A Blessed Curse: 101A Chapter by Emma Bee
Sneaky Like Kittens
As a young girl when the moon was nonexistent up in the firmament, and not a single cloud flitted across the blackness, I would tiptoe down the stairs of our great big house, towards the kitchen where my mother and father would sit and talk, and reminisce with each other. Sometimes they would sip a bottle of brandy that never seemed to empty, and whisper little songs that were unrecognizable to my ears. They would share secrets, and exchange few kisses with one another, and sit so close that their knees would touch.
One of these nights however, I awoke to a crash in the kitchen instead of my mother and father whispering love songs. I heard my father curse accompanied by more clattering noises and my mother's complaint that slipped through the floorboards, "don't wake the girls." At that time I shared a bedroom with my two older sisters, Kathryn and Kaya, whom also heard the crash, however they were already down the hall by the time I was out of bed. I crept after them and held up the skirt of my nightgown so that I wouldn't trip over the bottom, as I often tend to do. Kathryn, the older of my two sisters, waited for me at the top of the staircase. Her being seven years older than me, she always looked after me. Kaya was only three years older than me, and thought of me as a nuisance; she always left me behind to play with her girlfriends from school.
"Are mommy and daddy okay?" I asked, but Kathryn only smiled and nodded her head, bringing a single finger to her lips to quiet me. Together we tiptoed down the stairs, the creaking of the wood masked by the voices of our parents.
My sisters and I took turns to peak through the hole in the door where a doorknob should have been, since we had owned such an old house, it always fell apart.
We lived in a house on Long Island, just outside of New York. The house was big and so old it seemed it might collapse in a good storm. No matter how old and dusty it was, or how much the floors creaked, and how cold it was in the winter, our house was perfect for our family.
I could see my mother and father as they picked up the silverware that had clattered to the floor only moments earlier. The kitchen was lit with two chandelier lamps that hung high above our heads, and managed to fill every dark corner with light. The kitchen had been recently renovated, and so looked much nicer, and newer than the rest of the house. The walls were a golden color and contrasted the light brown counter tops. My mother stood leaning on the counter, crossing her arms, and rolling her eyes, while my father stood near the sink with his hands in his pockets.
"Lily you can't pretend you're someone your not" my father organized the spoons and forks and placed them back in the drawer, the smile he seemed to always have on his face, faded from existence. “I fell in love with you because of who you were," he turned to her leaning on the counter. My mother had a hand cover her eyes, and crossed the other arm over her waist. "You don't understand, you never have" my mother said through soft sobs.
"Why is mommy crying?" I turned to look at Kathryn, this time Kaya shushed me. Kathryn took her turn and peaked through the hole, and I pressed my ear against the wood of the door to hear better. My father ignored her last statement, "you can't let those girls go through life not knowing who they are" he gestured to the ceiling with his hands up in the air. "What does daddy mean?" I said and stuck out my lower lip. Kaya hopped over Kathryn's legs, and covered my mouth with her hand. She shushed me and sat me down on her lap, as I crossed my arms frustrated.
"They are our children, what more do they need to know," my mother was distraught, I heard her footsteps as she turned away from my father. "I don't want them to have other kids throw stones at them, or call them names, I don't want them to hear that horrible chant those little monsters used whenever they passed me in the halls" my mother said, her breathing became heavy. I could tell thinking of the chant was giving her great pain. I heard her sniff, and then I heard my father’s footsteps maneuver around the island counter, I could tell he was hugging her. “Don’t you think they should know how special they are?” my father said, “their three powerful little girls.”
Kaya at that point switched places with Kathryn to look through the hole, she stood me up, and reminded me to keep my mouth shut.
I wanted to ask what he meant, I was so confused. What did he mean, special? In what way? Kathryn and Kaya were so enthralled in the conversation they didn’t notice me scamper through the living room to peak around the doorway that led to the kitchen. Although I was hidden by the small plant we had that leaned against the wall, if my parents looked carefully enough they would be able to see me crouching there.
My mother had tears running over her cheeks, leaving her eyes blackened with makeup. My father smiled at her, and tore off a paper towel from it’s spool; he dampened it with water, and tried to clear away the makeup.
