As Mesa rested her weary self against the door She sighed. Her dad tried his best and she could respect that, but he didn't have to be so out there about it. She shook her head and opened the bag of baby carrots she'd nabbed from the fridge.
Trudging across the room she kicked her sister's laundry aside and plopped down at her desk. Her computer lit up at the touch of a key and her email once again illuminated the screen. She'd been working on her manifesto for a solid sixteen hours and she'd decided to take a short break when she’d gotten an unexpected email.
Hector was an upperclassman when Mesa was in high school, they'd been put together in a history class to give a presentation on one polarizing topic of their choosing. As a result, they had each other's emails. She hadn't heard from him in the years since the presentation, yet here he messaged her out of the blue.
"You know where I can get some cases?"
No hello, no attachments, not even a subject; Nothing but business. Mesa could respect that.
Open message reply
"What are you a cop?"
She wrote back and sent it. There were several minutes of silence before the notification blooped again.
Open Email reply
"No. This is Hector's brother, Hunter."
Mesa steepled her fingers at the keyboard. She knew Hector, vaguely, but she'd never even met Hunter. She was deciding how to respond when there was a knock on her window.
She stood cautiously, staring at the source of the noise. It was less than a minute before the knocking returned again in three short taps. Without taking her eyes off the window she reached under her blankets and retrieved her bedside katana. Sword in hand she crept closer to the window. In one smooth motion, she drew up to her full height and pulled the string for the blinds to open. They shot up and revealed behind them a young man standing a few feet down on the grass outside.
"Uh hi." the guy waved a bit as he spoke. "Can you hear me through the glass?"
“Who are you?”
“Right!” The stranger bounced on their feet and brought their hands up to pull their hood from their face. “My name’s Tevin and I’m looking for…” He looks briefly at his arm. “One, twenty-one, thirty-four, Angell Road?” He looked up at her expectantly. Mesa narrowed her eyes.
“You’re not the weirdest Jehovah's witness I’ve seen.” She opens the window to respond. "But definitely top three." He laughs at her but stops quickly as she brandishes her katana again.
“Aha…uh… So I didn’t decide to bother you in the middle of the evening for no reason. I’m looking for interested and trusted parties to join a club I’m starting.” He speaks quickly, making sure his first pitch went as rehearsed. “Are you related to Mr. Steven?” He asked nervously as she didn’t immediately respond.
“Uh…” She was about to call the guy creepy and ask him to leave, but Steven was just a slight mispronunciation of Stefan, her father's name. “How’d you know that?”
“Maggie told me she knew him,” He makes a small huff sound as he heaves himself up to sit on the window pane. Feet dangling into the room and brushing her carpet. “She says his relatives, you and your sister, would make good witches.” He concludes. Mesa should’ve been threatened by the stranger aggressing her home, but Tevin wasn’t particularly intimidating upon closer examination. He was shorter than she was and he didn’t quite fill out his sweatshirt the way a guy his age should. She lowered her katana to point at the floor and rolled her eyes.
“Oh just come in.” she sighed. Tevin smiled and dropped into her room, closing the window behind him since he wasn't raised in a barn.
“Splendid.” He smiled, looking at everything in the shared room with almost cartoonish wonder. “I’ve never been in someone else's house before.”
“Nah, I don’t go places really,” he explained lamely. She didn’t continue the conversation. He coughed nervously one more time. "Anyway I'm starting my own coven and I'd be very lucky to start it with trusted and powerful members such as you and your sister."
Mesa had heard of covens, she'd heard they mostly dispersed or died out over the last fifty years. There were still a few powerful covens in town but she'd never considered joining one. She wasn't the hippy-dippy magic tricks type. That was more of Tera's thing.
"Yeah…" her attention was drawn back to her computer where the notification sound blooped in the background. The new email read;
Open Email reply
"This is Hector. Harper told my brother you knew who was selling the good stuff, sorry he bugged you."
Tevin seemed to appear over her shoulder as she read.
"That's a weird name."
"No, you're nosey you unripe fruit." She whispered her answer as she typed a response to the email. "Anyway, it's an old friend."
