Seer: You’re able to tell the exact point when he’s lost interest. In you. In everything. You notice his gaze on his plate, the restaurant, the door, everywhere else. You watch him slip away, as if through your fingers, into a place beyond far. Beyond the veil. Beyond you.
Empath: You feel his distance as though it were a gut punch. Or a knife wound, sabre-deep and gaping. No, you feel it as a paper cut—no sound, no source that you can tell, only a stinging flinch before the flare of pain. Soon your paper cut wells with blood. You lick it off and taste dirty metal, along with your carefully applied hand cream, its flavor like dying roses.
Potion-maker: You try to alleviate the pain. At first, you are careful—measure, mix, select the right container. Then you sip your concoction, sip until your choices don’t matter. The taste is at first sweet, then sharp, like your memories. You drink it down, not realizing you’ve made a sleep potion. Or was it one of forgetfulness?
Telepath: It wasn’t forgetfulness. When you wake, your mind calls out, the words a primal scream into the void of your soul. Why him? Why you? Why this? All is quiet for endless heartbeats, then a voice responds.
Scryer: You search, sending out your tentacles, testing to find that voice. It’s near, you know. But the map you have is ancient—a few moments old. You refresh the page and the map changes again. A red dot pulses, hovers. Suddenly, you’re not alone and
You have joined a Coven. Become its third.
The first teaches you her craft while anointing you with words. Better. Try. Rise up. Fight. The hex is sand in your mouth, and you spit it out, unable to believe its power.
Again, she says.
Soon the spell runs like sun-warmed nectar from your tongue, Spellcaster, and your lips move quick as frightened moths.
The second lurks at the edge of your lessons, silent and watchful, as she lights candles dressed with Roman chamomile and verbena. A mote of dust floats in the air above you as she dives into your subconscious. There, she explores until she finds the rip. Where your true self has torn away from the world-weary one, shrinking under the clinging vines of the world’s words.
Not enough . . .
Instead of snipping off these vines, she coats them with honeyed words, and they become pliant like thread. Thread she uses to stitch your selves back together.
Embrace this twoness, Shadowworker, she croons. You are woman and witch, light and dark, novice and sage. You are in this world, but not of it.
When she emerges, she collapses to the floor between you and the second. While her smile is tired, it is triumphant.
There is a tender place inside you, a soreness, that feels purged clean.
You are enough of a seer to tell, and enough of an empath to know
You are Enough.
Eden Royce is from Charleston, South Carolina and now lives in the Garden of England. Her stories have appeared in Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Fireside Magazine, and Fiyah Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction. She loves roller-skating, watching quiz shows, and judging the signature dishes on Masterchef. Her debut MG novel, Tying the Devil’s Shoestrings, is forthcoming from Walden Pond Press in 2020. Find her at edenroyce.com and on Twitter @edenroyce.