Daily Ritual Ch. 6

“Can you see them?” Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.

“See what?”

“The Faerie lights.”

“What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?”

This is chapter 6 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

Chapter 5.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon if you want like, indents. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

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They arrived at the spot Bren had told her, right at the edge of the water. In front of Rolling Roasters, a diner type restaurant Rosario had been to once before.

“Hey we’re here what’s going on?”

“Can you see them?” Bren said, faer eyes were fixed on the horizon beyond the water.

“See what?”

“The Faerie lights.”

“What like, Aurora Borealis? At this time of the year? In this part of the country? Localised entirely within Brooklyn?”

“What?”

“Sorry, bad timing. No I don’t see any… oh wait yes I do.”

At first just out the corner of her eye, but as she focused her inattention she could see them. Not Aurora Borealis, but large columns of light at different points in the horizon, of all different colours.

“What is it?”

“It means they’re coming. It means there’s going to be a faerie council, the first one this century.”

“Whoa”

“It can’t be a coincidence, that we just met and now they’re coming here.”

“But why here?”

“Isn’t it obvious, it’s New York City, it’s a pretty good conduit. It’s just faeries in the area, Caribbean Faeries, Central and North American Faeries, And Western European Faeries. Others will undoubtedly be meeting elsewhere.

“I didn’t know who else to call, my family didn’t mention anything in advance. It could be they themselves didn’t know. And I haven’t actually met any other faeries or changelings in town.”

“I see. So what do we need to do?”

“Nothing. There’s nothing we can do, I don’t even know if we’re invited.”

“I don’t see a bloody thing!” Said Plaz who’d been silent this whole time, staring at the ocean.

“You wouldn’t be able to see it. It’s on the faerie spectrum.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a thing.”

“Ugh, did he have to come.”

“Well we were in the middle of our thing when you called.” Rosario said. She hated being in this position, stuck between two people who clearly disliked each other. But she wasn’t gonna dump Plaz for someone she’d just met, and she desperately wanted to know more about her place in the world as a changeling, so stuck she was.

“Listen up you two.” She said, suddenly determined.

“Bren, you clearly want my help and support in this situation. Well Plaz is my oldest and closest support system, we come together. Plaz, this is important to me, this gets at to the nature of my very being, I want to see this through. I’m gonna need you two to fucking cool it.”

“Ok yeeesh.” Bren said

“As you will mistress.” Plaz said bowing his head, Rosario thumped the back of it.

“Ow!”

“I mean it, smart ass.”

“Ok ok.”

“Glad that’s settled. So Bren, if there’s nothing for us to do, why did you call me?”

“I’m sorry, I was just freaking out a little bit.”

“Oh.”

“I’m not as cool as I can come across, I guess.”

“That’s ok, none of us are. When will they get here?”

“They’ll get here at different times, but it’ll probably take a couple weeks or so for everyone to get here. A lot of them are travelling by land or by sea. Though faster than any usual method, and some are flying I’m sure. There’s also faerie workers who can’t always travel with their faerie spirits who’ll be coming through more mundane methods.”

“I see. Um, will our… ancestors be coming.”

“I don’t know, I figured if mine were my human parents would’ve let me know somehow. As for yours, you don’t even know who they are.”

That’s right, she hadn’t told Bren about her encounter with her aunt. Hard to believe it had all happened in the same day.

“Actually I do know a little bit more about them now.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes, I can tell you about it later. Do you mind if I stop to roll a joint right now?”

“I approve of this plan” Plaz chimed in.

“Go right ahead” answered Bren.

They found a spot to sit by the ocean. It was very windy so she had to be careful and use Plaz as a wind shield whilst rolling. It’s usually pretty safe to smoke weed in New York, but all it takes is one cop who wants to ruin your day for that not to be the case. Thankfully as a demon Plaz had a passive stealth field he could lift or thicken at will. One of those, people just happen not to pay attention to them kind of jobs. It was very useful for peace of mind in this situation. The joint rolled Rosario lit it and took a few puffs, then passed it to Plaz, the smoked in silence. He then passed it to Bren, who accepted it this time. This made Rosario smile. Bren started coughing and wheezing.

