Salt & Seers excerpt | Time for Tea | Green Teeth and Duckweed

Salt & Seers excerpt

“I know you miss Rex, but you can get another pet,” my mum told me. 

“Look at it this way, you don’t have to get a sitter for your holidays now,” my dad said. 

“Why don’t you get a cat?” my sister said. 

“Get yourself a bird,” my friends said. “How about a talking parrot?” 

Well-meaning, all of them, but missing the point. 

“I just want to get away,” I told them. 

My mum was silent for a few moments. “Your aunt Helen has a cottage at the beach. Why don’t you take a week there? Then you can get back to work with a clear heart and mind.”

I crossed my arms. Now it came to the crunch. I hadn’t been enjoying working in the family business since well before Rex was reassigned. I’d put off working for the family firm for as long as possible by spending years in online grad school, but since I’d finished there, I’d had no excuse not to join in, even without my sibylline certificate. At least, no excuse they’d accept. 

Since then I’d been hand to the grindstone, trying to pull my weight in a business I wasn’t suited for. So it wasn’t just Rex’s loss that had been weighing me down.  

“No, really away. It’s time for a change. I’ve got my degrees, I don’t want to do any more school, and I don’t want to go back to making stock predictions.”

Mum gasped. 

Dad said, “Now really, Sibyl, you can’t mean that.”

Delphine is my younger sister. She has the same curly dark brown hair and tan-to-golden skin as me but is five years my junior, and she always manages to get the easiest jobs in the family business. She said, “But we always have more work than we can keep up with, even with your help doing the background checks. Why would you leave?” 

“Why?” I demanded angrily. “Because I don’t want to spend my entire life getting up early for the overseas exchange openings, reading the financial papers to see if they agree with the family’s predictions, and dealing with boring, boring stock markets!” 

As I said, sibyls are traditionally prophets or seers. And for the last century, my family has been using their abilities to provide financial planning services. The trouble is, I’m not much good as a prophet. Hence, having to read the financial papers. Instead of seeing clear visions of the future, I’ve spent my whole life trying to gather enough knowledge to act like a prophet without actually being one. Despite spending all day, every day, with my head stuck in grimoires, histories or advanced calculus lessons, I’m a failure. The only one in a family of hereditary seers who can’t see, at least not the way they do. 

Want to read more? look out for the Salt & Seers novella, coming soon!


Time for Tea: A Weather Gods Christmas story

(c) Melissa Gunn 2023

Rain pelted the windows on the morning of the winter solstice. Freya stared at the pattern they made on the window as she sipped an extra-large mug of tea. Chocolate was too expensive to drink all the time, and tea could be made from any number of plants – although nothing quite matched the kick of caffeine from a strong black tea of camellia leaves. Freya had heard of a few places growing tea in the moors inland, but it was mostly an increasingly expensive imported item. She took another sip. No point in wasting it, after all. 

“Freya, why haven’t you left for school yet?” 

Danae, Freya’s mother, hustled into the kitchen in a whirl of late-for-work activity. She poured what was left of the tea from the pot into another mug, searched in vain for milk, and drank half of it black. She grimaced as she swallowed. “I never could get used to black tea,” she said.

“School’s out for the holiday break,” Freya reminded her mother. “And perhaps we can get milk from Aisha again,” she suggested. “Her family’s cafe gets in at some corporate rate.”

“I don’t want to subsist on charity,” Danae said sharply. “And there’s no need to take advantage of your friend.”

“She doesn’t mind,” Freya pointed out. “And it’s not like she’s just giving it to us.” Though she probably would, if I asked, Freya knew. It felt better to pay something though. She didn’t like being a charity case either. “Isn’t there something else we could drink?

Danae considered as she sipped the last of her tea. “You could go pick some rose hips,” she suggested. “And perhaps hawthorns. A little pine if you can find it. The scent is good for clearing a sleepy head.” She put down her teacup with a slight clunk on the kitchen bench. “I’ve got to be going,” she said. “If you’re not at school, why don’t you pick some tea things today.” She glared at the rain-spattered window. “Assuming it clears up enough, of course. I remember when we got snow at this time of year. It was one of the joys of moving to this country.”

