The room was pink, solid pink. It was absolutely hideous to my tastes. Not like I was against pink or anything, just not this much of it. I was wondering what form of insanity had made me decide to befriend this small, sparkling girl and what had pushed me to accept her invitation to come over to her house. I was going to blame curiosity for both of those actions. Curiosity and a death wish for sure.
The blonde was currently bouncing over to her bed telling me something in an excited voice as she sprang onto the bright pink bedspread covered in yellow flowers. It was hard to focus on anything in this stupid room with its pink walls and bright curtains. Luckily the curtains were closed at this time. A small courtesy my new acquaintance had made before I arrived at her house, which had looked perfectly normal until I stepped in the girls bedroom. I wondered briefly if her bathroom was the same and if her rugs were as plush as the carpet was. And that was really the only bonus. The super plush and way too pink carpet.
“So how do you like it?” The girl asked suddenly and my mind was pulled from its musings. I decided then and there that if I ever saw pink again it would be too soon.
“It’s a little pink.” I replied and sat down at the chair next to her desk.
She giggled which turned into a bit of cackling before she coughed and smiled brightly. “It’s my favorite color.”
“I hadn’t guessed.” I smirked back at her. I’d known this girl for all of three hours and already I was getting sassy and sarcastic with her. Luckily she grinned wider at that.
“It’s so nice to finally met someone different in this town. I was starting to think my mother and I were the only ones here.” I nodded in understanding, though I didn’t understand at all how she had felt. It was a big city and she had only been here a month, give her another and she’d be ready to leave the place.
“So how do you like the school?” I asked wanting to get her over to a conversation where I didn’t really have to pay too much attention to. It worked a little too well and before I knew it she off on a tangent about something or another.
What she meant by “someone different” was someone not human. It could be hard at first, apparently, being a lone supernatural in a city full of humans, but I wouldn’t know. I’d never really been by myself for too long and my family had owned a large section of the land the city was on for centuries. Well more like my father had owned about half the land for almost a thousand years. There used to be more trees, but they tended to get in the way of highrise buildings and apartments. It had been hard to adapt to the quickly changing world for my parents and older siblings, considering we’re all vampires. I doubted this girl had that problem.
Speaking of said girl she was currently looking at me expectantly. I had missed a question at some point, a question that needed to be answered. “Uh, what?”
She giggled. “I asked you if it was hard to adapt to the changing world for your family?” She repeated and smiled.
I shrugged. “Mom and Dad had the worst time of it, my three older brothers and two sisters had a little better success rate. My other sibling and myself had the easiest time. And I’m not even including all of our cousins and other extended family members.”
“How does a vampire family tree work out?”
“It’s generally who bit who and who is with who and other stupid things like that.” She nodded like that had made any sense.
“I get that, it works a bit like a coven.” She grinned broadly. “Mother would get mad if I told you this, but I’m going to anyways. Covens don’t actually work out all that well. It’s why we left the one we were in, but witches aren’t allowed to leave their coven.”
“Wait, if you aren’t allowed to leave, how did you leave?” It made no sense, but she was grinning broadly at me, all teeth and a wicked look in her eyes.
“Well there are a few ways. One being to give up some of your magic. There’s a spell the coven leaders know that allows them to name a type of magic, elemental, creation, entropy, and so on, and it prevents the witch from using it.” She explained slowly, obviously not wanting to lose my attention again with mindless babbling.
“So your mother and you gave up some of you magic spells?”
“Yup, the problem with it is that coven leaders make you give up your best magic, in mother's case it was entropy. I’ve only started my studies in magic use since I’m better at making potions, not like they can stop me from doing that, so I gave up telepathy.”
“Well that was stupid.” I muttered. Who would give up that power? I could think of a million ways to use that and most of them for pranking some stupid bystander.
“I was terrible at it, couldn’t even move a feather. I’m better at potions and blowing things up.” I raised an eyebrow at the girl. Potions I could see, blowing things up though was hard to imagine with such a fluffy, and rather squishy girl. “I’d show you, but mother hates when I do it in the house.
I tried to stifle my laugh, but just couldn’t. The image of her saying some epic spell and making explosions happen around the small house was too strong to fight off. I could see her running around practicing on unsuspecting items in some horrendous pink nightgown.