“Holly shit, you Americans and your joints, they’re so freaking strong.”

Rosario and Plaz burst out laughing.

“I guess you’re a bit Eurotrash after all.” Rosario said.

“Am not, am not just a big a pothead as you two!”

“I kid, I kid. Some of my best friends are Eurotrash though.”

“I’ll take Eurotrash over ameritrash any day.” said Bren and passed the joint back to Rosario.

“What time is it?” Rosario said.

“30 past eleven” Said Bren.

“Shit, we can still go to RR over there, anyone down.”

Vague signs of agreement from all the gathered.

“Cool let’s do it, and I can tell you what I found out about my parentage.”
They got dinner, and Rosario told her story for the second time this day.
“I’d say it’s entirely possible she’ll be here.” Bren said when Rosario had been done.

“There’s bound to be a Dominican contingent, but it’s not certain that every Ciguapa will be here.” She still budged the pronunciation but Rosario overlooked it.

“Will she recognise me?” she asked instead.

“Oh yeah, and you’ll recognise her. The faerie in you would react quite strongly.”

“I see.”

“There are no coincidences, that’s not how our world works.”

“Faeries never experience coincidences?”

“It’s more like we never treat them as such, we find a reason for it even if we have to invent it.

But I don’t think they would convene a whole council over this. Like…”

Fae fell silent

“what’s the matter?” Rosario asked

“I wasn’t the one who was supposed to tell you about you”

“Oh.”

“So it was a breech of protocol for me to do it, but like, surely it’s not the first time it’s happened? Surely it’s not that big a deal. I want to say that but fae folk, fae folk have different priorities than humans.”

“Ok, now I’m nervous.”

“Yeah.”

Now they were both quiet. Plaz interrupted through a mouthful of burger.

“Just don’t go then” he said

“What?” The fae said in unison.

“We can’t just not go” said Bren.

“You both said you hadn’t been invited so why do you assume they want you there?”

“That’s actually a good point” said Rosario.

“No, we can’t just not go. It’s too important.” said Bren.

“Well, Are other Changelings gonna be there?” Asked Rosario

“I really don’t know. I need to get in touch with my folks, they must know.”

“So why haven’t you?”

“I did, I emailed them. But it’s like 5 am in Ireland.”

“If this is such a momentous occasion you’d think they’d be awake for it.”

“Hahah you’d think wrong then, my friend. They don’t give up sleep for any spirit. I wish I could say the same.”

“I see.”

They sat in silence for a while. Rosario looked at the time on her phone, more for the look of it than anything else. It was 1:20.

“Shall we head home then?” She said, and received various nods and grunts of agreement.
They stepped outside and looked at the column of light again.

“aight then, imma head out. I wish y’all luck in your various commutes, I’m taking the hellway myself.” said Plaz.

“Good-Bye” said Bren, cooly, but not coldly.

Plaz pulled Rosario aside and whispered.

“sorry about third-wheeling so far, but now’s your chance”

“What, oh give me a break, we’re just gonna go home. Fae’s probably real tired.”

“If you say so.” said Plaz and winked

“Toodles” He said and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
“What did he tell you?” Wren asked. “Did he warn you not to trust me.”

“No.” said Rosario. “He told me to put the moves on you.”

Bren stifled a laugh but it wasn’t enough, she started laughing heartily.

“Well” fae said “are you?”

“I don’t know” Rosario answered coyly “I’m not sure you’re ready for that.”

“How bout you just walk me to the subway station?”

“Sure, Rosario said. What’s your route?”

“hmm, D, to Atlantic, then the 3 or 4. Well I guess the 4 by now.”

“Cool, I also have to… Ride the D”

“Hah”

“Come on you.”
They walked to the station together. When they got there, unsurprisingly, they found they had to wait 20 minutes for the train. They got to talking.
“So I’ve been wondering, how long you’ve been in the states?” Rosario asked faer inside the station.

“Oh way long time. Since I was 10 years old.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, my parents sent me to live with my aunt, upstate.”

“How come?”

“It’s my destiny, well out destiny. A stipulation of the deal, my Sidhe ancestors wanted to come to the states, to kind of bridge the gap for our people in this country.”

