CHAPTER 3

I managed to arrive early for my first day, arriving even before Vianne and Armand. I let myself in with my keys and went about setting up my office. We had a small tearoom where staff and patients were able to make themselves a hot drink or help themselves to the juice, kombuchas or canned waters in the fridge. One of the first things I had added to the office once we had signed the papers was a beautiful copper Delonghi espresso machine, with built in burr grinder. I had popped up on the wall a laminated instructional infographic on how to use it for those who may not have experience before. There were a variety of milk types in the fridge, and I had stocked up on a lot of Manuka Brothers coffee in my last order, with single origin Brazilian beans in the canister above the grinder.

I had my own small kitchenette in a customised cupboard in my office, where I placed my baked goods. Closing the door, I stepped through into my exam room next to my office and placed two of the white coats on hangers in the closet and slipped one on. I decided to start off with the coat with alyssum buttons from Aunt Enid, as the eldest it made sense in my brain to go with hers first. Alyssum’s herbal properties include being used to treat coughs and colds, abdominal cramps and general pain relief. Having it on hand allows me to discreetly draw on those properties to treat patients when I am examining them. My Abuela has made it clear that I am not to entirely heal people, as the “miracle doctor” in a small town would draw excess human attention we deliberately avoid. But I am allowed to use it discreetly to relieve the most vulnerable. My Uncle Hades made it clear when I went into human medicine that I am not to interfere in the natural cycle of life and death of humans as well. However, with other supernaturals I am free to behave as I feel is best.

Vianne and Armand are both Earth witches (as are their daughter and son-in-law). Often Earth witches are drawn to helping humans in the medical fields and had spent years honing the ability to help and heal humanity without being noticed.

Frankly mostly out of fear of more mass executions. Humans across multiple cultures have always feared the supernatural which is kinda ironic as every culture worships a deity or multiple deities and if you think about it there is little difference between the realm of religion and the supernatural. So now witches practice quietly.

Each elemental type of witch is drawn to different aspects of human society. Air witches to aviation, water witches to deep-sea and space, and fire witches to the creative arts. This is obviously a fairly broad generalisation, and within the ranks of witches, the various personality types determine how this is realised.

When I served in the special forces my entire unit was made of elemental witches and shifters. Oh and if you’re wondering, yes those who run the countries we all live in are well aware of our existence, some are even supernatural themselves.

There is a very old agreement between world leaders and those of my world that our soldiers will never attack humans unless there is no other option.

The supernatural world is brutal and bloody enough without us getting involved in human wars. And using our powers to wipe out human enemies is strictly forbidden. I don’t agree with that at all. Why shouldn’t everyone use the advantages they’re born with. Especially if it means saving the lives of innocents. Whilst I don’t break that rule, per se, I do break the spirit of it, regularly.

The bittersweet smell of a hex and the sound of keys in the front door snapped me out of my musing and I walked out of my surgery as Vianne walked in with Armand holding one of the twins and her daughter holding the other. Two little girls called Lola and Lulu. I immediately smelt the fever that both girls had. They also started talking at once. I put my arm around Vianne’s shoulders and raised my hand for silence. “Come through and Charlotte please start from the beginning”, I said taking Lola from Armand so I could touch her forehead and let my senses explore as I listened.

“We were in one of the lesser-known meadows up on the hills yesterday evening and the girls were napping on a rug while I harvested bluebells for a spell. I kept them in my peripheral vision and had a boundary spell protecting them when an almost explosive gust of wind threw me to the ground. The air around us turned black and I scrambled to get to the girls but the force of the wind was keeping me down so I crawled along the ground.” Charlotte breathed in trying to calm herself for her daughter’s sake before continuing, “I eventually got to the girls and was able to curl around and on top of both of them. The darkness lasted for what felt like an hour but couldn’t have been more than 5minutes.

I seated Charlotte on the exam bed in my surgery and placed Lola in her arms. I positioned Armand and Vianne on either side of her to support her holding the girls. “About 5 hours ago Lulu started a fever and Lola had one within a few minutes, I tried every remedy, every spell but nothing is helping.” The last came out tearfully. I frowned a little, “Why didn’t you remove the hex?” I asked slightly confused. “What hex?!” all three practically shouted startling the girls who both started crying anew.

I had smelt the hex before I saw it, the hex quietly simmering around but not quite able to touch Charlotte as well. “Armand, Vianne can you grab chalk and salt and draw and pour a double circle” I asked as I picked up both girls from Charlotte. “Charlotte, I need you and the girl’s to be skin to skin right now, there is a hex over all 3 of you but it doesn’t smell or feel like a standard hex” Charlotte quickly shucked her top and took Lulu to help me take off the girl’s onesies. I was grateful I had changed the bed to a much broader and softer one than the one that had been in here previously.

