Callie stalked around the living room of her suburban home. She looked like she was an Amazon Warrior in a former life, especially when a cloud of anger hung over her head as it did now. The home looked just like every other suburban home — beige, upscale but not bourgeois furniture, and the smell of dinner cooking in the kitchen; however the smell of dinner was quickly becoming the smell of burnt garlic bread and tomato sauce. She stomped to the kitchen and turned off the burners under the pots on the stove and pulled the garlic bread from the oven and tossed it onto the counter. She paused then began to pace again and looked at the phone in her hand. A message glowed on the screen. Her own phone chimed in the kitchen behind her.
“I had such a great time with you. Can’t wait to see you again, Aria. —Steve”
She had her doubts. Her marriage wasn’t perfect. But had they really gotten to this point? They already were shunned by their community, they’d risked everything to be together, and her wife cheats on her with a man, and worse a human! Magic can certainly find out a lot of information in a very short amount of time. The anger built up inside her once more and she knew she needed a release so she wound up her arm and flung the phone towards the fireplace. At the last moment, she flicked her wrist and the phone halted and hurtled back into her outstretched hand.
If Aria at least had cheated on her with a warlock she might have understood. Callie thought so many times about how her life would have been easier if she had just been attracted to men. She could be living near her family or at least she could be living in a magical community, instead of her suburban hell with humans.
Growing up in the witching community wasn’t easy for her. She’d realized she was different when everyone hit puberty and the other girls stopped thinking boys were gross and she didn’t. She was taught that she was supposed to find a warlock and marry him to have baby witches and warlocks. She’d had to hide the fact that the traditional path was just not what she wanted. It wasn’t until she’d met Aria that she thought she could be herself for the first time in her life. She didn’t have to pretend to want kids or to feign interest in men. She no longer had to be told that she’d eventually change her mind once she got pregnant. Callie thought that she and Aria were on the same page, a team, but now she wasn’t sure of anything. Why else would Aria choose to be with a man?
Another wave of anger hit Callie and she whipped the phone across the room once more and a split second later it screamed to a halt inches away from smashing against the fireplace. She pulled the phone back to her hand and continued to pace and read the text yet again. She only stopped when she heard Aria’s car pull into the driveway.
Callie steeled herself as the car door outside closed and steps click-clacked up the walkway. Callie turned to the front door as her wife walked in. Aria was day to Callie’s night, she was small, wispy, and that all-American blonde that everyone liked so much.
Aria was digging through her purse as she walked in. “Hey hun, I can’t seem to find my phone anywhere! Have you seen it?” Aria looked up as Callie held up the phone. Aria smiled and started to reach for it when she noticed exactly how pissed Callie was.
“Um, what’s wrong, hun?” Aria asked cautiously. Aria knew Callie had a temper and knew to proceed with caution when she had that glint in her eye.
“Who the fuck is Steve?” Callie asked quietly as she lifted her glare to Aria’s eyes.
“You looked at my phone?” Aria asked getting pissed now herself, but also clearly starting to look nervous.
“It’s been beeping all afternoon and the messages kept popping up on the screen for anyone to read. SO who is Steve?”
“He’s just a friend from work.”
“Oh really. Does he know that he’s ‘just a friend from work’? And that you’re married? Oh and a lesbian!? Because he seems to think that you and he are some sort of thing.”
“It’s really nothing. He flirts with me…”
“And apparently kisses you and cuddles with you while watching a movie. He’s been very descriptive in your texts and emails.”
“You went into my emails too! Those are password protected!”
“Not to magic.”
Aria’s face fell in defeat briefly before she steeled herself. “You had no right!” She yelled back.
“I’m your fucking wife, I have every right when there is clear evidence that my one true love who made vows ‘to death do we part’ doesn’t take them as seriously I do.” Callie crossed her arms and Aria did the same as they stared each other down. There wasn’t much else to say. Callie abruptly turned and grabbed a large purse from the closet and started pointing at furniture and up the stairs and all over the house and pieces of furniture, clothing, pictures, and electronics started spinning in a tempest. Callie opened the bag and the whirlwind sucked the items in. The hurricane stopped as abruptly as it had started when Callie clasped the bag shut. A few remnants of paper floated to the floor.
As the dust settled most of the house was empty. Callie shoved Aria and the bag towards the front door.
“I think you should leave now.” Callie said flatly.
“Calypso. Please. I’m sorry!” Aria begged as she backpedaled away from Callie toward the door.
“No, I can’t look at you right now.” Callie responded back.
Tears streamed down Aria’s face as she tried to fight back inside the house. Callie was so much stronger than her and she knew it was a losing battle. As they were a few feet away from the front door the bay window shattered inward. Both women stopped their battle of wills to look startled at the glass crashing onto the floor. They looked back at each other. “Was that you?” They asked simultaneously.
