Athena’s Gift Part One

I thought I’d share one of my longer short stories. This is part one of the story I’ve dubbed Athena’s Gift. In it you meet an interesting woman named Athena and a few of the interesting characters she interacts with. Enjoy!

  The light, unfiltered, was too bright. She reached up one hand and closed the curtains. A soft violet glow suffused the room. She buried her head in her pillows and tried to go back to sleep.

Something jumped onto the bed. She felt a sharp pain in her leg and on her arm, along with a solid weight. “Mmf,” she half moaned. “Damn it, Socrates.” A chirruping meow was her answer. “Oh shut it. I know you can talk.”

“You shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night,” Socrates said, settling down and licking a paw. “What were you doing in there anyway?”

 “I was casting those charms on Dawn,” Athena said. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to protect her? She’s a club hopping, man baiting idiot.” Athena pushed the cat off and sat up. A lock of black hair fell into her eyes.

“You need to hurry. You have to get the shop opened. Or we aren’t going to be able to pay rent,” Socrates said as he moved to her pillows and once again began licking a front paw.

Athena took a swipe at her cat. The ginger tom just jumped down off the bed. “We can stand to miss a few hours,” she muttered, flopping back down.

 “No we can’t,” Socrates said. “You need to go open the shop.”
 She cracked an eye. “What are you not telling me, cat?” Athena asked.
Socrates smirked. “Just do it, Athena. Get that nasty coffee you like so much and go open the shop,” he said.

Athena grumbled, contemplated ignoring her cat and going back to sleep anyhow, but knew that he would never forgive her if they missed out on something big. She sighed and threw back the comforter. She sat up, rubbing her eyes.

Athena staggered into the bathroom and stripped out of her pajamas. A blast of cold water from the shower before turning on the hot water tap helped shake off some of the apathy caused by late night spell casting. The scent of citrus and lemon grass helped even more as she bathed.

 It took longer to comb out the snarls in her hair. She didn’t go to sleep without it tied up in a braid very often. When she did, it was a pain to deal with the next morning. Once her hair was tied back, she dressed in her usual uniform of a bright ankle length skirt and a cream colored peasant blouse. Athena grabbed her purse and jacket. She ran out of the house. She managed to get to the corner with moments to spare before the bus pulled away. The driver waved her past as she fumbled to drag her wallet out of her purse.
 Athena dropped into a vacant seat and stared out the window. She ignored the many flashes of colored light she saw, knowing that they didn’t exist in this world. Every now and then she would catch herself nodding off. She pulled out her mp3 player and stuck the earbuds in her ears. The resounding strains of Wagner’s “Twilight of the Gods” opera filled her ears and her mind.

The bus driver started to slow down even before Athena hit the button to request a stop. “I can tell I’ve ridden this bus too long,” she joked as she walked to the front.

 The bus driver laughed. “You’re one of my nicest regulars. Have a good day, Athena,” he said.

“Thanks Carl,” Athena said, hopping off the bus. She took a detour down to the coffee shop. She smiled at the barista as she walked in. “Large mocha with a triple shot of espresso and a blueberry muffin.”

“We’re all out of blueberry muffins,” the girl said. She wouldn’t even look at Athena. Her general air was of someone who didn’t want to be there.

“Do you have strawberry muffins again today?” Athena asked. The girl nodded. “Then I’ll take one of those with my coffee. Can I get it to go?”

 “Sure. Whatever.” The barista made the drink and fumbled the muffin into a Styrofoam container before handing them over to Athena. Her general attitude left a sour taste in Athena’s mouth. The girl took Athena’s money and handed her the change. Athena smiled as the door closed behind her. A cursed coin would teach the young woman what a bad day meant. It would only last twenty four hours but the lesson learned would last longer.
“Never irritate your neighborhood witch,” Athena muttered as she wandered over to her own shop and unlocked the door. She flipped on the lights as she walked past the switch. She set her coffee and muffin down on the counter. She turned on her cash register, set the cinnamon apple spice oil to heating on the little aromatherapy hotplate, and set her ‘open’ sign into the window.
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