Baptized In Fire
The tragedy of life is not that it ends too soon, but that we wait so long to begin it...
Not gonna lie...It felt nice sitting on Eric’s lap... But he’s got me fucked up if he thinks I’m gonna get back in that circle. I certainly didn’t need a room full of weird witches, weirder vampires and a big ass werewolf staring at me -like I’m some kind of freak. And I told him so right as I ran on out of there.
I ran- I ran past a couple of big goons at the front door...Until I was off the property and on the road. I paused for a moment to catch my breath, I was kind of surprised no one tried to stop me, considering all the fuss but I was relieved none the less.
I removed the Gucci pumps from my aching feet and carried them as I briskly walked barefoot on the grassland. New Orleans is south of Shreveport so I headed north. When I called the information line, they gave me the address to the nearest bus station. I began to panic when the operator said it was 12 miles away.
My goodness, I have a helluva walk ahead of me, but at least I had plenty of cash to catch a bus and get my ass home.
Outta nowhere I hear a voice echoing.
For a split second, I think I’m losing my mind; as far as I can see, no one was anywhere near me.
‘Taraaaa...’ The voice is even louder... the voice is in surround sound, but directly in my ears, like I’m listening to Beats by Dr. Dre.
That’s when it hits me; the sound was in my head, and I recognize the voice, it’s the British chick, Nora.
‘Aether, claim your place as our Supreme.’
Her echoing voice becomes louder hauling me into madness.
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HEAD!” I shouted out, her response is immediate.
‘Make me Aether, I am your subject...command your subject...’
“JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!” I scream, thankful that no one’s around, I know I look fucking bonkers shouting at myself.
‘...You can’t because you have no control over your own powers...you must take control...’
Totally confused and completely freaked out, I took off running, only to get a few yards before I feel like my lungs are going to explode. I stop to catch my breath, taking a deep inhale-exhale.
‘Wicca Protector...Supreme...Aether...Daughter of Isis... Elemental Goddess...’
Now I hear more than one voice, I think it’s the Asian chick. They are chanting again and I’m frantically trying to take back control of my own head, seeking my lost wits, I suck in another huge intake of crisp southern air.
And I notice immediately the voices become fainter. That calmed me considerably and I’m able to concentrate more. Focus girl...I snap my eyes shut, focusing only on the quietness that’s actually around me. I take a deeper breath; I feel the breeze cooling my clammy skin. I inhale more air and empty all thoughts from my mind.
The voices sound like only a whisper now; I could barely make them out anymore.
And just like that, the voices are gone. Okay, Tara Mae, stay cool and you’ll be outta New Orléans in a few hours. After walking for several minutes on the dark road, in the far distance, I see the lights of a car. I put my thumb out and hope for the best. The vehicle is closer now and I see it’s an old pick-up truck, so I waved my hands like I just don’t care, begging whoever is driving to stop. For a fraction of a second, the truck begins to slow down, then speeds away, leaving a cloud of dust in my eyes and gravel on my toes...
“ASSHOLE!” I shout out.
Suddenly I hear the snapping of twigs accompanied by a low guttural, growl. I get a very bad feeling in the pit of my gut and I see a red flash of light in my eyes. I don’t know how I know, the road is pitch black, but something is coming towards me and fast. Not a second later, I get knocked off my feet and onto my back; I hit the ground hard my entire backside makes a loud whack sound, the hit was so hard it knocked the breath right out of me. My eyes struggled to focus in the dark, but there was no mistaking; a big black werewolf has me pinned down, it’s sharp claws are digging into the flesh of my shoulders and it hurts like hell!
“ALCIDE..! ALCIDE! GET OFF ME!“′ I shout at the drooling, glowing-eyed beast. “ALCIDE GODDAMNIT...AHHHHHH..!” I keep shouting, but the wolf wouldn’t budge and then three more wolves, move in, surrounding me, growling and snarling.
“PLEASE ALCIDE DON”T BITE ME!”
The wolf that is on top of me shifts into a butt naked man who is not Alcide after all. He is a buff, dirty-blonde, scruffy-faced man with horrible breath.
“Stop calling me that pussy- ass wolf...”
The sonofabitch slapped the hell outta my face and says, “I’m Cooter bitch!”
He slapped me so hard, my entire face stung, my tooth cut the inside of my cheek; the taste of the coppery blood oozing inside my mouth.