“No.” They both responded. From the floor a pale green gas started to seep upward.
“Shit!” Callie yelled, as she grabbed Aria and dragged her to the door – Aria no longer fought her. The door wouldn’t open. The door was stuck fast as though it was glued into the frame. As one they turned to try the side door from the kitchen to the garage but that was stuck as well. They turned back to the living room as the gas was creepy towards them, there was still room before it blocked them off completely from the front door. Aria grabbed Callie’s hand without a second thought and pulled her power to send a shockwave towards the unyielding door. It shattered outward and they raced out, Aria still clutching her bag.
On their lawn, men and women in black robes were spread out chanting a spell. Callie recognized it as a combination of a spell that would block non-magical people from seeing what was going on and a spell that would completely obliterate their home with them inside it. The gas was meant to knock them out to make it easier. But Callie and Aria would not make it easy.
Aria glanced towards her car in the driveway. One of the black robes noticed and flicked his wrist towards the car. The tires exploded. Callie glanced around for more escape options. They were surrounded with no way of getting to the other car in the garage. Witches had powers but still relied on human technology to get around. They were powerful, but not enough to take on a group this size. They held each other’s hands tightly and prayed.
George was hungry. He’d had to skip lunch today because of a meeting, and he really hoped Tiana would have supper ready to go when he got home. George smiled now, thinking of his wife. Even after all these years, he had no idea how he could’ve been so lucky as to win her over. George was a good looking guy, but honestly pretty average. Tiana, though, she was a knock out; a certifiable 10. She certainly didn’t want him for his money, he thought, as he looked around his mid-size Kia.
George’s parents came over from India to get the American dream. However, they were so focused on fitting in — so determined to live the life of an average American —that George ended up being the ultimate American. He got good grades, went to college, literally met the woman of his dreams, and got the white picket fence. His parents were beyond proud of what he accomplished with his life.
His traffic light turned green, and he continued on his normal route home. Each house looked the same —equidistantly spaced, well-kept lawns, and classic white picket fences. They lived in a perfectly normal and respectable suburban neighborhood. George was happy with his life.
He pulled up to their cul-de-sac and traveled to the end of the street where their house was. It was nice and quiet here; no one ever came down, as it was somewhat remote compared to the other houses in the community.
As he pulled into his driveway, he looked at the house and at Tiana’s blue car. Something seemed off. He couldn’t really place it, though, so he shrugged it off and got out of his car, locking it as he walked to the door. He put a smile on his face and burst inside the house.
“Honey! I’m home!” George yelled in his best I Love Lucy impression. Instead of Tiana appearing to give him a hug and a kiss as was their custom, he heard his children yelling at their mother.
“MOM! You can’t do this to me!” Lexie yelled from the back of the house. George heard his teenage daughter stomping down the hallway. He followed the ruckus and peered around the corner.
“What’s going on, guys?” George asked, raising his voice to be heard.
“Ohmigod, Dad! Mom has legit gone insane!” Lexie answered back as she caught his eye and beckoned him to come help her. Lexie took after her mother. She was much too smart, and she always seemed to have a glimmer of mischief in her eyes. Though her eyes at that moment had a glimmer of volcanic anger ready to erupt.
“Dad, thank god you’re here!” Max said, somewhat relieved. The 16-year-old pointed to his mom as she furiously packed things into suitcases. Max, unlike Lexie, took after George. There was no mystery with either of them. What you saw was what you got.
George looked at the packing mess in confusion, but put on a joking smile for the kids before saying, “T, what, are you leaving me?”
Tiana looked up with relief on her face, “Oh, good, you’re home in time! You need to help me pack up the cars now!”
“So, just to confirm, you aren’t leaving me,” George replied.
Tiana gave him an exasperated look, “Of course not, we’re all leaving.”
“Wait. What? Why!?”
“We have to leave. I don’t have time to explain.”
“No, you’re going to have to explain,” George said quickly.
“Yeah, Mom, you can’t just make us pick up and leave. Where are we going? When are we coming back? I have a life, you know.” Lexie complained as she waved her cell phone in the air.
Tiana snapped Lexie’s cell phone out of her hand, and almost like magic George and Max’s cells appeared in her hand.
“What the f-!” Lexie started, but stopped when Tiana raised her shush finger at the almost curse that came out of her daughter’s mouth.
“We can’t keep these, they can track them now.” Tiana said as she somehow broke the phones each in half like there were mere cardboard.
“MOM!!!!” Lexie and Max yelled in horror while George yelled, “T!” at the same time.