“Your shy what?”

“Oh right. It’s complicated, but Sidhe is a preferred term for the Irish spirits otherwise known as faeries. Also a word of advice, don’t use that term at the gathering around the Neighbors. They really don’t like it. I’ve lived here long enough that I’m desensitized to it and I actually think it’s useful as a catch-all, but old habits.”

“I see how do you pronounce that again, Shyy?”

“Just say fair folk.”

“No I want to learn.”

“Ok, it’s like she with two Es. Shee, Sidhe”

“Sheeh.”

“Closer”

“Shee”

“Closer.”

“Sidhe”

“There you go that’s pretty good.”

“And how do you spell it.”

“It’s anglicized Sidhe.”

“Cool lemme write that down. So you’ve been in the states a while then. That explains it.”

“Explains what?” Oops, Rosario hadn’t meant to say that last bit out loud.

“Well you don’t sound very Irish.”

Bren laughed at this.

“Oh I suppose you’d expect me to sound like this then, eh lassie” fae said in a very exaggerated but not very good Irish accent.

“No, I have much of an accent it’s true, but people in Eire don’t generally have that thick of an accent either. Except maybe in the Gaeltacht.”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, that’s the part of the country where Irish is spoken more than English.”

“Oh interesting. Ah, here’s the train”

They got on the train, it was one of the older cars, the conductor said in their inscrutable not to New Yorkers voice “Manhattan Bound D, stand clear of closing doors.” and the train got moving.

“You don’t have much of an accent yourself either, isn’t your first language Spanish?” Bren said once they’d been seated in the mostly empty carriage.

“Yes, that’s right. And I don’t have much of an accent, though it jumps out in certain words.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Yeah, like I have to be very careful to say Yale instead of Jail, or like chair gives me trouble, and don’t get me started on shart.”

Bren snorted.

“Did you do that on purpose?”

“No.” Rosario was laughing too. “I really can’t. Shart, sha, shhh,”

“Chart?”

“Yeah that. Shart.”

“No come on Ch, Chart”

“Chart.”

“there you go. Now I wonder if there’s things I say where my accent jumps out.”

“I haven’t noticed any. But then, English is your first language isn’t it.”

“More or less more or less. We spoke equal parts English and Irish in my house.”

“Oh cool, so you’re fluent in Irish?”

“Tá”

“I take it that means yes”

“More or less.”

“Does everyone in Ireland speak Irish, then?”

“No, not really. Everyone has to learn some of it, but most people tend to forget it. It’s kind of like how almost every American says they took Spanish in High School but can’t even ask for the time now. Though it seems Irish is growing in popularity lately, in Eire and abroad, there’s even a Duolingo course for it.”

“That’s cool! You’ll have to speak some to me sometime.”

Bren then said something that Rosario wouldn’t even have been able to try to spell out. She just smiled at Faer.

“That means, ‘anytime'” fae said.

“That’s amazing.” Rosario said “Oh, here we are, Atlantic Avenue.”

They got off the train. Walked off the platform to the spot where they’d have to go in different directions.

“Hey, this was really nice, you know considering the circumstance.” Rosario said before they split off.

“I agree. I’m still really nervous, but I guess I feel a tiny bit better knowing there’s someone else in it with me. I’m really glad we met, Rosario”

“I’m glad we met too. Hug?”

“Sure.”

They embraced. Rosario’s heart was beating excitedly.

“I’ll text you tomorrow. Ok?” Rosario said.

“Sure.”

They went in their separate directions, Rosario had to wait 15 minutes for her train again, but eventually she made it home and fell asleep with a smile on her face.
To be continued

Daily Ritual Ch. 5

At least a decade and a half ago, one of the first times Rosario had visited New York City, she and her brother had been invited to her Aunt Flor’s house for dinner. They made the mistake of grabbing a late lunch at a restaurant Downtown…

This is chapter 5 of a series that starts here:

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

WordPress doesn’t allow css formatting on a free plan so feel free to snatch the pdf from the patreon. If you don’t mind reading it like this. By all means. Read on:

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At least a decade and a half ago, one of the first times Rosario had visited New York City, she and her brother had been invited to her Aunt Flor’s house for dinner. They made the mistake of grabbing a late lunch at a restaurant Downtown and weren’t at all hungry when they showed up at Flor’s house for early dinner. She’d prepared a sumptuous feast with chicken, steak, rice, beans, fried plantains, and sliced avocados, and she’d looked so sad when they tried to imply that they wouldn’t be eating much of it. So they ate as much as they could and collapsed in their hotel room when they’d been done. Rosario vowed never to make that mistake again.