“You’re cute, but I really don’t see what all the fuss is about.” He lifted himself from me, yanking my arm, pulling me up with him. He grunted as he lifted me up and threw me over his shoulder. My face is staring right at his butt -naked ass. I start pounding the hell outta his sweaty back with my fist.
“Put me down!” I hissed.
“Screamin and strugglin turn me on hot chocolate.” He chuckled and I instantly quieted and halted my defense.
A truck pulled up and parked on the shoulder of the road; I could have sworn that was the same damn truck that just passed me.
The driver was a chick with a heavy southern accent, she tossed a pair of jeans out the window.
“Thanks, Debbie...” He chuckled, and caught the jeans with his free hand; the other hand was still on my ass. Effortlessly, he tossed me into the truck bed like a piece of trash; I land hard on my head. Shaking off the pain, I lift my head over the truck bed just in time to see a black minivan going at least 70 MPH down the road. Whoever was driving- is not slowing down for shit.
Cooter had managed to get his jeans pulled on as all the other wolves scrambled and leaped off the road. One unlucky wolf was not fast enough; he was turned into bloody mangled, roadkill. I leaped outta the truck bed, but lost my footing and hit the ground hard, rolling down the embankment on the side of the road. My head is pounding, my back is aching, but with the adrenaline pumping, I kept moving and managed to find a bush to hide behind.
The one working front end light of the totaled minivan give me a clear view of the driver; it’s the nice housekeeper Cathy... she’s slumped over the steering wheel; the airbags deployed and she is clearly knocked out. A tall, teenaged girl, with long, bright red hair hopped out of the passenger side. She had a wild expression on her face and a lighter in her hand; she’s chanting something in a language I’ve never heard.
Cooter clearly looked startled and swiftly shifted back into the big black wolf. At the same time, the teen calmly placed her palm on the flame, the small flickering candle magnified bellowing out blue hot flames. When Cooter-wolf leaped for her, the flame turned into a huge fireball setting him on fire! I felt like Ginger screaming the way I did. While burning, the wolf involuntarily shifted back into a man. All the while attempting the ‘stop-drop-and-roll’ technique, but it’s too late. The woman in the truck jumped out screaming at the kid while trying to put crispy- ass Cooter out.
The strawberry blond woman kneeled over his smoldering half-human, half-wolf remains and cried out, “YOU KILLED MY COOTER!”
Swiftly, the teen fire- blasted the remaining wolves; and they all shifted back into, shrieking men on fire. As she took out the wolves, I quickly duck in the passenger seat of the totaled minivan and retrieved Cathy who was coming too, but still very disoriented. I helped her into our getaway truck, out of the corner of my eyes I see Debbie, the wild-eyed woman pulled out a gun and with shaky hands, pointed it in the teen’s direction.
“Watch out kid!” I shriek and she quickly ducked for cover, running fast toward the driver’s side of the truck and dodging the shots fired. I move over, so the brave girl could drive. We jacked her truck and left that redneck bitch and her char-broiled wolves in the dust.
“Thank you so much,” I said, hoping my voice conveyed the gratitude, I was feeling towards the young woman. She was totally amazing with her ‘fire throwing-trick’. “I’m Tara; I just met Cathy this morning.” I look over at Cathy who still looks frazzled, she’s holding her head and groaning.
That’s when it hits me... I’ve lost my purse and those sexy ass shoes Eric brought me. And my twelve hundred dollar dress is dirty and torn too.
Godamn! I grumbled to myself. I have no money!
“I’m Jessica; Cathy’s my mom and you’re welcome,” she says. I then notice Jessica resembles Cathy.
“Where are we headed?” I’m at her mercy now that I’m broke and shoe-less.
“Our place ain’t far. I figured you’d want to go there and get freshened up, then we need to go back to Godric’s.”
“Did Eric send you?” I asked, totally surprised by her suggestion to go back to Godric’s although I shouldn’t be, that is obviously where they had come from.
“Nope,” she shook her head. “But your hot vampire boyfriend really wanted to come after you himself -Godric used his vampire powers and commanded him to stay put.”
“Whoa...What...Why does everyone think Eric is my man?” I throw my hands in the air. I was done.
“Well ...” She started... with a smirk.
“Never mind that...” I cut her off...“If Eric and Godric didn’t send you- who did?”
