Tuesday morning Alice woke up with a start. Something was burning, no…tingling against her left wrist. When she glanced down she saw the charm bracelet, the half-moon wresting on her skin. She squinted in confusion. Was it the early morning sun streaming into the bedroom window which made the surface of the charm look blue? Cautiously she reached out her other hand and touched the charm, resting her finger tip on it. It felt warm, and sent prickles through her finger.
What did the half-moon mean?
She’d thought about it before, joking with Azura about it controlling the weather, or telling her when a werewolf was near, but she never really figured it out, and Azura didn’t know either. But now…now something was happening. What was happening and what did it mean?
She glanced over at Altair, who was nothing more than a snoring lump of bed sheets at this point. She rolled her eyes and tapped the top of the alarm. Let him sleep a few more hours. He’d had the day off yesterday and worked anyways, so today he could start work a little later. She climbed out of bed and tiptoed over to the closet, grabbing a black cable knit sweater and a grey skirt. Clunky black boots and a pair or striped knee high socks would complete the ensemble and look sufficiently witchy.
She tucked the clothing under her arm and glanced down at the charm bracelet. The half-moon was plain silver again, and it didn’t make her skin tingle anymore. She’d have a fast shower and then go down and ask Azura what might have caused it.
Alice stepped under the hot water with a sigh, tipping her head back, enjoying the feeling of the spray running through her hair. As she rubbed shampoo over her scalp she glanced down at the bracelet from time to time, but it seemed the same. Had she simply imagined it? Maybe it had been a dream.
No. Whatever it was, it woke her up, so it couldn’t have been her imagination.
She stepped over the lip of the tub carefully and grabbed one of the fluffy white towels from the rack, toweling herself off hurriedly. Alice threw on her clothes and ran a comb through her long hair, amusing herself by looking in the mirror at the striped stockings and boots. She remembered a time where all she’d worn were heavy sweaters and blue jeans. She’d been too shy to wear what she’d really wanted to, too self conscious. She smiled at herself in the mirror before turning away, glancing down at the charm bracelet one last time before she left the apartment.
The backroom was empty when she arrived downstairs, which was a little strange. It was Maya and Gabriel’s day off today, but usually Shakra and Azura would be bustling around the back putting out new merchandise, or chatting and laughing over a cup of tea. Alice flipped the switch on the kettle before she passed by, thinking she would make a pot the three of them. She heard the murmur of voices before she walked into the shop.
Shakra and Azura were standing beside the front desk, heads bent over something as they talked quietly to one another.
“What’s so interesting?” Alice said.
They both looked up, startled, and Alice frowned when she saw how serious they looked,
“What’s the matter?”
“You’ve got a mysterious package,” Shakra stepped back and gestured to a small brown package with yellow twine that sat on the desk.
YOU ARE READING
Alice Cunningham is back! First stop is Prague, a city drenched in ancient magic. It's beautiful, haunted and full of history. Maybe too much history. When Alice is confronted by a deranged and powerful witch with a grudge, she decides it's time to...