Copyright 2017 Evelyn Zinn. All rights reserved. All likenesses to real life places or personas is coincidental and should not be taken seriously.
I glared at my cell phone as it started buzzing on the table next to my bed. I had been awake for over three minutes before it went off. Gods waking up before my alarm always felt wretched. Made the day start off feeling slimy almost. I begrudgingly picked up my phone and hit the power button.
Just as I started to get dressed a text message came through. “Get your coffee ready. -Maxine.”
I blinked several times. I hadn’t heard from Maxine in a couple of years at this point. She’d ended up needing to take care of one of her grandkids full time as they didn’t want to go with their parents to an overseas job her son had picked up. I didn’t waste time.
When the call came through I was sitting on the front porch in my rocking chair, coffee in hand and enjoying the crisp morning air that the higher elevation of this cabin afforded me in October.
Maxine laughed on the other end. I suddenly realized how much I missed that alto voice.
“How’s the Mongollon Rim?”
“Creepy. You’d love it.”
She laughed again.
“I have a favor to ask. I need you to watch my grandson for awhile.”
“Ain’t he 18 yet?”
“Yes but there’s… rumblings going on. And he needs a sanctuary.”
“Rumblings eh? The fuckers are going to have themselves another Witch War?”
“Sounds like it. Hector is a Chimera, Claudette.”
There it was. The reason she needed me to come out of hiding a little bit.
“You need me to teach him the ends and outs? Can’t Josiah teach him?”
“He’s doing contractor work in the Middle East again.”
“Fidgety little bastard. All right, when should I expect him?”
“Well if he gets out here by next week’s end, he’ll be able to help me winterize everything.”
“Arizona gets snow?!”
“At these elevations we do.”
“You’re in love with that area.”
I just laughed and gave Maxine the rest of the information so that Hector could find the place.
“Claudette, the kid has a good head on his shoulders. Don’t let him get hurt too badly.”
“Don’t worry Maxine, the locals around here are actually pretty fair folk. They don’t get so damn petty as them out there.”
“Good to hear. I’ll be in touch with more details, right now I need make Hector remembered to pack a lunch for his job. Boy has been working construction since his birthday and is putting in 12’s.”
“Gee I wonder where he gets that from.”
I may or may not used to have teased Maxine about the long shift she put in back at the shop. I had a similar shop here now, smaller but well received. I could put Hector to work in it and it’d help because I needed a second set of hands badly.
It had been five years since I left that area. I didn’t miss it. Once The Great Nullification had occurred, within five years of it the factions were having dick measuring contests. I might have only been 29 at the time when I left, but I had had enough. A wise witch works to keep her sanity. After a few years of genuine magic, you start learning a few valuable lessons. Some of which while painful are essential. Like not everything needs a spell. Not every ritual needs cast, not every full moon needs a full circle and High Days can be celebrated with something as simple as a slightly more expensive bottle of wine and a special food you don’t normally buy.
You learn the painful lesson of what happens when you burn yourself out. Especially these days with spirits being able to be picky with who they work with again, if you burned up your reserves, chi, force whatever you wanna call it… you didn’t have anyone you could call on to get them to wave a hand and refill you. You were on your own. Healing that reservoir takes time and squabbling with other practitioners in magic duels was a good way to fuck it up.
Since the Nullification I had been in exactly one duel and that was to show why no one messed with Maxine’s shop. They’ve not had trouble since.
I was fed up after that and left. That’s why I was here, on this old porch, in these mountains. The land is old here. Not as old as the Appalachians I don’t think, but close. The land was calmer in some ways and the magic laced through its rocks and sand were tides to be reckoned with.
In short, home.
Now to be Hector’s home. I finished the coffee and poured a second cup. It would take me all day to ready his room and set up a space for his digital stuff as I had been using that part of the house for storage. Hopefully he doesn’t mind rusted desert reds. I hadn’t had a chance to repaint the walls yet.