Title: Waxing Gibbous
Author: Sarah Wolfe
Summary: Tegan never believed in the supernatural. That is, until she became a part of it. Now she's being groped by strange naked men, stalked by werewolves, and learns she's not entirely human herself.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any character similarities with persons living or dead are simply coincidence. The author holds all exclusive rights to this work. Any duplication without permission of the author is prohibited.
"Almost there," the cabdriver said to his passenger sitting in the backseat. Tegan Daniels returned his gaze in the rearview mirror and nodded her head.
"What's this place like?" She asked, turning her head back to the window. Thick forest surrounded them on both sides of the road. Autumn clouds hung low in the sky and fog was heavy in the air. "I tried to look up info about it but I couldn't find much of anything."
"That's probably because there are not many people living on the island anymore. Most of the locals have moved away. Some to find work, others because of the superstitions surrounding the place," he said, shrugging.
"What kind of superstitions?" she asked.
"Strange things like evil spirits and demons," the cabbie explained, waving his free hand back and forth. "There have been stories that no one could really confirm. It's all a bunch of crazy bullshit if you ask me. I don't believe in any of that stuff," he said, shaking his head like he was trying to clear away the nonsense.
She rolled her eyes. "Me either. Some people will believe anything that you tell them." Small towns usually had some kind of grim fairytale surrounding it. She didn't think things like ghosts and monsters were real either. It was nothing more than a hoax to get a rise out of people.
The long, ever winding driveway was filled with ruts and holes nearly big enough to swallow the taxi creeping along. Tegan's head smacked against the roof when they hit an unseen dip. She rubbed at the sore spot and cursed under her breath.
Figured the place would be in need of repairs, she thought bitterly. Now that her mother had passed away, everything that she had owned had passed on to her daughter including a little cottage. Since she had been kicked out of her last apartment because she couldn't afford the rent, Tegan planned on coming out here and checking the place out. It was her only option of having a roof over her head. There was no family to go to and she couldn't ask such a thing of the few friends that she had. They probably didn't have the room anyway.
The last of any money Tegan had had been used to come to Timber Island and even that had been a struggle. Now she was stuck in some alien place where she knew absolutely no one. God only knew what kind of shape the house was in. With any luck it would at least be livable. If not, she would be stuck here with nothing.
"Are there places where you can shop nearby?" Since the cabdriver seemed to know a little bit about Timber Island he was her best shot at getting at least some information about this place.
"There is a small plaza in the center of the island. A few little shops, but for anything major most folks go the mainland," he told her.
"Do you know how far it is from here?" she asked.
"It's probably about a mile or so away. Just go straight on the main road that we were on before we turned on to this pathway," he said. "It will take you right there."
The house came into view then, causing Tegan to curse again. It was in no better repair than the driveway. The white paint was peeling away, revealing the worn wood underneath. The roof was warped and the shutters were hanging loosely on their rusty hinges. Grass grew in a wild frenzy, taking over the lawn and turning it into an overgrown weed patch. The bushes hadn't been pruned in years. Broken tree branches poked their bony fingers out of their weedy graves. It was a complete mess!
"You really thinking about staying here, miss?" the cabbie questioned.
"That was the plan," Tegan grumbled.
"It doesn't seem safe for a lady to be out in the middle of nowhere all alone with a place in such bad repair. You should get a room at the motel in town," he advised.
Tegan thought that was an excellent idea. If only she had the money to spare for a room. "I'll be fine. It probably looks worse than it actually is." She could only hope anyway.
He shook his head in disbelief. "You sure?"
No. "Yeah," Tegan wearily replied handing the driver some loose bills. She cringed when he wrapped his fingers around what little money she had left and plucked it from her fingers. She opened the door into the cool, misty evening air. It was cold enough that gooseflesh covered her skin. Hopefully the temperature wouldn't drop too low in the night. With no utilities she would be totally exposed to the elements. The cabdriver got out with her to unlock the trunk and helped pull the luggage and boxes out.
"I hope it all goes well with everything even though I think you are damn foolish for staying in an unsafe place like this," he said gruffly.