“Nobody... I was picking mom up from work like I do every night. I saw the Porsche and the Benz, so I went in hoping to meet a hottie. Instead, I hear everyone fussing about coming after you. But no one was doing anything. Well, as I said, hot Eric really wanted too. But Godric made him stay, they argued in Old Norse. The Elders were pissed and crying to Frankie and Eggs about losing their psychic link with you. Alcide’s yelling at Tommy and Hoyt because they let you run off the property. Mom and I couldn’t believe it. They’re all bitching at one another while they know the Shreveport wolves are hunting you! So Mom said we ain’t gonna wait around for them to decide what to do.” She giggled, “Didn’t think I’d be barbecuing wolves...” letting out a cute little snort of a laugh. I have to admit, she is impulsive like me, I like that.
“Hey Jessica, can we just stay at your place for tonight? I don’t like all the fuss over me, I’ll call Eric later and let him know I’m okay.” I lied, I’d get cleaned up and hitch a ride to the bus station. There was no way in hell I was going back to that mess.
“Sure.” she nodded and floored the gas on the loud old truck. “But you should think about going to Godric’s, it’s much safer there.”
Just a mile down the road, we drive up to a quaint, well-lit, log cabin house. It has a big front porch, a nicely manicured front yard, and a beautiful garden full of flowers. As we pull up to the gravel driveway, Cathy still appeared disoriented, but otherwise alright. We help her into the house, Jessica walked her to the couch and I prop her mother’s feet up.
“Mom, are ya alright?”
“Yes Jessie,” Cathy answered with a feeble nod. “Just get me the healing seeds.”
Jessica walked swiftly to the kitchen and came out with an ice pack, a glass of water, and an odd little burlap bag for her mother.
“Good job sweetheart.” The older woman smiled sweetly at her daughter, Jess smiled back lovingly and swept away a few strands of Cathy’s silver hair from her brow. Jessica covered her mother with a fleece blanket and kisses her on the forehead.
“Thanks, mom, rest your eyes now.”
Cathy nodded again and closed her eyes while Jessica dimmed the lights.
“That was amazing Jessica.” I agreed.
The gal squealed like a...well, I guess she is a teenaged girl. “Thank you Aether, that means so much!”
“How did your mom come to work for Godric?” I ask, ignoring that she too addressed me as Aether.
“Let’s talk...” she says and I follow her into the dining room. I take a seat, resting my feet and aching back. We had a long moment of silence, it wasn’t awkward, we were both coming down from the adrenaline rush and we were just chilling.
“For all of my life, mom and Dad worked for Godric. Mom as the housekeeper and Dad as his grounds-keeper. A few years ago Dad got really sick...colon cancer. Dad’s doctor bills got really expensive and we almost lost the house, so Mom asked Godric for help and he helped us.” She began, sighing deeply. “When dad died Godric paid for us to go to Ireland. Dad’s last wish was to be buried in his homeland. When we came back, Nora and Naomi asked if I wanted to join the coven and she welcomed my mother too, even though she is not a natural witch, Nora trained her and now she can perform Wiccan spells.” Wow, so some people knew of vampires before they came out. And I have more confirmation that Godric is truly a generous and caring vampire. And it seems Nora and Naomi are witches recruiters. Everything she told me was insightful. I was growing fond of her innocent and open honesty. I thought I’d lighten the mood with a request.
“Would you show me that flame-throwing deal? I’d like to cook food and entertain my guests at the same time.”
She laughed hysterically at my corny ass joke; I guess the kid doesn’t have many people who can relate to her, hell, I can relate to that.
“Sure, let’s go to my room.”
In her room, I take a quick glance over. It’s the typical teenage girls’ room, lots of pink things, stuffed animals, and posters of rock stars. What was not typical was the replica of my birthmark drawn in white chalk on the hardwood floor. She has new and previously lit candles everywhere and the most beautiful little white stone fireplace I’d ever seen.
“Tara, you don’t need a candle or any source of heat, the Vesica Pisces book says it’s inside of Aether.” She smiles while clicking a lighter.
“Do you have a copy of the book?”
“Of course, The VP is a witches Bible.” She went to her nightstand and handed me a book. It looked like a perfect replica of the old book Nora had.
No doubt about it, I’m curious, I open the book and start reading.
“Why are there so few witches? I remember Nora saying it’s only a few hundred witches in the whole world.”
I look over to see Jessica opening a bag of Cool-Ranch Doritos. “You can thank Salem for that.” She sighs before popping a few chips in her mouth, crunching loudly.
I walk over to the circle, with the book. I open it to the page that has the picture of ‘me’ and I take a deep breath while waiting for the crazy shit to happen. Nothing happens and I’m totally fine with that.
