“That’s the thing about this city…the magic is hiding all around you, you just have to know how to find it.” Her grandmother’s words echoed in her ears the entire walk over.
The young witch’s eyes lit up with the brightly glowing “open” sign of the metaphysical shop. Mandy’s Magical Curios opened at 10 am on the dot, and she was ready to go in and start her journey into the world of crystals, candles, and spells. She barely noticed the woman behind the door, still unlocking it as she tried to shove her way in.
“Hey squirt, watch it! Are you blind? And where are your parents? There’s a lot of breakables in here and I can’t have you wrecking the joint.” The shop keep said, glaring at the girl.
“Excuse me, I’m 24, not a “squirt” and I don’t need an escort! I’m just short for my age…that’s all.” She replied, fired up. Then it occurred to her she didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with the owner of the only curio shop for miles. “I’m sorry, m’am. I’m just a little nervous. My name is Hannah, and this is my first time in a place like…this. It’s beautiful and a little overwhelming.” The girl admitted.
The tall woman behind the door let out a sigh and extended her hand and a shopping basket. “It’s nice to meet you Hannah. I’m Pavetta. I work here, obviously. I’m not the owner but I know just as much so if you need any help, I’m at your disposal. I have to go in the back to pack some of the spell satchels but holler if you need me, okay?” She pushed her off-white hair from her face and gave Hannah a wink before heading to the back room. Hannah’s mind nearly exploded with possibility. “Spell satchels”, her thoughts echoed. She looked around and noticed the spacious room was wall to wall covered in crystals of every shape, size, and color. Her fiery brown eyes became doe-like again. “Rose quartz…” she read off the little card on the display. “Good for self-love and healing the heart…” She plopped the smooth pink stone into her basket. “Adventurine, good for luck and prosperity.” Into the bin it went. “Amethyst, good for protection, purifying. Alright, I could use some of that I suppose.”
“Girl if you read every stone on that wall and put it in your basket, you’ll be here until the dawn of time, and you’ll be paying off debt ‘til you croak.” Pavetta called to her as she came out to stock some of the satchels. Hannah notices the giant displays of herbs and teas on the center tables. She reached out to grab a satchel and got a quick swat from the saleswoman.
“Oh no, baby witch. You’re not ready for these. You go back to your cute little beginner rocks.” She said, heading to the back again. The girl nodded. It was then that she noticed a strange rock on the front most table, by the register. “Moldavite” she read. “A rare piece of meteorite from the Czech Republic, Moldavite is a stone of intense frequency and vibration. In ancient times it was thought to bring massive shifts to the user’s life. Be warned, Moldavite is not for the faint of heart”. She hesitated, both for the warning and for the massive price tag, but slipped a bracelet with the stone embedded inside, into her basket
The little witch suddenly became very eager to test out these “massive shifts”.
“Pavetta, I think I’m ready to check out now.” She called.
“Alrighty, be right there!” the woman called back. “Rose quartz, a good first stone, lots of love in that baby…Adventurine, good for new endeavors, awesome. Amethyst, a must for a new witch. And…what’s..Oh no. Absolutely not. I am NOT selling you Moldavite. Uh-uh. No way. Put it back.
” The witch’s eyes turned a piercing auburn. “I am not a child!” She barked. “I’m ready, I need this shift I just know it. Please, I promise I won’t misuse it or hold you accountable if I explode or something, just sell it to me!” She begged.
“Hannah it would be so wildly irresponsible for me to do that. You have no idea what this stone has done for people. Shift and changes aren’t always a good thing. And Moldavite effects everyone differently. I’m sorry. I won’t do it.” Pavetta sighed, hanging her head.
Hannah was about to rage again when a faint voice called from the back. “Sell her the stone.” Pavetta froze in horror.
“Miss Mandera you don’t mean that. She’s a child. A baby witch. I can’t…”
“You WILL.” The voice said again. A boisterous, plump, old woman emerged from the back room. “She has to learn Pavetta. And I like her spark. Something tells me this girl is the one. What’s the worst that could happen?” She said with a devilish smirk.
