The bright yellow taxi pulled to a stop in front of the large country manor, Emmy warily looked through the rain speckled window at the imposing Gothic styled manor. Reluctantly, she opened the door and stepped out, quickly opening her umbrella; she rushed to help the cab driver gather her luggage. As soon as her belongings were placed in the entry way of her new home, Emmy paid the cab driver and as she watched the yellow taxi drive away, a part of her wished she had gotten back in the cab. A month ago, Emmy Halliwell had received a letter from an estranged wealthy aunt in Wales. She remembered the day the letter came; the envelope was black with a blood red wax seal. Inside was a letter written in spidery handwriting on a piece of thick creamy vanilla paper that gave her instructions.
Emmy pulled the letter out of her coat pocket and sat down on the cold wooden floor; she began to read the letter out loud to herself:
I know that this letter will come to you as a bit of a shock considering we’ve never met. Before I explain why I am writing to you, I just want to say that if you are reading this it means that I have passed away.
I have not been in contact with my family for many years for personal reasons I am sure you will discover; the moment I heard you were born; I knew that you were the only one I could trust. I hope you do not judge me based on what your parents have told you about myself. I know that you will be up to the task of discovering your heritage and why you and I are linked by more than just blood.
I am leaving you my home in Wales (the address is at the bottom) and everything that comes with it. In short, you are now a very wealthy young woman. A few things you should know, the only person you should trust completely while you live here is Joe Thomas. Joe will help you around the house and with anything else you may require. I cannot tell you why you must be vigilant in guarding the manor as you must discover that for yourself. The family journal is in your bedroom, use it as a guide.
Emmy, I plead with you to take care of the manor; not only has it been my home since childhood, it has been a shelter for women like us. You have the gift and you must use this time wisely to harness your powers and use them for good. I must leave now and prepare the manor for your arrival. The key to the manor will be under the flower pot.
Emmy thought back to her parent’s reaction to the letter; they had been not only shocked but furious that Prudence would leave her entire wealth to their daughter instead of them. Emmy’s mother had ranted that her sister was selfish and arrogant with secrets that shamed the family; her father told her that those secrets were why the rest of the family disowned her. They did everything they could to dissuade Emmy from accepting Prudence’s gift; yet Emmy could not deny that she was curious about this Aunt that she did not know and from the reaction to the letter, Emmy felt she should accept. ‘There is obviously a reason Aunt Prudence is giving me everything she cared about,’ Emmy had thought, ‘I am so glad I didn’t actually show them the letter!”
Emmy looked at her new home with awe; the house, though imposing on the outside was absolutely beautiful on the inside. The floors and stairs were a polished chestnut color with thick plush Persian rugs; behind her was a parlor with expensive furniture with dark brown wood with thick royal blue cushions and a massive fireplace, in addition to other expensive decor. As she quietly explored the parlor, Emmy approached the French doors placed beside the fireplace, through the glass she saw plants in varying shades of green. Pushing the door open, Emmy gasped when she saw the sun room expertly designed with flowers and plants of all kinds decorating the room; a bubbling fountain sounded from the far corner, delicate white benches on either side it. ‘I think this is going to be my favorite room in the house!’ smiled Emmy as her fingers danced lightly over the brightly colored flowers.
A loud knock at the front door broke the reverie that held Emmy captive; quickly, she walked to the door and opened it just as her visitor raised his fist to knock again. Her eyes grew wide when her eyes took in the handsome young man on her doorstep. ‘Okay his eyes are an impossible shade of green…’ blushed Emmy
“Hi, you must be Prudence’s niece Emmy.” grinned the young man, “I’m Joe Thomas.”
Emmy nodded and smiled, “Aunt Prudence mentioned you in her letter. Come in, please.”
“Do you need help taking your luggage to your bedroom?”