That’s why on Monday morning she got up at her usual 7 am but did not make her usual hearty breakfast and instead got by on a cup of coffee. She had planned to get some writing work done but she couldn’t concentrate. She tried to tidy up the flat instead.

When 11 rolled around she took the B train to Manhattan. It would have served her better and been less of a walk to catch the 2 or 3, but she liked taking trains that went over the bridge. She wasn’t in Manhattan very often and she never got tired of the view.

She walked from the Museum of Natural History stop to her aunt’s rent controlled apartment in the Upper West Side. When she got inside both her aunts greeted her warmly. It probably been less than a year since she last saw Flor, but it’d been at least 8 years since she’d last seen Nana. She hugged them each in turn, and was introduced to yet another cousin of hers she’d never met before. They never seemed to run out.

Lunch had been as extravagant as she’d expected, aside from Sancocho, a hearty Dominican soup that one bowl of would make lunch in an of itself, with its 3 different kinds of meat (the full dish calls for 7) and various starchy root vegetables, there was also rice, a leaf salad, fried plantains and avocados.

They had a nice lunch, they caught up, Flor showed her photos from her recent 75th Birthday bash. Rosario knew she couldn’t really broach the subject of faerie magic in front of of everyone, she hoped she’d get some time alone with her Tía Nana later. She kept giving her glances, but mostly she tried to genuinely enjoy the time with her family that she rarely ever saw despite living in the same city.

But of course, such family affairs then to get drawn out, there was dessert (Dulce de Leche), her aunts gave her gifts of cheap jewellery and money. And when it was finally time to go she offered to walk Tía Nana to the subway. She was so exhausted from the socialising and the food, she almost didn’t want to go through with it, but she knew it was now or never.

“Tía?” She said.

“yes, honey?”

“Did you… is it true that you used to do Santeria?”

Her aunt was taken aback immediately.

“No no no” She said.

“Latter Day Saints, I’m a Mormon.”

“Oh she said.”

“Not Santeria.”

“Ok…”

This was disappointing, to say the least. She thought to herself. One last attempt.

“So you wouldn’t know anything about Ciguapas?”

Nana sighed.

“I see. So you know.”

“Yep.”

“I wanted to tell you. But I was supposed to wait until you were eighteen and by then.”

“My mom wasn’t talking to you.”

“Right.”

“Was it over… this?”

“No No no no, you know what it was about don’t you?”

“All I heard is it had to do with money and Aunt Mindy.”

“Yes, your Aunt Mindy was… reckless, it cost her her job and very nearly cost your mother hers. That’s all it was, it had nothing to do with the Ciguapa, that whole thing was much earlier.”

“What happened.”

“Let’s find a place to sit down.”

They walked to the park and found a bench to sit in, then her aunt told her everything she knew.

“I was a Santera” she said.

“And I want to say I was pretty good. I healed a lot of people, I helped people get jobs, I made and broke careers with the help of the Orishas. But I had no reason to touch those creatures, the Ciguapas and the Galipotes, they’re not the domain of Santeria.

“But I knew about them of course, I’d seen them, when I had to spend long nights in the Bosque, and when you’ve developed your sense through the work. They’re hard to miss. We tend to avoid them.

“But one day I was tasked with a request the Orishas and the Saint would not answer. Do you remember. When you were a very small child. Being in the hospital?”

“Yeah, I remember, I must’ve been 5.”

“Yes. You got very sick and the doctors didn’t know how to help you. You were throwing up, dehydrated, they couldn’t get fluids in you quick enough you’d lost them again. Your mother, who’d never asked me anything to do with my work, suddenly asked for my help.

