Title: The Traveler
Author: Sol Smith
Genre: pagan YA
Instructed in the Wiccan path by her mother and father, Abigail is a solitary Witch and very accomplished for her young age. After her mother's sudden death leaves her feeling isolated and alone, she finds solace in the art of witchcraft and dedicates herself to the study of the Old Ways.
Between her father's new girlfriend, and being caught in a love triangle with her childhood friend Vic and fellow witch Erica, seventeen year old Abigail finds herself growing quickly dissatisfied with her life and the world. Seeking comfort, she reclaims her mother's extraordinary antique bed as her own, hoping the energy it holds will help ease her pain.
But Abigail soon discovers that the bed, and the ghostly power it contains wants more than just to help her.
It wants to be her.
The carpet is beige. The chairs are a darker beige. The typing, gabbing, and phone calling from all the secretaries sounds beige.
"What are you in for this time, honey?" Mary, the secretary who is several years past retirement age," asks me.
"Disrupting class," I say.
"Again? Haven't you got anything better to do?"
I smile to recognize the polite humor, but I really think this is a good question. Don't I have something better to do?
"He'll be right with you," she says.
Waiting on the hard plastic chair outside my guidance counselor's office has become a weekly ritual. One I don't look forward to. The meetings are perfunctory and frustrating. Why can't I just be sent to stand in a corner or pick up trash or something? Why does everything have to be so damn serious?
"Uh oh, Abbie." Mary is typing up some kind of report about my arrival to the office. "This is conference number four. You know what that means."
I collapse in my chair. It's going to be a long wait before my dad gets here.
The door to the office opens slightly and I see Erica's eyes framed by her black hair peering through.
"Just come in and talk." I pat the plastic seat next to me.
"I've got math class. I think there's a quiz today." She's using a stage whisper, like no one noticed that I've started talking to the cracked door.
"Just sit down for a minute." I try not to whine.
Erica slinks in and sits down next to me. "How many does this make?"
"Man. Are they calling your dad?"
"I think they already did."
"He'll be pleased. What class did you act-out in this time?"
"History. This is the second time for history this semester."
"Can't you just sit there and not listen? Can't you just pretend to be somewhere else?"
"No, Erica. I can't. This is important. This is our minds being polluted. I can't just sit there and listen to it all."
"What was it? You have some beef with the signing of the Magna Carta?"
I heave a breath. "Salem."
The word wipes the smile off of Erica's face. She leans back in her chair. "I don't know what your issue is with Salem, Abbie, honestly," she says. "I don't really see how that all is related to who we are."
"It's a validation issue, Erica. Get with it."
We're interrupted by Mary leaning over her desk. "Girls, you need to keep it down. Erica, were you sent here?"
"No, ma'am. I was just leaving." She picks up her bag and moves to her feet. "Are you coming to the party?"
"I doubt it. What party?"
"The Halloween party at Mark Hill's place."
"Like I'm going to a Halloween party, Erica. Come on."
"Vic will be there," she smiles.
"Please, please don't talk about him, okay? I just want to forget about it all right now, you know?"
"Girls, please," Mary reminds us.
"Sorry," Erica says. "I'm leaving." Then she turns around one more time. "Hey, I found an apartment. I'm getting out of my aunt's house next week. Can you help get some furniture for it this weekend?"
"Maybe, if my dad doesn't kill me. How are you planning on paying for that place, anyway?"
"Mom and Dad. Berkley pays a lot more than Ashlan State, Abbie. They think it'll be good for me. Maybe you can be such a pain in the ass that your dad will kick you out, then you could move in, too."
"Cool. I'll set the curtains on fire when I get home."
"And drink all the milk straight from the bottle. That should do it."
"Abigail, Mary says. Do you mind not having so much fun when you're being disciplined?"
Erica closes the door behind her, only to reopen it a second later. "Your dad's here," she says.
"Thanks for killing the suspense."