” ‘Created by Emily Romano, the brevette consists of a subject (noun), verb, and object (noun), in this exact order. The verb shows an ongoing action – so the letters in the verb should be spaced out. There are only three words in the poem.
Each of the three words may have any number of syllables, but it is desirable that the poem have balance in the choice of these words. Unlike haiku, there are no other rules to follow.'”
Tallia anxiously glanced at Teegan who was asleep on her waiting area couch. She was sure Teegan would be angry at her for drugging his coffee, but Tallia didn’t feel she had a choice. Something was off about Teegan and the darkness surrounding him and Tallia didn’t want to make his potion rashly; there could be dire consequences.
She had found one ingredient which was odd, scrawled off to the side of the ingredients and directions for the potion for Teegan in her Aunt Willow’s tome. Apparently, the potion required a giant gold fish. Tallia wasn’t sure why Teegan’s potion would require the gold fish, but it was something she would have to leave the store to buy.
Teegan had told her if he drank his potion the darkness surrounding him, the shadow that caused a sensitive magically inclined person such as Tallia to hurt and feel pain, would leave for a long time. How long was a long time? And how old was Teegan really? To her he looked about thirty-five.
If he was as old as she thought he might be, she knew he might understand the sleeping drought in his coffee, knowing Tallia as a magic shop owner, had to be wary if Teegan’s potion involved dark magic. Tallia had no way of knowing how long he would be asleep from the drought. She had tried calling Jude, the owner of The Black Coven magic store numerous times on his cell.
Jude must be having a brisk business at his store because he or his assistant, never picked-up the store phone either. Jude was about eighty-years-old as best as she could guess. But his family magic shop dated back to the Middle Ages. He had to know something about Teegan and the potion.
Tallia checked on Teegan one more time, she hoped he’d be out another two hours at least. She needed to leave the store buy the giant goldfish as well as visit Jude. Something inside her told Tallia it was vital she gathered as much information she could get on Teegan and his potion before she set about making it.
She drove her Vespa to The Black Coven first. It was located in an ancient, rundown part of town dating back to the 1400’s. But those who needed to visit Jude’s magic shop, knew how to find it. As Tallia’s own magic shop had been with Aunt Willow, Jude’s place was also a hole in the wall.
The streets were narrow here and Tallia knew her Vespa would be more inconspicuous, as well as, she would be able to travel down narrow streets she couldn’t maneuver with her car. There was a bit of parking lot a block down from The Black Coven. Tallia parked, leaving her Vespa in a parking space.
She walked down to the ancient magic shop, opening the creaky old wooden door and removed her side-bag. She had placed her Aunt’s great tome in her bag. She turned the book to the correct page, listing ingredients and directions to make Teegan’s potion in the script Tallia did not recognize.
Then she called out, “Hello Jude, are you there? It’s Tallia, Willow’s niece. I’m sure you felt me coming. Was there a reason you didn’t pick up the phone? Or have you guys been extremely busy today?”
Tallia received no answer. She gazed around the dusty store, it appeared empty.”Um, Jude’s assistant, Aspen, are you here? We’ve never meant, but last time I talked to Jude, he’d said he hired you to take over from him?”
Again Tallia received no reply. She walked around the magic shop. The Black Coven was a mishmash of magical items all stored on old stone and wooden shelves in no particular order or thought to design.
Powerful and dangerous items were among those items which were standard, and pretty harmless magical items. She saw crystal balls, different statues, and a wall with ingredients for potions and spells kept in jars.
She was shocked to see certain items used only for dark sorcery. These items frightened Tallia. She could sense there blackness in her mind. They were much worse than the darkness which followed Teegan — at least she thought so.
Jude had always been grandfatherly to Tallia. She had meant him many times as grew-up. He often had coffee with her Great-Aunt and Aunt. She wondered why he wasn’t answering her. Tallia walked up to the counter where a 1950’s cash register sat in dust. There was a bell and Tallia dinged it a few times.