“Stop your snickering,” she tried to snap at me, but she was snickering as well. I was grinning at the tiny girl in her white dress, small sleeves made of thin, white lace covering the solid fabric underneath that fell to midthigh. I would never be caught dead in something like that with her short grey boots and silver rings. The only thing she was wearing that I would count as acceptable was the small amulet around her neck. It was simple, plain even, but stuck out and caught your eye. It was a small vial filled with different dried herbs and a small black gemstone sealed with a cork top. Attached to the black chain was a small, circular, milky white crystal.
Something about the necklace drew me in. I was just waiting for it to start glowing already or do something else witchy. I pulled my eyes away from it and looked around her pink room. Staring at the pendant had no doubt been a little too creepy considering the fact that it fell right between her breasts.
“It’s for divination.”
“Hm?” I looked back at her quickly, eyebrow raised.
“The necklace, it’s for divination. I can make others, but divination is one of the only types of magic I can do easily.”
“What’s in it?”
“Oh, just some calendula, dandelion, myrrh, mugwort,” I couldn’t help but snicker at that name. She grinned back at me knowingly. “I know, worts, we witches just can’t get away from them.” We both laughed at that before she continued her list of ingredients. “Lemongrass, and Lo John root are all the herbs and the gemstone is Labradorite.”
“I’m guessing that is a seeing crystal then?”
“A really small one, but yes it is. My mom got it for me a few years ago when we discovered I was good at it.”
“That’s nice. What other charms can you make like that?”
“A few health and healing ones as well as good luck, money, and even a few love charms. Those are tricky though, you have to really know the person you want to attract to yourself so that I can use the proper herbs.”
“Not a problem for vamps.” I spoke before thinking and kicked myself internally. Father always said I spoke too much sometimes, at least in regards to important vampire stuff.
“So it is true then, you have some powers of attraction. Does it work on just the opposite sex or on both?”
I probably shouldn’t be telling a witch these things, not like it really mattered much. Vampires and witches didn’t really run in the same social groups and our races tended to avoid one another for the most part. “It depends on who you want. My siblings say it works the same on everyone.”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “And what about yourself? I mean obviously you have to attract someone to eat from?”
“Yeah, I just don’t really pay attention. That and I tend to forget to hunt or eat sometimes so my siblings or parents hunt for me. We share food.”
“It’s weird, you talk about humans as if they were animals.” She seemed really fascinated with the idea and I did my best to stifle my laugh.
“I thought it was a well known fact that we drank animal blood now a days. At least the newer vamps do. The older still need human blood since they’ve drank it for a long time. They either use bagged blood or have a willing host that lets them drink every few weeks.”
“Wow, that’s cool. Our old coven was really separated from everyone else, human and supernatural. We didn’t hear much news of what was going on.”
“We mostly keep to ourselves. Being one of the oldest and most powerful races does that to people.” She giggled again, covering her mouth with her hand.
“I hadn’t noticed that yet.” I rolled my eyes at her. “So any other cool powers I should know about?”
“We generally stay quiet about them, at least my family does anyway. Other than the whole super strong and incredibly fast and gorgeous appearance? There are quite a few other things. The older you are the more powerful you get. I’m pretty good at levitating and calling on nocturnal creatures for aid. My father is teaching me shape shifting right now.”
“Oh my god that’s so cool!” She was practically jumping up and down on her bed. “What can you turn into?”
“So far I’m only good at turning into felines, although I’ve almost got changing into a wolf down.”
“No bats?” She asked.
“What about bats?”
“Well don’t you have like a pet bat or can you at least change into one?”
“No.” I deadpanned.
“No, what? Come on surely you have one?”
“Who even started that whole bat and vampire thing? Yes we like the night, yes we drink blood, and yes some of us can fly and even change into them, but that doesn’t mean we keep them as pets.”
“So can you change into one?”
“Haven’t tried to.”
“You should,” she replied with a slight nod and a smug smile. “So do you have a few as pets?”
“No. Why would we?” I raised an eyebrow at her.
“What else would you have as a pet? It would have to be nocturnal, then again you do go out during the day, so I guess it wouldn’t have to be.”
