By the time I stepped outside the leaves were on fire. Great, I thought to myself, this dream again. I sigh and walk down the now blazing street in my neighborhood. I know who I'm looking for and where they'll be. This time I ignore the flaming trees, I know they wont hurt me.
She's standing in the middle of the park, long silvery hair dancing in the updrafts from the inferno that surrounds her. The heat smoke and fire don't seem to bother her or char her body. If that isn't weird enough, she's floating six inches from the ground. “Join me;” she says. I fold my arms in front of me. “No;” I tell her."Go away. I'm tired of dreaming of you." The mysterious woman looks at me with her yellow eyes. “I am asking you to embrace your heritage;” she says. "Come and take the mantle of your power."
The woman always says this and I have no idea what she means. All I know is I'm sick of hearing her beckon me. In the dreamscape, I close my eyes as hard as I can. When I open them, I'm in my room and it's Saturday morning.
Part of me wishes I hadn't taken the job at the cofee shop. My mom keeps telling me I need to save up for college. Getting up at five every day just so I can barista on the weekends is not how I pictured my Senior year of highschool going. I quickly shower, put on my uniform, grab my keys and head to work.
“You showed up on time;” my supervisor, Rhell, observed. “I'm suprised to see a teenager is so responsible.” I ignore the barn, Rhell seems to have a personal vendetta against me. “Well, we can't have people dropping dead from lack of caffination;” I said. "Saving people from the coffee-pocolypse is my sacred duty." As I clock in, I hear Rhell mumble something abou, but I don't care.
I stand at the counter and wait for the first customer chatting with Tammy, the cashier, as I go through my routine. "So, any fun plans this weekend?" I ask. Tammy sighs "I was going to a club but Jason dumped me;" she said. “Now I guess I'll just binge watch Stranger Things and eat all tge ice cream in my fridge.” Stranger Things and ice cream; Tammy had some odd ways of comforting herself. “Aw man;” I said. “Hope things…”
The customer who had entered the store was the woman from my dreams. Assuming I had stopped talking because there was a customer, Tammy adressed her. “Hi, how may I help you?” she asked. "I'm not here for coffee;" the woman spoke in a smooth accentless voice. "I'm here for Violet. May I speak to her? For a few minutes?" I looked around hoping there were actual customers somewhere.
Not a single one; there should've been at six am. "I'll ask my boss;" Tammy said. "Rhell!" He was in the back office. "Yeah!" He shouted back. “Can Violet talk to a cutomer?” she yelled. "This lady asked if she could." There was a pause. “If it's not too busy she can;” Rhell said.
What a sell out! I thought Tammy was my friend. Next time she wanted to vent about boy drama maybe I wouldn't listen. “Be with you in a minute;” I told the woman waiting for me. I put my order pad in my apron pocket and joined her at an empty table. “We won't be interrupted;” she told me. "I put a time pausing charm on this building and a silence bubble around us." Was this lady insane? Maybe she'd escaped from a mental institution and stolen some buisiness woman's favorite pant suit and bucket hat. "I'm not crazy and definitely not a theif;" she said. “I am Mistress Amber Light, a wiccan and telepath.” There was no way I believed any of this. “Okay, so you can read people;” I said. “Now what do you want?”
“Like I've been telling you in your dreams;” Amber said. “I want you to embrace your heritage, Violet.” Now I was scared. "How do you know about that?" I asked. Amber smiled, like I'd asked something really obvious. "I've been dream walking;" she said. “Trying to get you to Awaken.” I felt like screaming. “Well I have an alarm clock for that;” I said. “I don't need some scary woman haunting me for that.”
“That's not what I mean;” she said. “I mean you need to Awaken to your power.” This Amber chick wasn't making sense. “What power?” I asked. “I'm just a girl getting ready for college. Just an ordinary kid.” Amber pulled something from her purse. It was a business card and pen. "You're so much more than a kid;" she said. “I guess your adoptive parents never knew so they couldn't tell you.” She wrote an address on the card and handed it to me. "If you decide you want to know more, meet me here this afternoon;" she said. "I've got clients to see but I hope we'll meet again."
Amber picked up her belongings and left. I took the information to my locker and went back to my post. Cars rushed into the parking lot at reccord speed. Durring my lunch break, I pulled out the card again and read both sides. ‘44 Cherry Road, Cape May, New Jersey;’ one side read. On the other side in metalic purple ink was a picture of a crystal ball, stars and Amber's job discription. ‘Mistress Amber Light’ it read. 'Psychic. Palm readings, Tarrot cards and missing items found.'
Strange, the woman from my dreams turns out to be real. Then she tells me that I have some sort of power and I'm adopted. Not my typical day anywhere. I never knew that Karen and Frank weren't my real parents. I made up my mind. I'd meet Amber after my shift.
