Thick grey clouds covered the sun, making it seem gloomy in downtown. People walking around, coming out of their houses and apartments in warm clothes and sweatshirts. A mother with her three daughters ventured down the street from their car to a pastry shop, on her way to pick up a cake for the Christmas season.
“Mom, I don’t want to go into the pastry shop,” whined Athena the 9-year-old.
“I’ll just be a minute Athena,” her mother replied.
“I want candy!” said Evelyn seven-year-old.
“Candy!” Eden the five-year-old started jumping up and down excitedly at the thought of candy.
“No, we are not getting candy,” said their mother. All three of them started to whine.
“Evelyn, that’s enough. Come on Eden,” she picked up five-year-old Eden and walked inside.
Athena saw at the corner of her eye a cat come slinking from an alley way. As the glass door to the pastry shop closed, Athena turned and pressed her face against it, watching the kitty sprint by.
“Kitty!” Athena said excitedly.
“Where?” Evelyn asked, shoving her way in front of Athena.
“Hey!” Athena scowled at Evelyn, shoving her back. Their mother saw them.
“Athena. Evelyn. Come over here,”
“But mom there’s a cat!” Evelyn said, pointing.
“Very cute,” she replied.
“He’s so fluffy!” Evelyn started jumping up and down.
“Yes, and I’m sure he’s very busy catching mice and doesn’t want to be bothered,”
Athena and Evelyn walked over and stood in the line of the pastry shop. Up ahead, Athena saw a yellow Labrador in a harness. She stared at the puppy, and then up at his owner, who was a tall man dressed in a grey trench coat, and a hat. Athena leaned over, wanting to pet the dog. She started toward the puppy, but Evelyn grabbed her by the arm.
“No! That doggy has a harness on! Mommy said you shouldn’t pet dogs that have harnesses because they are working and need to focus,” Evelyn whispered.
“I’ll just be a minute,” Athena said back, shaking Evelyn’s hand off. Athena stepped out of line and crept over to the puppy. The puppy turned his head, looking back at her, hearing her footsteps coming. He wagged his tail as she approached.
“Hi puppy!” Athena whispered, gently stroking his back.
“Hello, I love kids!” the dogs mouth moved as the words came out.
Athena stopped, staring at the dog. She looked up at the adults in the store. They didn’t react. It seemed they didn't hear. Athena looked back at the marvelous talking dog. She walked closer, stroking his soft fur.
“My human brushed me this morning. It felt really nice. I had a bath a few days ago, but it wasn’t as fun. You smell like food,” the dog sniffed her face, licking her cheek. Athena giggled, reaching up and rubbing the dogs soft, floppy ears. “Oh, that feels nice. I like butt scratches more.” the puppy added.
“I didn’t know some puppies could talk,” Athena whispered. The puppy stared at her with his big, beautiful brown eyes.
“Cookies?” the puppy asked. Athena checked her pockets. She did have cookies from earlier, but they were gone now. Her sisters had ensured that.
“No sorry. All gone,” Athena replied, not whispering this time. His owner must have heard.
“Huh?” his owner said. “Whose there?”
The puppy looked up at his human.
“Oh boy! Time to work!” he said, wagging his tail. “Sometimes my human will give me treats if I’m good,” said the puppy.
“Why do you have a harness?” Athena asked. The puppy looked at her.
“What’s a har nuss?” the puppy asked.
“Um… excuse me. Whose there?” the owner asked.
“Athena,” Athena’s mother called. She then spoke to the man. “Hello sir?”
“Yes ma’am?” the man asked, turning his body toward her.
“I’m sorry, my nine-year-old daughter went over to pet your dog. I hope you don’t mind,” Athena’s mother said.
“Oh!” he chuckled. “I was wondering what mischief was happening down there. Goldie loves kids,”
“That’s right! I love them!” the puppy replied, wagging his tail, smacking his owners legs with it. Athena laughed.
“Oh good! I was a little worried you might be upset,” replied Athena’s mother.
