We were brought to our very own house which would serve as our dorm and left among ourselves to socialize over pizza. Most of the people jumped on the food, having spent far too long on a crowded bus without any breaks on the way. After looking through the boxes, I settled on the all-dressed pizza and grabbed a slice with my fingers.
The second I took a bite, I immediately felt my mouth burn and my face become tingly. There was only one thing that did that; raw garlic. I rushed to the sink and spit out the bite I’d taken before rinsing my mouth with water several times over. Why of all things had vampires have to be allergic to garlic? Why not licorice, beets or something something nobody in their right mind eats anyway and not an omnipresent ingredient…
“Are you okay?” Someone asked me with a fairly heavy dutch accent.
“Garlic’s not cooked, I’m allergic to it in raw form.” I claimed, scrubbing my tongue until the sensation disappeared.
“Are you going to be okay?”
“Yeah, I didn’t swallow it.”
I turned around and got a look at them. They were fairly tall, although not quite as I was. Despite the dutch accent, their skin was a strong light brown shade. Neither their clothes or their body were feminine or masculine, instead they were like an overgrown preteen.
“Harley Tănăsescu.” I said, putting my hair back correctly.
“Oh you’re my roommate.”
“Let me guess, you’re genderqueer too?”
“I prefer non-binary.” They said.
“Alright.” I said with a shrug.
Rather than eat anymore, the garlic having killed my appetite I grabbed my bags and went into my assigned room. As I went, I saw Clarke get approached by Alexander, the short clearly transgender guy in our dorm, asking for help. I unpacked my things and sorted them in the closet and the drawers under the bed.
When I came back into the common room I saw that away from the others, there was redheaded girl in a green hoodie sitting down on the couch, clutching a bottle of apple juice like her life depended on it. But even more interesting was the bulky gray cat lying across her lap. I could feel the magical energies emanating from it. It wasn’t a normal pet but a witch’s familiar and she was the witch.
I came closer and the cat suddenly leapt off her lap and stood before me. It sniffed me before hissing.
“Jeez. Relax, kitty. I don’t bite.” I said putting my hands up. “Unless people want me to that is.” The cat let out another sharp hiss. “Jeez, take a joke and chill. She’s not even my type. Can you call off your Familiar?” I then asked, looking back at the girl.
“You know what Malkie is?” She asked, although she turned her head in my direction, she didn’t make eye contact.
“That’s not the first time I’ve met one.”
“Are you with the Merlins too?” She asked,
The children of Merlin — Sons of Merlin for the old guys not keen on times changing — or Merlins as they were known more colloquially, were one of the magical cabal that ran around the world, as far as secret magical order they were alright even if my grandfather despised them as ‘idealistic fools.’
“No, I’m part of the Tănăsescu clan of Romania.”
She frowned and then looked at her familiar. Who had climbed back onto the couch and sat next to her, its eyes fixed on me. Although I couldn’t hear it, I knew she and the familiar were communicating mentally.
“You’re a witch hunter?” She looked at me eyes wide, her body tensing up. The aura emanating from her familiar grew stronger, more imposing.
“Woah, we’re on the same team.” I said putting my hand up in surrender for the second time. “I really don’t agree with my family’s policies and history. My mom and I are definitely the black sheeps.”
She looked at me — or rather slightly off — and frowned.
“I want to believe you.”
I approached slowly and sat down in an armchair not far from her.
“Trust me, if I could just wipe off the occult debt and bad karma off my soul attached to the name and get rid of it, I’d do it in a heartbeat. You try being half-vampire in a family whose self-appointed job is to hunt monsters.” I sighed. “I’m surprised there are other magical beings here though. Superheroes and magic don’t exactly mix well.”
There were a few superheroes with magical powers but they were the mockery of the occult underground. With The powers at the disposition of witches, wizards and warlocks, robbing banks or fighting said robbers were kind of a laughable idea. There were better ways to shape the world for good or ill, if you didn’t mind ignoring the little people that is.
“I’m Harley. Do you have a name?”
“Síthmaith.” She said, pronouncing it ‘She-moh.’
“Well Síthmaith, I’m glad to have met you.” I said with a smile. “Hopefully we can get along, even if Malkie doesn’t like me.”
In answer, Malkie hit its tail against the armrest of the couch. He was one crazy protective familiar to say the least. But even with his attitude, having someone who understood magic was a huge relief. I wouldn’t sound so crazy if anyone asked me about anything, that was a plus.