A Willing Way
Jared and Jenny’s parents died in a freak car accident when they were ten. The twins moved in with their mother’s identical twin sister, Tabitha.
Their aunt’s house was an old Victorian set in Savannah’s historic district. It was four stories tall, with corner windows that faced east, west, north, and south. In each window, Tabby had placed a bundle of dried sage. On nights when the moon was full, she would light each bundle. An incantation, the twins, learned by personal observation, seemed to comfort them.
“Mother Goddess, lend me your light. Give me your power on this faithful night. I invoke you into my being and soul. Fill up my vessel. Make me feel whole. We stand before you in awe and in love. I cherish the gifts you send from above. Tonight, I ask you to show unto me. My mother, my Goddess, So Mote It Be.”
Dried herbs hung from the ceiling in the kitchen to make teas and season their meals. Jared and Jenny enjoyed learning about the fresh teas and potions their aunt would mix up for them. She had one for stomachaches, stuffy noses, and high fevers. It surprised both at how well they worked.
As the two grew older, they realized how their aunt’s differences affected their friendships with other classmates. Gossip had it they were all witches and practiced devil worship. They were still outcasts, no matter what they did, to discourage the rumors. When they turned sixteen, their aunt sat them down. She told them a story that would change their lives forever. It would explain why they were different.
“On the eve of your parents’ disappearance, they called me and insisted I promise to raise you as my own. I was to teach you the way of our people.”
The twins sat dumbfounded. “But they didn’t disappear. They died in a car accident.” Jared spoke first.
“That’s what they wanted everyone to believe.” She spoke.
“I don’t understand. You mean our parents are alive?” Jenny said, with tears in her eyes.
“Your mother was a powerful sorceress who could move between time realms. She and your father worked for a secret government agency,”
“You mean like a spy?” Jared asked.
The twins looked at each other. Jenny held her chest as if she couldn’t breathe. Jared had his shaking head in his hands.
“Please, let me finish.” Aunt Tabby took a deep breath and let it out as she wrung her hands.
“An assignment went wrong for them. Someone found out about your mother’s abilities and notified the enemy. They sent an assassin out to eliminate them. To get him off their tail, they had to fake their deaths. They did it more to protect you both.”
“Protect us? We’ve lived in grief all these years, and now you tell us they’re alive.” Jenny got up off the couch and started pacing the floor.
“I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you sooner, but your parents forbade me.”
“You’ve been in contact with them?” Jared asked.
“What do you mean, sort of?” Jenny stopped pacing and looked her aunt in the eyes.
“Your mother and I are twins. We can converse telepathically as you and Jared can.”
“How do you know about that?” They were six when they discovered this special talent but told no one.
“Come on. I’m blood, remember? Our tribe of witches and warlocks goes way back in time. Our clan is a rare breed. We have many talents ordinary witches don’t have.”
“Why are you telling us now?” Jared wanted to know.
“I need to teach you how to use your powers now. The enemy has found out about you. They’ll try to find you and end you as well.”
Jenny and Jared looked at each other.
What the hell?
“See? You’re doing it now, interacting without saying a word.”
“Where do we begin?” they asked in unison.
Aunt Tabitha taught them how to do a protection spell first. She brought out a white sage bundle and lit the end until it smoked. Bringing the smoke tendrils toward herself and the twins, she covered their entire bodies as she chanted.
“The light of protection I carry is strong. No ill wishes or trouble can come along. You cannot cause harm or weaken my soul. The light is my weapon, and peace is my goal. As I will it, So Mote it Be.“
She reached into a jeweled box and placed an amulet around each of their necks. The charm contained different herbs, a small chip of amethyst crystal, black salt, and a small obsidian crystal.
“This will keep us safe.” She told them.
The twins were a quick study. During the day, they learned how to cast spells. Living in Savannah’s historic district, they practiced dispersing spirits and ghosts from their neighbor’s houses and businesses.
Aunt Tabitha decided it was time for them to learn how to realm jump. She called in an expert. Emily Ardsley had taught both Tabitha and the twin’s mother at seventeen how to perfect the laws of Reality Shifters. Ms. Emily explained how it was easier for twins to do this, as their minds and DNA were alike.
