Note: This is the first rough draft of a work in progress. Please be kind.
Excerpt from badly titled novella, still in progress.
Chantelle saw them enter the diner as two but a couple of hours later left as five. They’d sipped tea as nonchalantly as if they’d been sitting in a café in Amsterdam. But Chantelle knew something more was happening. It wasn’t just a sense. Everything began to align for them when a ritual was to take place. She felt it strongest for the autumn equinox, her time. And this year, she was given a crucial role in the ceremony. Well, she was leading it. She’d come to the café for a bit of quiet away from the others and contemplate if she was going about it the right way and hoping there was nothing missing.
But the five strangers she noticed had left before she could get their story, taking the scent of ocean water with them. Ocean. Water. Cleansing. Rebirth. It could definitely all come together.
Chantelle stood to leave. As she walked by the now vacated booth, she saw that something had been left behind. She walked over to the booth and picked up a small statue. She wasn’t sure what it was or how it was left behind. She looked outside, but the group was gone. She picked up the statue and headed for her own car. Either it would return to its rightful owner or it would be useful.
Well, at least this time she peeled less skin off her fingers than she did the carrots.
Chantelle put down the vegetable peeler and headed off to get the bandages and ointment. Big George laughed at her as the older woman continued to gather the ingredients for the stew, including the carrots Chantelle had managed to chop before she injured herself. Chantelle disinfected the cut and covered it with the waterproof bandage. She would have to work with lots of water later and didn’t want to contaminate it with blood.
“Gotta learn to keep yo mind on ya hands, girl,” Big George said through her laughter. “You only got the two and ya betta take care if yo plan on using them the rest of ya life.”
Chantelle smiled at the advice. “Sorry, Mama G. Guess I’m a little nervous about the ceremony tonight. You know, just hope I put together something good enough. Real and true.”
“Chile,” Big George said as she turned her attention back to whatever she stirred in the big pot, “you know what feels right and what your heart was telling you to do. Just ‘cause it ain’t exactly the way it used to be done don’t mean it’s wrong. Shit change. We gotta change along with it. The same intent, feeling still, then it’ll work.”
Chantelle nodded along with the chorus of “mmm hmms” and other verbal agreements that accompanied Big George’s proclamations.
“And, girl, don’t worry about whether it’s real enough or not. The ancestors talkin’ to you ain’t always like a soft whisper in ya ear. Sometimes it’s feeling it in your heart when you hear a song that makes you think about yo own magic. That thing that just feels right at the moment and you wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. Don’t matter what it is. Yo folks speak to you in they own way.”
Big George always came with the wisdom and always knew exactly what to say. It’s why she became Mama G to some of the younger ones like Chantelle, the de facto leader of the coven though she was not the eldest. But the last word, usually belonged to her.
“Hey, y’all,” Haley called out as she brought in a few essentials fresh from the garden. “About to go into town for a bit. Need me to pick up anything while I’m there?”
Chantelle let her mind wander back to the diner while the others shouted out miscellaneous items to Haley. She looked again at the statue next to her cutting board. The scent of salt water hit her again.
“Chantelle, you need anything?”
She hadn’t seen Haley standing next to her until the younger girl was there, picking up the statue to examine it.
“Oh, what’s this?”
Chantelle gave it another look. “I’m not sure. This group of people left it behind at the diner in town. Very distinct looking group. These two Black women were sitting with someone, don’t know who ‘cause he wasn’t one of our Navajos. I’m not sure, but he was definitely handsome. They ended up sitting with these two other women who came in later. One was Black and the other Asian. Never seen so many different browns there in one place before. Anyway, they all ended up getting together and left at the same time. They was gone by the time I got up and found that statue here. Smells like water, so maybe I’m supposed to use it tonight.”
Haley held the statue to her nose. “I don’t smell nothing. Eh, maybe it’s calling you. I’ll keep a look out for those people in case they’re looking for it.”
Chantelle nodded at Haley then returned her attention back to her cutting board. Hopefully, her plans for the ceremony would turn out better than whatever she had done to those potatoes.
|What I Write
I write in all genres including speculative genres. I mostly write about paranormal phenomena in this area, but I write in any genre. I am currently writing a fantasy novella. I still have about 10 more story ideas including an urban fiction story, romance novellas, and other short stories/novelettes.