Freya shrugged and finished her own tea. So-called mild winters had been happening for as long as she could remember. Christmas was, as far as she was concerned, traditionally a time of rain, mud and bleakness. “I’ll have a look for something when the rain eases off a bit,” she promised. She was actually glad her mum hadn’t started on her usual rant about how nice a beachy Christmas was. Since a beach Christmas around here would involve proximity to a sea goddess, and more than likely wind and rain too, it wasn’t much of a draw.

“Thanks.” Danae gave her daughter a rare smile and dashed out in a rustle of rain gear.

Freya enjoyed a slower than usual morning at home, not quite by herself. Mr Fluffbum hadn’t deigned to leave the bed that morning. Since his escapade with Lio, he had avoided rain far more than he had in earlier years, and this was just the sort of weather to keep him inside. The rain and warmer temperatures had caused mould to grow inside the house, so after an hour reading a book from the library, Freya busied herself wiping the horrid black stuff off the inside of the windows and walls of her room. Growing bored with the exercise, she returned to the kitchen and took stock of the food they had. It was outside the growing season for a lot of crops, so they didn’t have much. Their emergency food – cereal bars, flapjacks, pot noodles and the like – was likewise nearly gone.

“Some Christmas this is going to be,” Freya muttered. She knew she could get food from a food bank if she asked, but rain or not, it was more fun to go out and find it instead. She found her own anorak, and pulled on a woollen hat and gloves for good measure. Mild was a relative term, after all. “See you in a bit, Mr Fluffbum,” she called to the cat. There was no answering mew, so Freya assumed that he was still asleep, and let herself out.

Outside, the rain didn’t seem as bad as it had indoors. It was cold, yes. And gusts of wind blew a smattering of chilly droplets into her face as she turned away from the door. But once she’d got out of the town, and further from the sea, the raindrops got smaller. Freya avoided the rain-swollen streams. She wasn’t in the mood for dealing with naiads, grindylows or kelpies today.

Freya found a hedgerow full of haws, and gathered as many as she could find – less a third for the birds – in the bag she’d brought for the purpose. Further afield, she came upon a pine tree. Remembering her mum’s suggestion, she nipped off a few tips from the lower-growing branches; the higher ones were well beyond her reach, even when she tried climbing. There were some perfectly shaped pine cones scattered around the tree, and Freya picked up those too. They could contain seeds, but they were also rather pretty. The heady resinous smell of the pine needles cheered her, and she nibbled on one as she walked. It wasn’t tasty, exactly, and certainly not filling, but it was still somehow enjoyable.

A spray of orange standing above a hedge drew her attention, and she picked the rosehips to add to her collection, biting back a curse when she snagged herself on the rose thorns. The same hedge held some late damsons, clinging on long after the leaves had fallen. Freya picked a few, but left most; grey mould was furred on the surface of the old plums. She wrinkled her nose at them. If it was properly cold, the damsons wouldn’t go mouldy.

A gust of wind swept rain into her face again. Water dripped from the tip of her nose and the end of her blond-brown braid where it had escaped her hat. Her gloves were soaked and clammy against her skin. Maybe this hadn’t been the best idea after all. She turned back towards the sea and the town. At least she had something to make tea with, even if there wasn’t much in her bag that was filling. She sighed. Hot chocolate was what she wanted most of all after this jaunt in the rain. But they’d been out of it for weeks.

Unexpectedly, her new-to-her phone pinged in her pocket. She returned to the lone pine and stood under its meagre protection before pulling the phone out. It was supposed to be waterproof, but chances were high that it wasn’t really.

She had received a message from her friend Aisha.

“Any chance you can come help in the cafe today? Nena’s gone home sick and we’re busy.”

Freya smiled. She didn’t really enjoy working in the station cafe on the few occasions she’d done so – it was loud, and there were all too many people – but she would get to see her friend and dry out. She replied in the affirmative and set off for home at a much faster pace than she’d set out, stopping only to pick an attractive-but-inedible bunch of holly berries.

Mr Fluffbum was not impressed when Freya discarded her wet clothing in the same room that he was trying to sleep. Nevertheless, he followed her when she started out for the cafe in a more respectable set of clothing, carrying a small assortment of her morning’s gleanings in a paper bag under her coat.

