The day of the eclipse came faster than the girls expected.
Margo stood in the dimly lit bathroom staring at herself in the mirror. The brass tap was pouring out water. Her caramel hair was cut short above her shoulders. She felt the ends with unfamiliarity. With a deep breath in, she cupped her hands and splashed her face. Once she patted her face dry, she flicked the light switch off and walked down the hall back into Juno’s bedroom.
Juno was sitting at her vanity focusing on the reflection of her painted burgundy lips in the mirror as she slide the tiny wand across her mouth. The door clicked as Margo silently entered. It was always quiet in the morning at the Blackwood house but this morning was different. It was dead like a forest before a storm, as if every creature had fled somewhere. Even when Margo opened the kitchen door to let Thyme roam outside, there were no birds chirping, no leaves rustling, nothing but eerie silence.
Margo thought of asking Juno if this was normal but her throat felt closed up and her spirit felt like folding in on itself. I should be excited, she thought to herself. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a witch, to cast a spell during a solar eclipse―even if it’s just a protection spell.
Juno’s flat morning broke through Margo’s thoughts. “You can borrow clothes from me if you need to.”
“Thanks,” Margo said, her voice hushed. She walked over to her suitcase and pulled out a pair of ripped jeans, clean underwear, socks, and a white shirt. Margo quietly put on the clothes and shuffled over to Juno’s closet. She opened it, pet Sage’s head―who was curled up at the bottom of the closet with the shoes―and went through the hangers looking for a jacket of sorts.
After skimming through a few items, Margo found a big mustard colored sweater. She took it off the hanger and slide it on. Oddly, her hair popped out without Margo having to pull it out. The feeling of having short hair was still so strange to her.
Juno stood up and turned away from the mirror to Margo, “How do I look?”
Margo smiled. Juno was wearing a long sleeved black dress with a triangle cut out of the front and a pair of chunky black boots. Her entire outfit was black besides her dark red lipstick which stuck out like a torch in the darkness. “You look stunning.”
Juno laughed, “Thanks.” Margo tucked her short hair behind her ears self-consciously. Juno clapped her hands together and smiled, “We better get going. We don’t want to be late for the festival.” Margo nodded and followed Juno out of the room. They both grabbed their handbags on the way out.
The festival took place in a large field dotted with tents. The sun was like a warm breath, but the wind was chilly. It danced around, fluttering tent entrances and running its hands through people’s hair. The festival was like a circus with food stands, strangely dressed shopkeepers beckoning you into their tents, and children chasing each other. The loud atmosphere was a startling shock to Margo after the silent morning at the Blackwood house.
Margo struggled to keep close to Juno as she windowed shopped the tents and greeted people. Mrs. Clark, her neighbor, and her daughter Nancy Clark were the first two Juno spotted in the crowd. Mrs. Clark was a short, stubby woman with a hearty laugh and Nancy was petite and shy. Then there was Mr. Reed who was lingering outside a shop smoking a cigar. Juno smiled at him and he patted her on the back with a grin. “If it it’s the young Blackwood girl. Tell your father I said Hello.”
Juno smiled, “Thanks, Mr. Reed. I will!” He winked at them as they walked away.
“Juno look!” Margo tugged on Juno’s arm and pointed. In the distance was a tent with a sign poking out of the soil outside its entrance. It read, Mr. Cullen’s House of Witchcraft and Magic. The girls made their way to the tent and entered. Caitriona stood at a small table organizing her cash register. Margo immediately looked around the tent to see if anyone else was there, but there was no sign of Griffin.
Caitriona looked up at who entered her tent and smiled. “It’s an exciting day, isn’t it?” She said with anticipation.
Juno smiled, “I only wish my aunt Charlotte was alive to witness the new beginning.”
Caitriona’s grin melted into a pitiful smile, “Poor Charlotte. I keep her in my prayers.”
“Thank you,” Juno looked down at her hands, “That means a lot.”
After a short pause, Caitriona spoke again, “Can I get you girls anything?”
Margo shook her head and allowed Juno to answer, “No, thank you. We’re just walking around before the eclipse starts.”
Caitriona nodded, “Well I’ll see y’all later then?”
“Definitely,” Juno smiled as she turned around. The girls left the tent and joined the busy crowd again.
They were passing by a purple tent when a woman grabbed Margo’s hand. As soon Margo felt the unexpected contact, her heart jumped. She turned to look down at a short, dark haired, old woman. The woman flipped Margo’s hand over so that her palm was facing the sky.
“Would you like your cards or palms read, witchling?” the woman asked with a honeyed voice. Margo looked at Juno with worry laced eyes. Juno’s brow was furrowed but she was fixated on the woman. “...Alright,” Margo responded with hesitation.
Still holding Margo’s hand, the woman lead the way to the purple tent. Inside was a table with a starry night sky tablecloth with a deck of tarot cards, a crystal ball, and a teapot. Incense burned making the air sweet.
“My name is Eachna.” The woman gestured to the teapot. “Would you like some tea?”
With a smile, Eachna pulled two teacups from under the table and placed one in front of Margo. She poured the tea into Margo’s cup and then sat down across from her. As they waited for the tea, Eachna took the deck of tarot cards in her hands and shuffled them.
“Ask the cards a question, witchling.”
“Uh…” Margo tried to think of something but she could feel Juno’s presence behind her. “What is going on that I am not aware of? Is that a good question?”
Eachna nodded, “It’ll do.” The cards snapped down on the surface of the table as the woman laid down the spread. She flipped the cards over. Margo could feel her palms sweating. She whipped them on her jeans. Eachna pursed her lips as she looked down at the cards and with a quick voice commanded Margo, “Give me your hands, witchling.” Margo hesitantly laid her hands on top of Eachna's with her palms facing the tent’s ceiling.
Her heart beat loudly in her chest as the woman studied Margo’s palms. Eachna looked up and stared at Margo with crazed eyes, “Head my warning. Be cautious of what you wish for, witchling. The silent wishes are the deadliest.”
Margo ripped her hands away from Eachna’s. She looked at her with disgust, “I―I don’t know what your talking about!” Margo quickly turned around and looked for Juno. She wasn’t in the tent. “Juno?” Margo felt her heart starting to speed up. She got up, not bothering to fix the chair as it fell back, and pull the tent entrance aside. Juno wasn’t outside.