“I tried everything, every remedy, every prayer. I could see the spirits, clearly, walking away. I don’t know if they couldn’t help you, or if they just wouldn’t. But I was out of ideas. In the forest, fasting, she found me.

“She said she could see that I was in great pain, and she said maybe we could help one another. Her own child was sick. But, she said, the diseases of her people don’t easily kill us, and our diseases don’t easily kill them. If we brought you two together, both of you would live. You wouldn’t be the same. Rafi, and back then I still thought of you as Rafi,”

Rosario flinched at the mention of her dead nickname but she didn’t interrupt

“Rafi would cease to be Rafi, and Anacao would cease to be Anacao, but both of you would live on in what you would become. She was very clear that when you reach the age our people consider maturity I was to tell you all of this, and allow you to seek her if you wanted to. She said that is what had been agreed by her people to be the proper thing for these situations.

“of course I never did. And I never touched Santeria again after that day, but it worked. I said yes and the next day you were already a little better, and in a week you went home and you never had that problem again. You didn’t seem different, but I guess you must have been. You are different now.”

“If you’re referring to my gender, I don’t think those are necessarily related.”

“No of course not. The Ciguapa don’t have a gender like we do, they’re all the same. They have long hair so people think them women, but then, the Taino men wore their hair long and had no beards either.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“I know you think I’m an old lady out of touch, but I’m a little more savvy than that, niña”

“Ok, Tía”

“Do you… do you resent what I did?”

“What? Of course not, I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for that right? And who knows, maybe it’s helped me more than I thought?”

“How so?”

“Well, I do magic too, right? Well maybe you didn’t think of Santeria as magic, but I think it’s at least similar. And I don’t do Santeria OR Faerie Magic, but I seem to have a knack for enchantment anyways, and spirit work.” She kept to herself the fact that her favourite spirits to work with were the demons of the Goetia, she somehow thought her aunt wouldn’t approve.

“Oh I never knew that, that makes me really happy to hear, niña”

“It does? I would think you wouldn’t approve. Being as though you stopped practising.”

“I did because I was afraid, I thought I had dug a whole for my family that I couldn’t get myself out of, I never wanted to be in that situation again, and I didn’t know if my Orishas would answer me again. But seeing the confident young woman you’ve become. That gives me hope. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.”

“So will you do Santeria again?”

“Oh no. I don’t think so. I think those days are behind me.”

“Dang, I was hoping you could teach me”

“It doesn’t sound like you need me to teach you, you’re on your own path, and that sounds wonderful. Of course I’d love to help you if I can, but I think my Santera days are well behind me.”

“If I ever wanted to find her, the Ciguapa. Do you know how I could?”

“I suppose, if you did what I did. Fast for 5 days and 5 nights in the mountains north of Santiago, that might be enough. If you need more potency… well.”

“Yes.”

“I want you to be very careful.”

“Ok.”

“You can try eating some Yucca Leaves. They’re very poisonous so be very careful, but they should let you see the Ciguapa. Anacao’s mother. Her name is Jaca. Remember that.”

“I will.”

Tía Nana looked at her wristwatch.

“I really need to be getting home. So we should go catch the train. Was there anything else.”

“Well, Just one more question I suppose?”

“What is it?”

“Why Mormonism?”

Her aunt laughed.

“Haha, why it’s safer isn’t it? It’s just people. People can be dangerous yes, but they don’t hold a candle to what an Orisha or a Ciguapa can do.”

“That makes sense, I suppose.”

They walked to the Museum of Natural History station, her aunt took the C and Rosario waited around and took the B. When she finally made it home she was tired and needed to unwind. She hadn’t smoked weed at all since the day after the “revelation”. She thought about rolling a regular joint, and not summoning Plaz, but eventually decided she would really like talking to him. So she did her ritual. She ground the herbs, this time mixing mint and weed, and of course, the sigil. He was there before she was finished rolling.

“Wow you’re eager today.”

“Well what’s your excuse, we haven’t gone this long without talking since like year one.”

“I’ve been processing a lot of stuff, ‘member?”

“Not a very good excuse then.”