“Are you sure you want to come, Mr Fluffbum?” Freya asked the cat as she closed the front door. “You know you don’t get along with Isis.” Isis was the station cafe cat. Freya was fairly sure Mr Fluffbum would tolerate her – but would Isis tolerate him in her territory? “Oh well, I suppose you’ll sort it out one way or another.” Freya had all but given up locking Mr Fluffbum in now; he seemed to know the area and had returned home every time he’d wandered. The long-haired black and white cat trotted ahead of her, disappearing for minutes at a time, but always reappearing when she thought he’d decided to give up on the damp day and return home.

***

The cafe was as busy as Aisha had promised. Freya wondered why so many people were coming through the station on such a dull day, until she remembered that it would be Christmas in just a couple of days. Many people who couldn’t find work in the seaside town but had family living there would be returning from their inland jobs.

“Hi Freya! Come on in and take over running orders to tables, could you? We’re snowed under, even without actual snow!” Aisha called, the moment Freya set foot in the doorway. Aisha had been helping out in the cafe since school ended, so Freya hadn’t had a chance to see her black-haired since then. They didn’t have any time to exchange news now, either; there was a backlog of drinks and snacks waiting for hungry and cold customers. Isis the cat leapt down from her usual position on the counter and slunk towards Mr Fluffbum, every part of her oozing menace. Mr Fluffbum glared back, swishing his tail to and fro. “Cut it out, Isis,” Aisha added. “You know Mr Fluffbum. And I won’t stand for cat fights in the cafe.” The grey cat glanced at Aisha as though to remind her who was in charge, but changed course to sit on an empty seat under a table to lick her tail, as if that’s what she’d been planning to do all along.

“No problem.” Freya grinned at her friend and swung into action, matching orders to table numbers. It was only when she paused for breath after delivering the third round of Christmas tea and shortbread that she realised Mr Fluffbum and Isis were both missing. “Where did the cats go?” she asked Aisha worriedly.

Aisha wiped down the coffee machine she’d been using and pushed a foamy drink towards Freya. “Have a sip of that and then I’ll show you.” She obviously wasn’t worried about their cats, so Freya accepted the drink.

“Mmm. Hot chocolate, thank you! How did you know that’s what I’ve been craving all day?” Freya said in appreciation after a delicious mouthful.

“You always want chocolate,” Aisha pointed out. “It wasn’t hard to guess. But you’re welcome. Now look over here.” She pointed behind the counter. Freya set down her cup and peered underneath. Mr Fluffbum and Isis were both curled up in the draught-free corner under there, facing in opposite directions – apparently fast asleep.

Freya snorted with laughter. “Just as though they were actually friends.”

Mr Fluffbum cracked open an eye just enough to glare at her.

“Sorry, Mr Fluffbum, my mistake. As you were.” She looked at Aisha, who was doubled over with silent laughter – silent, so as to disturb neither customers nor cats. “They’re crazy, those two.”

Aisha grinned. “They sure are.” She turned her attention back to the cafe, checking that no-one was waiting to be served. “Whew, looks like we can relax a bit now. At least till the next train comes in.”

“Will your grandma be alright?” Freya asked, worry for the old lady colouring her tone.

“Yeah, she said she was just a bit tired today. Thanks for helping out. We really needed the extra hands today.” Aisha wiped her hands on the apron she wore. “Oh, I was supposed to give you an apron to wear too,” she said, the action apparently drawing her attention to the oversight.

“I’m warm enough to take my coat off now. I’ll swap that for the apron.” Freya peeled off her anorak and hung it on a peg near the door. Her paper package fell out as she did so. “Oh, I forgot – I got these for you. I know you don’t do Christmas as such, and actually we tend to do Solstice more than Christmas, but it’s sort of a seasonal gift.”

“Oh, Freya, you didn’t have to do that!” But Aisha was beaming, so Freya felt she’d done the right thing. “Should I open it now or later?” Aisha added.

“Now’s fine, if you want,” Freya said. “It’s nothing big.” She watched as Aisha carefully unwrapped the package of rosehips and pine cones, which she had entwined with holly. “The rosehips can be made into jam, or cordial, or tea, if you want. The pine cones I thought could be decorations.”

“They’re pretty, Freya. Thanks.” Aisha arranged the pine cones on the counter near the till. She found a jar for the rosehips and put them on her bag, clearly planning to take them home later. The door clanged as another customer walked in, bringing a gust of cold air with them. “Back to the grindstone, then.”

Despite her word, Aisha seemed unaffected by the busy day, still chattering at her usual rate, greeting customers cheerfully and preparing drinks at speed.