Eventually, a man about the same age as Teegan came out. He looked Tallia over and before she could say anything he held up his hand.
“We knew you were coming Tallia. It’s alright. Jude hasn’t been well lately and he’s in the hospital. For his age, he has done well until now. It’s why he hired me to handle things. I’m one of his great-grandsons, I’m. . .”
“You’re Aspen. I know, Jude told me about you last time I saw him a few months ago. He attended my shop’s re-opening. I run Fairy Dust.”
“Yes, Jude told me about you. You rang his cell, but he has trouble talking right now my Aunt told me. He had a stroke. I’m sorry I was busy when you called out in here. From what I can glean from you, you’re dealing with some sort of darkness from a client and you need some advice,” Aspen said.
Tallia nodded, “Poor Jude, that’s awful. I’m sorry for your family.” She put the tome in front of Aspen and waited as he read and reread the potion procedure and ingredients.
“These seem to be pretty normal ingredients, except for the large goldfish. But maybe the potion requires it’s life force? I’m not sure what to tell you Tallia. What’s Teegan like?”
Tallia couldn’t help but blush thinking about Teegan.”He’s demanding but seems to be understanding enough. I thought he was about your age, when he first came to my shop. I could feel the shadow emanating from him. It made me sick, especially when he came back the second time.”
“The second time?”
“Well I pretended I was sick the first day, even though he did give me a headache. I went home for the afternoon and I hoped he’d go somewhere else. But the next day he was back. He told me he was old. My Aunt and Great Aunt made him his potion before. He was able to stop me from feeling ill, from hurting me, by chanting a few words,” Tallia said.
“I’m not sure what I’m dealing with, will the potion truly make Teegan well? Will it make such evil leave him?”
Aspen was paying attention to Tallia’s words carefully. She noticed he was concentrating. He wasn’t bad looking himself. He had auburn hair and bright green eyes. He was tall but not as tall as Teegan. He was attractive but more in a nice guy way. Teegan was definitively what women would call a bad boy.
“Well,” Aspen said,”I think your Teegan is cursed. That’s why he needs the potion, quite badly I’m afraid. You really should hurry back and make it for him. We’ve an extra goldfish around here somewhere, we must.”
“Cursed, cursed by what or whom?”
“It’s hard to say Tallia. Jude would know more I think. Even so I believe Teegan is much older than Jude by hundreds of years. I’ve heard whispers of Teegan. He must have done something terrible in the past would be my guess. Something awful enough to warrant being cursed to live so long and to require a potion.”
Tallia sighed, letting out her breath.
“I have a feeling if he doesn’t get this tonic, he’ll be a resistant foe to deal with Tallia. There’s a reason he takes it. I doubt he wants to be who he is when he’s dark. He wants to be normal and this potion allows him to be.”
“You know all this?” Tallia questioned. “How did you know?”
Aspen smiled mysteriously, “There’s things I’ve heard Tallia. Also, I can read through you, what you felt around Teegan. I can feel his presence too, so could Jude; he’s a powerful guy. Go back and make his potion quickly. He’ll be awake soon.”
“But . . .”
“Tallia, such as you and many other magically inclined people, I have a sixth-sense. That’s how I know these things.You have one too, although less developed. It’s telling you to go back to Fairy Dust and hurry.”
Her blue eyes became huge and Tallia nodded mutely. Aspen handed Tallia a bag with the giant goldfish.”On the house,” he said with a grin. She wondered how they had this giant goldfish just lying around. It wasn’t a typical magical ingredient.
Tallia called back to Aspen lightly,”Stop by come check-out my store some time; have coffee.” He walked her to the door and Tallia stuffed the tome back in her side bag.
“I’d like that,” Aspen said grinning. He winked at Tallia as she left. She was deep in thought and was surprised to find herself getting onto her Vespa, placing the fish on the back of it.
She told herself to payattention and hurriedly drove back to Fairy Dust. Tallia too felt she needed to make Teegan his potion and fast. She prayed he wouldn’t be angry with her or worse. With such darkness within him, she didn’t want to be an object of Teegan’s wrath.