“That would be great!” thanked Emmy picking up two of her suitcases
As they walked in silence up the stairs and down the hallway, Emmy realized that she had no idea which bedroom was hers; she assumed she would be taking the one her aunt had used. ‘Joe seems to know where he’s going, I guess I’ll just follow him and hope this doesn’t get too awkward.’
“You don’t know which bedroom is yours, do you?” chuckled Joe glancing at her
“I have no clue!” admitted Emmy laughing, “I’ve only been here about twenty minutes; you don’t happen know which bedroom is my aunt’s do you?”
“All I know is it’s the largest bedroom, which is that one.” replied Joe nodding towards the door at the end of the hallway
Emmy blushed and quickly began to walk towards the door. Placing one suitcase down, she placed her hand on the cool metal of the doorknob, a tiny jolt of electricity coursed through her. Ignoring the shock, she pushed the heavy door open wide; a tiny gasp escaped her lips as she gazed at the luxurious bedroom. There was a four-poster bed in the center of the room with heavy crimson curtains draping from the canopy, a chestnut colored vanity sat opposite from the bed, its surface held a leather book and a jewelry box with mother of pearl designs. The window seat caught her eye, Emmy walked slowly towards it and took in the gorgeous view of the cliffs; she didn’t hear Joe’s slight panting from lugging her heavy trunk into the room.
“I take it you like the room.” commented Joe placing her trunk beside the armoire
“I love it,” whispered Emmy gazing out the window, “Joe, can I ask you something?”
Emmy turned towards him; twisting her ring around and around on her finger, she bit her bottom lip lightly.
“What was my aunt like? I want to know what you thought of her because I’ve only ever heard unpleasant stories about her.” asked Emmy as she took a tiny step towards him
Joe frowned slightly in concentration, his arms crossed in front of his chest; Emmy couldn’t help but notice the muscles in his arms, she blushed and forced herself to focus on what he was going to tell her.
“Prudence was different from anyone I’ve ever met; don’t get me wrong Emmy, she was kind with a heart of gold. She was always ready to help anyone who asked for help…” explained Joe gently, “People thought she was an arrogant shut in who hated people... I hate to tell that there are rumors that she’s a witch with evil powers. However, Prudence has been nothing but kind to me; she took me in when no one else would. You know, you are all she’s ever talked about especially near the end…”
“I know that you’ve never met her but I think you would have loved her as much as she loved you. She kept a photo of you in her locket...I know that she was sad that her sister refused to bring you for a visit. Prudence said that you two were linked by more than just blood.”
Emmy closed her eyes and digested this new information; it was completely different from what she was told. ‘I had a feeling that she wasn’t as evil as mom and dad said she was.’ sighed Emmy as relief filled her heart, ‘Hopefully I can find answers as to why I am so different from everyone else and how we are linked together.’
“You said that people believe her to be an evil witch…do you think she was a witch?” asked Emmy curiously
“I think that she had powers that she used for good; she didn’t ever tell me much about her gift...” said Joe softly, “but I knew that she would never hurt anyone.”
Emmy nodded and took some deep breaths as her eyes examined the bedroom again; slowly she walked towards the vanity and picked up the leather book. She opened the book and immediately realized that it was the journal Prudence had instructed her to use as a guide.
“If you don’t need anything else right at this moment, I’m going to get going.”
“Thanks again Joe…” smiled Emmy gratefully
Joe nodded as he started to walk out the door; Emmy watched his retreating form move back down the hallway.
Joe turned, with a grin, and waited for her to speak.
“Since I don’t know anyone, would you be willing to have dinner with me tomorrow night?” asked Emmy hopefully, “I make a mean roast dinner…”
“Well, I’d be a fool to turn down free food. I’ll be here by six with dessert.” winked Joe bowing slightly
A few hours later…
Now that she was finally unpacked and feeling more settled, Emmy decided to feed her curiosity. With the journal firmly tucked beneath her left arm, she wandered through the house. For the last couple of hours, Emmy felt the one thing that made her different come alive within her. For as long as she could remember, she knew she was different from everyone else. Her fingers began to tingle like they always did when she was feeling some sort of powerful emotion. On instinct she raised her free hand and watched calmly as the flames flickered from her fingertips towards the open space.
