Nova Cottage & Ember Grove Mall
Morning, 10:30 a.m. | @Vixen58 (Mentioned)"Meeerrrowww!"
Astraea groaned in exasperation as the sound of Jinxs' yowling pulled her out of a pleasant fantasy. Rather frustrating due to the fact that in her comatose state she had imagined having dinner with John Lennon, one of her biggest celebrity crushes. Perched on top of her chest, Jinx looked down at his owner in earnest, his wide green eyes practically glowing. Astraea batted him away before turning on her side and placing her pillow over her head. He did this every morning. A daily ritual in order to annoy and receive food. If there was one thing that Jinx loved more than anything, it was eating. He was quite plump, so much so that Astraea wondered if she should put him on a diet."Meeerrrrrowwww!!"
Jinx continued caterwauling as he wriggled his face under her pillow. Stubborn as he was, he always seemed to demand attention, even at the most inconvenient of times.
Despite her futile attempts at ignoring him, his constant prodding made it so she was unable to fall asleep. Her eyelids felt heavy and crusted from her recent slumber. Sitting up in bed, she yawned and used her palms to rub the back of her eyes. "You suck. You know that right?"
She growled at the black cats retreating form. For a moment he paused only to look back and give her what seemed to be a triumphant smirk.
As she crawled out of bed she could not help but squeal as the cold morning air caressed her skin. A glimpse outside her bedroom window showed the culprit to be a bout of heavy rainfall. She smiled. Windy days had always been her favorite type of weather, especially during autumn. However, thunderstorms were a close second.
It was the perfect time to make tea, start a fire, and curl up with a good book. Maybe even an art project.
She stretched as she walked, lazily dragging her heels while making her way towards the kitchen. Behind one of the cupboards was where she stored Jinx's food. As she opened the cabinet door she smiled slightly at Jinxs' happy cry, threading his languid body around and in between her ankles. Just like every morning.
Pausing momentarily, a piece of paper taped to her refrigerator caught her eye."That's right!"
She grinned aloud reaching forward and snatching the flyer. "I can't believe I almost forgot!"
Tahereh Mafi presents the final chapter in the Shatter Me series!
Be sure to purchase your copy-
After skimming the flyer she glared down at her familiar."Why didn't you remind me?"
Today was the day that Tahereh Mafi, one of her favorite modern authors, was releasing her newest book. "Reveal Me"
was the final chapter of its' series. The long-awaited conclusion that Astraea had been dying to read since finishing the previous book a few years prior.
Opening a can of cat food, salmon flavor, she heated it up in the microwave before placing it in Jinx's food bowl. I'm going to have to go into town today.
She thought numbly.
Astraea usually did not like to leave the safety of her cottage
if she didn't have to... Her home served as an oasis from many dangers that threatened her existence. Being a witch, especially one as old as herself, tended to leave a target painted on her back wherever she went. There were some humans that thrilled in hunting down and killing supernatural creatures such as herself. She preferred the serenity and security that the surrounding trees provided compared to the hustle and bustle in town.
After tending to Jinx, she stalked back towards her room in an effort to get ready and start the day.
She paused in front of the large gilded mirror hanging on her bedroom wall. With a grimace, she noticed her bedraggled appearance. Her golden blonde hair was in wild disarray. The humidity in the air had caused its' tendrils to frizz up and stick out in odd places. Her clothes were wrinkled from tossing and turning in her sleep. Her skin slightly damp with sweat. The makeup she wore the night before was smudged, especially around her eyes. Needless to say, she looked like a complete and total mess.
Shrugging she reached over and grasped a few of the magazines she had laying on top of a vintage trunk that sat near the fireplace. Tilting her head she flitted through its' pages before setting her sights on an outfit
Nothing too fancy, just a simple pair of jeans and a black belt. It was the top that had caught her attention. A thin, white material that resembled a type of bodice she would have worn long ago. A style that reminded her of home. Of old times.
Her eyes focused on the frills and edges of the top, the denim blue of the jeans, even the various necklaces that lined the model's neck. Shortly after committing every little detail to memory, she set down the magazine and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Above and around its' glass surface were photographs of many different hairstyles. Some were her own, some cut out of an ad, some were even ideas that were hand-drawn. Keeping them pinned near the mirror made it easier for her to use her enchantment and get ready in the morning. She chose one
and returned her attention to her reflection."Adorno."
