We Got Witches Too

 Chapter 1


I always liked eating at Todd’s restaurant. The atmosphere was nice, and the food was amazing. Todd was a friend of ours. His sister Alisa and her boyfriend Reid were very close to my boyfriend Ridge.

Tonight, Ridge and I wanted to eat some good food and relax. Like me, Todd also owned a nightclub, but he catered to an entirely different clientele.

I looked around the restaurant. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the mayor and half the city’s high rollers here. Todd had food you couldn’t find anywhere else.

Mainly because it came from a whole other universe. Most people here didn’t know other worlds existed or anything about people with powers and abilities.

We lived in a small city in the south. I didn’t like calling this world Earth, because when we portal-hopped we weren’t going to other planets, just alternate universes. So, on a world like this, with no powers, we often called it Routine.

I’d grown up here on Routine and knew my state of Virginia better than I knew any of the other universes I hopped to.

“Anything else?” the waiter asked.

I looked up. “No, Ken. We’re good.” Ken was a tall guy with olive skin and curly black hair. He was in college working on his master’s degree. Ken was an all-around good guy.

I knew most of the staff at Todd’s restaurants and nightclub because I’d worked for him, learning the ropes before opening my own club almost two years ago.

I also worked as a real estate agent here on Routine. I had other jobs too, but those were in alternate universes. 

Ken nodded at Ridge and me. “Have a good night, guys.”

Ridge picked up the check, shaggy black hair falling into his face. Most who saw Ridge thought he worked really hard at living the emo lifestyle. He often wore all black, stood five-feet-eight, and barely talked to anyone unless he absolutely had to.

Ridge wasn’t from Routine. His homeworld was called Emor, a place that would put you in mind of ancient Rome.

A cool breeze tickled my face, making me feel even more comfortable. It really was nice having a night on the town every now and then. Ridge had even dressed for the occasion.

 He wore a black shirt with black jeans. It looked good on him.

Ridge sat back in his chair, more relaxed than usual when out in public.

But then again, Todd’s restaurant was a familiar spot for him, so I understood. “Sell anything today?” he asked, reaching over, and grabbing my hand.

I rubbed my thumb across the back of his hand, tracing his veins. His skin was full of callouses, and a little hard, something I loved about him. I leaned across the table, not wanting anyone to hear what I said next. “On which world?”

He shrugged. “Either.”

Though Ridge and I had homes and jobs here, we also had homes and jobs on a world called Jeguate. I sold real estate on both worlds, and I owned a nightclub on both.

Jeguate was a high-powered, advanced world, full of people with powers. I often picked up consulting work on Jeguate, using my powers to pull apart the fine print on any contract and comb through the finer details so my clients get the best deal possible. My base pay for consulting was a couple million, which was considered a bit on the low side.

Jeguate was a grandiose world. The home we owned there had three floors, seven bedrooms, ten baths, a couple of pools, and a few jacuzzies. On Jeguate that was considered a nice starter home. Something quaint until you could afford something better.

I thought back to Ridge’s question and shook my head. “Nope. No sales today, but I’ve got a few viewings tomorrow.”

He chuckled low in his throat, then raised his glass. “There’s always tomorrow.”

I smiled and raised mine, a feeling of warmth and familiarity spreading through me. No matter how bad our day was, or how annoyed we got, we could always look forward to tomorrow being a better day.

I clinked our glasses together. “The world changes tomorrow.”

He smiled and leaned over, kissing me with sweet, soft lips that tasted like beer and mushrooms. “The world changes tomorrow.”

 I pulled back from the kiss just in time to miss the knife that was headed straight for my head. What the? I instantly went on alert, adrenaline pumping through my veins at a hundred miles an hour.

Ridge came to his feet so fast he knocked over his chair. The atmosphere shifted, going from nice and comfortable to dangerous and taut. All conversation in the restaurant stopped, curious eyes turning our way.

Heat rose to my face, but my brown skin stopped it from being noticeable. I couldn’t tell which direction the knife had come from. I searched the restaurant, looking for the guilty party. Ridge and I sometimes ruffled feathers. Ducking knives and energy balls were common.

But that type of stuff usually happened on worlds where the people had powers. Not here on Routine.

 Ridge and I owned homes on a few different worlds, but Routine was often considered our safe space. Though we didn’t spend much time here, it was still a place we could relax and get away from it all.

“What happened?” Todd asked, coming from the back. Todd was tall, with very dark olive skin and black curly hair. He was beyond feisty, never being nice or polite to anyone. He had a soft spot for Ridge and Ridge’s sister Chibo, though that only went so far.