“Yeah, I guess. This is it.” Carter murmured. He was holding Melanie’s hands in his and couldn’t seem to let go of them.
“I can’t believe it,” she said.”We’ve traveled all over the world together since Amsterdam. Now I’m probably never going to see you again.” Tears slipped down Melanie’s soft white cheeks.
She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry.
“I’ll visit.” Carter promised.”I’m sure I’ll end up in Montreal sometime in the future.”
“But that’s just it Carter. You can’t promise that.” Melanie said wiping her cheeks. “You travel the world for your job. You take wild and fantastic pictures for National Geographic.”
“I’m an accountant trying to finish her CA. I want to start my own business and I want to stay in Montreal. I grew-up there and my parents and other family live there. I can’t imagine leaving them for longer than I already have, travelling the last two-years.”
“I could settle in Montreal someday . . .” Carter mused.
“Don’t say that.”
“Make promises you can’t keep.You grew up in Tuscany, in Italy. Your family maybe American but you live on this beautiful land where you make wine, as your ancestors did for generations.” Melanie said.
“Your home in Tuscany, it’s your anchor and it’s where you love to go when you’re off.” Melanie said squeezing Carter’s hands tighter.
“You’re not Canadian. It’s beautiful but I know for you, it’s not home.”
“Perhaps, you’re my new home?” Carter said gazing in Melanie’s sad green eyes.
“Don’t lie to my like that, Carter.” She chastised, “If you say something like that you have to mean it. If we were to maintain our relationship, you’ d have to see me more than every once in a while. Can you do that with your work and family?”
Carter was frustrated and unhappy. “No I can’t. I can’t make promises to you right now. There’s too much of the world I wan’t to see still. I can’t see myself settling down for years and if I did . . .No not in your beautiful Canada.” A tear escaped Carter’s milk-chocolate eyes; he was embarrassed.
Melanie was outright crying now.
Carter took her in his arms and held her. After a while her cries turned to sniffles. She turned her face up to him and he kissed her for what he knew would be the last time. He drew the kiss out, knowing he would need to remember it for a lifetime.
“You have to go soon. You have to get through customs before your flight leaves.” Melanie remarked he voice hoarse.
“I know,” Carter said depressed.”This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done Mel.If it’s meant to work out, maybe one day it will?”
Melanie smiled. “No more promises you can’t keep. I’ll miss you Carter, so much.”
She had such strength; Carter always admired Melanie’s strength of character.
He stared back at his beautiful Mel as she waved to him and he walked away. Her auburn hair was braided and her beautiful green eyes full of unshed tears.
Carter somehow knew, he’d never see Mel again. They might chat over Facebook or he might see her pictures on Instagram. But he doubted in person, they’d ever meet.
He’d never forget his last image of her, attempting to smile while hiding her sadness. Carter waved to Mel and tried to look forward to his next photo shoot in Copenhagen.
“Who is this woman beside Uncle Terrance in a wedding dress? Was he widowed before he married you?” Aunt Rosie gazed at Katie as if she had found something she shouldn’t have touched.
“Where did you find that Katie?”
“Oh, it was out on the table by the front door. I saw Uncle Terrance in there today, taking out some boxes.” Katie said.
“Are you okay Aunt Rosie? You’ve gone pale. What’s with the picture?”
Aunt Rosie shook her head.”I can’t. I just can’t,” she said, holding her throat.
“You seem out of breath. Maybe, relax a moment and I’ll make you some lemon tea. Do you want to tell me about this photo Auntie? I think you would feel better if you did.” Katie remarked.
Aunt Rosie began to hyperventilate. It took a few minutes but Katie calmed her down. ” Nice deep breathes Auntie. That’s it, now here’s your lemon tea. It will soothe your nerves.”
Aunt Rosie sat silently and finished her tea. After about twenty minutes, she began to speak haltingly.