She nodded, ignoring the feeling that he was right about her being stupid. "Thanks for everything." He got back into the yellow car and with a small wave, he was off. Tegan watched the red lights until they winked out of sight down the long, bumpy driveway. As the only human contact she had drove away, she felt utterly alone on this barren island. There seemed to be no sign of life. No birds whistled, no creatures called out, nothing moved. Even the wind seemed to be holding its breath.
Why had she come here again? Because she was a fucking idiot, that's why.
Tegan trudged through the thigh high grass to the front of the house and eyed the sketchy looking stairs of the porch. She suspected that the wood was rotted through. Moss clung to them like a living coat of green paint. She grabbed the railing and took one careful step up. She listened for the splitting of wood, the world to turn upside down, the pain from a broken or sprained ankle to come. But all Tegan heard was the quiet groan of tired wood. She took another step expecting grim results again, but the steps held her weight. She only breathed a sigh of relief when she reached the top. Maybe things weren't as bad as they seemed.
"Okay, time for the inside," Tegan murmured under her breath. She pulled a key out of her pocket. It had been enclosed in the envelope that she received from the lawyer when he had told her about the house. It had been the only thing – besides a small amount of money and a few other personal belongings –her mother had left her with. With a hard twist of her wrist she unlocked the door. Inside was eerily dark, like some haunted house in a horror movie. Tegan took a step into the musty interior. Nothing moved in the shadows, nothing creaked, nothing squeaked. Dust was thick in the air, and it made her eyes water and her throat close. Cobwebs hung from the ceilings and corners. It looked as if no one had been in the house since the door was last locked, which was probably a good thing. That could mean that no one had tried to break in or that any animals that scurried around the area hadn't tried to make a home here.
Tegan took a few steps in. The floorboards protested under her weight, announcing her arrival to the rest of the house. She could see furniture covered in white sheets in what had to be a living room. There were only couches and recliners though. There were no lamps or light fixtures to use even if there was electricity to turn them on. The bookshelves, side tables, and drawers were all empty. In fact, except the furniture, there was nothing personal left in the house. She looked through all the downstairs rooms, assessing the condition of everything. With a decent amount of work, Tegan figured the place would be fit for living in. The question was: How could she afford the repairs with no money?
First thing in the morning, she would go into town, try to find a job, and call around for contractors to come out to look at the house. The last thing she needed was more debt, but she had to have somewhere to live. Maybe she could get a decent job around here and be able to pay it all off. It was a lot of hope she was putting in the future, but it was the only thing she had left to go on.
She retrieved all of her things from outside and put them in the middle of the living room. She would find somewhere to store them away for later. But for right now she was exhausted and just wanted to check everything else in the house out so she could get some rest. She could lounge on one of the couches, assuming that they weren't too dusty or full of foul, disgusting things. There was no telling how long the house had set unoccupied. Bugs and vermin could be crawling all through the fabric.
Only finding but a couple pieces of furniture and little else made Tegan feel lonelier than she ever had. She wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed up and down to fight off a chill from creeping up her spine. And it wasn't the weather that left her feeling cold this time. It was the sense of foreboding, of something wrong lurking in the air.
It was quickly getting dark outside, and Tegan wanted to check out all the rooms in the house before she settled down. The fading daylight was going to be her only source of light. In little more than an hour, the sun was going to slip behind the skyline, plunging the earth into night. She was all by her lonesome out here. Now was the time to be careful and make sure she was truly alone. It would be her luck to wake up in the middle of the night to a nasty surprise.
There was still the upstairs that needed to be inspected. The steps leading up were dark and more cobwebs stuck to the balustrade like forgotten Halloween decorations. As she mounted them, she was careful, trying to make as little noise as possible. At the top, there was only a little light filtering in through a cruddy, curtain-less window at the other end of the hall.
The first door she opened turned out to be a broom closet. Beyond that was a bathroom. The next door Tegan got to was harder to open because the knob wanted to stick as she turned it. When she finally got the thing opened, she let the door swing into the room, and gasped.
There were markings all over the walls and floor. Odd symbols and shapes that she could not decipher were drawn in black and white chalk. Candles had been melted in circles around some of the glyphs. There were burnt plants, feathers, and other things that were unrecognizable scattered across the floor. The room itself smelled of sulfur and spice, the air was thick with it, leading her to believe that someone had done this very recently. Some kind of weird ritual had taken place in this room…that much was obvious. But who had done this, and when? Did she have to worry about them coming back and having another one of their little séances soon?