“Thank you m’am.” Hannah bowed her head. “May I ask who you are?”
“Mandy of course! A Crone, senior witch, and owner of this shop!” The hag shouted with excitement. “And not only am I going to sell you those stones, I won’t even charge you for that Moldavite. It’s my gift to you.” Hannah was overjoyed. She quickly payed for the rest of her things and ran from the shop before the old woman changed her mind.
As the door of the curio shop closed, Pavetta turned to the old woman with a scowl. “Why would you to that to that poor little girl?” she asked.
The Crone chuckled. “She’ll learn. They all must learn this life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, Pavetta. Just like you did.”
That night, the young witch tossed and turned in her bed for hours. Secured in her jewelry box, Hannah could hear what sounded like a faint whisper coming from the Moldavite bracelet. It beckoned to her, begging to be worn, played with, and heard. “In the morning.” She called into the dark. “Let me sleep.” And she slowly drifted off. The next morning, what felt like a dull roar was coming from her drawer. The old Crone was right, this thing had to be powerful. “I guess now is as good a time as any to try it out.” She thought. Slipping out from under her covers, Hannah made her way to the noisy crystal. Admiring its deep, matte green tone, she slipped it on her wrist over her watch. “Crap! I’m late for work!” Hannah shouted, noticing the time, 5 minutes to 10.
The entire ride to the vet clinic, the girl swore she could hear a faint whisper. She wasn’t sure if it was coming from the bracelet or just her own clouded thoughts, but it was definitely distracting. “Easy, Hannah, just take it easy. Don’t want people thinking we’re bonkers. Well, any more bonkers than they already do.” She thought. She pulled up to her building and headed inside, ignoring the chatter all around her.
“Hannah, Dr.Feldman needs help in room 302. Frantic guy with a goldfish, insisting his fish has a hole in his head” the nurse said, grabbing her arm. Hannah nodded. “Oh great, another Google vet tech to start the day off.” She thought. She popped her head in room 302 to find a very distressed middle-aged gentleman holding a fishbowl.
“Are you the doctor?” he said frantically “Bubble is in distress I just know it. We need help.”
“Okay sir let’s just relax.” Bubble seemed to have a large red dot in the center of his head. “Hole in head syndrome” was not uncommon in Lionhead goldish. But this didn’t look like a Lionhead she’d ever seen.
“Let me take Bubble back to our aquatic lab so we can run some tests, okay sir?” The man reluctantly handed over the bowl, and Hannah shut the door and started down the hallway.
“Black. A rare color for a Lionhead.” She thought aloud.
“Thank the heavens you got me away from that retched man. And surely you know by now I’m not a goldfish. I’m Price Xavier of the Kingdom Fairwater. And I’ll thank you to tell him I died and take me home.” Hannah almost dropped the bowl. She looked around the hallway for another nurse, pulling a prank on her.
The fish appeared to roll its eyes. “Stupid girl, here. I’m HERE. In the bowl!”
Hannah practically ran to the aquatics room. “Nurse please test his water and return him to room 302. I have to go; I’m not feeling well!” She announced, handing the bowl off
Hannah sprinted out of the office. Had a FISH really just talked to her? What the hell was going on? The young witch desperately tried to collect her thoughts, breathing in the fresh air, when another small voice called to her.
“Begging your pardon, Miss, but would you be so kind as to pick up after the dog that was just here? While we appreciate fresh fertilizer, a sick dog will contaminate our garden.” Hannah’s eyes grey wide. Tiny creatures with little hats and beards were calling to her from the tulip bed outside the building. She grabbed a doggy bag and obliged the strange creatures without a word, and they thanked her before returning to work.
Finally, she piped up the courage. The questions started flowing like an endless river. “What ARE you? Why can I see you? Why can I understand you? Have you always been here??”
One of the creatures stopped and sighed. “Gnomes. Yes, we’ve always been here, we figured you could understand us because your aura is the same as all the other gifted members of this world who can see those from beyond the veil. I guess you’re new to the gift.”