"Oh!" Tevin lit up and very suddenly put himself between her and the computer. "Any chance they like magick?" He asked. She raised an eyebrow at him and he quietly slinked back to staring over her shoulder. "So...about joining?" He pressed after a few more minutes of silence. Mesa switched her screen back to her writing before she answered.
"I'll think about it." Was her lazy response. Tevin shifted uncomfortably on his feet.
"And you'll tell Tera about it?" He pressed harder. Mesa paused her typing again.
"You know our names too?" She asked carefully. Tevin coughed in surprise but answered smoothly.
"Maggie told me about you guys."
"How does 'Maggie' know about us?" She asked, standing slowly from her chair and looking down at him. He found his mouth was too dry to talk all of the sudden and he swallowed to try and wet it.
"I don't...pretend to know… how Maggie knows things." He answered slowly. Mesa advanced on him in long steps as he tried to get the words out. She'd cornered him by the window again and extended her hand rather suddenly. Instead of doing anything heinous that could cause bodily harm, she pressed her hand to the window beside him and slid it open easily
"Get out of my house." She gestured outside. Tevin shot his gaze to the evening air out the window and then back to Mesa. He tried one more time before fleeing.
"You'll think about it?"
"Less and less the longer I look atcha." She hissed.
"Ok, I'm gone!" He defended in fear, hands up as he climbed back out of her room. "Email me if you change your mind. I'm Tevin Rowan."
"Also…" She stopped him. He craned his head back hopefully from where he sat in the window. "Don't talk to my dad on your way out." She gestured outside.
Tevin followed her pointing with his gaze and saw just around the corner of the house was an old-looking red car parked in the driveway. Barely visible behind the car were two men talking uncomfortably. He nodded in compliance before dropping fully out the window and into the grass. He looked behind to say one last thing but the window slammed shut and the blinds whipped down.
He sighed as he trudged away through the wet grass. The sun had finally set far enough to make the world dark and difficult to navigate. He muttered a walking protection rhyme as he skirted the edge of the house.
"My bubble's light can help me hide, my bubble keeps me safe inside."
Making his way back to the woods he'd emerged from on their property without being seen by the men talking by the car. Just inside the trees, he felt more at peace, and less alone.
Less alone indeed as he glanced up at the sky.
Just visible through the canopy was the brightly colored legs of the giant newt suspended in the sky above Elsewhere. The creature was the size of the horizon and so faded and distant it could be merely clouds. It didn't move and had never been seen by anyone other than Tevin, but he liked to look up and acknowledge it from time to time anyway. It had only ever spoken once, to his knowledge. One seemingly irrelevant word from a creature no one but him could see.
Who knows what it meant? He didn't think about it much as he tripped and almost ran into someone. He only caught a glimpse of their long, tied-up hair as they rushed past him back to the property he'd fled from. He watched where they'd disappeared for only a second before continuing onward.
Mesa sat back down at the computer and stared at her manifesto. She stared and read the same paragraph four or five times before giving up. She just couldn't continue it that night. She had her mind poisoned with distractions like Hector and Tevin and how Tera's still missing. She leaned back far in her chair and it rotated slowly on the uneven bedroom floor. Very slowly she turned in the chair until it faced the window again.
She didn't want to join that sketchy kid's club, she knew that. She told him she'd think about it to make him leave her alone. However, Tera would be over the moon to get an invitation like that. The question that persisted was, what should she tell Tera? Sure Tera loved dumb friend stuff like this glorified book club, but Tera was also very easily distracted.
Mesa buried both her hands in her short hair and clenched them against her scalp. The sensation was comforting. She listened to the silence of the empty room without her sister in it. She'd gone to apply for a job and somehow turned up missing all day. She was an adult now and she needed to get her life together.
No, Mesa wouldn't tell her about the coven. She wouldn't be accepting the invitation either. She pulled her headphones off their charger and started her vibes playlist. Most people said her music was trash but the masses will never truly understand art.
Cracking her knuckles on her desk she opened a new email and searched for 'Tevin.' Low and behold there he was listed online under his legal name like a crazy person.
She typed out the mandatory greeting and then got to business.