Chapter 4:

One day, a little girl visited.

Witch Cafe Wisteria

It was especially early in the morning at Witch Cafe Wisteria when a frustrated shout rang out from behind the herb-filled counter.

“Why isn’t it working?!”

On this day, Pecan made it to work early to practice more witchcraft. There had been a day where she had been grasping the concept of infusing magic into the Good Luck Tea. However, it seemed that Pecan was having quite a bit of trouble making any other beverage magical. Even worse, and yes there was something worse: she wasn't even able to infuse the Good Luck Tea consistently anymore.

From the side, Derry watched on in concern. She had been so happy for Pecan’s progress before. Who wouldn’t be happy to see the one they're training make such wonderful strides? She was willing to come in earlier every now and then so that her trainee could practice even more. A supportive teacher… even if she wasn’t the best at actually teaching! However, she wasn’t sure why her pupil wasn’t moving forward.

Tired and hungry, Derry placed a hand on Pecan’s shoulder and yawned, “I know you sometimes start wigging when I say this, dear… but you’ll get it... eventually”. Pecan was about to protest that statement-- why say something that you know bothers someone, after all? Before her student could say anything, Derry dipped below the counter and brought out a sack.

“What I mean this time... is that Miits made breakfast for both of us this morning,” Derry sleepily said with a smile as she presented the sack. She placed it on a table and motioned for Pecan to sit with her, “since you’ll get it eventually... let’s eat for now”.

Now at that point, there was something about Miits that came off as angelic to Pecan. This sister in the neighboring city seemed to always pull through with the most thoughtful things! Pecan jokingly thought that she’d fall for her if she ever met her. She figured she’d actually travel to Seabirche one day and thank her. Given Pecan’s situation, it seemed pretty easy to become a fan of this enigmatic figure. Most of all, there was something oddly touching about someone who had never met her being encouraging in this indirect way. Pecan discreetly wiped a single tear, making sure she would never ever have to admit that she shed any type of tear over such a thing.

Our witch and witch apprentice silently shared a breakfast of cinnamon buns, spinach with eggs, and oranges. They were too tired to speak at first. At the same time, many like to actually eat their food instead of conversing. Especially if the food was good, like the meal they were having right then. Also, it is very unwise to speak and eat simultaneously, so the silence was very welcome.

Eventually, Derry spoke up after swallowing a slice of orange. “Pecan, I’d like you to… take a detour before we open today,” the witch said as she stood.

“Yeah?” As much as she would have liked to say her mood had improved because of the breakfast, her voice was still tinged with disappointment.

Derry went to the back room and came back with a stack of papers tied up with old fashioned jute strings, walking them over to Pecan excitedly. “You remember Millan... right? His grandmother owns a print shop. She did these up for us”. And with that, the cafe owner dropped the flyers ever so delicately on the table for Pecan to untie.

After undoing the knots, Pecan looked over the papers. They were flyers advertising the cafe! For the most part, each paper was the same, yet there were small differences which indicated that each flyer had been hand-printed. The vine-like designs on the sides swooped in to create an image like that of steam rising from a hot cup of tea. Truly beautiful, as many might say.

“Whoa, so this is why Millan got tea for free,” Pecan nodded, impressed by the flyers. Well, of course, it was Pecan-made free tea, so maybe the value wasn’t as much as a Derry-made free tea. However, it would be rather rude to point that out to Pecan.

Derry yawned and hummed in thought. “In the community I come from, we all help each other”.

“Well that’s good,” Pecan said, catching Derry’s contagious yawn, as that tends to happen with two tired, yawning individuals.

Derry agreed and added, “It’s a beautiful thing... but I want other people to have that beautiful thing too, not just my community”. She tapped the flyers in Pecan’s hands.

Pecan seemed confused until Derry spoke up again. “Pecan, can you do me a solid… and post these up at the college?”

“Oh, uh yeah?” Pecan said as more of a question than anything.

Derry smiled brighter, her tired eyes seeming like they might just like to close as soon as Pecan was away. “Dank. Thank you, Pecan. The campus is hella pretty, so please take your time and enjoy it. Don’t sweat coming in later than when we open”.

That worried Pecan quite a bit. This was Derry, after all, the woman who could hardly give back the correct change whether it was in her favor or not. Of course, Pecan wasn’t sure if her teacher would be able to handle the cafe on her own. “Uh… I’ll just try to be back before we open”.

“Nah, we’re already set up. Just do you,” Derry said with a dangerous nonchalance as she started cleaning up Pecan’s practice concoctions. For some reason, Pecan had an odd feeling that Derry really just wanted her away for a little while. What for, she wasn’t sure. She couldn’t tell if it was for Derry’s own benefit or for Pecan’s. Or maybe she just really wanted those flyers out. However, it was the part about taking her time that worried her.