Todd always dressed like he was on his way to a fashion show. Today he wore a pair of black slacks and a nice blue blazer. “Are you okay?” he asked, walking up to us. His voice got lower. “Is this some other world stuff? Should I call Alisa?”

Todd’s sister Alisa and her boyfriend Reid were from Routine, but they had dragon powers. They’d acquired them in a strange way, but they didn’t like to talk about it.

Because Alisa and Reid had dragon powers and hopped universes, Todd’s family was one of the few who knew other worlds existed and that people on those worlds often had powers and special abilities.

Another knife flew toward me, and I ducked. “Ridge?”

Ridge was an empath. That meant he could feel and influence the emotions of the people around him. If they had powers, he could influence those too.

I looked down at my nails. My powers worked by being able to take on the properties of anything I touched and turn and shape it into whatever I wanted. I also had voice, or breath, magic, but I didn’t want to use that here. 

My heart went to my throat, my pulse jumping wildly out of control. I ran my fingers over the steak knife sitting on my plate, taking on the properties of the blade. Quicker than a finger snap, all my nails turned into long blades.
I could get away with this because mostly they just looked like exotic nail designs.

“To the left,” Ridge said after a couple of seconds. “I’m getting a lot of hostility from the left side of the room.”

I looked that way and noticed the restaurant had cleared. Well, I couldn’t blame people for leaving a place that had random knives flying through the air.

I looked at Todd. This was bad for business, but with his loyal clientele, I doubted he’d take a hard hit.

Ridge came to stand in front of me, probably trying to protect me. He did things like that. I didn’t like it, but I’d decided to pick my battles. I could take care of myself. I came from a life on the streets.

At one time it’d been me and my cousin James against the world. We’d always had to defend ourselves from others.

I could protect myself, but whenever I was attacked, something in Ridge just couldn’t handle not getting involved. Ridge and his sister Chibo had also lived on the streets back on their homeworld.

They’d had so many horrific things happen to them. So many, they themselves had lost count of some of the atrocities they’d suffered. I believed Ridge’s protectiveness came from that, so I let him have it, understanding that him standing up for me was deeply rooted in the years of abuse and mistreatment he and Chibo had suffered.

By now the restaurant was completely empty except for me, Todd, Ridge, and two other people…

 I looked them over. It was a man and a woman. They stood motionlessly, watching my every move. The woman was tall, with light brown skin and hair down to her shoulders. She wore a nice pair of slacks and a green blouse. The guy was tall with brown skin and broad shoulders. He wore a pair of jeans and a button-up shirt.

It took a moment before things clicked into place. Toot and Brenda. They were brother and sister. They were also Junior’s brother and sister…Oh…

 Brenda stepped forward. Her body language told me she was two seconds from throwing her next knife. “What happened to my brother, bitch? I know you had something to do with it.”

Her brother had spit in my face and told me to get down on my knees. I’d gotten him off my back, but I hadn’t killed him or made him disappear.

I’d been connected to his final moments, though. That much couldn’t be denied. Connected didn’t mean I’d been there, though. I hadn’t. Her brother had burst into my club and held my friends and staff hostage with guns.

A world hopper had been out to destroy me. The way he’d gone about it was passing out poisonous pills at both my clubs. Junior’s sister, the one standing in front of me now, had been there, and overdosed.

My cousin James and I had healed her and all the others, but Junior hadn’t known that part. He’d blamed his local rivals Heyjay and Roland. They’d been the ones to pass out the pills.

Heyjay and Roland had been in my club when Junior had come looking for revenge. James and I had stopped Junior from hurting anyone and things had spiraled out of control after that.

The last time I’d seen him had been when he’d spit in my face. I’d left him on the ground with a busted face. I’d received a phone call later, though, telling me Heyjay and Roland had dealt with him.

Junior had killed a few of Heyjay’s and Roland’s crew and he was gunning for them. They’d taken him out before he could take them out. But, because I’d had two run-ins with him prior to that, I understood why his sister was upset with me.

“Look,” I said, holding up a hand, not wanting to fight. “I didn’t have anything to do with what happened to your brother and I’m very sorry for your loss.”

I meant that. Yeah, Junior had gotten out of order with me, but so what? I grew up in these streets. I was used to fighting one day and making up the next. No hard feelings…

She came closer. From the fire in her eyes, I knew she was ready to swing on me. I wouldn’t let her hit me, but I wouldn’t go to extremes to protect myself either. She was grieving, and she needed an outlet.

I got it. Living on the streets, James and I had suffered a lot of losses and sometimes it was easier to strike out at the person closest to you.

Brenda was so mad her whole body shook with anger. “You attacked him repeatedly.”