Hannah put her hands in her hair, totally baffled. Gift? Veil? What did any of this mean? The gnome spoke up again. “Miss. Your bracelet. That’s Moldavite, isn’t it? Ahh okay. That explains a lot. Miss, moldavite will give you the power to see us creatures from the enchanted world. Some of us travel here to make lives you see, and most humans are too caught up in their lives or oblivious to notice us. Moldavite makes it so you can see beyond yourself.”
Hannah simply got up and nodded. “thank you” she mumbled, staggering toward her car. She thought twice for a moment. This was a lot to take in. She didn’t want to risk an accident and decided to walk home. It was only two miles, what could possibly happen?
Hannah took the fastest route home, through Notsberry Park. But as she reached the center, she noticed a large glowing hole in the very middle of the square. Nobody else seemed to notice this swirling vortex. Children played around it; folks read the paper near it as if nothing was there. Suddenly the swirls turned from a white color to a burnt, glowing amber. A creature immerged so large, it practically reached the treetops, making tiny gusts of wind as it stomped through the wooded paths, toward town. Hannah stood there absolutely terrified, but the park goers simply commented on the nice breeze. That was it. She had to go see Mandy. Whatever “gift” she had given her, the young witch didn’t want it. Pavetta had been right, this was far too much for a baby witch. Being particularly careful not to step on what looked like pixies tending to the flower beds like hummingbirds, she started east. Setting out for Mandy’s Magical Curios.
The plethora of things she saw on the way absolutely astounded her. How could she have been so blind before. What was this mystical world she was suddenly enthralled in? Surely other people could see these creatures, right? It all seemed so overwhelming. That wicked old Crone knew exactly what she was doing when she handed over this bracelet. Even as Hannah tried to slip the bracelet off, it seemed welded to her wrist, hissing at the thought of leaving its new owner. After about a half an hour of sorting through sky high monsters, flying beasts, tiny gardeners, and the all around strange and unusual, the witch finally arrived at the shop.
Once again, she wasn’t paying attention as her hands swung for the door, and once again, she smacked into someone on her way in. This time it wasn’t Pavetta, but a large, burly man, maybe 7 feet tall, with silver hair, dressed all in black. He simply grunted as the paper bag that was covering his treasure fell off. Hannah’s eyes grew wide at the site of it. It was oval shaped, about the side of a cantaloupe, and covered in gray scales. The giant lowered his eyebrows with what sounded like a low growl and rewrapped the item.
Hannah shrunk down and apologized. He tipped his head to the girl, indicating no ill will, and she rushed inside. “What did you do to me?!” the girl screamed, approaching the counter.
“Excuse ME little girl, I didn’t do diddly squat to you.” Pavetta shouted right back. Hannah hadn’t noticed last time, but beneath Pavetta’s long white hair, pointed ears seemed to be poking out.
“What’s this ruckus!” Hannah heard the Crone shout from the back.
“You! You knew and you didn’t say anything! Why?!” the girl yelled at the old witch. She merely chuckled in response.
“So, I was right. You DO have the gift.”
“GIFT? This is not a gift! And I don’t want it! Take it back!” Hannah barked.
“Simply can’t be done, girl. You chose the moldavite and the moldavite chose you! Some people get a career change, others find or lose love. But there’s the rare one in a million case, where it brings out the gift. And I was right! I knew from the moment you walked in here with that golden, glowing aura, you were the one!”
Hannah stared in awe and lowered her tone. “But why me?” She asked the Crone.
The old woman chuckled again. “Because you’re just chosen, my dear. It’s a family gift, surely your mother or grandmother knew you were special. Well it’s beside the point. You must help them, give them safety and purpose, help them find their way in this world. It’s up to you now. You can’t unsee them.”
“But how is this possible? If I’m so gifted why didn’t I see these creatures before?” Hannah asked.
Mandy smiled. “That’s the thing about this city…the magic was hiding all around you, you just had to know how to find it.”