The last days of summer vacation were dwindling away in a hot and sticky blur. Compared to the Appalachian summers she’d endured all of her life, early August in California was proving to be quite…humid. This was how Yvonne discovered her intense dislike of wet heat, the kind of hot that clung to your skin and dripped down your back. It was nearly suffocating at some points, and it was in a futile act of desperation that sent her mind swirling to a seemingly impossible solution: if only there was a way to banish the damn humidity. It was an odd thought, a random one brought on by only crankiness after discovering that she was still sweating like a pig after changing into a tank top and shorts.
Nonetheless, this thought reminded her that ,according to what she had been told directly and overheard…magic was not only real, but flourishing. Of course, she’d also grasped the fact that magic could also be extremely dangerous; even if she hadn’t, using cosmic forces to change weather patterns had to have some sort of consequences, surely. That and frankly…she wasn’t that irresponsible or illogical. Thankfully, she’d had the lapse and that moment of weakness, because that trail lead her to The Magic Box.
It was an odd little shop, but after purchasing an air conditioner, she used a small portion of the remaining funds to buy a few books - no spell books of course. She had no basic understanding of magic and was far too cautious to ever consider playing with things she had no comprehension of. Instead, she bought informational books containing great amounts of information on a variety of subjects; demons, magical artifacts, the magical theory. From her very first visit, she avoided the cursed and blessed objects and ingredients; anything to do with the act of magic itself. As long as she stayed in the books, her innate curiosity couldn’t get the better of her. She hoped.
Yvonne had been in and out of the little shop for nearly a week, having acquainted herself intimately with it; she would browse for hours sometimes, and with permission from whoever was running the counter that day, do a little reading here and there before putting the book back on the shelf or buying it. She felt a flush of guilt as she walked into the shop with her breakfast, knowing things at home were being neglected. But really, what was more important? Cleaning out the attic or making sure she had a better understanding of the world she now knew she was going to have to live in? Her eyes had been opened, and now she felt the overpowering urge to find every bit of knowledge she could, no matter how appalling. The fact that some demons ate only babies did in fact appall her and for a moment, she could completely and wholly understand the whole aura of the group of rag tag Slayers that had adopted her. They’d seen things, horrible things and it had changed them. For things like she had read about in these books, for things she’d heard the newer girls talking about to not effect someone…that person would have to be even darker than the thing committing such atrocities. Of course, that was where her Slayer training came in, but the group had agreed to give her a few more days to get settled in before putting her into Slayer bootcamp.
At times it was hard for her to keep reading. She would set the book away for a moment, take a deep breath and close her eyes, and only continue when she no longer felt the need to fling the text away from her in horror.
But this morning, just like all the others, she entered with a warm smile and the anticipation of learning something new. After kindly offering the person at the counter a donut and extra cup of coffee (she’d brought extra simply because it was the least she could do – and she’d happen to overhear they enjoyed the coffee from the local café in town) Yvonne got to perusing the shelves and shelves of books. Selecting a book on demonic lore, she decided to thumb a few pages before purchasing and returned to her usual seat under the window, using the warm morning sunlight as reading light.
She looked the picture of serenity with the sun streaming over her; dressed in the same form fitting and modest yellow sundress she arrived in, with those same wheat colored sandal wedges, she looked like she belonged teaching Kindergarten rather than in a store peddling highly dangerous and occasionally dark wares. She wore no makeup, but her honey brown eyes were bright with interest as they locked on the pages. Yvonne wasn’t really one for accessorizing, either; her throat, fingers, and ears mysteriously bare whereas any other young woman her age wouldn’t have hesitated to show off a bit of jewelry. While she wasn’t completely out of place, the aura of wholesome warmth set her apart from the traditional residents – and the cheery smile she offered anyone who met her occasionally wandering eyes marked her as excessively friendly compared to some of the more standoffish regulars.
The overhead bell tinkled again, marking a new customer, and Yvonne slanted her head to the side. Her long chestnut hair flowed loose, falling over one shoulder as she gave the newcomer a reflexive smile – then froze. Well, she certainly hadn’t been expecting a Billy Idol impersonator. But, an expert in tact, she recovered quickly enough, strengthened the wattage of her smile, and returned to her book.