Chase and Neil go talk to Neil’s father, who tells them that Chase will have to help train Neil so he can take Dora’s place in the Circle.
“Exactly. Anytime we mess with our weather, someone else suffers. We halt a flood here, it drowns India. Hold back a hurricane, we blow Haiti all to hell. Can’t play with weather unless it’s so catastrophic, you have to. And by that, I mean end of the world type shit. You think we wanted to let Katrina blow us away?” He shook his head. “We limited what we could, but that storm was because someone else dabbled on the other side of the world. There are consequences to our actions, and someone always pays.”
“Who dabbled?” Chase asked.
His grandfather eyed him dubiously. “You been to hell and back twice. You need to ask me that?”
“Mr. D—” he almost said Deidrich, but stopped himself in time.
“The very one. And others like him.”
“There are more like him?” Chase yelped. “I thought he was the worst one—like the Devil.”
“Oh, no, son. There’s worse things. And I thank God we’ve never met ’em and I pray we never do.”
“He’s bad enough!”
David nodded slowly. “He is.” His eyes flickered over to his son. “Best get that.”
“What?” His phone beeped. He looked at the screen, laughing. “Yeah, I’d better.” He walked out to the front porch and called Cynthia. “Hiya, babe.”
“A little while. Lucy decided Uncle Neil needed to be up for breakfast at Oh Dark Thirty.”
“Yuuck…. And I kept you up until half past forever. Sorry about that.”
“Did I give any indication that I minded? At all?”
She sighed, laughing comfortably. “Maybe you just need to move in here with me. Big house, lots of room. No seven year olds waking you at the crack of doom.”
“Decidedly has appeal.Yeah, amazing appeal. I’ll run it by Mom and Dad. I don’t want to offend—or shock them.”
“You’re a grown ass man, you aren’t gonna shock them.”
“But I might hurt Mom’s feelings. Trust me, there is nowhere I’d rather be, than with you.”
“When can you come over?”
“Anytime you want, babe.”
The screen door banged and Neil heard footsteps.
“Neil?” It was Dora.
“Sorry, I didn’t know you were on the phone. Mom wants to talk to you when you’re free.”
“I’ll be done in a minute. Be right in.”
“I’ll tell her.” Smiling, she went back inside.
“Guess I’d better see what’s up. I’ll give you a call when I can.”
“Or come over. Preferably the latter. I’ll be here all day.”
“As soon as I can. I love you, Cindy Lou.”
“I love you too, Neilio.”
She hung up and he headed inside.
“There you are!” his mother said. “We need to discuss the ritual with you.”
“For my taking over for Cliff? I thought I just took his spot and that was it.”
His mother frowned. “For such an intelligent man, you’re an idiot. Of course it can’t work like that. The Circle has to acknowledge the succession of power. I’ve called everyone over to practice, but we’ll do the actual ritual tonight.”
“Why not during the day?”
“Because moonlight is an ingredient in the spell.”
He stared at her to see if she were feeding him a line of bullshit. She didn’t seem to be, but he could never be sure with his mother. She was a skillful editor, a lady who would know all and see all, but not say all.
“Give Cynthia a call. She’s the only one I haven’t spoken to yet. She didn’t answer when I called just now.”
“That’s cause she was talking to me,” he confessed.
“Good. Call her back. She’s the next most important ingredient in this spell.”
“What’s the most? Snake venom and eye of newt?”
His mother stiffened up, her hand came up to slap him, but she controlled herself. “We aren’t witches, Neil. I’ll thank you to remember that.”
“Sorry, Mama. It was a joke.”
© 2017 Dellani Oakes