“Not at all! I have kids of my own at home,” replied the owner.
“Oh boy! He’s talking about Brandon! Brandon is my favorite kid! He feeds me pieces of meat when my human isn’t looking,”
“Is his name Brandon?” asked Athena. The man stopped, angling his face in her direction. His eyes were cloudy, like a fog had gotten inside them. His expression was confused.
“Why yes. How did you know?” the man asked.
“Goldie told me,” Athena replied. Athena’s mother burst into nervous giggles.
“Kids huh? So imaginative. I think they might go to school together,” Athena’s mother came over to her, leading her away.
“But… my kid is sixteen, he’s in high school,”
“Oh…. Well I’m sure she saw it somewhere! You know kids these days with their smart phones! They can find out all kinds of information! Anyway, it was nice meeting you! Come on girl’s,” their mother suddenly hurried them out of the store.
“Oh, uh… nice meeting you too,” replied the man, sounding skeptical.
“Bye Goldie!” Athena said.
“Bye bye cookie face!” he replied. Athena giggled.
“He called me cookie face mama,” Athena laughed.
“Haha yes honey that’s great! Listen we need to have a talk….” She said this rather quickly. Their mother pulled Athena aside and told her not to share what animals say, because it would scare people.
“But mom that puppy was talking…”
“Yes, I’m sure he was, but you need to be careful about who you share that with, ok? It’s not safe,” their mother replied.
“How come I didn’t hear the dog talking?” Evelyn asked.
“Because Athena has special powers,”
“What! No fair!” Evelyn stomped her feet. Athena laughed and stuck out her tongue.
“Alright that’s enough,” their mother said.
“Mom! How come Athena has special powers and I don’t?” asked Evelyn.
“Oh, but you do have special powers Evie,” replied their mother.
“Huh?” they both said.
“All three of you do,” their mother replied.
“But….” The three of them looked at each other.
“We just haven’t found out what Evie and Eden’s powers are yet,” their mother added. “Come on, we should get home before it starts raining,”
“Mom, what are my powers?” Evelyn asked.
“I’m not sure Evie. We’ll have to find out,”
“What are Eden’s?” Athena asked.
“I don’t know,”
“Mom, why do we have special powers?” the two of them bombarded their mother with questions.
“I’ll explain more when we get home,” their mother finally replied before getting them in the car.
As they drove home, Athena started to remember things about these so called "powers" her mother had described. When she was two she had been visited by a neighborhood cat that had hopped in through the window and walked across the living room. She had sat in front of her, eyes staring down at her, and said “hmph. Human babies are so plump....” Tail twitching. That was so many years ago, and at that point she had thought it was normal and that everyone could hear what the animals said. She had never realized that she was the ONLY person who could hear them.
“Mom, you forgot the cake!”
“Yes, I know, I’ll go back for it later when your dad gets home,” she replied. Five-year-old Eden started to cry.
“Ugh! Why does she always cry!” Evelyn asked.
“She’s a baby Evie. Babies cry,”
“I know but why?” Evie asked.
“Well, imagine if you were small, and have to be carried around by mom all the time instead of run around the parking lot like your big sisters. Wouldn’t you be upset?” their mother asked her. Evelyn thought about it.
“Yeah, I guess you're right,” Evelyn replied. They walked into the house, and their mother sat them down.
“Ok girls. I wanted to wait until you were older to tell you this… but Athena is already starting to develop her abilities… so I’m going to tell you now,”
“Tell us what mom?” Athena asked. Their mother sat down with a huff.
“Well… we’re sentients,”
“Sentence?” Evelyn asked.
“No,” their mother chuckled. “Sentients,”
“What are sentiences?” asked Athena, struggling to pronounce it herself.
“Witches, my love. Born and bred, we are witches.”
About the author
My credentials: BA in English Literature with an Emphasis in Creative Writing
Two minors: Psychology and Chinese Language and Culture
Aquarium Maintenance and Marine Life Behavior