This is a conversation between Esta—the main character of the Chaos of Esta Anderson series—and Bee, a new character first introduced in the Third Name’s a Charm charity anthology. Bee owns a small occult shop which they’ve just opened, and Esta, thrilled to finally have an occult shop in her area, went to check it out on her way to her handsome vampire bookseller. Bee mistook Esta’s look of wonder for being lost and offered her a warm welcome chat away from the shop floor.
Bee: What brings you to my humble shop, Esta? You looked a little lost there. First time in a shop like this?
Esta: I… don’t really know. I’m not lost, though. I have time before I’m meeting someone and thought I’d have a look. I’ve wanted a shop like this near me for years. glances at a sign on the wall behind Bee “This is a Veiled safe space”?
Bee: laughs Yes! Hmm. I’m not sure how to read that look on your face. What do you understand under Veiled?
Esta: … Fairies. Vampires…
Bee: laughs Ah, then I see why you’ve found your way to me. As the sign says, we’re a safe space for everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, or background, and that includes Veiled background. Obviously, that doesn’t work on the shop floor, but back here when it’s just you, me, and the cards? Feel free to let your wings out, your fangs show, etc.
Esta: I had no idea shops like this existed! I mean, I doubt it’s common, but still. Oh, and I’m not one of the Veiled, but thanks for the offer.
Bee: Then how do you know about them?
Esta: Long story. I stepped into this void lake in a lucid dream and it started a whole thing. glances at the sign again Is it okay to just… have that out? I mean, I know not just anyone can see since it’s back here, but don’t you ever get humans who ask about it but have no idea about the Veiled?
Bee: Not as often as you might think. It is a new shop, though, so I haven’t actually done that many readings. I guess we’ll see. If anyone asks, I have a back-up answer—it’s a veiled safe space because we’re hidden back here. Get it? Like we’re hidden behind a veil? You don’t have to laugh, I know it’s bad.
Esta: chuckles No, I can see that working. glances at tarot deck on the table So, you do readings back here?
Bee: Sure do! Although, truth be told, I could use another pair of hands. It’s just me and Jirina and she doesn’t work every day, so I can’t always leave the shop floor. Do you want a reading?
Esta: Oh, no, I just noticed the deck. I recently got my first one, but I don’t know if I’m any good. My neighbour is teaching me—she’s a witch—but she’s trying to teach me so much other stuff besides and— blushes Sorry. I get carried away when I’m excited, and I can’t often just talk about this stuff.
Bee: winks Well, be sure to recommend us.
Esta: Will do. sighs I wish I could work here, but I doubt I have the time between my gallery job and my neighbour teaching me.
Bee: Shame. It’s hard to find people who are open-minded enough to work in a witchy shop and who know about the Veiled, harder still to find someone with both qualities who also practices witchcraft.
Esta: blushes again I don’t actually practice. I just get taught by a witch.
Bee: winks You learn to read tarot and respect the Veiled’s privacy. That’s good enough for me. laughs Oh, hun, I can tell by the way all those words just poured out of you. You were clearly dying to talk to someone about the Veiled community, which tells me you normally keep it a secret just fine. Well, if you ever do want a small side hustle, my little shop would be happy to have you. In time you could even take some of the tarot readings off me. I just know I could find a place for you. Hekate doesn’t place anyone onto their path for no reason.
Bee: The deity I work with. She chose me as much as I chose her. She calls to many new witches, but I stayed after her initial guidance. I’m too grateful to just go away. nods towards shop floor I’ve a feeling Jirina will be the same.
Esta: Wait, deities are of the Veiled? I thought they were… you know, their own thing.
Bee: laughs I suppose you could say that! Honestly, I don’t have all the answers either. You know, I sell a few good books on the subject—not just on Hekate personally, though I have a few, but about deity work in general.
Esta: Thank you, but my neighbour has already given me so much to study. I think I’ll just ask her when I’m ready for more. pauses How much do you pay, out of curiosity?
Bee: I’m afraid all I can offer is minimum wage with some great benefits, if I do say so myself. You can read whenever no one needs your help, you’re bound to learn some magick along the way, and you get to talk to other people on the same path as you every day. Most people who come in here are either interested or have been practicing for varying lengths of time, but I won’t lie and say we never get any bigots who come in here just to cause a fuss. Nothing a good banishing spell can’t fix though.
Esta: What kind of magic do you practice? Magick with a k or… My neighbour mentioned there’s a difference. I figured, if you do actual banishing spells…
Bee: I’m the non-flashy variety. Anyone can do banishing spells—you don’t need to be able to throw fire around for that. Can’t say mine are as effective as a witch’s who uses the kind of magic you see in movies, but it’s served me just fine so far. For anything else, I have the police on speed dial. Not that I’ve needed it, but again—new shop.
Esta: gets a text and checks I need to go, but thanks for the chat. I really do wish I could work here.
Bee: And I meant what I said: I’d be happy to have you if you change your mind.
Esta: smiles Thanks. I’m sure I’ll be by again.
Bee: smiles Then I’ll see you later.
Sarina Langer has written short stories since she was seven and worked in a library for a few years after university. She's currently working on four series. The Relics of Ar'Zac trilogy is her debut series and features a homeless orphan with visions of death, who's destined to save the world from the Dark One and lead the gifted--people with magic--out of oppression.The Darkened Light duology features four misfits and what happens when one power-hungry mortal opposes the goddess of the dead. The Blood Wisp novella trilogy takes place in the same world as the Relics of Ar'Zac series and features that world's first vampire. Sarina's youngest WIP, the Dreamer trilogy, is her first adventure into urban fantasy and features a girl who walks her dreams at will,a mysterious door, and a sarcastic feline spirit guide. Sarina lives in Southampton,UK, with her other half and her cat familiar.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”