Key of Light Page 74

“Honest, it’s all in the wrist.” Zoe explained. “Well, so . . . back to what I was saying,” she continued. “I know we’ve all been reading and researching and trying to come up with theories and ideas to help Malory find the first key.”

“And you’ve both been great. Really. I just feel like I’m missing something, some little thing that could open it all up.”

“Maybe we’ve all missed something,” Zoe countered. “The legend itself. Mortal woman mates with Celtic god and becomes queen. Female power. She has three daughters. Female again. One of their guardians is a female.”

“Well, it is a fifty-fifty shot,” Dana pointed out. “Even for gods.”

“Wait. So when their souls are stolen and trapped by a man, it’s said that three mortals, mortal women, have to find and turn the keys.”

“Sorry, Zoe, I’m not following you. We already know all this.” Malory reached halfheartedly for a grape.

“Let’s take it a little further. Gods, in Celtic lore, are, well, earthier than say the Greek or Roman ones. They’re more like wizards and sorcerers than . . . what’s the word? Um, omniscient beings. Is that right?” she asked Dana.

“Yeah.”

“They have ties to the earth, to nature. Like, well, witches. There’s black magic and white, but they both use natural elements and forces. And here’s where you sort of have to step out of the box.”

“We haven’t been in the box since September the fourth,” Dana pointed out.

“What if we were chosen because we’re . . . well, because we’re witches?”

Malory frowned at the level of wine in Zoe’s glass. “How much did you have to drink before you got here?”

“No, just think about it. We look like them. Maybe we’re somehow related to that . . . bloodline or something. Maybe we have power, but we just never knew it.”

“The legend says mortal women,” Malory reminded her.

“Witches aren’t necessarily immortal. They’re just people with more. I’ve been reading up. In Wicca the female witch has three stages. The maiden, the mother, the crone. And they pay homage to the goddess. They—”

“Wicca is a young religion, Zoe,” Dana said.

“But its roots are old. And three, that’s a magic number. There are three of us.”

“I really think I’d know if I were a witch.” Malory considered it as she sipped her wine. “And if this has somehow escaped my notice for nearly thirty years, what am I supposed to do about it now? Conjure something, cast a spell?”

“Turn Jordan into a horse’s ass. Sorry,” Dana shrugged when Malory stared at her. “Just daydreaming.”

“We could try it. Together. I bought some things.” Zoe jumped up, pulled open her bag. “Ritual candles,” she said, digging through. “Incense. Table salt.”

“Table salt?” Baffled, Malory picked up the dark blue box of Morton’s and studied the cheerful girl with her umbrella.

“You can make a protective circle with it. It wards off evil spirits. Ash wands. Sort of wands. I bought a baseball bat and cut it up to make them.”

“Martha Stewart meets Glenda the Good Witch.” Dana picked up the thin wooden wand, waved it. “Shouldn’t it sprinkle fairy dust?”

“Drink more wine,” Zoe ordered. “Crystals. Amethyst and rose quartz and this really great ball.” She held up the globe.

“Where’d you get all this loot?” Malory demanded.

“New Age shop at the mall. Tarot cards—Celtic ones because it seemed right. And—”

“A Ouija board!” Dana pounced on it. “Man, oh, man, I haven’t seen one of these since I was a kid.”

“I found it at the toy store. They don’t carry them in the New Age place.”

“We had this pj party when I was a kid. Got all toked up on Pepsi and M&Ms and lit candles. Everybody asked the name of the guy they’d marry. Mine came up PTZBAH.” Dana gave a sentimental sigh. “It was really sweet. Let’s do the Ouija first,” Dana suggested. “For old times’ sake.”

“Okay, but we’ve got to do it right. Take it seriously.” Zoe rose to turn off the lights and music.

“I wonder if Ptzbah is still out there.” Dana slid to the floor, opened the box.

“Wait. We have to set up the ritual. I got a book.”

They sat in a circle on the floor.

“We have to cleanse our minds,” Zoe instructed. “Visualize opening our chakras.”

“I never open my chakras in public.” Dana giggled, unrepentant, until Malory slapped her knee.

“And we light the ritual candles. White for purity. Yellow for memory. Purple for power.” Zoe bit her lip as she carefully ignited the tapers. “Place the crystals. Amethyst for . . . shoot.” She reached for her book, flipped pages. “Here. Amethyst for intuition. And the incense. Rose quartz for psychic power and divination.”

“It’s pretty,” Malory decided. “Soothing.”

“I think we should all take turns with the Tarot cards, and maybe try some chants, but let’s make Dana happy and do this first.” Zoe set the board between them and placed the pointer in its center.

“We have to concentrate,” she said. “Focus our minds and our powers on one question.”

“Can it be about the love of my life? I pine for Ptzbah.”

“No.” Zoe swallowed a laugh and tried to look stern. “This is serious business. We want the location of the first key. Malory should do the asking, but you and I need to think it.”

“We should close our eyes.” Malory rubbed her fingers on her pants, took a deep breath. “Ready?”

They laid fingertips on the pointer, sat in silence.

“Should we call on the Otherworld or something?” Malory whispered. “Pay our respects, ask for guidance? What?”

Zoe opened one eye. “Maybe you should call on the ones behind the Curtain of Dreams.”

“Denizens,” Dana suggested. “That’s a good word. Call on the denizens behind the Curtain of Dreams for guidance.”

“Okay, here goes. Everybody quiet, everyone be calm. Concentrate.” Malory waited ten seconds in silence. “We call on the denizens behind the Curtain of Dreams, to aid and to guide us in our, um, in our quest.”

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