She rolled her eyes, and the joint. She offered him the first puff. He took the joint and lit it with his finger. An old trick he didn’t seem to use very often anymore.

“You know, all of my other subjects”

“subjects, hah!” she sneered

“Well the rest of them are. Anyways, they all offer weed, but it’s always worse rolled, worse quality, and even if they mix shit in they never get the ratio right.”

Rosario put out her hands in a generous gesture

“I aim to please” she said.

Plaz handed her the joint.

“So. You speak with your aunt?”

“Yup.”

“And what’d you learn.”

“Nothing actionable. I mean she told me where I could go to meet my faerie mother, but like, I’d have to fly back to the DR and I’m not about to do that.”

“You sure? I could take you?”

“You can?”

“We’d have to go through hell though.”

“That sounds unpleasant.”

“I mean a human wouldn’t survive it, but maybe a changeling would.”

“Maybe? the fuck do you mean, maybe?”

“Well, it’s not like it’s ever been tried before.”

“Let us take that option, OFF the Table.”

“Ok, excuse me for trying to be helpful. Do you have a different idea.”

“well my folks always pay for me to travel for Christmas, so maybe I find an excuse to fuck off to the mountains during… yeah that’s probably not gonna happen. Well, in any case, I don’t want to go right now, I don’t think I have to.”

“You don’t want to know about your heritage?”

“I do, but damn, like it’s too much all at once, I can’t just drop everything to pursue it, I still have deadlines, you know.”

“ah yes, your ‘job’ I’ve told you I can make you rich you don’t have to keep doing it.”

“Yeah, and I just have to pledge my soul to your boss in perpetuity, no thank you.”

“She’s pretty nice once you get to know her.”

“I don’t disagree, lots of love to Lucy, but I have different plans for my soul. Also, I happen to like my job. Now can we please get back to the matter at hand.”

“Right, right, so tell me more.”

She relayed the whole encounter to him with only minor interruptions.

“So yeah. I don’t know how I want to play it, but I don’t think I need to run into the forest and look for answers that way. I want to keep exploring, see what abilities I have and don’t have. Maybe journey on it and try to recover some of Anacao’s memories from before we joined.”

“And what about your crush?”

“I… I’m not sure. Fae hasn’t texted me and I don’t want to bother faer.”

“Oh that’s rich, when have YOU ever shown this much restraint.”

“Well this is different, this is the first time someone I’ve dated done… that to me. I’m usually the one in control, even with supernatural creatures, I’m the magician, the holder of the secret. I’ve never had my own secret revealed to me that way. And I’m afraid… I’m afraid fae might see me as a nuisance, especially if I try to talk to faer about the whole changeling stuff. I don’t want faer to think I want faer to take care of me or to teach me or anything.”

“Well why the hell not? Fae seems like precisely the kind of person to help you in this situation.”

“But… I want to be faer girlfriend, not her charge.”

“Girlfriend? Oh this is worse than I thought, I thought you just wanted to boink her.”

“Well that too, but… I don’t know what I want any more and that scares me. I’m not in control…. what the fuck is in this joint, I’ve never been quite so open with you.”

“Well, keep it coming I like it”

“You were the first to ever tell me not to trust a demon.”

“Oh that was then, we’d just met. We’re friends now. We’re not summoner and summonee.”

Rosario smiled at him

“We are, aren’t we.”

“Thick as thieves, you and I. This is cashed by the way.” He put the roach in the ash tray.

“I’ll roll another one.

“So, if we’re friends, maybe you’ll tell me what you’re supposed to be the demon of now?”

“Oh, pfft, I mean sure I guess you’ve earned that. It’s…”

Just then Rosario’s phone rang.

“Oh for the love of Satan.” Plaz said. Rosario reached for her phone.

“Oh fuck, it’s Bren.” She said

“And what does the faerie want?”

“Let me see.”

She answered the phone.

“Hiya! Oh… ok calm down. Ok We’ll head right over. Yeah me and Plaz, is that ok? ok ok we’ll come. In Sheepshead bay. Ok we’ll be there as soon as we can.

“Fae needs our help.”

To be Continued.

Daily Ritual Ch 1.