Tegan wanted to flee from the sight, but something within her pushed her to move forward. She took a halting step into the room and peered around. There were dark spots splattered across the floor. Curious, she leaned down to get a better look then wished she hadn't. The droplets looked like dried blood. Stumbling back, she was about to tear out of there like hell when strong arms wrapped around her, trapping her arms to her sides and pulling her against a solid chest.
Tegan let out an ear piercing scream. It was so loud that she thought her eardrums would bleed. Her legs kicked out, trying to catch her attacker anywhere she could. She squirmed and jerked, struggling to get out of the hold. One of the hands gripping her clamped over her mouth to shut off her bellows and cries. It wasn't enough to stop her from trying.
"Shhh," breathed a hushed male voice from behind her. "I'm not going to harm you, I swear. I'll let go if you promise not to run or scream." The words were enough to stop her flailing, but only to try to get him to let her go. The rushing of Tegan's blood roared in her ears, her heart was beating a mile a minute and adrenaline coursed through her veins, starting a quivering in her body. She nodded her head in erratic movements. Slowly, the hand slipped from her face, but the arms stayed firmly around her.
"What the hell are you doing in this house?" Tegan demanded, even though she was in no position to. She was angry despite her terror. Whoever this person was had broken into her house and was probably the one who had made the mess all over the room.
"Waiting for you," he answered.
"Waiting for me? What do you mean?" she asked confused.
"I summoned you here." Tegan could feel his hot breath blow across her ear.
"Summoned?" Her brows furrowed. Was this just the eccentric ramblings of a lunatic? Probably.
"You're a stubborn one. It took a lot of energy and magick to get you here."
Tegan didn't know what to do or say. She was stuck in the clutches of a madman, and he wasn't making any move to release her. "E-energy and magick?" Yeah, just keep repeating everything he says, she said sarcastically to herself.
"You do not have to be afraid of me. And, no, I am not psychopathic. You will understand everything in time," he said.
"I never said that I was afraid and I don't think you're crazy at all," Tegan lied in the calmest voice she could muster. Maybe flattery would work on him. It worked on most people, even ones that were out of their goddamn minds. She felt a vibration through her back and realized that her attacker was chuckling.
"I can sense everything that you are feeling. I can even read your thoughts. I'm your familiar after all. And, please, do not lie to me," he said straightforwardly.
"Familiar? I'd say you are getting a bit too familiar with me, buddy," she growled, getting annoyed.
"I'm here to help you. You and I, our souls are connected. Listen with all your senses. You'll be able to feel it to your marrow. Let yourself call out to me. Know that I am telling the truth," he said.
"How do I do that?" Tegan asked, growing weary of this cat-and-mouse routine. She wished that he would make his motives more clear. Was he going to hurt her, rape her, and kill her? Or was he going to keep her in a bear hug and yammer her ears off with his insanity?
"Focus," he instructed.
"Relax. You are tense and untrusting. You are not opening yourself up to anything." He pressed her closer to his body, the heat of his skin transferring from him to her.
Tegan took a deep breath and let it out, trying to settle down. That was when she felt it – the slight brush against her brain, another presence snuggling up next to her consciousness. She touched her mental fingers up against it and gave an experimental push.
No fucking way, she thought.
This time his voice didn't come from behind, but inside. Fucking way. She could even feel the smile spread across his face, the delight he took in the feeling of her telepathic communication with him.
His arms untwined from her, slowly letting her slip from the forced embrace. Tegan whipped around to face him and gasped when she saw a towering naked man staring at her. "Jesus Christ! Clothes…ever heard of them? What kind of pervert are you!" she screeched, holding her hands up to shield away his state of undress from her eyes.
"I assure you, I'm no pervert. I'm your familiar. You should be comfortable around me whether I'm in my truest form or not," he said, sounding a little miffed.
"Okay, that's twice now that you mentioned that. What exactly is a familiar?" Tegan asked, still trying to look away.
It would be easier to tell you this if you knew what you are, he said, entering her mind once again. Let's try your telepathy skills while we have this discussion.
