I wash my face at the mirror of my bathroom, cleansing my skin with the cold particles of empowerment. I dry myself off and I stare into my own brown-green eyes. I have my mother’s eyes, I have her dark honey brown curls, I have her tanned skin and her faint freckles on the tip of the nose. I have her dark, smooth eyebrows, and her thick, long eyelashes. I even have a beauty spot. Though hers was on her throat, mine is below my right eye. When I look into my reflection, I see her. I am her double. All Harmons somewhat resemble each other, but this is different. I am growing into the woman she was, the woman she wanted me to be, the woman that will follow in her footsteps.
And just like my mother, I will die proud. Proud that I never stood beside Amara, proud that I took a stand for what I believe in, and proud that our legacy still remains as strong today as it ever were.
Yesterday, when I sat at my mother’s grave, I didn’t have a clue how to do it. I gave up, I basically told my mother that there was no hope. Even after knowing what I was going to do and choosing to buy the ingredient to do it, it was still a longshot. I was still fearful of my own responsibility.
Then I met the Slayer. I saw his confidence, I looked into his eyes and there was not an ounce of fear. And that is how he survives. That is his gateway to believing that Amara can somehow be taken down, that our entire species can. And that confidence inspired me. Still, it also gave me something else to worry about.
The Slayers were never real to me, to me they were always a story shared among the covens to make us believe that we were good. To make us think that having magic gave us a purpose; to fight them, to fight evil. But the Slayer spared my life. Whether tactical or not, he let me live. Among every story I’ve ever heard, I’ve never heard that.
“Slayers will not hesitate,” my teacher at wiccan school would say. “They are born killers of witches and warlocks. It is all they’ve been taught; all they have ever known. No Wiccan alone has ever come out of a battle with them alive. To take on a Slayer, it requires great power, the kind of power that comes from a coven. And that is how we have begun winning the battles.”
“Why do they kill us?” a student asked. “Why are we enemies?”
“Because we are descended from angels, and them from demons. War is inevitable.”
I shudder. I don’t know what’s true anymore. The Slayer said he failed to protect mortals, but if he was evil, why would he care about protecting them?
Slayers are meant to be terrifying to us, but there was nothing frightening about that man, not even when he held a blade to my head. I guess in a way, I could sense that he didn’t want to hurt me, and I don’t know how I know that. Maybe, now, with how the mortals react when they see my tattoo, I understand what it’s like to be misjudged. I can relate to that.
I leave the bathroom and I go downstairs. I still live in my mother’s house. In the house I grew up in. It took a while for Amara to allow me back here. First, the house had to be thoroughly searched, and all my mother’s spell books seized. Then it had to be spiritually cleansed, so that my mother’s spirit couldn’t hang around here and whisper things to me while I slept. Amara justified it as a protocol for the family of traitors. My mother wasn’t a traitor.
Caroline was amazing. She was independent, strong-willed, humble, kind, funny and intelligent. She was everything Amara isn’t. She worked as a nurse at the local hospital, she helped the sick and she held fund raisers for cancer research. I was only seven when my father died, and she held it together for me. She put aside her grief and her torment to make sure I was okay. She is the bravest woman I know, and she will always be.
Because of Amara, there is no more cancer research. There is no more science. Science is illegal. If a mortal becomes ill, it is up to them and them alone to help themselves. There are no more hospitals, no more pharmacists, no more life-saving surgeries. To be mortal is to be poor, and to be Wiccan is to be rich. We have access to all kinds of medicine, state-of-the-art medicine that can cure any disease within seconds. But it only works on our blood. I’ve tried it on mortals before, and nothing good comes of it. The only hope mortals have is what they can make or grow themselves. As long as it comes from the ground and not from a lab, Amara will allow it.
All animals must be cared for. Amara will allow hunting as long as the kill is within the law and the animal dies quickly. Animals are innocent in her eyes; they are the creatures the gods trusted Wiccans to protect. If any mortal is caught abusing an animal, any animal, the Wiccans have permission to burn them alive. This law also applies to Wiccans themselves, although they’d be given a fair trial.
The world is in chaos. Everything is backwards. Children are still allowed to go to school, but they must be taught by Wiccan teachers. The teachers have also been known to perform spells on the mortal children, punishing them severely for misbehaving. Despite parents complaining, nothing is ever done. The areas without Wiccans volunteering to teach have no schools and the children remain at home, presumably being taught by their parents. If they even have any.
I sit at the table in the kitchen and I drown my sorrows in a huge mug of coffee as I stir in the ingredient from my bottle into the mixing bowl. It is the final ingredient, the one that will make my potion complete. I’ve been staring at this potion for several days now, never having the guts to finish it. I’ve never had a motivational reason to do it, until today. Now the last of my coven’s lives are on the line.
“Stir for one minute and vial up,” I say to myself slowly.
I carefully extract a sample of the potion using a small pump and I gently release it into the first vial. Once it’s full, I fill six more. Seven vials. Seven for luck. I place six in my bag and I hold the last high up in the air, admiring the sizzling colours of green and blue. In my hand contains contents, which if thrown, could wipe out an entire building. Throw all seven and I could put a hole in the world. It’s basically a bomb which is cheaper and easier to make.
My mother taught me how to make this a week before she died. It was as if she knew. The instructions were never written down, they belonged in her mind, and now they belong in mine.
I place the seventh in its spot, and I sit down for a long time. I know what I’m using it for, and who I’m using it on, but getting close enough to do it will be the problem. I don’t want to hurt anyone else, or kill anyone else, but with a potion this strong there’s going to be more than one casualty. And I’ll have to be in a close proximity myself to throw it. I could live with that, if it meant taking her too. Losing my life would never mean anything greater.
I lean back in the chair with a new smile. “Game on.”