        Rosario came home from work in need of Spiritual Guidance. She came into her room, dropped her backpack on the bed and set out about the summoning. She lit the middle candle of her altar, inviting the all mother, Satan, to watch over her proceedings. Just in case.

        Rosario liked to think of herself as the successor to her aunt Tía Nana, who wasn’t really her aunt but had helped raise her mother. No one else in her direct family was particularly spiritual, though she was sure some of them had gone to Tía Nana, the family Santera, for advice or workings, they would never admit to it.

        There was one difference between her and her aunt though. Rosario didn’t practice Santeria, she didn’t know the first thing about it. What she practised didn’t have a name, chaos magic, maybe, but she loathed most chaos magicians she encountered. She’d cobbled together a practice out of random books she’d read, the internet, her other spiritual friends. And this practice had become super charged when she actually took the plunge and summoned her first demon.

        She was calling to him now, with their usual, daily ritual:

        She took a tiny strip of cardboard, two centimetres high by 7 long. In it she drew a sigil, the calling sign of her demon Plazhol. She rolled the cardboard into a tiny cylinder. Tight but with plenty of space for air to flow through. She picked the dried herbs from their tiny ceramic pots. Taking from the green and the purple, dried flowers. Delicately grinding them in a special herb grinder, etched with the symbols of her practice.

        She took the ground herbs and spread them on a small sheet of wax paper, together with the little cardboard “filter” she’d rolled earlier. And started rolling the wax paper around the herbs, as she did she said her incantation.

        “How do you feel about a lavender joint today, Plaz?”

        And as she finished rolling the joint. Plaz materialised next to her on her bed. He had the appearance of a young tan man. Light hair that looked bleached. Piercings on his eyebrows. Donning a sort of worn green jacket over a black t-shirt.

        “Sounds fresh” he said, rubbing his hands.

        He took the joint from her hands and lit it with a flame he sprout from his finger. He took a puff.

        “Damn, that’s good shit.”

        He coughed.

        “Strong, too, what’d you say was in this?”

        “Lavender” She replied. “a little bit of mint and then a new strain of indica my dealer got. I haven’t even tried it yet.”

        “Well be my guest” the demon said handing the lit joint back to her. She took a couple puffs before handing it back.

        “So, how’s it going today? You need something from me?” Plaz asked her.

        “Actually, yes.”

        “Damn, I was hoping this was going to be just a social call, what is it?”

        “I met someone”

        “Rosy” he said somewhat disapprovingly.

        “It’s different this time!”

        “That’s what you said last time”

        “Well, so what I can’t date people?”

        “You can absolutely date people, but usually, when you tell me, you met someone, you’re not about to date them, you’ve already fucked them and then something has gone awry.”

        “Well not this time, we haven’t had sex at all.”

        “Uh-huh”

        “We only kissed”

        “Yes”

        “And like touched and cuddled”

        “yes”

        “but with clothes on”

        “So what’s so different about this person?”

        Rosario thought about this for a second.

        “Well fae is–”

        “Hold on, Hold ON!” Plaz interrupted her.

        “They’re a faerie?!” He asked, alarmed.

        “No fae just–”

        “Listen to me Rosario and listen to me closely, do not fuck with faeries, literally or figuratively”

        “Fae isn’t–”

        “I’m a demon and I don’t even fuck with faeries, they freak me out. Their fingers, oh god those fingers”

        “Those are just faer pronouns, fae’s human, I mean I’m pretty sure fae’s human.”

        “Huh?”

        “Some people use fae and faer as pronouns, it’s a type of neo-pronouns, we’ve talked about these.”

        “Oh. Ooh.

        He sat down on the bed.

        “Thank Satan.” he said, he took a puff of the joint.

        “It’s cashed.” He said.

        “I’ll roll another one.”

        “Wheeweee”

        He sprawled on her bed.

        “That fucked me up.”

        “You’re such a lightweight.”

        “well, I’m sorry milady, I’m not exactly the demon lord of drugs.”

        “What are you the demon of.”

        “A different addiction, but it’s a secret.”

        “It’s gaming isn’t it? You’re a gamer demon”

        “I will never tell.”

