She walked briskly through the chill night air, a cacophony of voices rising all around her. On one side of the road, protesters.
“Twittler! Orange Cheeto!”
On the other side, well, that was worse.
“Kill them all!”
“You all deserve to die!”
“…don’t deserve to live…”
“Get out of Trumps America!”
“Misfits, don’t belong here…..”
“You’re the real deplorables!”
“…should be exterminated….”
She shook her head in disgust as she hurried along. She headed toward home eager to be inside in the cheery warmth. Her sister was home from college and she couldn’t wait to catch up with her.
Her sister, Samantha. Sam was young, vibrant, and full of life. She always had a quick smile and an open, accepting personality. She was very talented and had won a scholarship to attend Columbia University’s school of visual arts. She had a bright future ahead of her.
She was smart, funny, kind and thoughtful. The kind of person anyone would want for a friend, or sister. Lydia felt lucky to be Sam’s sister. But now their family faced a threat.
Whereas no one in the entire world cared one iota who Lydia fell in love with, a huge portion of the American public had made it their mission to harass Samantha and those like her and strip them of their rights. Because, in addition to everything else that made up Samantha, she happened to be gay. Yes, her sister was a lesbian.
She shoved her hands deeper into the pockets of her purple jacket and increased her pace. Arriving at home, she fumbled for her house key, her breath making plumes in the air. She slipped inside her family’s home, the warmth cascading over her body as she entered the foyer, soft light filtering down the entry hall.
Lydia removed her jacket, momentarily sinking her fingers into the velvety softness of it as she hung it on the hook. Her shoes thumped against the wall as she kicked them off and hurried into the family room.
A fire crackled merrily in the fireplace, the Christmas tree twinkled in the corner. The room was ablaze with light and warmth, everything she associated with her childhood. This room had always been the hub of family life, family meetings, family movie night, and countless late nights huddled on the couch, giggling with her sister. Now the house was quite, silent. She couldn’t be the first one home.
“Mom? Dad? Sam?” she called as searched the house for signs of life.
There was a thump from upstairs, but no answer. Her heart leapt into her throat as her mouth went dry. What was going on up there? She took the stairs two at a time. Reaching the second floor she craned her head wildly around trying to determine where the thump had come from.
There, at the end of the hallway, a shadowy figure appeared in the doorway to one of the rooms. That would be the game room. Inside were the pool table, fuse ball, and air hockey. That room was the main reason their house had always been the neighborhood hangout when they were growing up. Countless evenings and weekends were spent in there playing board games or air hockey, watching TV or just hanging out. Now her heart pounded in her chest as she made her way quietly, and quickly, down the hall.
As she got closer, she could see the man’s face. It was Jared, what was he doing here? Jared and Sam had dated back in high school, but that had been eons ago! Obviously it was before Sam had come out. Jared shouldn’t be here her mind was screaming. He was out of place in the dark stillness of the family home. Who had let him in? Why was he here?
Adrenaline spiked through her as she realized his presence in the upstairs hallway could only mean danger. She extended her right arm and alternately flexed then clenched her fist. Her palms were sweaty and her pulse thudded in her ears as she felt the heat rush to her face. Oh no, not this again!
Lydia had been struggling with controlling her powers; she wasn’t good at it yet! It was so unfair that no one was here to help her, she might kill Jared without even trying to, and then how was she ever going to get into college?
She stalked closer to him, but Jared was complete unaware of her so preoccupied was he on whatever he was seeing in that room. She stepped purposefully toward him, trying her best to stay calm and keep quiet until she could assess the situation.
Jared continued to back slowly out of the room. Lydia could hear her sister’s voice now, “Don’t make me do it Jared, keep backing up, turn around and get out of my house!”
Jared started to turn, saw Lydia, jerked in surprise then started back into the room. He had a baseball bat clutched in his hand.
Before she could do anything, there was an explosion of light and bright drops of gold that sizzled and twirled through the air.
Jared staggered backwards into the hallway. She watched in horror as he slumped to the floor, a smoldering hole in his chest. She glanced down at her clinched fists in horror but her hands had never risen up to deliver that blow.
Sam rushed out of the room and threw herself down next to Jared sobbing, “I didn’t mean to! He came at me with that bat, he was swinging it!”
The hysterical sobbing broke the spell and Lydia rushed to her sister’s side, “It’s ok, it’s ok, it was self-defense! What the hell happened here tonight?”
Rubbing her wet face Sam haltingly got the story out. Jared had shown up unannounced, said his car broke down, wanted to use the phone, came inside with the bat behind his back. He started berating her for their breakup, for moving away without him, for being gay.
“He called me an abomination! He said we all needed to be exterminated!” She hiccupped through the tears.
Lydia felt a sense of calm descend upon her like a well-worn cloak. For once, she knew exactly what to do. Pulling out her cell phone she sent a quick text to her dad, “Please bring home pizza with pineapple.”
It was their code, her parents would come right away, with the entire coven. The adults would know what to do. Of course, she always thought the code would be used if they were in danger because someone found out their secret.
She shook her head as she shoved the phone back in her pocket. Dumb, stupid humans. This was exactly why witches were still in the closet. If they reacted this way over someone being gay, imagine what they would do if they found out witches were real.
She was right. The adults arrived and in short order, the body was gone, Sam was showered and in clean clothes, the hallway magically cleansed, and everyone was in the family room gathered around the tree eating pizza.
There would be no evidence Jared was ever there. She thought she should feel guilty about that but gazing at her sister, she just didn’t. It was clearly him or her. If it had to be that way then she was glad it was him, if she had to choose, she chose her sister, she would always chose her sister.