I was in the car, speeding nearly a 100 on the highway before I could even gather my thoughts. My quilt was at my side all the while. I knew the drive up the coast would be long even though I was speeding.
There was an oceanside town I had heard of long ago. It was an island that had long been abandoned years ago called Eldritch Harbor. The only townspeople that lived there now were the ones who were escaping their lives in the big city or the few that still owned businesses that survived the last hurricane. The others, there was a clan of older witches known as the Octo Clan. It was a clan of Octopus and mermaid creatures. They were the oldest clan in the world, so I knew she was there to harness as much magic from them as humanly possible. It was the only way to be able to do what she had done. She was evil, that was for sure.
If I could get there by five o’clock, I would get there in time to get to the last ferry to Eldritch Harbor. So off I was using my cellphone to call in contacts I knew could take care of my loved ones and their bodies. I couldn’t call the police because of what they might find. I didn’t know why or what that creature was that killed my family, but I knew it wasn’t of this natural world. It was something conjured up by my Aunt Josephine. How dare she kill what family I had left in this world. My cousins, my only brother, Sam. Tears swelled into my eyes as my foot hit the gas harder. Soon I lost track of how fast I was going. I just knew that I was on a mission.
I drove onward until I heard a familiar ding. I looked down and realized my gas tank was nearly empty. I rolled my eyes, realizing I had passed a few gas stations as I drove up the coast. When I saw the tiny gas station sign on the highway, I exited immediately. I noticed there wasn’t anyone around, and I thought it was a bit odd. Where was I? I figured I wasn’t too far from the port that would take me to Eldritch Harbor. It was near a pretty isolated part of the coast. I pulled into the one-pump gas station. I looked around and noticed I had to pay inside. I got out of my car, pulled my hair in a ponytail, and went to pay.
When I went in, a loud bell jangled from side to side over the door. I looked for the clerk but didn’t see anyone.
“Hello?” I yelled, pulling out cash instead of my credit card.
I waited for someone to come to the counter, but nobody came.
“HELLO?” this time, I was louder and probably sounded more annoyed.
“Be there in a second,” I heard what sounded like a young boy.
When he finally came running up to the counter, it was a young African American kid. He was wearing the ugliest green and yellow gas station attendant shirt I had ever seen, making me smirk. I recalled my first job working at our local diner wearing something just as ugly when I was about his age.
“I need to fill up on well. I guess the only pump you have out there,”
“Oh, there are two, Ma’am,” he said in a slight southern drawl.
“Are we at the same gas station?”
He laughed. “Pump one and pump two. It is two-sided.”
I laughed, ‘Right,”
“Oh my god, miss!”
“What?” I looked at his horrified face.
“Did you hurt yourself? You have blood all over the side of your neck,”
“Oh, shit,” I had forgotten that my entire family’s blood was all over me after the massacre. I don’t know why I didn’t check for it before I went into the store. “Yeah, do you have a bathroom I could clean up in?”
“Yes, towards the back, but you might want to get a change of clothes. I don’t think that amount of blood is coming out.”
“I think you are correct,” I didn’t even try to make an excuse, but I felt it didn’t matter. I’d be either dead or on another killing spree in no time.
“We have some nice t-shirts and some pants that we can sell you if you want,” he said, pointing to the back of the store.
I looked at a black t-shirt with some band on it. I had never heard of WITCH DOCTOR. It seemed to fit nicely, and the pants, well, the only pants they had were leather biker pants. Those, too, just fit. Seemed like a lovely duet of clothing. I cleaned myself up and tried not to think of whose blood was on me at the moment. It could have been Sam’s. I fixed myself up the best I could muster and went to pay for my stuff.
I had tossed the old clothes in the garbage can.
Once I paid for my stuff, I noticed the kid seemed a bit sad I was going.
“Will we see you again?”
“Maybe, you never know. I am guessing you don’t get many interesting people here.”
“No, it is boring as hell, ma’am.”