Perhaps she’s more used to it, Freya thought. One thing’s for sure, I need to make sure I don’t have to do this sort of thing for the rest of my life – however useful it is now. She felt she’d seen enough of coffee cups, both full ones and empty, to last a lifetime, by halfway through the day.

The cats had moved around to various points in the cafe over the course of the afternoon, careful not to look directly at each other.

Freya was exhausted and sore-footed by the time she and Aisha closed up the cafe. She was used to walking, but less used to standing around. Several customers had commented favourably on the pine cones, which made her feel good about the small gift.

Aisha flipped the sign on the door to ‘closed’ and flopped into a chair, the energy seeming to leave her in a rush. “That was insane. I think half the town came through here today.”

“Half the town who aren’t weres, at least,” Freya amended, sinking into a chair beside her.

“True. Still, that’s just as well, I don’t think we could have coped with any more. And the werefoxes bother Isis. I can’t believe how well she and Mr Fluffbum got on today!”

As though she’d been listening for her name, Isis jumped onto the table beside Aisha and mewed loudly. Aisha started in surprise.

“You’re not supposed to be on the table,” Aisha admonished her. “The counter is bad enough!”  She carefully picked up the grey cat and set her down on the floor. “I suppose you’d like to be fed?” Getting to her feet, she walked into the tiny room behind the counter and rummaged around in the cupboards there. When she came out, she was holding two bowls of cat food. She set down one on the floor by the counter, and waved the other at Freya.

“I don’t want cat food!” Freya exclaimed. Then she realised Aisha was offering it to Mr Fluffbum, who had silently jumped onto the table behind her. “Oh. Right.” A giggle escaped her. Aisha snorted. In moments they were laughing together.

“Your face!” Aisha gasped when she had regained her composure. “It was classic.” She went back to the tiny room and rummaged some more. “My family will pay you for working today, of course,” she said. “But I wanted to give you something, too.”

“You don’t have to,” Freya protested.

“But I want to. So no arguments. Here.” Aisha thrust out a shopping bag, the handles tied together at the top. “Don’t open it until you get home.” She grinned at Freya’s repeated protest. “No arguing,” she said, just as though she were speaking to the cats.

“Oh, all right.” Freya accepted the bag. “Let me know if you need me tomorrow. I’d better head home now.” She glanced outside; it had been dark for some time.

“Will you be alright walking by yourself?” Aisha asked in sudden concern.

“Should be. After all, the nastier elements have left town. And it’s still raining. Rain keeps most people inside.” But not me, she silently added. And not Lio. But it wasn’t stormy enough for her wind-demi friend to come visiting. There were probably any number of rain demi-gods, but Freya hadn’t met any that she knew of.

“Alright. But you’ve got a phone now; you can ring if you need help,” Aisha reminded her.

“Right. See you tomorrow, maybe.” Freya waited for Mr Fluffbum to finish his meal, donned her anorak, and set off into the rain once more.

***

Her walk home was pleasantly uneventful despite the heavy bag Aisha had given her. Mr Fluffbum, who had followed her home again, immediately set to work on drying his coat with his tongue. Freya sat down in the kitchen to open her gift. The front door opened with a rattle as she did so, and a drenched Danae entered the kitchen.

“Days like today I really wish I didn’t have to work,” Danae declared, setting down her own bag. “It’d be nice to celebrate the Solstice in peace. What have you got there, Freya?”

Freya looked at her mum in surprise. She hadn’t known Danae actually wanted to celebrate Solstice today. The way she’d run out in the morning, Freya had been sure she’d forgotten it.

“It’s a gift from Aisha,” she explained. “I went and worked with her at the station cafe today.

Danae raised her eyebrows. “And she gave you a gift for that?”

“No, Mum, I’ll get paid for that. The gift is because I got her something.” Freya impatiently picked at the knot holding the bag closed.

The first thing to come out was a full bottle of milk.

“That one’s for you, Mum,” Freya said. Next was a box of black tea, labelled with a local company name. “That too.” Finally, she pulled out a large cardboard box of chocolate powder. “And that is definitely for me.” She looked at her mum and handed over the milk and tea. “Happy solstice, Mum.”

Danae unzipped her damp bag and pulled a small plant out of it. It had a label on it still. She held it out to Freya, who read the label as it hung sideways. Camellia sinensis. It was a tea plant.