Tegan took a deep breath and let it out calmly. Her heart wasn't beating so frantically and the shakes were stopping. Centering her mind once more, she reached out and located his mental signature. What am I?
You're a witch. The magickal essence flows through your veins. Since you first entered the island all the wild magick has been drawn to you, flowing around you in a cyclone. He strode over to a pile of clothing on the floor that Tegan had just noticed. He pulled on a pair of pants, keeping a close eye on her the whole time. His body stayed ready for action in case Tegan decided she was going to take off.
A witch? You mean like from TheWizard of Oz? She crossed her arms over her chest. She would have said that it was impossible, crazy even. That is, if she wasn't having a conversation with him…in her head! Now she was beginning to believe she was the one who was nuttier than a fruitcake.
He frowned then bent down to retrieve his crumpled tee shirt. I don't know who this Wizard Oz is.
He's never seen The Wizard of Oz? Whatever. There were more important things to discuss at the moment. Am I evil?
I don't feel any evil in your soul. You do, however, have the ability to be overcome by malevolence. I have been witness to conjurers getting lost to darker crafts, craving the most destructive of powers. He pulled the tee shirt on over his head and started toward her across the hardwood floor, avoiding the candles and burnt things. Now that he wasn't so naked, she looked him over. His wavy black hair fell to his shoulders, and braided within the locks were feathers the color of freshly fallen snow. He was tall, definitely over six feet. His frame was muscled, but not so that he was thick with them. His skin was sun kissed, tanned and smooth without a single blemish in sight. A straight nose rested above a slightly pouty set of lips. He was, for lack of a better word, gorgeous.
You said that you were my familiar. What is that? When he came to a complete stop in front of her, he locked eyes with her. They were the color of storm clouds looming over the rough sea.
Most all witches have them, some more than just one. A familiar is your closest companion, the only thing that you can fully trust in the physical world. Like I said, we are connected in the deepest, most spiritual way possible. I am your strength as you are mine. I am your knowledge. I am your confidant, your family, and if you so desire, I'll even be your lover. I will follow you to the ends of the earth and if you die, my soul shall wither with yours. He got down on one knee in front of her and bowed his head. I swear fealty to you, and only you. I am yours to command.
Her fear of him had dissipated, leaving behind an overwhelming curiosity. Tegan reached out a hand and touched him. She knew what he said was true. Since she opened herself up, everything began tuning in to him. From a physical connection, she could read him better if she put all her concentration in it. Her familiar's heart was strumming with sincerity and devotion, it was nearly pouring from him. A void she hadn't known she possessed was suddenly filled deep within her breast. She finally felt…complete.
"What's your name?" Tegan asked gently, reverting back to the spoken word. She was idly stroking his soft shoulder length hair, rousing a little shiver down his spine.
He looked up at her with those dark grey eyes. "Storm," he whispered.
A tiny smile played at the corner of her lips. "It suits you," she said, taking her hand from him. "My name is –"
"Tegan Daniels," he answered, cutting her off. Tegan took a step back in surprise. He sighed and stood back up to his full height.
"How did you know?" Had he read it out of her mind? If that were the case, there was going to have to be some ground rules set in place. Even if they could communicate telepathically, it didn't give him the right to barge into her brain anytime he wanted to get whatever information he so desired.
"I've known you since you were born," Storm revealed. "You lived in this house with your mother and father, until he died. You were then taken away. Your mother didn't want anyone to know where you were. She thought she was giving you a better life that didn't involve magick and the supernatural. Knowing what you really were was something she did not want to happen. She cloaked you with magick. I couldn't feel you for the longest time. It was when she died, and the spell was lifted, that I was able to find you. I tracked you down as soon as I felt your echo within me again."
She crossed her arms and took a defensive posture. "Why didn't she want me to know who I am? Don't you think it's kind of important to know that I'm some kind of freak of nature?" Even though she knew he was telling the truth, there was still a more rational part of Tegan that didn't want to believe a single thing he was spouting.
"You're not a freak, just…different. You are more special and valuable than you know. And there are those that would exploit that. Your mother did what she thought was necessary to keep you safe." Storm sounded like he was getting annoyed explaining all this to her.
