On Saturdays they did laundry. He folded towels while standing casually in the hallway outside his aunt's room.
"Dear, help me with the sheet." She extracted one of the large, fitted sheets from the stray socks still left in the laundry basket. Tevin put his towel in the pile and sighed, taking the other end of the sheet.
"Tevin." A woman interrupted from down the hall in a soft voice that somehow filled the room.
"Yes, Margaret?" He responded, glancing between her and the sheet.
"I'd like to speak with you alone, about your future." She said. Her voice was smooth and serpentine, but to him, it was as familiar as family. All four of their voices were.
There were four others in their coven.
Margaret was an ancient woman who’d led them for the covens' entire existence, almost a century. They didn’t fraternize much with outsiders so many of the coven members were close family, eventually leading to him. His name was Tevin.
He hesitated, only for a minute, before his aunt yanked the end of the sheet out of his hand.
"I can handle it, go, go," She waved him away, down the hall where he followed Margaret into her office. Margaret strode casually across the patchouli smoke-filled room and took a pencil from the cup on the desk. She scripted something on a post-it.
"You'll need this." She vaguely remarked as she gave him the note.
12134 Angell Rd. Elsewhere
"It's an address?" He asked. Margaret seemed to think it was rhetorical. "I thought you wanted to talk about 'the future’?"
"Well, that's just a suggestion," She answered. "For where to start."
"Maggie, come on." He raised an eyebrow. "You're being vague." Margarets face broke into a small smile, beaming down on him and making him feel warm.
"I'm hardly hiding anything, child. If you don't want tips on who to talk to to find potential talent, then, by all means, do it on your own." She waved him off with a smirk. His heart flipped for a second. Potential talent? Magick talent? Did she mean..?
"New members?" He blurted in his excitement. "Oh, we haven't had anyone new since...well, since me!" He was excited, new members of the coven, and she was asking him to find them. Why? What did this have to do with the future?
"Not new members," She shook her head with a patient smile. "A new coven." Tevin didn't immediately understand, they're…rebranding? "It's about time you begin your journey in this world." She clarified. Tevin's heart rate went from beating to pounding. She wanted him to start and lead a coven? That was a really strong suggestion for a guy who still didn't have the initiative to get a driver's licence. He couldn't do what Margaret did.
"Hush boy, I already know what you're thinking of." She snapped at him, and he fell silent instantly. "You will do this, and you will start there." She taps a freshly buffed and very long fingernail on the note still in his hand. He looked down at the note again and nodded without speaking.
Margaret dismissed him and he made his way back up the hallway, staring despondently at the note. He pocketed it as he returned to his aunt and her laundry, acting casual as he picked up a pillowcase to resume folding.
"What'd she give you." His aunt didn't look up. Tevin stayed quiet and answered carefully.
"Some lecture about how I need to apply myself, you know Maggie worries about small things." He dismissed naturally.
"Oh sure…" She rolled her eyes and set the T-shirt she was folding on Tevins head, grabbing another. "Worrying about small things, micromanaging, dictating every aspect of our lives…"
"All synonyms I suppose."
"Yes, you make this point a lot."
"But that's not what I asked." She snatched the shirt out of Tevins hand and unfolded it, refolding it stiffly. "What did she give you. In your pocket." She clarified. Tevins face heated up and he could only sputter at being caught.
"My pocket? Like, of my shorts? Cause these ones are actually from that second hand place and I haven't washed them, so I don't know what could be hanging out…" this clearly wasn't working. "...in the pockets." Tevin was slowly removing the post-it from his cargo shorts as he finished his sentence, eyes on the floor in embarrassment.
"So it's a note?" She asked, and carefully stacked another folded shirt on Tevins head-pile.
"It's an address." He answered stiffly, sighing as his aunt just waited for more information.
"Maggie thinks I should start my own Coven." He admits and his aunt's shoulders slump under the words.
"Oh…Tevin dear, there is so much…" she balled the shorts in her hands as she struggled with her words. "There is so much more out there than that." She finally lamented. Tevin pulled the pile of clothes off his head and started carefully sorting them into drawers.
"More than what?" He asked.
"More than this." She gestured around the clean if stuffy bedroom she kept. The bedspread wasn't a set and the Korn posters weren't pristine, but Tevin always thought their life had charm.
"More than your room?"
