"What do you know about dreams?" Tera asked, taking a seat.
"You mean the unconscious world? Or the inner workings of the mind?" Tevin responded, searching for clarification. Tera blew air out her mouth in a puff.
"See I don't even know enough to answer your follow-up question." She laughed tensely, running her hands through her long hair. Tevin tapped his fingers lightly against the table.
"How did this dream begin?" He asked lightly, turning from her and busying himself so she doesn't feel put on the spot. He moved to the sink and started filling a pot with water.
"It was less of a weird dream and more of a weird place." She began. "I fell asleep in this abandoned shed in the woods—"
"Well, what did you do that for?" Tevins question was rhetorical as he put the pot of water on the stove to boil.
"I don't know that's why I'm kinda freaking out about it." Tera leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes. "Anyway I fell asleep and I dreamt of the same shed. I saw this huge fire and then everything that had happened there for like…years and years." She was speaking quietly now, something softer in her disposition that Tevin hadn't seen from her yet. Something removed from her charming if intense first impression.
"This place, have you been there before?" He asked, picking pieces off the dried plants hanging from the hooks on the far side wall of the room.
"No…I followed a wasp there." She admitted. "But the wasps were all different colors and I didn't wanna apply for a job anyway, there's gotta be more to life than working for nothing until you die. I'm running out of time to do things and go places and…chase bugs around." She finished lamely. Tevin didn't say anything as he gently wrapped his herbs in three bundles of cheesecloth and placed them each into a mug. He also added a tea bag before taking the pot of now steaming water from the stove.
"Sounds like you have more on your mind than a dream." He pointed out after a long period of silence. Tera let her head fall lightly to the table.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to rant at you. I've just been stressed and I think it's all getting mixed up inside me." She lamented quietly into the pine wood. Tevin tipped the hot water of the pot into each mug and set two of them down on the table, leaving the third on the counter. "What's with all the tea lately?" Tera asked herself. Tevin pinched his brows and looked at the cups in confusion. Tera waved her hand and he let it drop.
"Well, I think we're getting you off-topic. I can't help with the existential nightmare of overworked, unfulfilled societal expectations, but I might be able to help with dream stuff." He said kindly, nudging the cooling tea towards her slightly. She took it with a soft thank you.
"Ok, you're right," she shook her head a bit to clear it and sipped the tea gingerly. The tea tasted like chamomile, but Tevin had added something unrecognizable that made it taste different. She felt herself relax and continued. "The oddest part of the dream was the end, all the death was being drawn there by something, and I saw this weasel escape... I think it was important because that's when the dream stopped." She mused. Tevin sipped his tea in thought.
"It sounds like a message." He said confidently. Tera felt herself let out a breath, finally an actual idea, maybe an answer.
"Yes, you wandered into this entity's domain and it gave you visions of where you were and what it meant." He explained. "It sounds, and bear in mind this is only my interpretation of your brief account," he disclaimed, raising an eyebrow. "But it sounds like this entity's goal was to be released from whatever bound it to that specific place. And from your ending, it sounds like this entity succeeded." He concluded. Tera bit her fingernails in thought.
"Is that a bad thing?" She asked. Tevin sipped his tea again and made an uncertain noise.
"Chances are you'll never find out, this thing doesn't need your help anymore so it shouldn't contact you again." He said. Tera felt her heart sink, perhaps she was a bit disappointed all her worry turned out to be for nothing.
"Oh…" she fingered the rim of her mug and stared down into what was left of her tea. Tevin scratched his face as he thought of something to say.
"You know if you want to know more you might try doing a little research on this. You said there was a fire?"
"Well, I'll bet a fire was probably in the paper." He said finishing his tea and standing from the table. Tera perked up a bit.
"Yeah…you think my dream was real? You think the fire really happened?" She asked as Tevin took her cup for her.
"There's one way to know for sure." He said cryptically. Tera was excited again as she stood to follow. Tevin took the now moderately cool third tea cup from the counter and started towards the living room. "You research the history of the town for mentions of fire or sheds, and you," he said, handing the cup to Mesa who took it without looking up. She'd finished a whole textbook in the time they'd talked and was steadily chewing through a second. "You can take those with you if you want." He said.
Mesa still didn't look up as she started stacking books on her lap to take to the car with her.
"Thanks." Was her only absentminded reply.
"Alright so that's your homework, I guess, hey Tera." He turned to address her again. "I'll ask aunty if she knows anything about this, she can be a bit of a pill but she's been in this town for a long time." He assured. The girls packed up and said their goodbyes, leaving wiser and more satisfied than when they arrived. Tevin watched them go, closing the door behind them and turning to the stairs. "My aunt will tell me things Maggie won't." He spoke only to himself.