Todd was not a nice person, and basically had no use for the feelings or emotions of others. While I was trying to be as diplomatic as I could, Todd didn’t know the meaning of the word. He walked forward a few steps, giving both Toot and Brenda cold stares.

“Your brother was a wild, out of control fool. He got his ass beat by a girl and couldn’t handle it, so, he tried her again and got his ass beat again. He started a war with Heyjay and Roland’s gang. You’re too chickenshit to go against them. You attacked Atina because you think she’s an easy target.”

Todd laughed and shook his head. “She beat your brother’s ass twice, yet you think she’s an easy target. You know, it never ceases to—”

“That’s enough,” I said, looking at Todd. “We don’t need to throw fire on the wound.”

Todd rolled his eyes in the rudest of fashions, letting me know he didn’t care one bit… Because… Well… He didn’t.

Ridge watched Toot with careful eyes, but the other man had yet to say a word. “What’s up, Toot? What you come here to do?” Ridge knew how this game worked. He’d lived on the streets of Emor long enough to know what came next.

Toot and Brenda needed to get revenge for what happened to their brother. If they didn’t, they’d be seen as weak. Out here, if you were weak, others would try you. 

When Junior had fallen, most of his gang had run to either Heyjay or Roland’s side. Toot and Brenda were trying to hold onto Junior’s territories, most of which Roland and Heyjay had already claimed as their own.

Junior had been big time, bringing in stacks of money daily. His family had learned to live on that and didn’t want to see it end. Not that I blamed them.

Toot and Brenda had always been involved in Junior’s business, so it wasn’t like they didn’t know how to run it. They wanted to make a name for themselves, to show they could be just as ruthless and productive as their brother, but they wouldn’t be able to do it through me.

Toot gave Ridge a hard stare then pulled out a gun, pointing it at all three of us. “Xi ti ye,” I said under my breath. That was the spell or rumble to disable weapons.

Any weapons in the near vicinity were now as useless as a toy water gun. Toot just didn’t know that. I walked forward and tried to take the gun out of his hand.

He took a few steps back and fired at me. His face went blank when nothing happened. In his confusion, I snatched the gun from his hand. His sister pulled one from her waist and I took that one too.

Anger rose in me like a lightning strike to the body, but I tried to keep in mind these people had just lost their brother six months ago. I knew that pain had to still be fresh.

Brenda swung at me at the exact moment my phone began to ring. I leaned out of the way, but since that was my interuniversal phone ringing, I knew it was someone from Jeguate or somewhere else.

At that moment, Toot decided to attack Ridge. We didn’t have time for this. I headbutted Brenda twice, causing her to stumble back. She regained her footing, then came forward again.

“Ei ti pt.” I said the rumble to create an illusion, then let my body turn to pure Melin. Melin was one of the hardest metals in all the universes and could withstand fire, wind, rain, or anything else.

With the spell I’d just used, Brenda wouldn’t notice my body had changed. The illusion spell was one I’d been working on for a while but didn’t get to use often.

I didn’t want to hurt Brenda, but I needed her to stop. She ran toward me again, and I kicked her so hard she flew across the restaurant and landed in a heap on the floor.

Toot swung at Ridge again. Ridge grabbed him by the throat and slammed him down hard. Then Ridge’s eyes flashed.

Toot jumped up, looking frantically around. “Brenda!” he screamed out. “Brenda, where are you?”

Once he saw her prone body on the floor, he gathered her in his arms and flew out of the restaurant.

I had no doubt Ridge had influenced Toot’s emotions, and I was thankful for the reprieve, but something told me this wasn’t over. I’d known Brenda and Toot for years. They could be relentless when they got an idea into their heads.

Right now, the idea was I’d helped kill their brother. Also, they needed to get their street cred back. They saw me as a way to do that.

That was all fine and good, but they’d find out quickly I didn’t take threats to my well-being lightly.

Todd looked at his destroyed restaurant, then back to Ridge and me. “Ya’ll better clean this shit up! Call Chibo and James if you have to. Just get it done!”

Ridge and I shared an amused look. Todd was never in a good mood. Knives flying through his restaurant only helped to irritate him more. I started to speak, but my phone began to ring again. It’d rang a total of six times now.

A bit of apprehension ran through me when I saw it was my Aunt Aven calling. She never called that many times in a row. Was something wrong? 

I wiped sweat from my brow and answered the phone. “Everything okay?”

Aunt Aven’s voice was quiet, withdrawn like she had something weighing heavily on her mind. “No. You and James need to come quickly. Atina, there’s been a sighting of your mother.”

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