alternative lifestyle

We are currently stopped in a very small, dusty little town, several hours from anyplace bigger. We’re just passing through. Lol I feel like a damn cowboy.

We’re here because we got a phone call from Beverly.

“If you’re looking for Cara, I’m afraid you missed her,” Neal said when he picked up Julian’s phone.

“If I was looking for Cara I’d call Cara,” Beverly scoffed. “I have a case for you. More specifically, the Scelerats have a case for you. You busy?”

We were sitting outside a Mexican restaurant, eating rice and beans, and literally watching tumbleweed bump along the road.

“Nope,” Julian said. “We have time.”

So Beverly, with her usual casual proficiency, laid out the case for us.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on this group for a while,” she said. “They’re a women’s shelter, and they’re a little bit… well, they live an alternative lifestyle.”

Neal groaned. “Are they cannibals or something because —”

“No, jesus Neal, they’re just off the grid. Limited electricity, self sustainable, their own water system, all of that.”

“Oh so they’re hippies,” Neal said, more cheerfully. And then, with some doubt, “Or preppers.”

“Closer to hippies,” Beverly said. “Or maybe a nunnery, I’m not sure, I’ve never been there. But they’ve been out there for a long time. Apparently once upon a time there were Shakers on the land, but as far as I can tell they have no religious affiliation these days.”

“What do they need with us?” Julian asked.

“Apparently,” Beverly said, and I could tell it was going go be a doozy because she took a long pause, “they’re witches.”

The boys hesitated. Then Neal said, “C’mon.”

“Yeah, I know,” Beverly said. “I know, trust me. But the Scelerats contacted us to see if we had anyone we could send out there, because apparently covens all over are noticing magical anomalies.”

“There hasn’t been a new genuine coven in… I mean, at least three hundred years. More, probably,” Julian said, starting to get excited. Nerd.

“I know,” Beverly said. “But I’m just the messenger, alright, I don’t know what the deal is any better than you do. Mercy and Zinia are in Europe studying with a psychic out there, or I’d send them. Molly and Sharp are on a case. I can send the Walthers, but… I mean, this case needs a light touch.”

When they start talking about the web of hunters I just sorta tune out tbh. There are too many of them to keep track of.

“No,” Julian said. “No, we’ll go.”

When they got off the phone, Neal said, “You know it’s probably not real, right?”

“Right,” Julian said. “Of course.” But he was looking more optimistic than he has in weeks.

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