Walking quietly he made his way up the stairs. The bedrooms were all in a neat row in the upstairs hall. His aunt lived in the first room on the left, the room she'd lived in for as long as he could remember, and the room he's told his aunt used to share with his mother. The next room belonged to Candy and Dottie, followed by the master bedroom occupied by the coven leader, Margaret. Across the hall from her room was her study, followed by the upstairs bathroom, and finally, his room was first on the right.
Tevin knocked quietly on his aunt's door, hoping she wasn't sleeping.
"Who's it?" Her answer was muffled but audible.
"The police." He said in complete seriousness.
There was an intense shuffling from the other side of the door and Tevin snickered to himself under his breath. He heard it continue for about thirty seconds before he heard her voice answer again.
"Ok, officer, you can come in." She said in her best innocent middle-aged lady voice. Tevin opened the door and found her sitting on her bed, room clean as it always was and nothing amiss.
"Hello Tevin, hun, you gotta tell me when you bring people over." She scolded and Tevin laughed nervously.
"I was kinda hoping you wouldn't be home yet." He excused lamely. "Actually, one of them wanted me to ask you something." He started. His aunt made a noncommittal noise, leaning back. "She had a really intense dream and—"
"Oh." The woman stood immediately, striding across the room and picking a book from her personal shelf. "Of course, it's a dream, everyone thinks their dreams are meaningful…" she muttered as she thumbed through the pages. "What was it then? Teeth falling out? A door they couldn't open?"
"A fire." He answered. His aunt nodded slightly as she flipped back a few pages.
"Fire…something out of their control I suppose, something urgent…" she continued as she read.
"With all due respect aunty, I know how to interpret dreams." He chucked. The woman closed the book with a snap.
"Then what are you bugging me for, child?" She scolded, pointing with the book, accusingly.
"Well we uh…" he floundered a little under his guardian's gaze. "We decided it was a…probably an event that took place in the past, do you know anything about a shed that burned down?"
She paused at the question.
Tevin advanced into the room a step at her clear reaction. She just reshelved the book and turned back to her bed.
"Things burn down all the time in this town. Faulty wiring, cheap insulation…" she dismissed, but her voice was weak and her movements were those of a much older woman.
"You know something!" He pointed at her back. She whirled around and pointed right back.
"I know enough to confuse a whole shush of librarians, kid, you shouldn't look into this."
"I'll hear no more of it!" She shouted, crossing her arms in a strained x. Tevin fumed but didn't respond immediately, it was difficult for him to stand his ground against the woman who raised him.
Just then there were chimes.
The chimes of the doorbell rang downstairs and the attention of both witches snapped to the door.
"More of your friends?" His aunt mocked with a grin. Tevin rolled his eyes and made his way out.
He hadn't invited anyone else over, maybe it was a package? His simmering anger stilled as he sluggishly took the stairs. Why was his aunt being so evasive? What could've possibly happened? Was she there? How did this involve Tera? His head spun with questions and he felt his steps become laborious. He was heavy under the realization that he still had so much to do.
Reaching the door he tried the peephole first. The stranger was impossible to make out in the warped bubble view. He opened the door cautiously to see a man who was more trenchcoat than man at the door. It was chilly and his face was covered by a flannel scarf, all except his eyes.
"Hello, is Tevin Rowan here?" He asked. Tevin would've guessed the sound had come from the street it sounded so far away.
"Uh…I'm he." Tevin answered, gulping at the rise of nerves in his throat.
"Hector told me you were starting a bit of a gathering and I'm interested." He said. Tevin felt his face heat up as the stranger stepped closer. He wasn't nearly as intimidating once you were used to his initial appearance. He spoke softly and seemed earnest. Tevin felt his breathing return to normal.
"Oh good, I was hoping they would spread the word." He stepped aside to let the man in. "You said it was Hector?"
"Yes." He answered simply as he entered. Tevin stretched his mind to remember where he'd heard that name. "Oh, Mesa's friend." He finally felt the lightbulb go off. He didn't know how he felt about it anymore, friends of friends of friends of friends of…wait how many…
This guy knew Hector who knew Mesa who knew Steven who knew Margaret who knew Tevin. It seemed to be spiraling out of his control pretty fast but he pushed the nerves down.
"So how do you know Hector?" He decided it was a valid question.
"I go to Denny's a lot." He answered, Tevin opened his mouth but didn't have any way to respond so he closed it. "Hunter and I are friends through his workplace." He elaborated. Tevin still had nothing and the stranger hummed. "Hunter is Hector's brother, he works at Denny's." He finally concluded. Tevin sighed as he mentally added another 'friend of' to his list.
"Ok sure that tracks." He remarked, almost to himself, "And you're interested in the Coven?"
"Yes," The man answered simply again. "I'd like to join."