“I know I’ll have to grow it for you. But happy solstice, Freya.”

The end.


Green Teeth & Duckweed

A Weather Gods short story by Melissa Gunn

(c) Melissa Gunn 2023

Freya was bored, and almost glad of it. Boredom meant the roof wasn’t leaking, there were no were-fox cubs demanding to be played with, and she wasn’t particularly hungry. On the other hand, she had maths homework to complete, Mr Fluffbum was asleep, and her friend Aisha was home sick with a cold, and therefore not distracting Freya from her homework. That also meant that she wasn’t available to accompany Freya on a night walk before Samhain. Freya had been looking forward to having a friend to go out with that evening. It’s not much fun wandering the streets by yourself on Halloween. And I’m too old to dress up like the kids do. 

She spent another quarter of an hour attempting to be diligent with her maths, then set down her pencil. It rolled off the slightly uneven table and fell to the floor with a clatter. Freya bent down to pick it up, and saw that the lead was broken. 

“If that’s not a sign to leave off doing homework, I don’t know what is,” she said aloud. She pushed back her chair and stretched. The outdoors beckoned. It was one of those rare, warm autumn evenings with few clouds, and there was still an hour or so of daylight. 

Freya made her way outside. Her mum was gardening, putting broad beans into a strip of earth near the back door. Freya knew better than to offer her help. She still hadn’t overcome her ‘black thumb’ when it came to growing things. 

“I’m going for a walk, Mum,” she said. 

Danae paused with a trowel in her hand. “Don’t be out past dark,” she said. “We may have a bargain with the were-foxes these days, but there are other things that lurk in the night.”

If only she knew how much night-time walking I do, Freya thought. Not tonight though. She’s probably got a point on all hallows eve. The remnants of all those Celtic beliefs about evil spirits walking aren’t likely to result in positive encounters. 

Still, she couldn’t stand to sit at home with her maths any longer. “I’ll be fine, Mum.” 

Freya set off uphill, not wanting to go down to the sea. There were too many ghosts, or at least bad memories, down there. 

It didn’t take long to leave the town behind. She went up into the hills, keeping a wary eye out for unwanted company, but only birds disturbed the peace. Out of habit she picked up a few edibles from the hedgerows as she walked. It was the right season for cobnuts, the leathery casings easy enough to peel off with fingers before she cracked the nut open with her teeth. Rosehips and crabapples she collected until her pockets were full. Autumn is the best season. There’s food everywhere, and it’s not too cold yet. 

She was a long way from home when she noticed the weather turning. Clouds massed on the horizon, and a sudden gust of wind threw her off balance. As she regained her footing, she realised she was no longer alone. The blue-haired Nik paced along the narrow road beside her. Remembering Nik’s violent tendencies the last time they’d met, Freya took a prudent step further away. 

“There’s no need to be rude, I just dropped in for a chat,” Nik said indignantly. 

“Sorry,” Freya replied hastily. “Um…” She wasn’t sure how to recover the situation. 

“”s’OK. I guess I startled you.” 

“That’s right,” Freya said with a weak smile. “You’re Lio’s cousin, right?” 

“Certainly am. He’ll be along soon by the looks of it,” Nik said with a glance at the darkening sky. “I didn’t think I’d see you out on your own. Thought I’d give you a bit of company meanwhile.”

Freya nodded. She’d come further than she’d meant to. She was nearing one of the new forests that had been planted last century. Moorland rose above her and a small stream trickled from a wide, duck-weed-flecked pond that stretched out in front of the forest.  “There’s nothing around, though,” she said. 

Nik shook her head slowly, as though in disbelief at Freya’s naivety. “There’s always something around. Bet you didn’t know I was around before I dropped in, did you? ‘Course, I’ve got a bit of a specialty in that area.”

Freya was intrigued. “Really? Why’s that?” 

“Harpie ancestry,” Nik said. “It’s not all befouling people’s food. Not even mostly. If you looked up the right info, talked to the right people, you’d know harpies were goddesses of the storm winds. Not some foul thing, the way they’re made out to be.”

“You’re right, I hadn’t heard that,” Freya said. “Why is there such a difference?”

Nik shrugged. “Bad publicity? Misogyny? Who knows.” She seemed to lose interest in the subject. “Anyway, I thought now would be a good time to chat, since you don’t have that cat-girl with you for a change. Also, there’s a faerie-pool just over there, I suggest you don’t go any closer.”

