Hunter rolled out of bed and made himself a cup of coffee.
It was Wednesday so he took the leftover coffee from Tuesday and put it in the water chamber of the coffee pot, brewing a new pot over top of it. He unlocked the door and was sipping the resulting caffeine monstrosity as Hector arrived home.
"Hmm, how was work?" Hector asked without really thinking about it.
"It was work," Hector replied with a shrug, not taking the coffee offered to him.
"What is it, Wednesday? I don't want your diesel fuel man." He refused. Hunter poured both his coffee and the one Hector shot down into one much larger mug, which he took with him as he rushed out the door to work.
"I'm late, bye, love you, see you later." He called. Hector sat down at the table and stared at the door for a while. Eventually getting up and heading to the living room to watch TV.
Mesa waited for her sister at the door, she'd only taken a few minutes to get ready since all she did was put on a hoodie over her gross shirt. She leaned by the door and scrolled through social media on her phone. Fifteen minutes passed as she waited and she noticed something coming from outside.
She leaned over slightly more, pressing the button to the screen door and soundlessly opening it a crack. Outside voices could be heard from the idling car, though she couldn't see the speaker.
"...before it comes back."
"Before what comes back?"
"It's …why do you…why can't you just trust me?"
It sounded like her dad who was speaking and also responding. The same voice twice seemed to have a conversation with itself.
"The kids will be ok, they're out of school now."
"It's a lot to have me blindly trust you on, who knows what moving will do to them right now? Mesa could survive in the ocean if she had to, but Tera loves it here."
"I know, but their safety and ours need to come first. People have been falling asleep all over town and not waking up…It won't be long."
When Tera heard Mesa wanted to take her somewhere she was excited and nervous.
Mesa was her older sister so they'd had their share of disagreements, but lately, it seemed the older they got the farther apart they grew. They still shared a room but only when Mesa wasn't away at college. Tera missed spending time with her older sister, so today she decided she would do her absolute best to have a good time.
She wore her newest boots, her nicest jeans, and even the ridiculous dangly earrings she got for Christmas; they looked like little pigs on bicycles. She checked herself one more time in the mirror before heading down the hall.
"Dang, did I take that long?" Tera chuckled as she approached.
Mesa was halfway out the door as Tera finally showed up. She swung back in just in time for Tera to catch her laughing at something.
"Nah you're good, it's not like we have an appointment." She shrugged. Tera looked her sister up and down and tried not to comment on her appearance.
"You sure you don't want to brush your hair or something?" She failed.
"For this guy? Nah it'll be pretty casual." She answered, undisturbed.
"Oh yeah," Tera followed her sister out into the yard and towards the car. "Where are we going anyway?"
"A friends," Mesa answered simply, circling to the driver's side while Tera claimed the front seat. "Do you mind?" She addressed the two men having a whispered discussion in the back. Her uncle looked startled but her father just looked annoyed.
"Taking the car without asking again?" He scowled.
"'S my car," Mesa said as she sat down, turning the key in the ignition.
"Who paid for it?" Her dad responded.
"Who pays for the insurance?" She countered.
"Who fixed the breaks?" He shot back, too fast for Tera or Steven to interject.
"Who's names on the registration?" She shouted at the rearview mirror.
"Which one of you drives it more?" Steven asked innocently. Mesa gripped the wheel hard as her dad grinned.
"I drive it every day to work, and I drive it to run errands." He stated smugly. Her uncle pushed his glasses back up his nose.
"I think it's his car, Mesa."
"Stay out of this, Steve." She spat, and Tera giggled where she was staring out the window. "Everyone out!"
"Not you, Tera."
The two men in the back vacated the vehicle and watched the girls pull out of the driveway. Tera reached for the aux cord but was stopped solidly by Mesa slapping her phone out of her hand.
"Driver controls the music." She reminded Tera helpfully.
"Let me out." Tera reached for the handle, bus Mesa was faster and had it locked before Tera could roll out into the street to avoid listening to her music. "Come on man, I can't do it again." Tera pleaded, but Mesa hit her track autoplay without mercy or hesitation. Tera rested her head on the window and closed her eyes.
They pulled up to a house that you'd expect to be split into apartments, but it was still one house unit. A smallish guy with a colorful sweater and a bright smile greeted them at the door.
"Welcome!" The man's enthusiasm was already contagious and Tera had only just met him.
"Thank you!" She shouted back with equal energy.
"No, thank you! I'm Tevin!" He continued at the same volume and intensity.
"No way! I'm Tera!" Tera responded, pretending the information was revolutionary.
"This is already a bad idea," Mesa muttered.
"I'm so glad you decided to come back and bring your sister, Tera I'm sure you'll love this. Come in, come in." He beckoned the two into the oddly large and whole house as a witch in the woods might beckon wandering children. The place was clean and cluttered. Where others had minimalism this house seemed to practice the maximalist approach to decoration. More pictures and paintings than wall space, more rugs thrown over the carpet than actual carpet peeking through. All of the furniture had intricate designs and molds that had to be looked at closely. The whole place was busy like a rat cage and Tera found herself instantly envious.
