Keeper

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Chapter 3

Cassidie stared at the man, frozen in complete amazement that this person had actually come into Voodoo and Witchcraft. She gazed at him in wonder, taking in the graying light brown hair and tired blue eyes, his bright smile and boyish features, his regular (read: not Gothic) clothing and the gold band around his wrist.

The man shifted uncomfortably and said, “If you don’t have it, I can come back another time…”

Cassidie realized that she was staring and blinked. She hadn't even noticed that he had been speaking. “Oops,” the pale girl said, irritated at the blush creeping into her cheeks. “What did you ask for?”

The young Goth dropped her gaze to the countertop to avoid staring again as the man spoke. “Do you have a potion to cure Mountain Goat Sickness?”

"We should," Cassidie murmured. "Let me just check." Moving over to the book section of the shop, she began searching for the potion. She checked in a book titled, Advanced Potions for Star Wizards. Flipping to the index, she scanned it quickly and didn’t find the correct potion. Putting the book back on the shelf, Cassidie grabbed a book called, Potions Galore and Many More! Once again scanning the index, Cassidie’s keen eyes didn’t see the right potion in there either.

Sighing softly in irritation, Cassidie sent the man an apologetic nod and put the book back. Stepping on a ladder, Cassidie looked around and spotted one particular book in the magic section, just where magic met monsters. She hurried over and looked at the title reading: Potions for Any Occasion! Seriously!

Moving quickly to the index, Cassidie scanned the columns and found the potion she was looking for. Pages flying, Cassidie moved to the counter and took out a piece of paper and pencil. Cassidie’s hand flew across the paper as she copied the potion ingredients and procedure.

“Got some speedy hands there,” the man chuckled, making Cassidie pause and nod, before continuing with her task.

Finishing up, she handed him the slip of paper and said, “That’ll be five dollars.”

The man scratched at his chin and replied, “How about I give you ten and a signed copy of my book, Sports Fans?

Cassidie nodded and put the money in the register. When the man started to make a note to himself, Cassidie’s self-control broke. “Y-you’re Bill Gotsvic, the most famous sports star in the world. You've done so many extreme stunts before any puffball could! W-what are you doing in Midnight Haven?”

Cassidie clamped a hand on her mouth and ducked her head in embarrassment. She looked up when she heard a raspy chuckle and saw Bill smiling at her.

“I, uh, I’m s-s-.” Cassidie grimaced as she tried to force the word out of her mouth. She didn’t like the word and regarded it with utmost care; she only said it when she honestly meant it. Giving up, she muttered, "Excuse me."

Bill waved away her apology, saying, “It’s alright. I get it a lot, but most people want to impress me with their knowledge of sports. You seemed calmer than most of the die-hard Goths that screamed over me like a puffball over a celebrity.”

“But you are a celebrity,” Cassidie pointed out. “And I don’t know enough about sports to impress a slug, so life experience gave me enough common sense to stay calm… until a few seconds ago.”

“Yeah well, puffballs hate me for being a bigger star than their ‘Jackson Beau’ or whatever his name is. They hate me and other Goth celebrities because we do everything better. And you know why, of course?”

“Because we’re killer?” Cassidie suggested slowly.

Bill laughed and patted Cassidie’s shoulder. “That too,” he chuckled. “So which legends did your parents tell you?”

Cassidie stared at him before looking down at the counter, willing the oncoming emotions away. “I don’t have parents,” she murmured softly.

Bill’s face fell into a confused frown. “Did they pass?” he inquired.

Even that would have been better than what they did do. Cassidie shook her head, playing with the potion book with her claw-like nails. “They didn’t want me because I was accused of doing something to stand up for the Goths. They were the mayors of White Castle; they didn’t care about anything but their reps, so they didn’t want me.”

Bill’s eyes widened. “You’re Cedric and Ciara’s daughter?” he asked excitedly.

Cassidie nodded, slightly taken aback by his sudden mood change. Must be the sickness. Cassidie thought. But how does he know my parents?

“You're the Keeper!” Bill exclaimed. “You’ll save us from the Pack! And-and fight the Coven! And calm the Horde! This is wicked! Tell me, have you found the book?”

Cassidie stared at him in utter bewilderment, her lips curling into a frown just in case the Sickness was turning Bill into a lunatic. Cassidie was reluctant to speak, knowing her voice would sound harsher than she meant to due to her uneasiness, but she had to say something. So, she asked the only logical question: “What are you talking about?”

Bill’s smile faded and he ran a hand through his hair. “The Council hasn’t told you yet. Oh bats, they’ll have my head! I’ve said too much.” He turned to Cassidie and asked, “Do me one last favor?”

Cassidie raised one meticulously plucked eyebrow suspiciously, but nodded all the same. “Show me your teeth?” Cassidie blinked at Bill in utter confusion as she decided that he had in fact lost his mind.

Sighing, Cassidie muttered, “Okay...”

Bill snickered as Cassidie opened her mouth and showed him her sharp teeth. The mountain climber inspected them momentarily before nodding to himself.

“Shouldn’t be too long now,” he muttered to himself. “You’re almost ready. Better go warn the Council. Thanks so much for the potion and I’ll get that book to you by Monday.” Bill waved to Cassidie and hurried out the door.

Cassidie stared at the door in wonder before shrugging and deciding that Bill had gone temporarily insane due to the sickness ailing him. Cassidie sighed and set about reorganizing the book section of the shop.

When she was nearly finished, three-quarters of an hour later, the young blonde picked up the book from which she’d gotten Bill’s potion and attempted to put it back on the shelf. This proved to be difficult and, after two more tries, Cassidie peered into the space to see what was blocking it. Spotting a slightly smaller book in the way, Cassidie shook her head with a small smile. Slowly reaching back, Cassidie felt the hairs on her arms and neck tingle as her fingers closed on the book and she pulled it from the shelf.

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