Freya stopped walking. “What’s a faerie-pool, then?” she asked. She’d had plenty of information about water-spirits and deities, Faeries didn’t tend to come into it. 

“You could ask her, I guess,” Nik said. She pointed. 

A woman clothed in what appeared to be green waterweed was emerging from the weedy pool. The expression on her face was peculiar, a mix of disdain and ingratiating smile. The slightly pointed teeth that the smile revealed detracted a lot from the ingratiating effect. 

“That’s not the usual sort of water deity,” Freya said. “And I’m sure that pond wasn’t there last week.” She noticed Nik looking at her. ”What?”

“You know what day it is, don’t you?” Nik said. 

“Sure, it’s the thirty-first of October. Aisha and I were supposed to have a movie marathon, but she’s sick.”

“So you’re not completely out of touch. But didn’t you realise that forgotten spirits have another chance of life on Samhain?” Nik glared at the green-clad woman, who was walking slower closer. 

“That’s news to me,” Freya said. She took a step or two away from the pond. She really didn’t like the way the woman’s eyes were fixed on her. “So, you’re saying that we’re looking at a faerie?”

“Could be,” Nik said. “Could be just a grindylow in a fancier than usual body.”

“Oh! If she’s a grindylow, I might be able to do something about her,” Freya said. She felt about in her pocket. A few chestnuts got in the way; she tossed them to the ground. Next came a handful of crabapples, yellow and long-stemmed. Finally, she pulled out a small paper packet of salt, saved from some takeaway meal. “Here. Sprinkle it in a circle around us,” Freya told Nik. 

“Alright. Or we could just walk away,” Nik said. 

“But then what about the next person who comes this way?Or worse, what if she walked after us?” Freya said. She snapped a large teasel seed head off its stalk. “I don’t suppose you sing?” she asked Nik. 

“As if.”

I guess I’m on my own then. 

Freya met the weed-clad woman’s eyes – they were green, too – and hummed softly. The woman took another step closer. She was almost touching distance away now, and she brought with her a dank smell, somehow both alive and rotting at once. The woman lunged at Freya, mouth open and teeth bared, but hit the salt circle that Nik had poured. Pieces of duckweed flew in all directions. Freya brandished her teasel like a spear, and the woman swayed backwards, then tried to throw herself through the barrier again.. 

“Feisty, isn’t she?” Nik commented. She stood inside the salt circle, watching as Freya wound greenery around the teasel and waved it at the woman. It didn’t seem to have much effect, so Freya sang instead. She sang of dark grottos and moss-glad rocks, and the woman leered and leaned closer. Freya hastily changed the topic and tone of her voice, and sang instead of sunlit glades and sunrise. It wasn’t long before she was running out of songs and had to start making up words as she went along. But the woman was backing away, sinking lower and lower into the pond as she did so. At last, only her eyes and hair showed above the surface of the pond. She didn’t seem inclined to go any further away. Freya was at a loss. 

“Why doesn’t she leave?” she asked aloud. 

Nik stared at the pond as though it might yield answers. 

“Give her a gift,” she said suddenly. 

“A gift? But why? And what?” Freya said. 

Nik nudged a chestnut with a toe. “One of those would do, I expect. Give it a go. Faeries like being given things.”

“Still don’t think it’s a faerie,” Freya muttered. But she picked up one of the chestnuts and polished its brown, shiny shell, removing any dirt. “Here, take this,” she called to the pond-woman. She threw the chestnut into the pond, where it landed with a plop and vanished instantly below the duckweed. To her surprise, the pond-woman dived for the chestnut, somehow finding it below the water. She raised it above the pond, dripping weed and water, then waved at Freya before diving below the surface. Freya waited a few minutes, but the woman didn’t reappear. 

“So you can take care of yourself after all,” Nik said. “Good to know. I’ll tell Lio he needn’t worry so much.” 

The wind gusted violently, blowing the salt crystals into disarray and snapping Freya’s teasel stick. When Freya had brushed her hair out of her eyes again, Nik was gone. 

In the centre of the circle, surrounded by crabapples, was a small, wrapped package. Freya bent down and picked it up. It was a small bar of chocolate. Scrawled into the dirt of the oath around the crabapples were the words, ‘happy halloween’. 

on’t have that