Moments in Magical Modernity: IV


IV.

The day after the local werewolf Running, the Hollow Bean always opened early (or stayed open extra late, depending on how you looked at it) and was positively slammed! Pearla gave an exhausted flit of her wings, took another spoonful of saguaro cactus flower jelly straight from the jar (her own personal stash), and once more unto the breach!

The café and coffee house was packed with tens of ravenous werewolves amongst the other usual nighttime crowd. Exhausted teenagers laid flopped out on booth benches or with their heads pillowed on their arms, their corresponding adults trying not to nod off over their bacon and eggs and coffee. Older wolves had long ago repaired to the quiet and tranquility of their homes. Good thing the Day After Running was tantamount to a religious holiday so they could all go home and sleep.

Pearly tucked a soft, rolled-up scarf beneath the tousled strawberry-blonde head of sleepy Sierra Bondarich before refilling Ilya’s coffee mug. Jessica looked just about to follow her daughter into sleep so Pearla set a scone with an extra dollop of honeydew cream in front of her, for deep sleep and sweet dreams when her head hit the pillow at home.

Hurrying back into the kitchen to refill her tray with orders, Pearly took a moment to breathe out a tired sigh.

“Sounds like you need breakfast yourself,” came the booming voice of Kingsley, the Hollow’s owner and cook. He was no fairy but a large stone-skinned ogre; however, if anyone personified ‘gentle giant’, it was Kingsley. He refilled Pearla’s tray with ready, steaming orders, and then motioned with his overly large fingers for her to open her mouth. When she did, he tucked in a piece of caramelized bacon. It was sweet, a bit spicy, with a creamy crunch that made her tingle from the crown of her bun to the tips of her twinkle toes as she chewed it.

“Kingsley, what is that?” Pearly marveled, feeling invigorated beyond even magic’s norm.

“It is special recipe I am developing, for stamina and strength. But! You tell me if you start getting rash anywhere. If so, I will need to back off on seven-league peppercorn. So you tell Kingsley, yes?” And with that, he shooed her out of the kitchen so he could continue cooking.

The heavy tray balanced as thought it weighed nothing, Pearly made her way back out into the sleepy buzz of the Hollow. She set down a few plates for some electro-hobs (common nickname for Nockers these days) who had just finished the third shift at the power plant. They were eager for their homes and beds when the buses started running again in an hour. Tired Nockers were surly Nockers, however, and so Pearla never told them what that extra sweet taste was in their coffee but the charisma-spun sugar always helped to make them just a little less…them. And, plus, there were children present so if they had put up a row, a knock with her moonglass tray would have been enough to quell it.

Soon the werewolf families started to trickle out, murmuring thanks to the staff of the Hollow and leaving generous tips as they went.

Pearla and Trystan tidied up tables and set everything to rights again, the latter helping out with carrying exhausted thirteen year olds to cars if any was needed. Lillian secreted treats into jacket pockets and breathed sweet-dream kisses onto cheeks that were still childhood rosy beneath the dust of the night’s Running. Soon, the Hollow’s busy buzz fell to a light murmur as they began to prepare for the morning shift fairies to come in. When Elyria, Barton, and Jessamin arrived, Pearla, Trystan, and Lillian pulled on their scarves and jackets and happily made for home.

Upon her arrival in her tenth floor apartment, which she ironically called her ‘little bungalow’ (she loved living high up, it reminded her of her grandfae’s bedtime stories about once upon a time when fairies were tiny and lived in trees ), Pearla was greeted by the sleepy yawns of banana-leaf-eared hobcat, who then promptly went back to sleep in her corner. The fairy barista shrugged off her coat, leaving it where it fell, and, with wearied flutterings and all the grace of an exhausted cartoon princess, she fell into bed.

[Cover photo credit – https://www.pinterest.com/artofjlmeyer/]

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Moments in Magical Modernity: III


III.

“It’s Waxing Day! We are going to be slammed. Make sure you call an order into the Hollow and coffee up!” Della smiled as she reminded her newly awakened brother.

Shawn ruffled already-messy hair and yawned: his only reply.

“And we are closing at five, receipts and inventory by six. The Running’s at seven!”

“I know!” Shawn growled, “I know the routine. Thorns, you’d think this was my first Cycle.”

His big sister just chuckled and headed downstairs to their shop: Della Luna Furriers.

This was not your typical furriers. They didn’t sell furs; they stored them. Della Luna specifically catered to werewolf furs. During the moon’s cycle, werewolves often shed their pelts like cloaks to avoid any…unpleasantness before the full moon. So they stored them at Della Luna until Waxing Day, the full moon.

On Waxing Day, Della Luna was busier than ever, everyone came to claim their pelts, cleaned and aired, from the vault for the Running. The Running was more than just a gathering of werewolves; it was a celebration of their species and an upholding of their history and culture. Every city’s pack gathered, Turned, ran, hunted, and celebrated together. Children of age had their first Turning in the safe company of their parents and family instead of facing the shock, pain, and elation alone. New mates would often choose Waxing Day to start their family together. Young werewolves often began flirtations in the fur that carried on into the flesh the next day. Older wolves received the respect and support their greying muzzles warranted, as well as first bite of any spoils of the hunt, as was right. The Running was a time of community, family, and friendship, but, sometimes, also of reckoning. Wolves who had issues could choose to fight it out in the fur (though never to the death, that just smacked of old-world barbarity) and the affair would be considered forever settled.

Della threw open the shades, unlocked the doors, and turned on the lights. Della Luna’s was open for Waxing Day business!

She gladly handed over the pelts of the Bondariches, including a glossy black one for their daughter Sienna. Tonight would be her first Turning. Children’s pelts could be separate from them as early as three and kept until their coming of age at thirteen.

The Connors came by. Lovely couple, just married this past Yule. Lilian had a kind of glow about her as she accepted her grey and white pelt, and Della wished them good luck and silver blessings with a knowing smile.

Shawn soon returned with their order from the Hollow. Pearla had thrown in some of her famous breakfast sandwiches as well as scones with saguaro cactus blossom jelly (the blossoms having been picked at the midnight of their single day of bloom) to help them through the undoubtedly busy day.

Della happily accepted her peppermint mocha, skim milk, three sugars, no whipped cream, sipping it with a melting sigh. Thus invigorated, once more unto the breach! The day passed quickly, busily, and soon the sun was threatening along the autumn horizon. The lights of Della Luna’s melded into a warm glow behind the locked door as Della and Shawn quickly and lovingly did their inventory and receipts, setting things up for the return of the pelts on the following day. Quietly, Dell noted the names that had been carefully crossed out in the recording ledger, those wolves who had passed beyond the moon within the past year, as well as smiling softly at the new additions to the ledger.

When the books were balanced and ready-made for tomorrow, Della then headed into the vault, fetching her own brownish red pelt and Shawn’s grey-tipped brown and, together, they shut off the lights, locked up the shop and, arm in arm, headed off to join their family, friends, and neighbors, just as the bright, full Lady Moon raised her domed head above the horizon to greet her Children.

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