I drove along route 9 and crossed the East bridge into Cape May. I'd never heard of Cherry Road but somehow as I was driving past Swain's hardware for the second time, it magically appeared. I turned onto the street and looked for 44.
It was a two story victorian house painted magenta with lavender shutters, porch railings and trim. I climbed the stairs and rang the doorbell. Amber answered "Glad to see you again;" she said. "Come in and we'll talk." We went into her livingroom and sat in two facing wingback chairs.
"Your birth mother was a witch;" Amber said. "She and I were part of the same coven." Witchcraft? I thought to myself. Does that mean she was an evil Satan worshiper? Apparently Amber had heard my thoughts again. "No;" she said. "We don't worship the devil. Also we are followers of the path of Light and the Goddess."
I crinkle my eyebrows. “So all that stuff they said in Salem that was all fake?” I ask. My hostess frowned slightly. "Yes;" she said. "Those men and women were victims of a town full of greedy, predjudiced people. It is unfortunate and why most witches worship in secret." I pull Amber's business card out of my pocket. “So the whole parlor psychic thing?” I let the question hang between us.
"Everyone has to make a living;" she said. “We're getting sidetracked though. I believe you want to know about your mother?” I shook my head, scolding myself. “Of course;” I said. "What was she like? Did she always have powers? What was her name?" Amber put a hand up to stem my stream of questions. "I will tell you all;" she said. “Your mother's name, according to government reccords, was Sybil Sorensen. To us and the Goddess, she was known as Dawn Skylark. She was born with her powers. Quite naturally, she sought out our coven so she could learn how to use her magic appropriately. Skylark always came to Sabath and loved to sing.” Amber seemed hesitant to continue. "What happened?" I prodded. "How come my mother isn't the one having this conversation with me?"
Pulling a handkerchief from her purse, Amber dabbed a tear away before continuing her narrative. "Your mother's parents didn't know what she was;" she said. "They were Baptists and believed the Bible. Every word of it. One day they found out that their daughter was practicing witchcraft and kicked her out on the street. It was hard on her. She turned to…other sources of income. One day she became pregnant. But she passed away due to complications during delivery."
This was a lot to take in. My mother had been homeless and possibly a prostitute. I was a little angry at Amber. "Why didn't you help her?" I asked. "Couldn't you have taken her in? Given her a job? Saved her life?!" Silence told me that Amber was trying to controll her own emotions. “We offered to help;”she said. "Your mother wanted to be independent. There was nothing any of us could do to prevent her death. The Goddess must have decided to take Skylark home to the source of all life."
I felt myself begining to cry. "That's it then;" I said. “You've been stalking me in my dreams and in real life just to tell me that?” Amber put her hand over mine. I knew she was trying to comfort me so I left it there. “I'm sorry, Violet;”she said. “I wish it were different. But there is another reason I asked you here. Are you ready for your Awakening?” I tried to compose myself. “I guess I am;” I said. "Let's do this."
"Good;" Amber said. "I'll start putting you in the trance." She lit an incense stick and put it in a holder on the coffee table. She got a crystal on a chain from a dresser drawer and held it up in front of me. "Focus only on the crystal and my voice;" she said. "Ready?" I nodded listening to Amber chant. "Goddess hear us;" she intoned. "Thy daugters seek thee." As she kept repeating the words, I felt myself becoming lighter.
The room faded and I found myself in a wooded area. Instead of leaves the trees had flames in their branches. I looked up to the sky and saw a shining woman clothed in emerald robes, with long golden hair and blue eyes looking back at me. “Beloved daughter;” she said. "What seekest thou?" I was astounded. "Are you my mom?" I asked. The woman regarded me stoically. "I am not your mortal mother;" she said. "I am the Goddess. I am the Mother of all life on Earth."
I felt my knees buckle. This was a deity, something my adoptive parents didn't even talk about. "My Daugter;" the Goddess prompted. "Why have you sought me?" I figured it was best not to waste such a powerful being's time. “I have come here seeking to Awaken to my true self;” I said. The Goddess nodded approvingly. "You have done well;" she said. "I name thee Autmn Fire and bestow my blessing upon you. You shall work for the good of thy fellow mortal and shall have power over nature. Awake to a new life."
Gasping and stunned I came back to this plane of existence. “Were you successfull?” Amber asked. Once I could breathe properly I answered. “I think so” I said. “I saw the Goddess.” Amber clapped her hands. “Wonderful” she said. “I'll get you some cider so you can regain your strength.” She returned with two mugs of hot spiced cider. I took mine gratefully.
"Did she give you a name and tell you your destiny?" She asked me. "I guess I'm Autmn Fire now. The Goddess said something about working with nature for the good of my fellow mortal. I'm not sure what that means." Amber looked at me fondly. “You belong with us;” she said. “Together with the rest of the coven, we'll find out.”