Rosalind, a busty blonde who wore so much costume jewelry that she rattled when she walked, was a waitress at The Witch’s Brew, the coffee shop next to Fiona’s herb shop. She had come to sit out on the patio with Fiona and Maizie.
It was late in the day, and Fiona and Maizie were finally taking a break after dealing with the steady stream of chatty, empty-headed debutantes and their mothers who’d been cramming into the Greenhouse for days now. The Crystal Ball was only weeks away, and they were snapping up salves and herbs and potions to artificially enhance their beauty, from sunup to sundown. Fiona could barely keep up with the demand.
The Crystal Ball was attended by the most powerful, beautiful, and desirable witches and the handsomest, most eligible powerful warlocks. It was a tradition for warlocks to “claim” their future bride at the ball by proposing in magical and dramatic fashion. Every witch in the city wanted to look her most beautiful at the ball.
“Seriously?” Maizie set down her coffee, leaned back in her chair and fixed Rosalind with an exasperated glare. “This again?”
“My gramma told me. And she’s right. Every time my palms itch, something bad happens.”
Fiona and Maizie glanced at each other.
“Shall you, or shall I?” Fiona asked.
“I shall.” Maizie turned back to their friend, and held up her hand. “Here are the reasons why you’re ridiculous, Rosalind. “ She held up one finger. “Number one, it’s two days before the full moon.” She held up a second finger. “Number two, you’re a werewolf. Of course your palms are itchy. Your whole body gets itchy before the full moon.”
“Yes, but my palms are especially itchy,” Rosalind said earnestly.
“I have herbs for that,” Fiona added absentmindedly, stirring her coffee.
Maizie held up a third finger. “And number three, your little predictions are about as meaningful as the horoscope in the daily paper. You always predict things that are obviously going to happen anyway. I mean, we’re on 25th Street, for Hades sake. Of course something bad’s going to happen today!”
The Graveyard stretched from north to south, from 25th street down to First Street, a neighborhood where only the foolish ventured out at night without magical or hired protection, where murder was a daily event, where hope came to die. And not in its sleep.
Fiona’s store was in a business district on the northernmost block of The Graveyard, just south of a long stretch of tired, blue-collar homes where the residents still struggled to keep up appearances.
“See? So I’m right!” Rosalind beamed happily.
“Oh, bite me,” Maizie grumbled, turning her attention back to her coffee.
“I’m not even turning for two more days,” Rosalind said, puzzled. “And why would you want me to bite you? Werewolf-witches aren’t a good combination.”
Maizie’s irises flared red, and her coffee began bubbling so hard it slopped over the edge of the coffee cup. Fiona leaped in hastily.
“Rosalind, there are customers coming in right now.”
It was true; a cluster of debs and their mothers were inside the coffee shop, reading the day’s specials off the chalkboard wall and giggling excitedly. Dragon’s blood smoothies? Horn of unicorn tea? The drinks didn’t really contain those illegal ingredients, but the tourists who bought them would never know that, and the owners charged a premium for the cheap thrill.
Rosalind rushed off to serve them. “Bless her empty little head,” Fiona said.
“Moron,” Maizie grumbled. “She exceeded my recommended daily allowance of stupid. And now my coffee’s too hot.”