"Alright, so when it comes to magick there's a lot to take into consideration," Tevin explained as he began plucking books off one of the six bookcases in the vicinity. "There's hundreds of different creeds and mythologies and hundreds of iterations of practice outside of those things. It's best to start with history." He placed his accumulated stack of books on the floor and sat down. Tera and Mesa exchanged a look.
"History?" Tera asked hesitantly. Tevin was shaken from his flow and looked up.
"Yeah, uh, sorry to give you homework on the first day. We can do this later." He suggested. Tera breathed a sigh of relief but Mesa just shook her head and sat down, claiming the second book in the stack.
"A history of Magic, witchcraft, and the Occult." She read the title aloud to herself.
"Yes! So that one—"
"Hush, nerd" She silenced Tevin with a vague wave of her hand, leaning back and opening the cover. Tera laughed a little at her sister.
"You shouldn't have got out books, non-fictions her kryptonite."
"Well…" he put his book back down. "I appreciate her enthusiasm."
"I'm still here," Mesa grumbled without looking up. "Hush."
"Sorry." Tera rolled her eyes. Tevin stood and led her out of the living room and into the kitchen.
"I see she likes history," Tevin remarked quietly.
"Books, really," Tera agreed. "History, philosophy, Science, basically if it's boring then Mesa's read it." Tera joked. Tevin laughed a little too, but not because it was funny. "I'll be honest," Tera continued, "I thought I was just gonna go hang out at a friend's house or something, Mesa didn't tell me a lot."
"Oh…well I'm sorry this came as such a surprise." Tevin rubbed the back of his neck, trying to look casual. Tera leaned against a counter, causing a small potted sorrel plant to almost topple over."
"So this is like a study group?" She asked, Tevin vigorously shook his head with a grin. "...magic…history club?" She tried again, now poking at the crystal and glass runes hanging from the window over the sink.
"Nope." Tevin rocked back on his heels. Tera whirled back around.
"Then what?" She finally asked with a laugh.
"Welcome to…" he performed a dramatic drum roll on the table. "My Coven!" He declared dramatically, full jazz hands. Tera just laughed again, not realizing he was serious.
"Heh, Coven. Like the Salem witch trials?" She asked. Tevin winced and rolled his eyes.
"Why is that always the first…? Okay, yes like that, but no." He held up his hands and made meticulous gestures as he spoke. "This is a Coven as in a gathering of witches for a practice." He elaborated. Tera's face grew from confused to elated as he explained.
"Wait you're serious? You're like a real witch?" He had her full attention now as she beamed at him. Tevin felt himself shrink under the expectant gaze.
"But I thought witches weren't real?" She puzzled.
"Humanity also thought the Earth was the center of the solar system for a thousand years." He shrugged. Tera steepled her fingers and took a deep breath.
"This…is… the single coolest thing this could've turned out to be." She stated calmly yet intensely. "I cannot believe Mesa didn't tell me she was a witch." She whisper-shouted.
"She's getting there, in time you could be one as well if you wanna stay?" His sentence turned into a hesitant question at the end. Tera made wild arm flailing gestures without actually being able to produce words. After a moment of this where she seemed to pantomime asking God and an imaginary studio audience what was going on, she finally found her voice.
"Wha–wha— yes I wanna join your coven and be a witch, are you kidding?" She must not have noticed her rising voice, Tevin took a step back and Mesa cleared her throat from the other room. "I mean, I accept." She calmly rephrased. Tevin smiled sheepishly at her, it was finally coming together.
"What's all this now?" An unfamiliar voice made both of them whip around to the side door in the kitchen, where a bitter-looking woman was entering the house.
"Hello aunty," Tevin greeted brightly, taking the woman's coat for her. "I'm just here with some friends to discuss things." He answered vaguely.
"Now, boy, I can get it myself," she half-heartedly fought Tevin's help. "And you're a bigger idiot than me if you think this coven's the right business for you now." She remarked. Tevin stopped short before continuing to help her across the room.
"You keep saying that, but Maggie has—"
"Oh, what does old Margaret know?" She waved her hands and he finally backed off. "She'll have you here in the family's interest until you croak, you're young Tevin." She spoke quietly as she crossed the room, and with the croak of twenty years of cigarette smoke. "You should get out of here while you can." She concluded her speech as she hoisted herself up the stairs and out of earshot.
"Well, that was oddly rude," Tevin muttered before remembering his company. "I'm sorry about her, my aunt's usually very sweet to company." He excused. Tera just kept grinning as she had through the whole conversation.
"A family tradition of covens and witchcraft?" She said, slowly spinning to get another look at everything in the kitchen. "Old leaders, split loyalties, an uncertain destiny? I love it here," She laughed, opening a drawer that contained spoons sorted into six different slots for different metals.
"Well I don't think anyone but you is really interested, I don't talk to people much…" he trailed off. Tera tried to think of something comforting to say but instead, an idea struck her.
"Actually, do you think you could help me with something?" She asked suddenly. Tevin furrowed his eyebrows, pulling a chair out from the table.
"Depends what it is." He said, beckoning her to sit.
"What do you know about dreams?"