Tiana took a deep breath. “We can’t come back, it isn’t safe here anymore. None of you know my past, the danger we are in now. A…a friend of mine reached out and warned me. We have hours at most before they find us. So pack what you can’t live without, and we have to go.”
“That’s not good enough, T, what is going on?” George pleaded as he began honestly worrying about his wife’s state of mind.
Tiana had a sudden look of alarm cover her face as she looked towards the front of the house, where moments later a flash of light came accompanied with a muffled voice swearing.
“I thought we had more time,” Tiana said to herself softly. She lifted her blue eyes to her family, making eye contact with each of them. “Don’t freak out.”
Tiana lifted her hands; they started to glow purple, and her family took a collective step back.
“Stay close, this might feel a little weird.” Tiana said as the purple light expanded around them, seeming to pull them each into it. In less than a moment, the house was empty of everything— furniture and humans alike —just as the front door broke inward with a blast.
Connor could smell the blood before he saw them. He knew it would be a grisly scene before he even found it. He had heard that PBR was hitting hard the past few weeks, but if they had any honor they’d leave the kids alone. It wasn’t their fault who their parents were.
‘PBR is such a stupid name,’ he mumbled to himself, as his boots crunched through the dead grass. Apparently none of the so-called “revolutionaries” ever drank cheap beer, or they would know everyone was laughing at them. Pure Blood Revolutionaries. What a joke. Who gave a shit about “pure blood.” The only reason most of their ancestors were even born was because of the mixing of supernatural beings and humans. Only fairies were the real pure blood supernatural creatures, and they mostly kept to their own plane.
His nose led him to the bodies. Two adults and one child—a small boy. He shook his head in a mix of disbelief and sadness for the child who never had a chance. They smelled like wolves — partly what drew him there in the first place. The male adult was something else. He squatted down for a closer look and took another sniff. A warlock. This was definitely the work of PBR. Mixed race couple with a kid, ideal hit for a fanatic death squad.
Connor stiffened as he heard a small rustle in the dry brush to his right, and tilted his head to sniff the air. The air was so thick with fresh blood it was too hard to smell anything else. He closed his eyes to focus his hearing, and slowly he was able to distinguish the sound of a quickened heartbeat among the sounds of the night.
In one quick motion, he darted into the brush, grabbing a soft body and yanking it out into the open. The body gave out a startled female yelp as pale fists began to punch Connor in the chest.
The moonlight revealed a teenage girl and Connor took a moment to let her calm. She seemed tire quickly as she blubbered between hysterical crying and begging for her life. Once the fists dropped to her side and she stopped fighting him, Connor released hold of her.
“Are you done?” Connor asked, staring her down. She nodded quietly and took a small shuffle backwards. “This your family?” The girl nodded an affirmative, but didn’t say anything.
He turned back around and sniffed the air again. He was hoping to pick up on those who attacked, but couldn’t smell anyone beyond the family and the girl. He turned back to the girl who was covered in blood, none of which appeared to be her own. She smelled to be mostly wolf, yet had that light shimmer of magic that witches and warlocks had. Not everyone could see it, but most wolves could.
“What’s your name, girl?” Connor asked gruffly. He didn’t do sensitive, but he really didn’t want to make shit worse for her either, emotionally speaking. He really couldn’t stand cryers.
“Tala,” she said after a few moments of hesitation.
“All right, Tala, let’s get the hell out of here before someone else notices and calls the cops.” Connor said then turned and walked towards his bike on the side of the road.
“What…what about them?” Tala said pointing at the family.
“Can’t do anything for them now. Its dry enough out we shouldn’t leave many footprints. And if we move the bodies it’ll just leave more questions for the cops when they do show up. They’ll give them a proper burial of some sort.” Tala nodded absently and started to follow Connor like a good wolf pup.
Connor handed Tala a helmet, which neither of them really needed, but they were less likely to be pulled over if the teen had a helmet on for ‘safety’.
“Where are we going?” Tala asked softly once she settled in behind him with her arms wrapped around his chest.
“Only place I can take someone like you. Only place you’ll be safe from those assholes. Sanctuary.” Connor answered gruffly. He really didn’t want to go there, but he had a responsibility as the first wolf to find the family to get her safety. Wolves stuck together. Even if she was only half, she was still a wolf. Wolves generally weren’t that picky on who they mated with, breeding hybrids more than any other race.
Connor kicked the stand up, revved the bike and started to ride down the road at full speed with his new charge. The quicker they got to sanctuary, the quicker he could pawn Tala off to someone who could actually take care of her. Teens were pretty self sufficient, but she couldn’t have been more than 13 or 14 years old. She needed a family, like the one she had, not some wolf who had no desire to have one.