The Hidden Ones Series
The first book in the “Hidden Ones” series is currently in progress. Here is a sneak peek at Chapter One: The Witch Doctor.
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Chapter 1: The Witch Doctor (Edaline)
Growing up, Edaline always thought being a witch would involve mixing potions, casting spells, and owning a cat. At least, that was how witches were portrayed in movies and on television. She never imagined she'd have business cards and see clients in the privacy of an office.
She was grateful to her mother for designing and ordering her business cards and to her mother's partner, Rosa, for giving her discounted rent on an office at the back of her crystal shop. Rosa was essentially her second mother, always encouraging and nurturing Edaline's abilities
People came to Edaline when they needed help finding lost things, when they thought their spouses were cheating, and sometimes as a mini therapy session to talk about their dreams. They brought objects from home or simply gave her their hands so Edaline could use her power of sight to give them answers, charging a decent fee for her time.
Three days a week Edaline saw clients. Between that and playing several music gigs a week, she earned a decent living.
But being a witch was lonely for Edaline, and she longed for a mentor to guide her. Rosa did her best to help by seeking out other women in the city who called themselves witches. These women loved to wear linen skirts, grow their hair past their waist, and burn heavy incense in their homes. Edaline had nothing against linen or incense, but she had no interest in the activities these so-called witches pursued, including reading tarot cards, claiming to commune with spirits, and divining the future in tea leaves.
While Rosa meant well, each potential teacher she found fell into this same category and had no idea what to do with Edaline's abilities. The scenario played out the same way each time. Edaline would remove her silk gloves, hold their hand, and tell them their inner thoughts, worries, and deepest dreams. Then, she'd touch a nearby object and recall the most recent movements near it by both people and animals. Some of the women were awed by her powers and others were afraid. One even asked her and Rosa to leave immediately and accused her of working with the devil—which was a bit antiquated in Edaline’s opinion.
Still, Rosa was determined to contact every mystic and self-proclaimed witch in Vancouver in hopes of finding someone with true powers to help her daughter. This suited Edaline because even though she didn't want to be alone, she didn’t have the courage to cold call clairvoyants and mediums. But Edaline believe she’d eventually find others like her in the world.
"Hurry up, mi hija, you're going to be late," Rosa called out from the front of the store.
The latest prospect for a mentor had an office nearby but the woman insisted that Edaline come alone. This meant she had to walk there. She was struggling to zip up her brown leather jacket and locate her phone.
“I’m going, Rosa, I’m going.”
She found her phone charging on Rosa’s desk in the back office and slipped it into her jacket pocket. As she passed Rosa arranging a display of salt crystals, she gave her a peck on the cheek.
“See you later, Rosa.”
“Good luck, mi amor. I want to hear all about it at dinner.”
Edaline promised to give a full retelling.
Out on the sidewalk, Edaline zipped her jacket a bit higher. It was unseasonably cool for the month of May. The clouds provided a thick barrier between the sun and the city. At least it wasn’t raining.
It didn’t take her long to weave her way down Broadway and up a few side streets until she found her way to West 15th Avenue and located the house number Rosa had written down.
Edaline couldn’t help but imagine each witch’s house as dark and foreboding. The houses she’d visited so far usually had overgrown gardens, curtains tightly closed, and creaky doors. She was completely surprised to stop in front of the two-storey duplex in pueblo revival style with an expertly landscaped garden in the front. There were twisted exotic trees and fragrant flowers growing in the garden patch both in front of and beyond the low rust coloured cement wall. While the garden was bursting with life, it was also expertly manicured. A decorative iron gate guarded the way to the house.
Edaline pulled off one of her gloves and gripped the latch with her bare hand, eager to glimpse into the type of place she was entering. She saw various people coming and going, including parcel deliveries. Nothing of significance was revealed to her. Disappointed, she slipped her glove back on and pushed the gate open. It didn’t creak.
The smooth cement path led her to a large wooden door surrounded by large panes of tinted glass. A simple metal nameplate read: Dr. Slayne, Psychologist. Edaline frowned. Had she been tricked? Rosa would never send her to a psychologist without her consent. Had she gotten the address wrong? But the name on the plate and the address matched the note Rosa wrote.
Edaline pressed the doorbell and waited, her hands wringing nervously. Of all the places Rosa had consulted, this one seemed the most legit.