        “How old are you? You’re always saying you’re pretty young.”

        “In demon terms, in human terms I’m ancient. You could not comprehend how long my life has been.”

        “try me”

        “I was old when your pyramids were young.”

        “Giza?”

        “excuse me?”

        “You mean the pyramids at Giza? In Egypt.”

        “sure.”

        “you know there are other pyramids.”

        “yeah? huh, the more you know.”

        “And that’s only 5000 years, that’s not that much. But I don’t even believe you.”

        “Listen didn’t you have something you wanted to ask me?”

        “Now I’m not sure, I thought I was talking to a font of ancient forbidden wisdom, but if you’re from like 300 years ago, I’m not sure you’re the right person.”

        “Well who else you gonna ask?” He said with a smirk.

        “Good point.”

        “And I’m not 300 years old.”

        “Sure.”

        “I’m much older, aeons older I’ve seen civiliz–”

        “Yeah yeah.”

        She plopped on the bed next to him, lit joint number 2.

        “I made this one a little lighter for your sake.” she said, handing him the lit doobie.

        “Thanks.”

        “I just. Want this to go well, you know?”

        “of course.”

        “And fae’s so cool. Fae’s in a band!”

        “You’re not exactly boring you know, Rosario?”

        “Yeah, but fae’s cool type of cool, I’m the weird type of cool.”

        “Well, what if that’s what fae’s into.”

        “Maybe?”

        “You’d be surprised. I’ve laid with many humans, of all genders, shapes, and sizes. And the number of times I’ve told them I’m a demon, only for them to say shit like ‘oooh, can I see your real form, ooh I bet it’s grotesque.’ humans are freaky.”

        “And, did you show them?”

        “Only sometimes. It gets old. Fetishy.” He grimaced.

        “Damn, I’m sorry.”

        “I happen to like my human form, it’s why I picked it. ”

        “I like it too.”

        “so is that it, you just need an ego boost?”

        “No it’s not that. It’s, well how long have we known each other. You and I”

        “you tell me, as you know your human years are like seconds to m–”

        “Ok, ok. Well, I think it’s been at least 2 years. Like today’s March, so yeah, 2 years. And how many girls and enbies have you seen me date in that time.”

        “At least a dozen.”

        “And it never lasts, what is it about me that wrecks relationships?”

        “Well there was that girl, you broke up with her over her, music taste?”

        “Right, Camila, she was too into dad rock, I couldn’t be in the car with her.”

        “And that person who you said their poetry was mediocre.”

        “That was mutual, they didn’t care for my papier mache recreations of n-dimensional topological objects.”

        “Well don’t you think you need to adjust your standards a little bit. And maybe take it slower. Get to know a person before you decide to date them, and move in with them, and get a cat.”

        “That only happened once and we were together 6 months, which is a record.”

        “Also, aren’t you dating someone right now?”

        “yes, Mildie, but we’re polyamorous and currently long distance. She’s in Florida.”

        “And what’s this new person’s name.”

        “Faer name is Brenta, Fae goes by Bren.”

        “Bren, huh?” He said, looking at the ceiling.

        “Well tell you what. How bout. How bout I meet this Bren, maybe I can advice you better then.”

        “I don’t know.”

        “Come on, we don’t have to tell… faem?”

        “Faer.”

        “We don’t have to tell faer what I am. I can just be your friend from out of town.”

        “You’re not proposing a Cyrano de Bergerac situation, are you?”

        “A whom what now?”

        “Never mind.”

        “So it’s settled.” He said

        “When do you see faer again?”

        “Fae invited me to faer show next weekend.”

        “Very well. I will see you then. Thanks for the smoke. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have souls to pester, I mean torture.”

        He tried to stand up off the bed, stumbled and fell back on the bed.

        “Or maybe not, maybe I wait a minute.”

        “Haha. Lightweight.” She goaded.

        “Hush.”

        “You wanna watch some TV.”

        “Sure.”

        She pulled an episode of Seinfeld on her computer and cast it to the TV.

        “This one’s really funny. It’s the one where George tries to name this couple’s baby.”

        “Costanza! Hahaha.”

        To be continued…

Read on! Chapter 2