“We can call on them, but we don’t keep them as pets. Besides, where’s your black cat? Aren’t witches supposed to have cats?”
“Pft, one witch keeps a black cat as a pet and everyone assumes we all have them.” She rolled her eyes dramatically. “Okay, so she was one of the most famous and powerful witches of that time, I get it. But no, we don’t have a cat.”
“Well that’s lame,” I muttered. “I like cats.”
“They are cute. And you don’t even have a pet bat. I will admit it, I’m a little disappointed.” She tutted a bit at me before shaking her head, blonde curls bouncing against her cheeks and shoulders.
“Cats don’t carry as many diseases as bats do, so they’re a safer choice as a pet,” I added feeling a bit exasperated. Honestly, the whole ‘vampires keep bats as companions’ thing started off a lot like the whole cats and witches thing. I wondered briefly if it was the same for the lore about witches cursing everyone and kidnapping small children. It probably was, I could not see this girl cursing anything.
“True, but aren’t vampires already dead?”
“Yeah, but our food’s not dead when we bring it home.”
“I thought you said you didn’t eat people anymore.”
“There was never any eating, just drinking. My parents have someone who lets them drink fresh blood every few weeks.” I shrugged and wondered if I could ask her if witches still sacrificed small animals or if that would be overstepping some social things, like lines or walls.
I was broken out of my musings by her snort and her attempts at suppressed laughter. I chuckled a bit at her before we fell into a comfortable silence for a while. It was surprisingly nice and I didn’t feel any of the anxiety I usually did when interacting with people.
“So, do you have a pet then?” She asked, eyes wide and staring at me intently. It was a bit unsettling.
“... Yes,” it was slow and tentative and I wanted to kick myself for sounding so unsure about it. I didn’t really want to tell her about my pet, but I wasn’t sure how to say no, nor was I very sure if she would drop the whole subject.
She continued to stare at me expectantly, waiting for me to answer her on my own. The air in the room suddenly felt heavier, more suppressive as her focus remained solely on me. I panicked slightly and ended up blurting out: “it’s nocturnal.” I was really terrible at these things.
“An owl!” She exclaimed with bright green eyes, her voice bright and filled with excitement as she leaned toward me.
“Pft,” I rolled my eyes at her feeling slightly better than I had before since it appeared I hadn’t messed up too much. “No, it’s not an owl.”
She pouted a bit, but then grinned broadly at me. “Then what?! If not an owl or a bat what other creature of the night can this pet of yours be?” She smirked while saying creature of the night and even winked at me.
“There are plenty of nocturnal animals out there.” I smiled again and rolled my eyes. The weight in the room was non-existent now, the light, easy banter from before was back.
“So, what is this mystery pet of yours?”
I breathed in slowly and answered easily. “She’s a Chinchilla and her name is Luna.” I was blushing, well if vampires could blush then I certainly would be right now. I loved my little chinchilla, but it was slightly embarrassing to admit that I owned an adorable, fluffy little nocturnal rodent.
She squealed, actually squealed. It was high pitched and ear shattering as she bounced on her bed and clapped her hands a few times. “Oh I bet she’s just adorable! What color is she? Is she sweet? I bet she’s super nice and definitely soft.”
“She’s silver, loves attention, and she is very soft.” I tried to stay calm, not wanting to get overly excited about how this ditzy little witch seemed to think that it was completely normal for a stoic vampire to own a little puff ball rodent.
“She sounds so cute and her name is perfect, I love it.”She stopped talking for a moment, a contemplative look on her face for a few seconds before she smiled at me. It was one of those smiles that people always get before telling a big secret. Do you want to know what kind of pet I have?”
I couldn’t deny it, I was way too curious for my own good. Then again it wasn’t like this was some life or death situation nor were we telling secrets that could end the world. “What do you have for a pet?” I asked slowly staring straight at her.
I was leaning forward in my seat at her desk as she paused for added suspense. “I have a Chihuahua named Princess.” She said it as if had just told me she’d murdered the pope single handedly instead of telling me she was keeping a wanna be dog as a pet. I was certain my jaw had hit the floor at this point, at least my mouth was hanging open and gaping slightly like a fish’s. As if it hadn’t been shocking enough, the name just made so much worse than it had been, and she knew it too. Of course she would name her rat Princess, it was almost too horrifically perfect.
