Witches, We (chapter 7)



The three sisters find something in the forest. Something that belongs to them.

          Ursa did a double take from behind the wheel. Did she really just see her sisters wandering into the forest? She shook her head incredulously. What the hell were they thinking? Their mother had very few rules but "stay out of the forest" was one of them. Besides, it was late! Who knew what kinds of crazies were in there?

Pissed, she pulled over onto the shoulder and turned off the car. She was about to blast the horn when she realized that she could still see them. It was unnaturally bright in there. Chills swept up her neck and down her back and she looked around the car frantically, searching for anything that might tell her what to do.

All she knew was that she couldn't stand being out here alone. She threw the car door open, jumped out, and slammed it behind her. Then, with one last glance around, she ran after her sisters.

"Layla! Vix! You better stop your asses right now!"

Vix whipped her head behind her. For a terrifying moment, she thought it was their mother.

"It's Ursa!" Layla whispered happily.

Vix also felt happiness sweep over her. She actually waved.

They could see the effect on Ursa as well. She'd first seemed terrified, but as she got closer, she started to smile and even laugh. "What the hell are you two doing out here?"

"We had to check it out," Layla whispered, jerking her thumb over her shoulder in the direction of the light.

Ursa's eyes widened, and the light seemed to fill them. "What...?"

"We don't know either," Vix murmured.

Without asking for any other explanation, Ursa followed her sisters deeper into the forest.

The light never really seemed to get brighter, but it slowly came to be around them, like fog.

Then there was a melody; soft yet strong; almost felt more than heard. It didn't startle Vix. That was what she found strange; that it wasn't strange. It was exactly as she felt it should be. Before she even realized the need to do so, she was holding Ursa's hand—the way she did as a child when crossing the street. Layla was holding Ursa's other hand and Vix couldn't say who reached for whom in either case.

Contrary to what she believed minutes ago, she wasn't afraid; in fact, though she didn't know the word, she felt exhilarated.

"She's been keeping us away," Layla said in a light, awed voice, free of anger.

Vix knew it was true. Their mother was keeping them afraid of this place. She might have even set the dreams on them.

"She took something from me, didn't she?" Ursa asked in a similar voice. It wasn't really a question and Vix could tell that she didn't want an answer.

Vix had never felt closer to her sisters as they drifted deeper into the forest; never calmer or with more purpose. On the road, she'd imagined witches gathered within or even monsters, but now she knew that they were alone.

Again, without a thought, the three of them stopped and held hands in a circle. The light was all around them and they looked at each other feeling nothing but peace and determination.

"This line is mine," Ursa said, looking up. The light around her dimmed and she became brighter.

"This line is mine," Layla repeated, also looking up. Again, the light around her dimmed and she lit up.

"This line is mine," Vix said, though she didn't feel the words coming out of her mouth. And though it looked like her sisters had known what to do in an instant, instead Vix felt like her chin was being pulled up. Instead of looking up, it felt like her eyes were opening for the first time. It felt like her face was opening, becoming permeable, and what rushed in was hers. It was always meant for her.

The three of them laughed giddily as they held each other. The only light was now behind their eyes.

The surety that what had happened was right and pure stayed with them all the way home.

But when they saw their mother's bedroom light on, a feeling of dread washed over Layla and Vix.

"She'll know," Layla said with eyes wide.

"What if she does?" Ursa asked, unconcerned.

Vix, too, felt like Cassandra wouldn't be pleased. "We have to relax," she told them. "We're still ourselves, aren't we?"

Ursa nodded. "I feel more myself than ever." She pulled into the driveway and shut off the engine.

"And we still love her, right?" Layla asked, looking up at the lit window.

That didn't land on Vix well. She didn't know. Cassandra felt like more of an enemy than a loved one. That was terrible.

"Of course we do!" Ursa said, shaking her head at her sisters. "What is wrong with you guys?" She stepped out.

Vix and Layla stared at each other, realizing that, though she knew Cassandra had taken something from her, Ursa still didn't know that Cassandra had cast a spell on her the night before. She still didn't realize how much of a witch she really was. Uneasily, they followed Ursa into the house.

Cassandra started awake. She'd had a horrible nightmare. She realized that she'd fallen asleep at her sewing machine again. With a frown, she stood up and floated down the stairs in her nightgown. She quietly opened Ursa's door and peeked in. Ursa was sound asleep on her side. Cassandra shut the door behind her and moved to Vix's room. Cassandra smiled at her daughter. Vix always slept on her stomach.

Feeling much more at ease, Cassandra pushed open Layla's door and watched her sleep, as always, on her back with her arms folded above her head. The contented mother was closing the door when she noticed Layla's jeans. They were smeared with something black.

She stood, motionless for a moment, staring at it.

Why couldn't that girl ever keep her clothes in good condition?

She crept back to bed, turned off her lamp, and slept soundly 'til morning.



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