Faye Barrett

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Cold City Scholarships
11/20/2022 10:02pm

My mom was in the Cold City Witches, and I'm here on a Cold City Witches scholarship.

No it's not a band.

11/27/2022 7:54pm

Cold City Witches is a service organization located primarily in the far northern and southern latitudes. It started as a social club a super long time ago but became a religious-based non-profit. Mostly for tax purposes I think.

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11/29/2022 8:43pm

My great grandma was a Cold City Witch and her great grandma too. That’s how I qualified for the scholarship.

All the Cold City Witch Children get scholarships to the preternatural school of their choice.

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12/3/2022 10:13pm

Just learned that Donda is coming for Solstice. My problem sister. She's ten years older than me and has been through a lot, but I guess she's burned all her other bridges. For the holidays at least.

I love her because she's my sister, but why does she have to come visit ME?

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12/9/2022 9:09pm

Donda sits on my bed and smokes.

“Smoking’s not allowed in the dorms,” I say.

Donda just looks at me and takes another drag. She exhales and smoke fills the room. The smoke takes on the shape of several people, standing around like they're at a party. They're wearing witch hats.

“You can’t bring them back,” I say.

Donda stares at the wall, like she can’t hear me.

I open a window and the people start to dissolve.

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12/16/2022 11:32pm

Donda has been in and out of Necromantic Rehab my whole life. Not that the Cold City Witches aren't well versed in that kind of thing, but some people end up overdoing it, and then it's hard for them to stop. My mom had her when she was really young and blames herself, but really it's just Donda.

I walk outside to take the call so Donda can't overhear.

"It's just the time of year," I tell mom. "You know she tends to get this way."

"She's always been so sensitive," mom says.

I look up at the third floor and see Donda looking down at me through the window. She's got that green eldritch glow about her.

"Gotta go," I tell mom.

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12/22/2022 10:53pm

"And who do we have here, dearie?" asked the old hag inside my dorm room. "Gimme your hand!"

Her hand was cold. And just a little bit rotting. She seemed drunk.

There were more old hags. Five of them, gathered at bowls of nuts and chex mix placed in a circle around my room. They bobbed and weaved unsteadily, like green candle flames. My sister was mingling.

"This line!" the old hag cackled, staring at my palm. "I know what's going to happen to you! Wanna hear, dearie?"

"No, thank you." I pulled my hand away. Part of hers came off in my fingers, then floated away like cobwebs.

I turned to my sister.

"Donda, you promised."

"What? Oh, Faye!" I could tell she was high. High off the energy she gets from bringing them back. "This... this is just letting off a little steam. The boxes get too hot if you let 'em sit for too long."

Donda was referring to the tiny "hop boxes" I now noticed placed on the floor around the room. Each one had a ghost rooted to it, and small amount of fortified human remains inside of it. Gross.

"Where did you get them?"

"I know a guy..." Donda thought she was being charming.

"This could get me kicked out school. Lose my scholarship. How do you think the Aunties would deal with that?"

Donda looked at me. Mad.

"You've always gotten everything you've ever wanted," she said. Then she clicked her fingers and the ghosts snuffed out.

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12/27/2022 11:46pm

The next day, Donda acted like it had never happened. She woke up early and tidied up. I threw out the chex mix the night before, and was tempted to throw out the hop boxes too but you can’t just go putting those in the regular trash. And I was tired of cleaning up Donda’s mess.

She went on being reasonable Donda, making coffee, making small talk, till I couldn’t bear it anymore.

“I want to talk about last night,” I said.

That brought unreasonable Donda back to the surface right away.

“I thought you of all people might understand,” she snarled. “You know the power of communing with them. You’re even good at it. You’ve got book, after all.”

I had a signed edition of Rituum Vetitum: Nova editio ad novam generationem, which was a present from the Aunties’ Council at my scholarship award ceremony.

"And think of all the great witches who did it all the time! Kasmira! Sable! Oran! And don't forget the Crack of Okkokodom could never have been sealed without the secrets Delayne unveiled."

"Yeah and they all went insane," I said. "And had their own graveyards, with an unlimited supply of... material. What are you going to do when your hop boxes run out? They're illegal, hard to find, and expensive."

"I know a guy..." Thinking she was being charming again.

"You have to leave," I said. "Solstice is over. I'm going to the library to study and you have to be gone when I get back."

And I picked up my backpack and slammed the door on my way out.

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1/1/2023 9:27pm

Donda was gone when I got back. Just like I asked.

I took my time getting back, staying at the library till it closed, then going to the Spoonbender and sucking on the chamomile hooka till they kicked me out.

My dorm room was all picked up, all her stuff gone. Not a sign of her.

It took me a couple of days to realize my signed edition of Rituum Vetitum was gone too. And a few other necromancy text books. And a big baggie of Lozenge-A that @Isabella Quince gave me in the lunchroom but I never took.

I don't ever want her to come back. But she's my sister.

I've decided I can't tell mom what really happened. She doesn't need that.

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