“You’re kidding, right?” I deadpanned.
“You will just have to wait until mother gets back from her walk with her to find out.” She winked, the grin never wavering or falling off her face at my reaction. It was like the blond had expected this sort of reaction and response to her revelation from me.
I wasn’t sure about staying longer, but I couldn’t deny the fact that I actually felt comfortable around her. Well, more comfortable with her than I had been with anyone else other than my family. “Ugh, fine I’ll stay over for a little while longer to meet you rat- I mean dog, met your dog.” I mumbled the last little part hurriedly, picking at a loose thread on my black sweater and looking at my lap.
“Oh, it’s okay we were thinking of calling her Rat, we even use it as her pet name sometimes.” She snorted at that and even got a chuckle out of me, which I tried to cover up with a cough.
It was surprisingly easy to get along with this girl, then again my family was usually quiet and reserved so things could get awkward or tense at times simply because we didn’t always talk. It was nice being around someone who was flamboyant and bright. My older sister was bright too, but it was a different kind of bright when in comparison. This little witch was warm and caring, her smile could easily light any room and her laugh was light and melodic. I wondered briefly if it had something to do with her magic, but pushed that thought aside. I’d never met anyone quite like her before and maybe that was why I felt a connection with her.
“So, can vampires eat human food?” Her voice was filled with an innocent sort of curiosity; although there was definitely some intent in her question. I could feel it there, lurking below the surface underneath her curiosity. I was stuck for a moment. I could lie and say that human food was toxic to vampires, that it would poison us or something like that, and go home sooner. I could also tell her the truth and endure another few hours of her rambling. I looked at her then, eyes full of hope and hidden within them a bit of fear. I could feel that fear weighing down on me. Was she afraid of rejection, afraid her question would insult me? I wasn’t sure which it was, and I wasn’t sure if it was the fear pressing in on me that made me answer.
“We can eat regular food just fine. I prefer pasta though over anything else.” I smiled at her and she beamed brightly at me.
“Great! Do you like salads? What about dessert? My mom made some apple tarts earlier today that we can have after dinner, which is chicken. She’ll make it when she gets back from her walk with Princess. Wait, you said pasta was your favorite?” I nodded and her brow furrowed a bit. “I get how amazing pasta is, but what about garlic killing vampires? Or is it just like the myth about vampires and bats?” I realised she was rambling, it was excited rambling, but rambling nonetheless. Questions were falling from her mouth unchecked and it was sort of cute how her head had tilted to the side just a little bit as she asked the final question, a contemplative look crossing her face.
I chuckle lightly at her antics. “I don’t mind salads, but they aren’t my favorite thing unless there’s dried fruit. Apple tarts sound really great for dessert. Garlic is only poisonous if we eat it in large amounts, but it smells and tastes horrible, which is why vampires avoid it.”
“Well that’s good to know, just incase you ever come over for dinner again so I can make sure mom doesn’t make garlic bread or something.” There was a light blush on her cheeks and she fiddled a bit with one of her silver bracelets nervously.
“Haha, just don’t go around poisoning other vampires now that you know one of our secrets.” A smirk had found its way onto my face even though she had hinted at wanting me to come over again at some point in the future. I decided to avoid that subtle hint in favor of joking with her. “Just so long as there isn’t any eye of newt in with my food as well.”
She snorted and burst into laughter. It took her a few moments to calm down enough to respond. “No newt eyes, no black cats, and, incase you were curious, we don’t have a giant black cauldron either, unless mother is hiding it from me.” We both snickered a bit at her words. Might as well get through all of those ridiculous myths and stereotypes first.
The next few minutes passed quickly. The little blonde was content to just talk and didn’t seem to care too much if I didn’t respond to her or if I even zoned out a few times. It was comfortable and nice, the room warm and a little bit of natural light filtered through the curtains as the sun sank. To my horror the room was starting to grow on me. This was probably because I had started to actually examine the room more closely than I had previously. It was easy to notice the few differences within the room like how the walls were flecked with white and even a bit of purple to change it from being a solid pink. The bookshelves over her desk were filled with an assortment of books all varying in size and color. There were a few spellbooks as well as a mix of fiction and nonfiction all organized neatly. Even the top of her desk was organized, nothing out of place or in the way. Looking around the room also confirmed that she liked to be neat and organized and nothing seemed to be misplaced, everything was where it was supposed to be.