Well that was just tough titty, wasn't it? He was the one that spilled that fact that she was a fucking witch so he owed her answers to whatever goddamned question she had. "What makes me so valuable?"
"Because of whom your mother was. Her craft was so perfected, so natural that she need not follow normal procedure for conjuring. Some of the spells that she crafted would have killed an ordinary witch. It hardly fazed her because the wild magick chose her to rule it…just like it is choosing you."
Tegan scoffed. She was originally from this desolated island and her mother had never told her. In fact, her mother had never really talked about the past at all. Whenever Tegan had asked about her father or any other family members, the question was always brushed off with a vague answer or ignored altogether. Now she was finding out that her mother was a lying fraud.
"If I was so important to you and you knew who I was, how come you never came to get me?" She asked so low that it came out as a whisper.
"You lived in that ghastly city that was devoid of almost all magick. She had the ability to conjure strong spells without being completely surrounded by wild magick. She was able to cloak your whereabouts," Storm explained. "Also, I cannot venture off Timber Island because part of my soul has been bound to it. Your mother put the curse upon me to ensure that I did not find a way to get to you."
"Wouldn't that have broken with her death?" Tegan asked, puzzled.
"It should have. But since you are my mistress, she had to use your blood and essence to bind the spell. Because it was forged of your power, you are the only one who can break it now," Storm told her.
"Do you know how I can?" She didn't know the first thing about magick, but she would give it a good go if she could reverse what her mother had done to him.
"I would have to know how the spell was cast; what she concocted together to doom me to this fate. Like I said, she was proficient, more advanced in the crafts – both dark and light – than anyone I had ever met. That's why she was able to divide us the way she did."
Both stood silent for awhile, one mulling over all the information that had been spilled, and the other waiting patiently.
There were just too many questions that she needed to ask Storm that she doubted that she would get even half of the answers to tonight. This Q and A session was already giving her a headache and she didn't know how much more shock her body and mind could take. "How did you summon me here? How did you know I would come?"
"That lawyer that came to you with the directions and key to the house, he was sent there. The key held a spell that was released as soon as you touched it. That was what called you back home," he said.
"You had no guarantee that I would show up though. If I hadn't been kicked out of my apartment, I wouldn't be here at all," she told him, frowning.
"I knew you would have come someday. That is what gave me hope. The spell was very intricate. It planted a seed of curiosity within you. You would have come to investigate this place at one point in the coming future," he divulged carefully.
"What about my father? Was he a witch, too?" She had never even been given his name. Since her mother refused to talk about it, Tegan had figured it was too painful a subject to discuss. She thought that maybe her father had wanted nothing to do with his daughter and her mother had just been protecting her. Now she knew the truth.
"That's where is gets…complicated," Storm mumbled softly.
"You knew him, too, didn't you." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes." He looked down, not meeting her eyes. This was going to be something she did not like. Tegan just knew it.
"What did you mean when you said 'complicated'?"
"Tegan, you're not completely human." Okay, that was definitely not what she expected to hear. But he had told her she was a witch so…
"Well, you already said that I'm a witch," she said
"Witches are human…if they have two human parents. You did not." Tegan's head was spinning. She brought her hands up to massage her temples. This was all just too much for her at the moment. She needed to sit down, and sit down fast. It felt like her life was being chiseled away into something unrecognizable.
"What am I then? What was my father?" she demanded, her old ticker starting to jump and jive again. The walls felt like they were collapsing in on her. Her dizzy head began to pound from the overload of information, and nausea was bearing down on her gut. Tegan had a terrible feeling about whatever it was that she was about to hear. Storm opened his mouth to speak, but it wasn't his voice that she heard.
"You're a wolf, sweetheart," said a deep male voice from the doorway. Tegan peeked around Storm and found another intruder had entered her home. She didn't have time to think about what to say next, or even to ask who this new stranger was. She simply fell to the floor in an unconscious heap.
Author's Note: A question that keeps coming up is about the word "magick." It is intended to be spelled that way. Long story short about where it comes from: a man by the name of Aleister Crowley coined the term to separate an illusionist's form of magic from the ceremonial form of magic as the two are not the same.
I hope that clears up some of the confusion. :)