“So you need a little fire magic to make stuff happen, but I don’t,” I ask just for clarity...
“Yup, I need a source, you are the source.” She nodded.
She grabbed one of the many candles she has all over the place and hands one to me. “K Aether, do your stuff.” She stares innocently at me and in return, I look at her as if shes lost her mind.
“Come on, we’ve got nothing else to do.” she implores.
“Speak for yourself, I could be drinking adult beverages right now,” I say, giving in and grabbing the candle. Taking a deep breath, I clear my head as I did earlier. I look at the candle and take yet another deep breath as I focus on the wick. The candle just sparks up! I’ll be damned it really–just- lights- up!
“Awesome!” Jessica cheered me with and we high- five.
“I wanna learn how to make the fire shoot flames,” I request.
“Well, the way do it is I touch the flame. The pain gives me a rush and I harness it. I focus it into the flame and it makes the flame grow. So, whatever passion you have, project it on the fire, on the water, on anything you want. You control all of the elements.”
I focus on the candle and breathe in, emptying my head of all thoughts and then I breath out. Beyond my wildest dreams, the flame sparks up, blazing like a torch. The flames flare out with billowing plumes accompanied by a loud pop and a crackle.
“Whoa, I’m ushering in Aether, the girls at the coven will freak!” She sings and starts dancing if you wanna call it that.
“So what else does the VP say Aether can do?”
“Well, you can make stuff move. I wish I could do that, Oh yeah and teleport!”
“You can disappear and reappear wherever...like anywhere.” She says confidently as I tried to imagine it all.
“The book says I can do all that?”
“And so much more, your powers are freaking awesome.”
“I think that moving stuff would come in handy.” I could also turn into a fat lazy slob, I thought.
She chuckles at the thought, “Practice, you can move whatever you want. My mom is the coolest.”
I’m looking around for something to focus on. As I ’m doing so, Cathy walks in, smiling big. By the looks of her, she is feeling much better. She plopped down on Jessica’s pink and white bed, all the while munching on some kind of seeds from the burlap bag and washing it down with a tall glass of ice water. I get so thirsty just looking at ice float around in the water.
“Jessica, may I have a glass of water, no ice.”
“Thank you so much for helping me, Ms. Cathy. Are ya feeling any better?” I make small talk with Cathy, who seems like a supportive mother, the total opposite of Lettie Mae. “If my mom saw me throwing magical fireballs, she would call me the devil and damn my soul to hell.
“You’re welcome.” She said brightly. “I’m fine, thanks for asking. My healing seeds work faster than any over the counter or prescription pain pills.”
Jessica returned with the glass of water. I thank her and take a huge gulp. Then, I hold the glass tight with both hands -arm’s length away. I start my concentrations, focusing on nothing but the water in the glass. Inhaling and exhaling... I want the water to flow into my mouth like a water fountain. I breathe in big, and exhale; I’m holding the glass with my mind. Now, the glass is floating inches away from my face. Focusing on the glass, I breathe again, and I commanded the water to flow up. Amazingly the water is slowly rising from the glass; a steady stream of water is floating in the air like a water fountain. I open my mouth and drink. After I have a sip, I guide the glass across the room, to the table. It lands neatly next to Cathy’s glass on Jessica’s nightstand. Cathy cheers and claps, while Jessica walks like an Egyptian.
I take a bow. Suddenly my magic lessons are interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. I have that weird uneasy feeling again, it’s accompanied by red flashes in my eyes. It looks like police lights in my minds -eye. That can’t be good.
“What’s wrong Tara?” Jessica asks, noticing the frown emerging on my face.
“I’m seeing red sparks and I can’t shake this horrible feeling.”
“It’s another one of your powers, your mind is physically warning you of impending danger,” Cathy quickly explained.
“That means, trouble is knocking at ya door,” I replied. “Stay put and lock this door behind me.”
“NO!” Jessica flat out refuses me. “I can help you!”
“Please Jessica, the Shreveport wolves are after me so let me handle this,” I demand and finally after a few thoughtful moments, both reluctantly agree.
I walk out into the hall, a second later, I hear the door to Jessica’s room lock behind me and I step cautiously down the hallway. My stomach began turning, while those odd, red sparks fly wildly in my eyes. But I move forward anyway. I won’t let anything happen to these good people. I slowly make my way to the door and peek into the peephole. Instantly my heart sunk into the pit of my stomach. It’s that scary bastard, Paul! He has a big ass, shit-eating grin on his evil face and a big gray wolf is prowling at his side.