It was also obvious that she hadn’t cleaned just because I was coming over. She had asked in our shared Biology class if I was free after school and we’d come straight over. Even if that wasn’t the case I would’ve been able to smell the cleaning products she used.
“Do you want to see my potions and my bottle collection?” Her question snapped me from my musings and I wondered briefly about how much I had missed of the conversation. I nodded my agreement, more curious about her bottle collection than I was her potions. You didn’t live as long as I had without seeing a few different potions. She smiled at my silent answer and stood, walking over to a set of container drawers next to the desk, which I had previously ignored but now noticed that they were a pale peach color. It was a surprisingly nice color and fit well with the rest of her room. She opened the top drawer of the container and carefully pulled out three small vials. All the vials were clear, but the liquids inside each were vastly different. They were all different colors and the substances inside varied vastly. Two were nearly like water while the third looked closer to loose tea leaves.
Setting them carefully on the desk near me seemed like a simple enough task for her, even when her hands were full. “These are the only ones I have been able to make so far since coming here. I’ve been so busy catching up in regular school, so I haven’t been able to practice much with my spells and potions.” She turned around again to the container and pulled open the bottom drawer. She reached in and began moving around various bottles, the sound of glass clinking against glass was almost too loud in the silent room.
When she turned back toward the desk, a bright, joyful smile was plastered across her face and I could feel that joy floating softly in the air around us. It was light, gentle, and so sweet. In her hands she held two very different bottles. “These are my two favorite bottles out of all the ones I’ve gotten.”
“They’re cool.” And I meant it too. Her smiled seemed to only grow wider, brighter as well. One was definitely supposed to be a flower vase, but she had a cork in the top as a stopper. It was rather elegant in its simplicity, just the typical tall and narrow vase with a slightly wider and rounded base. The other was a short round bottle that looked a bit like a miniature fishbowl that had a narrow top with a glass or crystal stopper in the shape of a diamond. I was slightly embarrassed by the fact that I found both adorable and attempted to force the feeling away.
“I’m glad you like them. There are so many cool bottles in a big city like this. I just love it!” Her smile was bright before she changed it into a false pout and continued. “The coven only ever had plan simple bottles that all looked a like. We had to label everything, it was so annoying.” She rolled her eyes at the last little bit.
“So,” I hedged, looking back at the three potions sitting on the desk next to me. “What are the potions you have there?”
Her face lit up at the question. “They’re a few different things actually. This one,” she pointed to one of the vials filled with a thick, deep red liquid. “Is something we call liquid fire, for good reason too. You throw it, the vial breaks, and anything the liquid touches will catch fire.”
My eyes widened a bit at that, especially at the glint in her eyes as she said it. “Well, that is useful.” I left out the against vampires and most supernaturals part.
“It can be. It burns hot a very fast though. Usually it only stays where the liquid touches or lands, but there are other times where it spreads quite a bit. I’ll make a few for you later if you want some.” I just nodded a bit dumbly in response, not too sure what I was supposed to say to that. I also couldn’t deny how useful a potion like that could be. She smiled and continued. “The next potion is a bit more for everyday use.” She quirked her lips slightly and picked up the second vial, which was filled with a clear whitish liquid. “It’s a sleep potion, of sorts. It makes it so that whoever drinks it doesn’t dream that night, or day in you case.”
“So it doesn’t help someone with falling asleep?”
“No, but it’ll keep nightmares and the like away. The third potion is something new that I made myself.” She placed the sleep potion back next to the liquid fire and carefully, almost reverently, picked up the last vial containing the loose leaves. “I made this potion to be taken more like a tea since the liquid form really backfired when I tested it. I haven’t gotten to try it yet, but I am hoping I’ll get the chance to in a few more days.”