Suddenly, as if by magic, her pajamas began to ruffle and morph into a totally different shape altogether. Its' outline identical to the outfit she had chosen. Looking up she watched as her hair smoothed out in straight glossy strands. Like little tornados they began to curl into loose waves adding volume and personality to her look. A few tendrils began to braid and knit themselves together, mimicking the style from the photo.
She frowned, studying her face in particular. The black smudges around her eyes remained messy. Her lipstick askew.
Muttering a curse to herself Astraea realized that she had forgotten to take a look at makeup ideas before casting the spell. Unfortunately, the magic she had just performed can only be cast once every 24 hours. Meaning that she would have clean her face the old fashioned way.
Its' effects usually lasted a full 12 hours before disappearing. Once the magic wore off she would then return to the outfit she had on when she woke up.
After wiping her face she quickly put on some light mascara and brown eyeliner in an effort to give her a more natural look. Her plump lips were painted a dark scarlet, almost blood red. Smoothly contrasting with the pale white of her blouse. While tying her black combat boots she noted the faded daisies she had painted on the toes many months ago. An artistic mentality that hoped the small image would brighten her day."Alright your majesty."
She cooed, walking into the kitchen to scratch Jinx's head. Which, of course, was neck-deep in cat food."I'll be right back. Don't have any wild parties while I'm gone."
Jinx looked up meeting her eyes and blinked. His gaze was soft, in a loving way only a strong bond could conjure. Licking his lips he sniffed the air momentarily before returning to his meal.
As she stepped outside Astraea took a moment to peel open her clear plastic umbrella. Effectively shielding her body from the raindrops surrounding her. Water pattered the leaves of the trees creating a symphonic melody. With childlike wonder, she began her journey making sure to jump in every puddle along her path.
A normal person would travel by car in this storm. But in the time Astraea was born, they didn't have cars. Yes, she had her license. Yes, she could drive... But when it came to short distances (about 10 miles or less) she preferred to stick to her old routine and walk to her destination.
After about a 35-minute hike Astraea arrived in Ember Grove. She kept her head down noting the few citizens that milled about, most finding shelter from the downpour of the clouds. Being out in public caused tragic memories to plague her mind. Thoughts of past dangers began to take control. She obsessed over the numerous occasions where someone had tried taking her life. Whether it be another witch, human hunter, vampire, or werewolf. Over the past few centuries, she had had roughly 37 close calls that she had had to escape. Fear seized her, causing her heart to flutter, her breath shallow.I can dim the lights and sing you songs full of sad things
We can do the tango just for two~I know that song.
Astraea thought, grateful for the distraction. Her breathing started to slow down. Her pulse returning to normal.I can serenade and gently play on your heartstrings
Be your Valentino just for you~
It was as if it were a sign from the universe. Frequently Astraea would turn to music when she was upset. Throughout the years she had watched and listened as different genres took form and evolved.
Since the 1970s Queen had definitely been one of her all-time favorites. The sound of Freddie Mercury's voice never ceased to make her smile. His vocal range and vibrato always gave her goosebumps. Besides that, Queen had been one of the best concerts she had ever attended. They were one of the first bands to bring a mini trampoline on stage. Their energy was infectious. Their showmanship astounding.
In fact, during the 80s she once had the opportunity to go on a date with the bands' guitarist Brian May. An option she heavily considered but eventually turned down due to the groups rising popularity. It wouldn't have been wise for someone who never aged to be in the public eye.
Looking up she saw the source of the sound. A man in his mid-20s with short black hair grinned looking down at his phone. He could have answered it immediately but instead his head seemed to bob slightly to the music. A true fan.
She thought with a smirk.
He proceeded to answer the call with great enthusiasm and affection. A result that caused the slight smile to slide off her face. Astraea missed having a family. Having someone other than a cat for company. She missed her mother and who her father was before the Salem Witch Trials. Frowning she folded up her umbrella making sure to shake off a few water droplets in the process.
She passed the stranger with her head down as she entered the building. In an attempt to clear her negative thoughts, Astraea began whistling the same song she had heard moments before. For a brief moment she looked up to make eye contact, but then after losing her nerve looked quickly away.
With knowing steps she meandered about the crowd, her eyes set on her first destination. Her favorite bookstore. Whale of a Tale was a locally owned business. One she preferred compared to the corporate sellouts that stood on every corner.
Making a beeline she noticed a sign in golden lettering: New Releases."Bingo."
She murmured under her breath taking a step forward.