Both were told to set an intention, perform an action dedicated to it, and observe the results—a quantum leap into a parallel universe. Reality shift came easily for them.
Now, they were ready to fight the enemy.
The one thing that bothered them: they wanted to see their parents. Aunt Tabby and Ms. Emily explained it was too dangerous for them to come out of hiding. The twins would have to wait until they destroyed their enemy. Patience was a virtue; she reminded them.
On the Eve of Midsummer, June twenty-third, their aunt approached them as they sat in the parlor. “Tonight, we’ll attend a celebration where we feast on traditional foods. After dinner, we will build the biggest bonfire and dance until the sun comes up.” She handed them a pair of pruning scissors. “Go cut some flowers from the yard. Tonight, you’ll see your parents.”
Excited, the twins jumped up and ran out to the backyard greenhouse. They snipped off daisies, roses, rosemary, lavender, and lilies. When they brought them back into the house, their aunt showed them how to make head wreaths, which they would wear to the celebration. Aunt Tabby instructed them to wear white.
The host of the Midsummer Eve celebration was Ms. Ardsley. She owned a piece of property on Cumberland Island, three hours away. It was a private affair. Elders from the Pagan community attended and were ready to enhance the powers to bring the twins’ parents back to the current realm.
Upon arrival from the ferry, they first saw wild horses on the beach. The surrounding landscape, untouched by development, was lush with natural habitat plants. It was a pleasant day with low humidity and no clouds.
Hiking through the native brush, a clearing appeared where a long table was set up with lights hanging from giant oak trees. There was an enormous white tent in the middle of the field and a teepee-looking wooden structure on the northern end of the extensive area. Tabitha whispered in their ear, “The larger the fire, the more powerful the force.”
They were excited to see people with the same beliefs. Most were dressed in white, with colorful flowers surrounding their head. The twins could feel the electricity emanating from each person they touched.
Everyone drank beer and sangria. The table had plates of pickled herring and cucumbers soaked in dill. There were bowls filled with crisp rye bread, poached shrimp, potato salad, fresh strawberries, and cream for dessert. Everyone seemed happy and carefree, frolicking between the food table and the drinking tent.
Once the sun set, they started the bonfire. A maypole with streamers had young women dancing in a circle. They wanted to help with the ritual and find their true love.
Aunt Tabitha and Ms. Emily were the only people who were concerned. Though they tried to hide it, the twins could feel it. When it was time, the women called the crowd to the bonfire. Since everyone was there by invitation only, they knew the expectations.
As they gathered around the firepit, holding hands, Ms. Emily started the chant.
“I seek protection and sound my alarm, may body, mind, and spirit be safe from harm. My aura is a shield to help me stay strong. I block negativity and all that is wrong.“
The chant, recited ten times by everyone in unison, prepared them to call upon the Goddess to release the twins’ parents.
“Goddess of light, hear our plea. Release the hosts unto thee.“
There was a roar as the fire exploded. The blinding brightness caused everyone to close their eyes. An intense heat emanated from the bonfire. People had to step back. Ms. Emily shouted above the roar, “Do not break the circle! Hold tight.” They all continued to chant, and then, they all stopped—dead silence.
Someone screamed, “There they are!”
A man and a woman stood outside the circle behind Jenny and Jared. The twins had not seen their parents in seven years. Jenny turned to her mother, and Jared ran to his father. A loud “Aww” trailed from the crowd as they hugged.
Tears filled Aunt Tabby’s eyes as she walked over to welcome them back, gathering her into their family hug. Tabitha looked at her twin sister and said, “Yes, my dear. I told you, where there is a will, there is a way.”
“Yes, you did. I am indebted to you.”
“No, my love, that’s what families are for. Let’s get some beer and celebrate.”
With their family whole again, the twins continued to practice their craft. They kept the evil spirits at bay by continuing to do a full moon ritual every month. And even though they were inquisitive about traveling to a different realm, they realized how difficult it was to return from one. It took a village, but they got their parents back. It was their willing way.