“If we don’t tell them, they’ll find out some other way, maybe the wrong way?” he said throwing away the paper towel, and taking her shoulders in his hands.
“How am i supposed to tell them what they are?” she threw her hands up in the air. My father sighed “maybe if you told them, you could teach them yourself,” my father smiled and fixed my mothers blouse; it was only half tucked into her pants.
“I haven’t done magic in over twenty-four years, I’m not even sure I can still do it,” she said her face was contorted with anger.
The word repeated in my head for a few seconds, did she mean real magic, like turning a piece of rope into a snake? If that was so, is that what my father meant by special, that my sisters and I could do magic? What did that make us?
“You’re witches, it’s in your blood” my father said furrowing his brow, as he answered my question.
I had to cover my mouth, to keep the gasp in my throat, but as I did the leaves of the plant ruffled in front of me. My father looked in my direction just as I concealed my self behind the wall between the kitchen and the living room. I heard his footsteps come towards me, I was so afraid he might be angry with me, my father was never angry with me.
I saw his head peak around the corner, his eyes peering at me, he had a look of worry on his face. He kneeled, and picked me up under my arms. “Look who I found listening to us” my fathers voice strained as he stood up with me in his arms. I wrapped my arms around his neck, he smelled like spices. I heard my mother sigh behind me as my father carried me into the kitchen sitting me on the counter, I let my legs dangle. He walked over to the door to the staircase, and opened it revealing my sisters with guilty smiles on their faces.
* * *
“Is that true mom?” Kathryn broke the long silence. We were all sitting at the dinning room table with little mugs of hot chocolate. The mugs had little wishing wells painted on with light blue ink. The owl clock hanging over the mantle said that it was close to three in the morning.
Our dining room always reminded me of a nice little ranch in the Midwest where I wanted to go when I grew up and run a horse farm. The walls were covered in a floral wall paper, and the room was filled with wood furniture the color of chocolate.
“Is it true what you said about us being...witches?” Kaya said looking into her hot chocolate as she finished her sentence. My mother looked ashamed, she rubbed her temples with one hand, and had her eyes closed, too afraid to look any of us in the eye. “Dad? Kathryn turned to him, he was so befuddled his hot chocolate sloshed in the cup from his shaking hands. Neither my mother or my father would answer us, they just sat in their chairs looking sorry for themselves.
I was so sick of it, I wanted an answer. As patient as I was, I had waited long enough. I hopped out of my chair, and walked over to my mother’s, taking the hand that covered her eyes with my own. “Is it true mommy?” I said, making her look at me. Her eyes were glassy and red, and puffy. She picked me up, and sat me on her lap, and looked at each one of us, in the eye.
“For many generations my family has been blessed, and cursed with a special kind of magic,” she began, “we are, to say the least, witches.” She spoke with a very regal tone, as though she’d been conditioned to tell her family’s back story with an air of pride.
“Does that mean you’re not dad?” Kathryn said taking my father’s hand.
“It’s just your mother’s side of the family” he smiled.
My sister Kathryn being thirteen, understood many things better than Kaya or I did, she was taking all of this in, and processing it as best as she could. However, Kaya and I were in a state of shock, both of our mouths hung open welcoming flies, and beckoning mosquitoes to bite our tongues. We all sat for a moment in silence.
I suppose Kaya was excited to find out her true identity, because only moments after she started staring hard at her mug as if she were trying to levitate it.
The entire table burst into laughter, and for that night all was settled, we wouldn’t speak of it until morning. We were all so tired that any more questions would have blown a circuit in my brain. We finished our hot chocolates and dragged ourselves to bed, at almost four in the morning. Except for me of course.
I spent the rest of my night lying in my bed staring at the ceiling where my mother and father had glued glow in the dark stars. I slowly fell asleep as I contemplated the facts.
That I and all the other women in my family were witches, and somewhere deep inside of us was a little spark of magic.
© 2011 Emma Bee
AboutI love to write and read writing of all types, and so therefore have joined this website to publish my writing over the summer. more..