I cocked my head in her direction, waiting for her to elaborate. She didn’t and the room had started to that heavy weight again, pressing steadily in on me. The look in her eyes was hopeful, but it was almost drowned out by the sorrow that seemed to scream from everywhere else in her body. The crushing bit of regret mixed in almost perfectly with the sorrow and hope. The weight in the room was suffocating, almost the the point where I wondered if we were both going to drown in it. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do in this sort of situation. Had no idea how to make whatever was bothering her better. I didn’t even know if I could make it better.
She shook her head and smiled at me suddenly. It was a weak smile, tight lipped and not nearly close enough to reaching her eyes. Liar, some traitorous voice inside me hissed at the action. I forced the ugly thing down, somewhere deep within me and hoped it would stay there. I knew she wasn’t lying exactly. She just didn’t want to focus on what was hurting her, didn’t want me to see how hurt or affected she actually was. And I didn’t want that one tiny part of myself to ruin or taint this new and weird friendship thing we had.
“Anyways,” she cleared her throat a bit and the smile became a bit more real, less forced. “It’s supposed to strengthen visions or dreams, make them sharper, clearer, more focused, you know. It didn’t exactly work out that way, so I decided to try something else. And it happened almost a year ago now, so it’s not that big of a deal anymore.”
Her voice seemed strained and her smile faltered a bit. Liar, that voice whispered in my ear again and I shoved it away. I wanted to ask about the failed attempt, wanted to know what was so important that it needed to become clearer. I didn’t ask, didn’t do anything and we fell silent once again. This one though, was more awkward than the others. Both of us lost in our thoughts and the questions I wanted to ask her were pushed from my mind. I was drowning in the weight of the room that seemed to flow so slowly.
I was so focused on it I didn’t hear the front door open and close. I didn’t hear the jingle of keys or any of the other noises the witch’s mother made as she came home. “Rhi! I’m home.” Her voice broke through the haze around us as easily as a paddle moving through a river current, but maybe that haze was just around myself. Her voice was light and beautiful and the blonde lit up in an instant again. The change within the room was swift, the weight lifted so suddenly off of me that I it left me reeling slightly.
“Hi mom! My friend came over today.” The bottles were left on the desk and she was halfway through the door when she turned back around, fixing me with her bright green eyes. “Well, come on.” She called before she bounded away without another glance at me to see if I was even following her.
I did of course. Slowly standing up and walking out of her room into a short hallway that opened up into her living room and dinning room. I followed the sounds of their conversation, not really paying attention to what was being said, into their tiny kitchen. The blonde was sitting on a tall stool in front of an equally tall counter. It had probably been a bar at some point in time, or was at least supposed to be one. The witch’s mother had her back turned to us, but her thick dark brown hair caught the fading sunlight through the windows, the light playing off of the waves that fell down her back.
“Erin, this is my mother Destiny. Mom Eirian, or Erin.” As the blonde talked excitedly I noticed her mother was busy putting things away.
“Hello Erin, it’s nice to meet you.” Her head was in the fridge, but I didn’t mind at all. What caught my attention was her thick accent, which my eyebrow rose at on its own accord. I’d noticed the faint lilt in her daughter’s voice, but it was a lot more noticeable in her mother’s voice. “Oh, don’t mind the accent, Rhi wasn’t around it as much as I was.” She hadn’t looked over at us yet even though she’d moved on from the fridge to put the chicken in the oven. I wondered briefly if she knew I raised an eyebrow at her, or if it was just a naturally reaction she was used to by now.
“You should’ve heard my mom try speaking English fifty years ago.” I said chuckling at the image, the memory of her trying to form the words correctly with a thick Romanian accent before giving up most of the time and divulging into colorful curses. Destiny laughed along with her daughter. It was easy to relax around these two and I found myself doing just that as they fell into a steady conversation. It was nice. Her mother seemed to realise that I didn’t exactly talk much; although she asked the occasional question. The two slipped easily into their own familiar conversations, which I assumed were something they did every evening.The blond made sure I met Princess who was indeed a Chihuahua. A little long haired black one who was not a terror and who was surprisingly very sweet. I stayed for dinner and dessert. Both were rather quiet with little said other than to praise the food, especially the apple tarts. Destiny made sure I left with a few and even offered to drive me home, but I kindly refused and began the walk home across town.