“Your Mom and I . . . we had a little sister, her name- her name was, Marrion. She was – was a younger sister. Only, twenty-seven when she passed on.” Tears ran down Aunt Rosie’s usually cheerful complexion.
“Your Uncle Terrance and Marrion loved each other, from -from the day they met in high school. Marrion was sixteen and Terrance had only graduated. He was working at his Dad’s construction company.”
“Mom, never said anything about her having a baby sister,” Katie said stunned.
“Sharon and I, we don’t like to talk about Marrion. There’s a reason,” Aunt Rosie remarked.
“Terrance married Marrion when she was only seventeen. I had always had feelings for Terrance, but Marrion didn’t care. She said Terrance loved her and she was right.”
“For six-years, everything was fine. I managed to hide my feelings about Terrance and Marrion and Terrance were in their own world of love. Marrion became pregnant at twenty-three and had a girl she named Lisa.” Aunt Rosie admitted.
“What happened to this baby and was Marrion alright? I don’t have a cousin named Lisa?” Katie questioned.
“I know you don’t Katie, let me explain. It’s time – time you knew the truth . . . Marrion suffered from Post – Partum depression. She didn’t care about the baby and could barely get out of bed.”
“For the last four-years of her life, Marrion was in an institution. She kept trying to kill herself. Marrion easily became immersed in self-loathing.” Aunt Rosie recalled.
“Sharon, Terrance, and I, we wanted the old Marrion back. No medication seemed to help her. ECT only made Marrion distant, it was if the real Marrion wasn’t there anymore.”
“Who raised Lisa?” Katie wondered aloud.
“Your Mom raised her dear. Terrance asked her if she would be Lisa’s guardian. He said he couldn’t handle taking care of Lisa while working and visiting Marrion.” Aunt Rosie’s voice began to quiver.
“One day Marrion wasn’t in her room or even in her ward. We found her hanging from a storage room ceiling.” Aunt Rosie sobbed.
Katie went to comfort her but Aunt Rosie held Katie back.” Lisa isn’t Lisa anymore. Your Mom raised Lisa from the time she was three-months-old. Lisa’s your older sister Denise.”
“What?” Katie gasped, having to sit down herself. She was shocked.
“Your Mom asked Lisa after Marrion died, if she would like to choose a different name for herself. Almost five-year-old Lisa chose the name Denise. It was the name she had given to her most treasured Barbie.”
Aunt Rosie’s admission hurt Katie.”How did I not know Denise and I weren’t sisters, but cousins? We look so different in appearance. Her hair is auburn and my hair is blond. She has curves and I’m athletically built.”
“Not to mention, Mom never told me who Denise’s Dad was, she said Denise had been the result of an old boyfriend she didn’t want anything to do with now.” Katie said aghast.
“How did you get together with Uncle Terrance?”
Rosie smiled: “Terrance was devastated when Marrion died and had loved her so much. But he needed comforting.We grew closer and got married.”
“It took a few years, but Uncle Terrance eventually loved me as much as he’d loved Marrion, but in a different way I think. Things came together and Sharon met your Dad and had you. We never spoke of Marrion to anyone but your Dad.”
Aunt Rosie had stopped crying. She smiled and Katie could see she was happy again, as if a burden had been lifted from her shoulders.
Katie thought about her Aunt’s revelations: “That’s unbelievable Aunt Rosie, you guys have all been hiding this from me. I need to talk to my Mom.”
“Oh, you can’t ever tell Sharon, dear.”
“But why?” Katie said frustrated.
“I promised her, Uncle Terrance promised her, and so did your Dad. You were never to know the truth about Denise and the sad fate of Marrion. Sharon was close to Marrion because they were nearer in age. Marrion’s death is a wound your Mother carries and it never heals.”
Katie sighed. “I wish Grandma had told me about this before she died.”
Aunt Rosie smiled softly. “She never knew the truth either, dear. We told her Marrion had a reaction to a new medication and died.”
Katie shook her head sadly,” Talk about skeletons.”