Being a single mother of a toddler is hard. Being a single mother of a budding witch, is harder. Mia left her abusive relationship behind, finding solace in a small town where she could raise her daughter, Julian. She wanted her to grow up healthy, without fear, and to freely use her magic. But all her plans fell apart the night the veil between the worlds thinned. They were pulled into a world they didn't think possible. A world where a monster showed them how a male should treat his family. Now, Mia has to decide if going home is what's best for Julian, and herself, after all.
Mia loved the days when her daughter, Julian, had short days at kindergarten, and they could hang out and do girly things. As a single mother, she was glad she hadn’t had a boy because she was the type of woman who wore flowing, bright-colored skirts, hoop earrings, and perfect makeup. She glanced down at the little bundle of joy, bouncing by her side and smiled. Her five-year-old was her whole world.
“Mama,” Julian half-shouted, her daughter had learned to yell, and it seemed to be her one volume. “Are we going to see Miss Vivian?”
“Yes, we are,” Mia answered. “Remember, we need a candle, and if you are good in the store, we can stop and get chocolate on the way home.”
“I’m good,” Julian practically screamed as she sped up. “I want chocolate.”
“How about a chocolate pumpkin?” Mia asked. “Or maybe peppermint.”
“Both,” Julian cheered.
“You can only have one,” Mia laughed. “You have too much energy already. Remember, don’t touch anything,” Mia warned as they stopped in front of her friend’s Wiccan shop. She waited for her daughter to agree before opening the door and ushering her in.
“Julian,” a round, older black woman came around the counter and scooped Julian up. “How’s my favorite girl?”
“Mama said if I’m good, I can have chocolate,” Julian yelled.
“Have you been good for mama so far?” Vivian asked.
“Yes!” Julian cheered.
“Well, Sir Nick would love to see you,” Vivian sat Julian down. “He’s in my reading room.”
Julian skipped to the back room and disappeared behind a curtain. They soon heard a squeal followed by a hiss.
“That girl has only one volume,” Vivian rubbed her ears and moved back behind the counter. “But I don’t think anyone minds because she’s so cute.”
“You may be right,” Mia agreed. “I swear when I pick her up from school, her teachers run her to my car.”
“They don’t make teachers like they used to,” Vivian grinned. “What brings you in today? Other than bringing my goddaughter by to see me.”
“I had a troubling reading last night,” Mia pulled a stool to the counter and sat. “I saw a shadow of a man followed by death.”
“The thinning of the veil is close, and many dangerous beings are going to try and cross,” Vivian reached for something under the counter and pulled out a green crystal. “I was in meditation a few days ago and made this,” she handed the crystal over. “It’s protection infused.”
“I’m just worried my ex will find me,” Mia took the crystal and placed it in a small pocket in her purse. “I had to leave a forwarding address at my job, and some of those ladies don’t know how to keep their mouths closed.”
“Before you left, you did cast a confusion spell, correct?”
“I did, and I put a potion in his drink,” Mia snorted. “He’s lucky he can remember anything after the way he treated us.”
“Never make a witch mad,” Vivian laughed before leaning forward and lowering her voice. “You can’t hide in this small town forever.”
“I’m not hiding,” Mia denied. “Julian is finally a happy little girl and not scared that if she makes a noise, her father will appear and beat her.” Mia pointed at the shelves lined with homemade candles. “Samhain is near, and this year I will not only call my mother forth but have Julian participate.”
“I remember the first time my mother helped me cast a spell,” Vivian chuckled as she picked out candles and placed them in a wooden box. “I kept turning my cat into a mouse, and finally, she stopped coming inside the house.”
“My mother kept her powers and mine hidden, but I refuse to do that with my daughter.” Mia dropped her chin on her raised fists. “I want her to know she’s a strong witch and not allow any man to treat her bad.”
“Just don’t teach her to hate men,” Vivian warned as she finished placing the candles in the box and moved on to bundles of sage. “An angry witch is a dangerous witch.”
“It’s a bitterness I don’t want to fester in her heart.”
Mia burst out laughing as Sir Nick came tearing out the back room with Julian close behind. He jumped from the floor to the counter before turning and hissing at Julian. “Baby, you may want to leave the cat alone,” she looked at Vivian. “I think it may be time to get her a familiar.”
“Sir Nick won’t let me pick him up,” Julian pouted.
“Come here,” Mia opened her arms and caught Julian when she threw herself at her. “Remember every living thing has free will. You have to respect that.”
“Yes, mama,” Julian squirmed to get down. “I want a cat.”
“We will visit the shelter in a few days and check for one,” Mia promised as she sat her on the floor. “Now I need to finish talking to Miss Vivian. Go play and leave Sir Nick alone.”
Julian gave a distracted nod as her eyes tracked Sir Nick, where he sat on top of a shelf. Mia let go of her arm and watched as she took off for the back corner where Vivian had set up a children’s area.
“I don’t know where she gets all her energy,” Mia turned back to Vivian after making sure Julian was settled. “I think she calms when she sleeps and only for a little while.”
“It’s a difficult age,” Vivian agreed. “Here’s everything you need,” she pushed the box towards Mia. “I put a surprise in there for Julian.”
“Thank you for everything. Julian,” Mia called. “Time to leave. Vivian, please tell Sir Nick I’m sorry.”
“Don’t you worry about that old cat,” Vivian chuckled. “He’s like that old man who sits on his porch yelling at kids. Secretly, he loves them.” Vivian waved away her cash. “This one is my Samhain present for your house.”
“Blessed be,” Mia started for the door. “I will see you in a few days.”
“Blessed be,” Julian yelled as she grabbed Mia’s hand.
“Blessed be,” Vivian laughed.
The rest of the day went quickly as Mia tried to get everything ready for their Samhain celebration while keeping her baby girl out of trouble. By the time they got home, and Julian was tucked into bed, Mia was beyond ready for her nightly glass of wine.