“My name is Celeste, but if you tell people, I’ll have to kill you,” I was only half joking.
The kid laughed, like really laughed at my terrible joke.
“It’s okay, ma – I mean Celeste. You have a safe drive, and here is a bag of chips and some water on the house,”
“Oh, well, thank you,”
“Well, you did spend like two hundred bucks, so.”
I guess I had. I hadn’t even looked at how much it was for my clothes and the gas.
I walked out and pumped my gas. The fall sky was already getting darker by the second, and I knew I had maybe an hour left to go.
I got to the seaside port to take the Ferry with only a few moments to spare. I drove onto the nearly empty Ferry boat and sat by the edge. I opened my bag of chips that the kid gave me and drank the water. I pulled out my phone and checked for any messages.
The house had been cleaned. I was glad that my connections were able to help me. Being a supernatural being living in a human world had its advantages. It also meant I had to try hard to act naturally when all I wanted was hell and vengeance.
The ferry docked, and I drove off the ferry slowly with the few others in front of me. I kept checking the time and trying to focus on the end goal. It wasn’t just to murder my aunt but to save my niece.
Once free and clear, I sped onto a road that led directly to the cliffside. There was a reason my aunt was there. Once I got to the cliffside, I looked for any entrances to the cliff’s sides. I knew the Octo clan would hide inside caves to avoid being seen. They didn’t look like the rest of us. Some of them had more aquatic features, and others, well, others were more like vampires with gills.
They hid in the caves during the day and wouldn’t come out until night. I figured if I couldn’t find the entrance, all I had to do was wait. Eventually, they would show me how they left so I could get in and see my aunt.
Just as I thought, a shack not far from one of the lower rocky cliffs had a door swing open. Two men appeared in human clothes, but when I saw the side of their faces, they had gills on their necks that one wasn’t hiding successfully.
I waited for them to go before I got out of my vehicle. I looked around and then made my way inside. There was a dark tunnel, and I could hear techno music playing. I rolled my eyes. The Octo Clan was known for being very much your typical sirens of the sea. Always with their damn music. It calmed their more homicidal side down, I guessed. As long as the music played, they never fought or hurt others.
I walked around and held onto my bravery. I could feel my eyes darkening, which meant there was magic nearby. It would give me all the power I needed to harness some dark-ass energy. In case you were wondering how I planned to kill her, there wasn’t a need for guns.
It was simple; she gave me her dark energy when she dedicated her part to me inside the quilt. I had her inside of me like skin. Only I had more power and more – oh shit.
There was something behind me, and it felt like it might be an actual gun.
“What are you doing here?”
I turned quickly, climbing up the cave wall. When I looked down, I could only see a short, fat, half-man half-octopus creature wearing a leather jacket.
I began to laugh.
“What the hell am I supposed to be afraid of?”
“Celeste?” he questioned.
“How do you know my name, creature?” I asked.
“Celeste, it is me- Jack- remember?”
“Jack? Wait!” I floated back to the ground.
“Jack, how do you not remember me?”
“I know Jack in Beans?” I asked.
“The one and only! Come give your old boyfriend a hug!”
This probably sounds like I have a lot of explaining to do. But I think I’ll keep this awkward phase of my life- in my past.
“Jack, I have come to find my Aunt Josephine. I know she is here hiding.”
“No, she isn’t hiding here. She is very vocally out and about.”
I shook my head, “No, Jack, I am just saying she is living here holding up hiding out from me!”
“Why would your aunt be hiding from you? She loves you; you are all she ever talks about, and how your family disowned her after she put a protective spell on you at birth. That they thought it was evil. No, let me take you to her. She is out back with my brother.”
I looked at the short fat octopus man. I blinked, trying to understand what he was saying.
“No, she sent something to my family to massacre them. She kidnapped my niece using one of her mega demons. You cannot be talking about my Aunt Josephine because she killed my mother, grandmother, and brother. Where is she?” I picked Jack up from the floor and slid him up the wall. “Where the fuck is she, Jack?”
