Chapter Fourteen

Another Saturday afternoon, Pete and BarCat were watching their favorite show Hidden in the Dark. Today's investigation was into the myth about spiders laying eggs in human skin and hatching out. While there were some really interesting graphics showing different scenarios and various old wives tales, the narrator, Karl Burrstack, told the viewers that, rest assured, spiders do not lay eggs in human skin. The rest of the show spent time presenting other kinds of bugs that do burrow into human skin and the images were graphic. While it did not bother BarCat because Karl never mentioned that these insects will burrow into cat skin, Pete did look a little uncomfortable, and appeared to be scratching a bit more than usual.

As the afternoon wore on, BarCat indulged in his favorite pastime, drinking from little shot glass and listening to various conversations that floated through the bar. Most of them were uninteresting. There were offerings of burger that were passed on to him, as well as an additional drink or two, but for the most part, it was another evening at the Zodiac Bistro.

It was about six-ish when some ladies from one of the new covens in the area came in for dinner. He had seen them several times before. It was originally a group of three ladies, but it had grown, and now there were seven. They were discussing something they had been doing with their coven. Obviously this coven was not oathbound. They freely discussed the members, the High Priestess, their Book of Shadows and the workings they were attempting. From the sounds of it, they didn’t appear to be getting anywhere with their workings. There was much disappointment from the five ladies seated at the table. Their practice was yielding them nothing and they were getting frustrated with the whole thing.

BarCat was not surprised. Real magic workers smelled of magic. The types of magic they used had different smells. Necromancers had an earthy decaying smell about them. Chaos magic smelled of sulfur and the really bent out of whack ones smelled of gasoline. Witches smelled of herbs, or flowery earth or fresh air, depending on what kind of magic they did. These girls, well, they smelled like regular people. The smell of magic was totally missing.

Missy had brought a pitcher of beer and glasses to the table. The afternoon waitress called off and the evening waitress would not be in till seven, so Missy filled in as needed. One of the girls stopped her and asked her a question. Something about how long does it take magic to manifest. At that point, a burger offering was placed in front of BarCat, so his attention was drawn elsewhere.

What actually happened is a brief discussion on magic, and the elements thereof. Not a teaching lesson, but more a casual discussion about what makes it work. From what BarCat remembers there are certain things that need to be included in the equation. If they are not all there, then poof, nothing happens.

Another lady came in and sat down at the table, and the discussion got deeper. Voices appeared to be raised. BarCat chewed his burger and focused on what was going on.

Missy had recommended a couple of books in answer to the ladies questions. She did not want to interfere with what the ladies were being taught, but it seemed to Missy that they could augment their knowledge base with some additional reading.

However, the lady who had just arrived was their High Priestess. And she blew up. First she got angry at the ladies at the table for discussing coven business with outsiders. As the ladies objected saying that was never discussed in coven, the High Priestess said it didn't need to be discussed, that they should know this.

While BarCat thought that was a direct contradiction of what she just said, he took another bite, and chewed as the conversation was getting even deeper. Missy had stood up at this point and was turning to head back to the kitchen when the High Priestess stood up and started yelling at Missy for poisoning the minds of her students.

At this point, BarCat stopped chewing and swallowed, and didn't know if he should take cover under the bar or watch the fireworks. Missy, the bar owner, is also a witch of extraordinary reputation and the long standing and highly respected High Priestess of a local coven. The twit who just started calling her names obviously had no idea and was being extremely disrespectful, to say the least.

He opted to watch. He lapped some more of his drink, and waited. The entire bar stood still and held its breath waiting for Missy to do something. And she did. She returned to the kitchen, got the next order and served another table. Five minutes later, she came back with the bill and placed it on the table and left.

BarCat understood. Missy was a class act. She would not do anything to a stark raving mad non-magical person. And that is exactly what that woman was. Not a drop of magic smell came from her. Missy would never harm someone who had no ability to do her harm. She can scream all she wants, but she simply would not be welcomed back into the bar again, which Pete told them as he took the money for their meal. Do not come back, he said You just insulted the bar owner and you will not be welcome here again. The others looked surprised but the bitchy little wannabe high priestess snorted and said that suits her just fine. And they all left.

In reality, they would never be able to find the Zodiac Bistro again. It will just simply be an incident they will remember happened in a bar, somewhere. But they could stand in front of the door and they would not see it. The Bistro is magic, and if a person was not wanted, they would simply not be able to find the bar again. And while the owners do suffer some individuals who were obnoxious and drunk, they do not ban them for being drunk. After all, this is a bar.

But insulting the owner? Poof, gone.

However, BarCat was not satisfied with that. That woman had insulted his source of food and drink and the roof over his head! Yes, BarCat was pretty well gone at this point, after all, it was Saturday night, and that glass had been filled - well, he didn't remember how many times. Besides, he's a cat, he can't count. But he was pretty sloshed. And he wasn't going to stand for his source of pleasure to be insulted.

It was about two weeks later when a story came over the news. A reporter was talking to a spokesperson for the CDC. A new spider has been discovered. It is a previously unknown species of spider, and it had laid eggs in the face of a sleeping woman. She had presented herself to her doctor with some massive swelling on her face, and upon examination by the doctor, he admitted her to the hospital for observation. A day later, the swelling erupted and dozens of baby spiders emerged.

They showed a picture of the woman, whose face was obscured by bandages. The doctor who treated her said they had been keeping her sedated as she had totally broken down with the incident, which was to be expected. She did, however, scream at a nurse in the background while they were taping. And BarCat easily recognized that annoy tone and voice. The CDC spokesperson said all the spiders were contained and killed, but they had never seen anything like this before and were certain this was an isolated case.

BarCat smiled, licked at the bourbon in the glass and thought to himself - yea, sure.


Copyright 2019 Boudica Foster and Tales from the Zodiac Bistro
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