A warm glow surrounded her, lighting her way through the endless halls; Emmy continued to walk until she was standing in front of a black wooden door with a heavy-duty padlock guarding the contents within. ‘If I was Aunt Prudence where would I have put the key…’ hummed Emmy looking in the planters beside the door, ‘Maybe she wrote it down.’
Emmy sat down and opened the journal: ‘The key to discover all is within you.’
Frowning, she read the sentence again; she moved the flames a little closer, squinting at the spidery handwriting. ‘Could this be anymore vague?” thought Emmy as her frustration continued to build up
“The key to discover all is within you.” muttered Emmy glaring at the door
Snapping the journal shut, she picked up the padlock and tried yanking on it; the lock remained stubbornly in place. Another hard yank only gave her the same results; she closed her eyes and concentrated, within seconds she felt her power surging through her body. Emmy opened her eyes again and watched the padlock melt in her hand; she stepped back and used her gift of telekinesis to open the heavy door.
Emmy peaked through and saw nothing but darkness; she summoned her flames once more and walked through the door. The winding staircase led her deeper and deeper into what she assumed was the basement. ‘I think my suspicions about Aunt Prudence were right…I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only one with powers. I think she gave me this opportunity to let me know that I’m not alone.’
Finally, Emmy made it to the bottom of the stairs and stared with surprise at what she found. The entire room was made of stone with metal sconces strategically placed around the room; she quickly lit the room. A thick Persian rug covered the floor, with an overstuffed armchair sitting in the corner by the bookcase that covered the entire length of one of the walls; in the center of the room stood a marble book rest. She felt drawn to it, her eyes stayed glued to the large ancient looking book that rested on top; gingerly her fingers roamed the Celtic symbol that decorated the green hardcover of the book.
Taking a deep breath, Emmy opened the book and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a book of incantations and charms. She picked up the book and made herself comfortable in the armchair. She knew that she would be in for a long night of reading, yet she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing that she had stumbled across a room that would teach her everything she needed to know about being a witch.
Emmy had always had to hide who she was; she was scared by what her parents would do to her if they had found about her abilities. ‘Now that I know that Aunt Prudence was a witch like me, I'm relieved to know that someone has been looking after me.'
The next evening…
Emmy pulled the roast out of the oven just as she heard Joe knocking on the front door; she placed the hot food on the table and ran to let him in. She opened the door to find Joe smiling and holding a dessert tray.
“Your just in time, I just took dinner out of the oven.” grinned Emmy as they walked to the dining room
“It smells amazing, Emmy!” said Joe savoring the smell of the roasted meat
Half hour later…
“So, can I tell you something without scaring you off?” asked Emmy nervously
“I promise you there is nothing you can say that will scare me away.” assured Joe taking her hand in his, “I think I know what you’re are going to say though.”
Emmy smiled with relief, “I have always been different, and today I found out that I am just like Aunt Prudence…I have powers and I just found a secret tunnel that leads to a room where I can learn to truly harness and perfect my gifts.”
Emmy watched him carefully, worried of what he might say or do. Joe just sat there and stared at their entwined hands; after what seemed like a lifetime, he looked up at her and smiled.
“I’m not scared.” stated Joe warmly, “In fact, I would like to, if you’ll let me, get to know you better and perhaps learn more about magic at the same time.”
“I’d like that Joe.” smiled Emmy squeezing his hand, “Would you like to see the tunnel?”
“I would love that!”
Emmy knew that she had made the right choice to move to Wales; she could finally learn more about her heritage and her Aunt Prudence. After years of hiding her magic and fearing rejection from her parents, Emmy finally felt free and alive. With Joe’s support, Emmy was grateful that she would not have to do this alone.