Florence Walker was a beautiful and creative woman. Everyone admired her, men and women alike. She was fearless, took risks and lived her life on her own terms. She was about as magical as a human being could possibly be. She was a seventh generation witch and people came to her with their problems. She never turned anyone away and treated people with respect and kindness. She also helped animals, tame or wild. Her potions saved lives, helped pregnant women and stopped pain. People paid what they could and Florence accepted their offerings with grace and gratitude.
Florence also loved the theater and often acted on stage. Her fashion sense was epic and while others tried to imitate her, no one could capture her style, or her je ne sai squoi.
Everyone knew that Florence worked for the good of all and the harm of none, but they also knew that on Halloween night, like her mother and grandmother before her, Florence Walker sent her hexes on the wind and water. So, on October 31st, people went into their houses at ten, pulled the curtains and went to bed. That way Florence could do whatever she had to do, in order to protect the city and all of their lives.
Eventually, Florence would have a daughter. She would name her Raven and she would be the eighth witch on her family tree. She would bring riches and prosperity to the city and to the people, that’s what the number eight stood for, after all. It was a money number. When her daughter would be conceived was unknown. The right man had not yet appeared, but the cards said that he would be arriving soon. Florence wasn’t worried. Witches lived a long time, well, unless they started Burning them again.
Those were the thoughts running through her head Thursday afternoon. She was just finishing the stitches on the wing of a tiny bat, when her door opened and a man walked in.
“I will be with you shortly,” said Florence. “Please do not make any noise or you’ll frighten the bat.”
The man nodded and sat down. Blood ran down his hand and he tried to stop it from dripping onto the floor.
Once finished, Florence kissed the bat, climbed up a ladder and placed the tiny one on a rafters in her ceiling.
“What’s wrong with you,” she asked, scrubbing her hands in the sink.
“Shot. I think it’s through and through but it doesn’t feel like the other times.”
“Do you get shot often?”
“Often enough,” he said. “Sorry about the blood.”
“Come over here and take off our jacket, please.”
He did as he was told, then sat on the table and Florence cut the sleeve of his shirt all the way up to his shoulder.”
“I could have just taken it off,” he grumbled.
“And how would THAT be any fun?”she asked, smiling. She looked at his biceps and said, “This might hurt a little,” as she dug into his arm with a long sharp pair of tweezers.
The man made a small noise and tensed.
“Oh, don’t be such a big baby,” said Florence, dropping the bullet onto a tray next to him.”
He started laughing, a low rumble, deep inside his chest, and when he looked up, his eyes were glittering with humor. “No one has EVER called me a big baby before. Well, if they have, they haven’t lived to tell about it.”
“Are you going to kill me?” she asked, cleaning the wound. “Because I’m absolutely terrified,” she continued, flatly.
“People are usually afraid of me,” he said, seriously.
“Whatever for?” she asked, wrapping gauze around his arm, over the bandage.
“What’s your name.”
“Florence, what’s yours?”
“The good news is that you’ll live, Johnny. The bad news is that your shirt won’t.”
“What are you?” he asked, staring at her.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you’re not one of the regular people,” he said.
“No, you’re not. So, what are you?”
“I’m a Witch, what are you?”
“I’m a Guardian,” he said smiling widely. “I guard Witches.”
“While I am perfectly capable of guarding myself, it’s nice to meet you,” said Florence. “I thought they killed all of you.”
“Not all of us,” he said, staring at her. “Seems kind of obvious.”
“Ah, a funny Guardian,” said Florence, pulling the gauze tight.
Johnny grunted, “You’re kind of funny yourself.”
“Oh,” smiled Florence. “Too tight?”
“You’re MY Witch,” he said, sighing with relief. “I didn’t know if I would ever find you.”
“Well, here I am,” she said, taping the gauze in place. “So?”
He kissed her then, trying not to get blood on her white shirt. Then he forgot about the shirt and the blood altogether.
Raven was born a year later. A happy baby, she was perfect in every way. Her magic was strong from the start and the people loved her. The city had their Witch, an apprentice Witch and a Guardian. No demon was dumb enough to enter the city. At least that’s what they all wanted to believe.