I collected cushions from my cupboard as Vianne and Armand began drawing and pouring the circles in opposite directions staying inside the circle. I felt the circles seal as one as the couple timed it perfectly. Usually, only one type of circle was required to remove a hex but I wasn’t taking any chances. Vianne and Armand returned to stand on either side of their daughter who had settled in with both girls cuddled on her chest. The girls instinctively reached out and held each other in their own little mini circle.

Charlotte protectively cradled them as I placed my hands on her bare ankles. Vianne and Armand put one hand on either shoulder, and their other over my hands effectively creating overlapping circles. I closed my eyes and spread my senses through the circle. I sensed where the hex had buried itself in each patient, and the hex was so loud on the spiritual plan I frowned confused as to why they hadn’t sensed it. In the back of my mind, I realised I was using both my powers and my shifter to locate the hexes. The requirement for the combination explained why the three witches hadn’t been able to identify the presence of a hex. I wove the powers together and around the hexes at the same time. Once they were completely encapsulated, I began drawing them out and towards me. I was straining as the hexes fought against my pull. I directed Vianne and Armand’s gifted energy into all three girls to keep them steady and prevent as much harm to them as I could as the hexes began tearing away. Sensing what I was doing Vianne and Armand took over that part and I turned all my focus on getting the hexes out of their bodies. Finally with an audible high-pitched scream (a noise I had never heard a hex make before) I was able to pull them free from the girl’s bodies, and the one trying to attach itself to Charlotte. I pulled out a magical signature to read later as I set the hexes on fire. Not much can resist dragon fire and these were no different. Burning to ash in a flash and smelling like burnt sugarcane.

I opened my eyes to see all 3 pairs of adult eyes staring at me, but instead of the disgust I was expecting all I saw was gratitude. Grinning in relief, I breathed out the breath I hadn’t realised I had been holding. Lola’s hungry cry broke the silence, followed closely by Lulu’s. Charlotte sob-laughed in relief as Vianne started fussing around her helping. Armand and I stepped out to allow Vianne to assist Charlotte to nurse both girls.

The waiting room was still empty as the first patient of the day wasn’t due for another 20 minutes. Armand and I took seats across from each other, close enough to the door that we would hear the first patients coming long before they entered. Armand put his elbows on his knees and dropped his head into his hands briefly running his fingers through his white mop of curls before leaning back. “What the actual fuck was that!” he exclaimed quietly. “I have absolutely no fucking idea, I have never seen anything like that before” I replied. Leaning forward” did you hear that scream at the end?” I asked. Nodding his head, “Yes but why hadn’t any of us but you been able to see the hex?” he asked completely perplexed. “I was wondering that myself, until I realised, I was using both my shifter and wiccan powers to sense it” I explained. “It didn’t feel wiccan in origin, almost as if a shifter had gotten a hold of a grimoire and had started messing around,” I continued, thinking out loud as I tried to make sense of what I had experienced pulling the hex off of the three girls. “It was definitely malevolent, and where wiccan hexes never felt like live entities of their own, this felt, well alive and hateful”.  “It kinda had the feeling of a magical landmine, considering where it was placed it would have been prudent to assumed it was directed at the Coven. After all we are the only ones who would be that high up collecting flowers in that particular field.”

Armand looked at me slightly dazed for a minute, “Do you really think someone would target us?”, he asked. I thought about it, it had been centuries since the last time the different supernatural groups warred between our each other. However, peace is never permanent and with humanity and supernatural’s sharing the same space, it was only natural that we would start attacking each other and forcing those different to us out of the areas we were already having to share with humans.

“I meet the Alpha’s children this morning,” I said slowly, “the daughter seemed friendly enough, the son, not so much. However, one of their little pack seemed really aggressive, a blonde called Skye.” I watched Armand’s face as I spoke and noticed a definite look of disgust at the mention of Skye’s name. “That one has always been trouble. Her and Charlotte were in the same year at school, and she bullied her mercilessly. She thinks she will be the next alpha mate, but she has never even dated the alpha’s son. He was sent to the Legacy training school for the next generation of alphas.”

“I’m pretty sure they realised I am a supe but I doubt they’d be able to pinpoint what type” I said thinking out loud. “I said I was the new doctor in town, and as supes tend to work with their own kind they would probably assume I was a witch. Although both Jose and her brother seemed slightly confused when I said that, so they might have strong enough senses to smell that I am part shifter as well”. Mixed shifters were highly irregular, shifters as mixed as me, well so far the only one my family knew of was me and my Abuela was 2000 years old. The few mixed shifters I had heard of were shunned by both sides of their heritage and often ended up with weaker gifts. It was also unheard of for the known mixed shifters to have found mates and therefore had had no children.