with Calle. Diane was a shock. I once saw her stir tea and then she let go and it kept going. I felt like it could have been something that could have been explained away. Like no big deal so I kept it to myself but then one day, I came by and Calle was cooking and all the pots on the stove had been stirring on their own and dishes were cleaning themselves and Rockie is always a different color when he comes around. I thought I was crazy so I kept it to myself. It was crazy and I didn’t want to start calling my friend a witch. It’s still crazy. I didn’t even think witches existed but isn’t it cool?”
“Yeah, I guess it is. Only when my life isn’t in danger but I honestly would have done the same. It’s a weird concept to wrap your mind around. Witches and shapeshifters are actually real and we know two of them. What?” She laughed, incredulously.
“I know. Ha! You think the Salem Witch Trials were right all along?”
“Yea, no. That’s a stretch. As if men don’t jump at the chance to kill a woman that doesn’t conform to what they want. They were probably like: “this woman doesn’t want children? WITCH!” Or “this woman doesn’t like me! WITCH!” Or even “these women want to spend their lives living in the same home away from men who murder them because they think they’re witches! WITCH!” Honestly, men are an absolute mess. They were probably incels”
“Wow. That was quick. Back to the old Shay! Love you, girlie.”
“I’m still pretty shaken up though. I mean that thing looked and acted like Diane It- it was so close.”
“I know, sis. I know.” Shay indicated for Leo to come to lay on the bed and Leo laid there soothing her locs until they both fell asleep.
At midnight, Shay and Leo had woken up from their nap and made their way downstairs. They were slightly surprised to find both Diane and Calle still in the clothes they wore before and sitting on the couch in the living room. Calle leaning on Diane’s shoulder reading whatever she was writing on the laptop. It looked like they had been sitting there as the day slowly turned to night. The only light that shone on the screen from the computer. Exhaustion written on their faces. Their eyes glued to the screen.
“Hey. Can we talk?” Shay asked softly, breaking through the silence.
The only response was a grunt from one of the girls on the couch but Shay couldn’t figure out which one.
“I-I’m sorry I was so quick to dismiss you guys. I’d like to listen to what you guys have to say so that we can work through this.”
The only thing that answered them was silence. Diane typed on and Calle was entranced. Leo walked into the room and tapped them both on the shoulder and got no response. They yelled “GUYS!” And nothing. Leo looked up at Shay and mouthed “what the fuck?”. Shay finally found the confidence to walk into the room. She tried moving the laptop from Diane’s grasp but it wouldn’t budge either.
Shay looked up at Leo with panic on her face, “What is happening?”
“I have no idea. DIANE! CALLE!” She began slapping them both aggressively but still nothing. “Fuck. Do you think it has something to do with the fucking things that are trying to get us or whatever?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.” Leo tried grabbing and closing the computer.
“They’re the witchy people. What the fuck do we — AH! I’m calling Violet. She’s a witch. I mean she never fucking lied about it.” Shay whipped out her phone and called Violet. “Hey! I need you to come over here now. Okay? Something is happening to Diane and Calle. I don’t know what to do.” From the other side of the phone, she heard Violet say, “Okay. I’ll be there in five.”
Shay and Leo kept trying to break their trace and soon the door was busting open and Violet was coming through. She quickly made her way to Diane and Calle, She analyzed the scene and dug in her bag, pulled out a powder, blew it on them and then quickly using her middle and pointer finger made a circle. Within moments, Diane and Calle were up and Diane slammed closed the laptop.
“What the fuck just happened?” moaned Calle rubbing her head.
“No idea,” replied Diane.
“What happened was that you two idiots got hacked. You guys know about witches casting shit through viruses. What the hell is wrong with you both? Why haven’t you protected yourselves? I’ll add the software.” said Violet, grabbing the laptop and leaving the room.
“You guys don’t know what happened?” asked Shay.
“Of course now, We don’t practice defensive magic.”
“Well, that is fucking stupid!” Yelled Shay, walking up to them both, and scanning their faces.
“Shay, it is not stupid.” Calle grumbled.
“Yes it is! You know for a fact that there are dangers in this world and you do not know how to protect yourself? How dumb is that?”
“No. You guys could have been hurt because you aren’t protecting yourselves. Shit — I GOT HURT because you guys aren’t prepared for attacks. That thing got into this house, walked up the stairs. They could have gone through anything. If you won’t protect yourselves, protect us. Protect this house! What the fuck.” Shay stormed out of the room and went back upstairs.
“My very dramatic sister is right. We all need to feel safe, at least in this house. Do you have a spell or something? We need to create a plan to keep us all safe. Diane, can you call your grandparents? Maybe figure out what attacked us and how to stop that from happening?”
Diane looked like she was still processing what happened in the past ten minutes but finally, she said, “yes, I’ll call her now. Calle, you can get in touch with the coven? They can teach us some protective spells or something.”
“Of course. I’m on it. Leo, I am so sorry we scared you so many times today. We will make this house safe.” Calle got up on unsteady legs and walked to the kitchen where Violet sat at the kitchen table typing aggressively on the computer.
Leo sat next to Diane on the couch, wrapping a blanket around them both. “I know you like to have control of things so this entire situation must come as a shock. It’s all very scary but we need to prepare. We need to get ahead of whatever happens next. We need to protect our family, okay?” Diane nodded and leaned on Leo’s shoulder. Diane and Leo’s coily hair meshed together and Diane pulled out her phone and dialed her grandparents.