Witches, We (Chapter 16)

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The three sisters finally learn about their powers.

 

 

            “Get inside the house,” Cassandra demanded urgently.

            Vix didn’t think of disobeying. She had a strange, prickly feeling on the back of her neck. Cassandra had never once spoken about either of her parents and Vix had never seen that look of fear in her mother’s eyes.

            Once inside, Cassandra commanded them to hold hands with her by the front door. Then she spoke strange words, causing their hair to float up toward the ceiling.

            Then, she dragged them through each of the rooms and repeated the spell.

            Finally, Vix collapsed onto the sofa with her two sisters, utterly exhausted.

            Cassandra paced before them. “Your powers are incredible,” she muttered. “I suppose it was only a matter of time before they called to you. You aren’t to blame. I should have known.”

            Vix was too tired to ask questions. Too tired to even think them. Almost too tired to understand what her mother was saying.

            “This should do for now,” Cassandra went on. “I could always hide from him when I tried. It was mother who had trouble. Mother who had—“ She looked at her daughters in turn. “Ursa.”

          

            Ursa sat, dumbfounded, unable to reply to her mother. It felt like all her limbs were lead. And she was still pretty drunk.

            “Ursa,” Cassandra repeated. “You should be able to answer this question if you only try.”

            Ursa waited. It was about all she could do.

            “Where is my father, Astor Rehmert?”

            Ursa’s eyebrows bunched together. How the hell should she know the answer to that question?

            Cassandra stared pleadingly into her daughter’s eyes. “Try, Ursa. You have to try.”

            Ursa closed her eyes. The woman was beyond batty, but fine, she would try to answer that impossible question. Astor Rehmert. Where was Astor Rehmert? Astor Reh—

            A burst of light flared behind Ursa’s eyelids. Scenery flashed by and she felt herself describing everything she saw in a low, droning voice. “There’s a red building and a field of corn and… the forest.” And she seemed to be flying through it. The trees whipped by and one clipped her shoulder. She jerked. She stopped beside a cliff and peered over it, down, down, down into a pit. “There’s a pit with water at the bottom. The water looks like blood.”

            Ursa’s eyes snapped open. What the hell was that?

            Cassandra nodded with pride and relief. “Your divining is so much clearer than my mother’s was. She spoke in riddles. Thank you, Ursa. It seems that he hasn’t escaped yet.”

            Ursa had so much to ask, but whatever just happened had sapped the last of her energy. She was nodding off.

            The last thing she remembered that night, was the feeling of being carried to bed.

 

            Layla’s eyes followed her mother back into the room after she’d carried Ursa to bed. “What, is Ursa psychic or something?” Layla asked.

            Cassandra eyed her. “Well, I can see someone has more endurance than her sisters.” She gestured to Vix, whose eyes were closed.

            “Mother. Answer me.”

            Cassandra raised a dark brow at Layla. “Ursa is a diviner. A soothsayer. Something like a fortune teller. She can travel to other places with her mind and magic. I thought she would be. My mother was one. And her father was one.”

            Layla nodded. Now seemed to be the time for questions. “And my father? What was he?”

            “He was a caster, like me. Better than me.”

            “And, is that what I am?”

            “I believe so.”

            “Well, what about Vix?”

            Vix’s eyes shot open at mention of her name, though that was the only movement she made.

            “I imagine that Vix is a healer, like her father.”

            Vix’s eyes closed.

            Layla eyed her mother. “What happened, Mom?”

            Cassandra raised her hand and swept the hair from her face. “Tomorrow. I’m tired. I’ll tell you all tomorrow.” With that she bent down to pick up Vix and carried her to bed.

            Layla stood and fought off a wave of dizziness. It wasn’t just that she was tired, it was that there were too many insane things happening. She shuffled to bed and flopped down. She was asleep before she had another thought.

 

            Cassandra slept on the couch that night. She believed that they were safe for now, but she wasn’t taking any chances. She suspected that, before her father arrived, the girls’ fathers would show up at her door.

            Which would be first? Ryan, Ursa’s dad? Sam, Layla’s dad? Or maybe Dexter, Vixen’s dad. She had been in love with all three. She’d let them go to protect her daughters. Each had been willing.

            Cassandra rolled over on the couch, trying to get comfortable.

            What would they think of her? Of their daughters?

            Despite the fact that her father would soon be free, she felt excited. She couldn’t wait to see them.

 

            Vix woke up.

            She dangled her feet over the edge of her bed, still feeling weak.

            The events of the night before floated behind a foggy pane of glass.

            What had her mother said?

            She was a healer.

            Vix frowned down at her hands. She didn’t really believe it.

            She slunk out to go start the coffee pot and noticed her mother asleep on the sofa.

            She sighed. The woman wasn’t even covered with a blanket.

            She shuffled in and made coffee, shuffled out to drag the afghan from the back of the couch over her mom, then shuffled back to bed.

            She was exhausted.

            Ursa rolled around fitfully.

            She was flying through the streets. The forest loomed ahead and she soared between the trees. There was the cliff and she stopped, once again, staring down into the pit.

            She gasped and leaned back. Then she peered over the edge once more. A man was scaling the side of the cliff. He grunted with effort and pulled himself up one handhold at a time. He glanced up and saw her.

            “Oh, hey!” he said, happily. “Give me a hand?” He had short, straight, blonde hair and brown eyes. He looked so familiar that Ursa blinked.

            She started forward and bent down to reach for him. She had to get him out of there!

            Ursa woke up. She sat up, straight as a rod and shook her head against the dizzy spell. That was a strange dream. So strange.

            She wandered out to the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee. Where was Vix? She was always up first.

            Then she remembered last night. It was a mad flash of drunkenness and foreplay and… magic.

            She shook her head again. She had done magic! Maybe she had done it again in her sleep.

            She rushed to get her mother, but didn’t have to go far. Kneeling by the sofa, she shook Cassandra gently. “Mom!”

            Her mother’s eyes shot open. “Is he here?” Cassandra asked frantically.

            “No. No, listen. It happened again. I was asleep, but I was in the forest and I saw some guy climbing up out of the pit!”

            Cassandra grabbed Ursa’s shoulders. “What man? What did he look like?”

            Ursa thought back. The skin on her arms prickled. “He looked like me.”

 

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