"Tevin I've been living in this room, this Coven, since I was seventeen." She sighed, sitting down on the bed. "There is more than this house, there is more than this Coven, and I want you to be able to go find it like everyone else." Tevin rolled his eyes, slamming the drawer a bit too loudly.
"I'm not like everyone else." He laughed, an uncharacteristically bitter sound.
"And who put that in your head?" She was on her feet again. Cornering her nephew and poking at him. "Margarets just decided that for you and you're okay with it?" She asked. Tevin scowled at the floor. "Oh stop pouting." She remarked, backing off and stooping to pick the basket up off the floor.
Silence stretched awkwardly between them and Tevin took a deep breath.
"I know you don't get along with Maggie and you don't want me to follow her forever." He began.
"I do get along w—"
"But I'm not a child and I can responsibly accept Maggie's guidance without becoming dependent. Is that okay?" He took the basket from his aunt and she pressed a hand to her forehead.
"Ok ok, yes, of course you can be responsible for yourself, you're eighteen now–"
"Twenty." He corrected her and her eyes widened for an instant.
"Oy vey," she sighed. "Ok, you're twenty now." Tevin laughed.
"And that makes you..?"
"Old enough to know better." She snapped. To this day he'd never gotten his aunt to admit her age. "You take that downstairs, I think I'm gonna lay down for a while." She decided, ushering Tevin out into the hallway. He couldn't get a sentence in before the door closed on him and he was left in the hallway with the empty laundry basket.
He trudged down the stairs, thoughts weighing heavily with the events of the morning. Candy and Dottie sat on the downstairs sofa, Dottie knitted what looked like the same bubblegum pink and blue sweater that already sat beside her in several copies. Candy held her yarn and played with her hair.
"Morning." He said quietly as he passed through the room. He didn't expect a conversation but Candy jumped up from where she was, hurrying up to him.
"Tevin, come here for a moment." She pulled him lightly by his shirt so he followed behind her into the living room. Dottie put her knitting down and sighed, getting up and meeting them by the bookshelf.
"What's up?" He asked. Candy didn't respond but looked at Dottie. She had a sour expression as she scrutinized Tevin. Dottie always had a sour expression so he didn't take it personally. "What's up?" He repeated, more hesitant than before. The last thing he needed was more opinions from people. Dottie stared for a bit longer before plucking one of the heftier books from the shelf without looking. She shoved it towards him and he dropped the basket to accommodate the large book.
It was the oldest book they had, and the most familiar.
"The Grimoire?" His confused tone was cut short by Dottie's exaggerated groan.
"If you don't want it then put it back." She snapped. Candy casually pushed Dottie aside.
"What she means is that we heard you're…you…" she fumbled for wording. "You're branching off." She decided.
"You're gonna need all the help you can get." Dottie commented. Tevin looked down at the book and back. Reverence on his face grew as the realization sank in.
"You can't give me the Grimoire." He said slowly, Dottie barked.
"Hah! Give it to you?" She laughed. Tevin felt his face flush with embarrassment. "You're gonna need it but you can't just keep it." She rolled her eyes. Candy put a hand lightly on the books cover.
"We want you to take it until you've established everything you'll need. Supporters and customs and rituals…" she trailed off. "Then when you have a book of your own, bring it back." She smiled. Tevin felt his face break into a smile as well. Although they were discordant in their approach, it really was a sweet sentiment. Not to mention it would make his assignment go from impossible to just very very hard.
"Thank you guys I, I don't know what to say."
"Well you said 'thank you', works for me." Dottie put her hands up and turned away, walking back to her knitting. Candy turned to follow her but stopped, ruffling Tevins hair lightly.
"With you leading a Coven, Elsewhere isn't gonna know where to start."
Tevin watched them leave and retrieved his basket from the floor, dropping the book into it and moving on.
He thought long that day about his aunts words, as well as Margarets. He didn't know if he wanted to continue down the path he'd been so lovingly shoved down, but he also didn't know what he could want otherwise. He deliberated and agonized all the way until that evening, making his decision as the sun slanted through his window at a harsh late-day angle. He dressed warmly and tucked the address away into his wallet as he set out into the town to find some skill.
A new coven, forming under a gathering storm. Three young adults, each battered by the complicated injustice of a modern world, seek to take control over their own lives through the otherworldly power of The Craft. Can they keep resolute in the face of otherworldly horrors, intense physical torture, and the mystery of a cosmic crime on their hands?
This one has a real slow build so stick around and subscribe to help me grow the series.