Westchester Wonders

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Quick N/A: A notice before you begin! This chapter does make fun of people who believe that crystals have powers and whatnot and certain points. It's for comedic effect, not an attack on those sets of beliefs. It's my personal belief that it's hogwash, but of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and beliefs.  This writing is not meant to offend anyone and I sincerely apologize if it does. 

                          In which things are not always how they are marketed. 

The shop was old, the wood rotting and the blue paint peeling off its sign. The steps had distinct dents in them, and strings of dusty beads hung on the other side of the window. "Westchester Wonders," Freya read. "Alex, I am aware you've been on Earth and whatnot, but this place looks quite the opposite of a wonder."

Alex bound up the steps, her coat flapping behind her. "Why not? It's one of those undiscovered gems."

"I really don't think this is a good idea," Freya said nervously, tightening her grip of the cat, who sat perched in her arms. "We could go to a library, a place where humans store archives-"

"I know what a library is, Freya," Alex said, turning back towards her. "But I think this pawn shop is the way to go."

"Pawnshop?"

"That's not quite right...more of a guru sort of place -crystals and herbs and needles and have I mentioned some humans' obsession with 'healing stones'? It's ridiculous."

"Pawn shops are considered unreliable," Freya protested. "That- and otters, of course- are one of the few things humans as a species agree on."

"What about otters? You know what, nevermind, I don't want to know."

"Alex..."

"Freya." Alex stared at Freya, and she could feel a blush rising in her cheeks again. "We're doing this."

"Meow," the cat looked dually unimpressed.

"Exactly," Freya muttered to it, but she tentatively climbed the steps regardless.

Alex pushed the door open.

Immediately a bell tinkled.

Alex pushed her way through old, frilly dresses and tables sacked with crystals to a worn wooden desk. A middle-aged woman, pendants layered thick on her clothes, jerked awake. "Namaste. Westchester Wonders, how can I help you?" she eyed Alex's leather jacket and piercings with distaste.

"We need to make our cat talk," she said bluntly.

"That's not very subtle," Freya remarked. "Don't you remember that humans are one of the most sensitive creatures on this planet in terms of they feel extremely threatened by anything different than them?"

"You try."

Freya stepped up by the counter and cleared her throat. "Hello, ma'am, I'm Freya Altra'pua, member #8127 of Secret Society #447." Freya smiled. "What's your name and social security number?"

Alex elbowed her to the side, and both Freya and the cat yelped. "Like that wasn't blunt?!"

"I was being honest. Humans say, 'honestly is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure'," Freya said proudly.

"Too late," Alex groaned. "We might as well leave now and leave Westchester Wonders forever."

"No!" The woman exclaimed suddenly. "Don't leave! I haven't had customers in three weeks!"

"Isn't money an essential part of human transactions for their goods?" Freya frowned.

"First off, fluorite protects me," the woman said, pulling a huge blue and purple crystal out of seemingly nowhere. "Second, I don't have social security. I don't want the government to track me."

"How do you even- Okay," Alex raked her hand through her short black hair. "Can you make this cat talk?"

Freya, sighing, set the tabby on the counter.

"Hmm," the woman put on round glasses that magnified her eyes to three times the size. "How old?"

"Since about the beginning of time, more or less."

"Ah, yes," the woman murmured. "I can tell by his whiskers."

"Mreow," the cat said indignantly.

"You're looking great for your age," Alex assured him, and the cat's chest puffed out with pride.

"He is vain?" the woman looked up.

"From the achieves I've re- I mean, experience that I most definitely have with cats, aren't they all vain?" Freya said tentatively, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Alex's mouth curved into the most peculiar smile.

The woman stared at Freya, a rather unnerving experience, due to her huge, bug-like eyes and all the glittering chains and stones wrapped around her neck.

"Your cat needs a crystal tonic of Shiva Linxan," she said. "Feed it to him on the seventh hour, and the power you wish to give him will be granted."

"Okay...where do we find that?" Alex said slowly, as Freya snatched the cat back from the counter.

The woman shrugged. "If you wait two weeks, you can get it here."

"We don't have time for that!"

The cat snorted- could cats even make a sound like that? Freya wasn't sure.

"Com'on," Freya bumped Alex's shoulder with her own, and reluctantly Alex followed her out the shop. 

"I quite liked the bell," Freya tried. "Cling! Cling! We really should get some of those back home." With no reaction from Alex, Freya pressed onwards s they leaped down the rotting blue steps.  "Was Westchester Wonders as wonderful as you thought?"  

Alex sighed- it had begun raining again.

"Let's get more coffee," is all she muttered, and so the two aliens and their cat walked through the gritty, drizzly streets of New York in search of yet another bad coffee shop. 

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