“Holy lobster rolls, lady, do you know what you are saying? Your aunt couldn’t have done any of those things. She has been here for the last thirty years living here with my brother. They are kind of an item,”
“Shut up, Jack, that isn’t possible. It isn’t. Where is she?” I tossed Jack to the floor and went to find her.
It didn’t take me long.
“Celeste, my sweet, sweet darling niece. There you are. It has been much too long.”
I was nearly knocked over by the smell of Jasmine. It was like looking into a mirror with her long black hair and fair skin. Only she was in a long dress made of the finest silk. It was in an aqua color that resembled her eyes.
Her eyes were the perfect shade of blue, and I wanted to cry when she looked at me. How was she doing this?
She stopped all the rage inside of me with one look. Aunt Josephine walked up to me and put her slender arms around me. All at once, I dropped my anger and my fears. This larger-than-life creature I had been taught to hate was nothing more than a fairy godmother.
I snapped out of it and stepped back away from her.
“Where is Adelaide?”
“Who?” She asked me.
“Sam’s baby, the one you sent your minion to kidnap. Our entire family was massacred. Sam, my sister-in-law, and our only cousins. All in a split second.”
“I am sorry, I had no idea. Something felt strange, but I didn’t know that you were giving the quilt to another. Please, there is so much I have to talk to you about. I have been waiting on you all these years. They said you would come. I swear I didn’t do any of the things they told you. I certainly don’t have the power to kill my entire family and steal our niece. What happened between your mother and me was a tragedy. It wasn’t what you thought. You need to know that.”
“Lies,” I looked at her and caused her mouth to close shut.
I saw terror in her eyes.
A man came into the room with us just as she took off the enchantment with one swipe of her hand.
“This is my niece, Celeste, Jon,” She said to the man.
“Celeste, very nice to meet you.” he smiled.
I refused to shake his hand.
“If it were under any other circumstance, maybe,”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what is going on?” He asked Celeste.
“Can you leave us for a bit?”
Jon nodded and walked away.
Josephine had me follow her to a dark room, and she lit a candle.
“I’m sorry I’ve been living a bit like a bohemian since the early 80’s when your mother died.”
“I don’t care; I want you to tell me where my nice is so I can just kill you and be on my way,”
“I had nothing to do with it. Your mother was so mad at me; she didn’t understand my magic. It wasn’t dark magic at all. It was healing magic.”
“I hear you liked to torture animals too.”
“Tish tosh, your mother had no idea I was trying to heal that turtle. Your dear uncle Arnold, goddess rest his soul, had a gift of talking to animals but forgetting where they were. When I found poor Ted the Turtle, he was dehydrated and suffering, so I was conducting a spell to rejuvenate him by putting him in a pot of seawater. Your mother tried to make herself the perfect little witch for our father because I was his favorite. That day she tried to poison me was not my fault. She switched those cups by accident. After that, I left, swearing never to return. I was protected by deep energy. Nothing they could do to me would ever cause me harm. When I realized what savages our family was at an early age, I couldn’t ever trust them. You have to believe me.” she grabbed my hand.
I looked at her, and there was something in her eyes. I didn’t want to trust her, but I did.
“Then who would have done this to our family?”
Josephine looked down at me.
“You couldn’t smell them?”
“Close your eyes. I want you to picture that moment. The moment that everything changed. You can smell them. Just focus on the thing that came there. It has their magic on it. You will know them if you close your eyes and smell them!”
I closed my eyes, focusing on the second the minion entered the house. It was so fast. Then I saw it leap out the window. It didn’t make any sense. Aunt Josephine had to be putting a spell on me.
I opened my eyes and pulled my hands away from her.
“Tell me, who did you see?”
“NO! You are using magic to make me see lies!”
“Who was it, Celeste?”
Tears welled up in my eyes, and I shook my head.