Still, despite her worrying, Pecan set off to the college to post the flyers. As Derry had said, it really was a pretty campus. There weren’t a lot of students around since it was a weekend, but there were enough hanging in the main areas that Pecan started to think maybe she’d stand out as a non-student. Not that students looked like any type of person in particular. A few students would pass by, talking about their way-too-hard homework assignments or their not-even-in-the-textbook exam questions. Pecan thanked herself for not enrolling. She was hardly even able to keep up with witchcraft, which she was able to do on her own time for the most part. Keeping up with a college curriculum seemed like it didn’t suit her, which is not uncommon for many to feel such a way since, of course, many learn differently. However, keeping up with college funds would have been her biggest challenge.

In the end, after posting all the flyers, Pecan returned to the cafe quite a while before they usually opened their doors. While the cafe looked in tip-top shape which implied that Derry did make sure all was well, the witch’s newfound burst of energy seemed to hint that she, indeed, ended up taking a nap sometime between Pecan leaving and returning. However, this is no human flaw; getting enough sleep is vital-- something humans often take for granted as if it’s prideful to not sleep. Nay! It is but a slow death to not sleep. A seasoned witch, like Derry, was well aware of that, and Pecan was wise not to contest that. In other words, we won’t be talking about Derry sleeping on the job any further.

The cafe was ready to open for the day with both Pecan and Derry hoping for productive meetings with new and familiar customers alike. Pecan was already filled with energy from completing her flyer task and checked on the cafe’s supply of seed milk. All good to go! The now-rested Derry-- apologies-- the energized-for-reasons-no-longer-to-be-discussed Derry was carefully inspecting the jars of herbs and other ingredients for just about the fifth time that day. It seemed unnecessary, but surely you can never check your ingredients enough. Perhaps they’d suddenly disappear in a witch cafe! Except, no such thing happened, so Derry might have really been checking out of anticipation.

All the anticipation paid off, for no later than ten minutes or so after opening their doors, the cafe received its first visitor of the day. A visitor from the college already! Except, judging by that one, it seemed that college students were starting to look quite young those days. A little girl of about the height of the door handle on the entrance giggled her way into the cafe. Perhaps she was not a college student at all. Ah, yes. This was an actual child.

“Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria,” Pecan said, with a smile.

Derry rushed from behind the counter and bent her knees as she raised her palm in front of the girl. “Welcome, Jenni!” Derry said ever so sweetly.

This small not-college girl, apparently named Jenni, hopped up to meet Derry’s hand with her own. “Hi!!” she exclaimed.

“What’s up, Jenni?” Derry asked, bending down lower to speak to her tiny visitor face-to-face.

Jenni clutched her little hands into her dresses’ fabric, flapping it around as she said, “I made a dress!” The dress was simple enough. It had layers sewed on in a childlike way. The style seemed familiar to Pecan.

“It looks nice! You spent a lot of time on it... didn’t you?” Derry asked.

“Uh huh!” Jenni nodded proudly as she twisted back and forth, letting her skinny little arms flop around wherever her twisting body let them go. She reached into her dress pocket and pulled out a piece of fabric. It matched the main color of her dress perfectly. In fact, it actually was the same fabric. She handed her cloth to Derry. “Can you make a flying drink?”

Derry was quite confused and asked little Jenni to repeat herself.

“Like a drink that makes you fly or something?” Pecan asked. Of course, it was not possible to make someone fly with a beverage, as far as we know. However, this was, indeed, what Jenni was asking for.

Jenni nodded wildly as she shouted in confirmation. The loud noise didn’t bode well with Derry at first, but she readjusted and smiled at Jenni once more. “Sorry, honey. I… don’t think I can whip up anything like that”.

Little Jenni thought for a moment and then beamed at Derry, “A cat drink! I wanna be a cat!” That was yet another impossible beverage to make, but that doesn’t mean one can’t ask!

“A cat drink… is hard to make! Sorry, Jenni… I can’t do that one either,” Derry cooed, clapping her hands together as apologetically as possible.

“That’s okay. I don’t like cats that much anyway,” Jenni began, crossing her arms as she thought. “Hmmmmm. Whadda I want?”

Suddenly, a small drip of red fell right onto Jenni’s dress, but it didn’t seem like she noticed. Then another. And another. Derry looked over Jenni’s face, wondering where the red spots were coming from. A dress does not simply spot itself with red after all, not even in a witch cafe. It was then that Derry noticed a trail of red falling from little Jenni’s nose.

“Oh dear… Jenni, your nose is bleeding!” Derry yelped as she jolted up to get a towel. Pecan sprang into action as well, grabbing a wad of napkins.

“Here, take these,” Pecan said, scrambling to hand the napkins to Derry to give to their guest.

Jenni held her scrap of fabric up to her nose. “Mmn mmn. I’m okay. It always does this.” Well, that didn’t sound very fun, but it seemed that little Jenni was used to such an inconvenient thing!

Derry set the napkins on the counter and reached into her pocket quickly. Out from her pocket came a key! Of course, keys are usually made for unlocking doors, chests, hearts, or other specially inaccessible things. However, Derry placed the key on the back of little Jenni’s tiny neck.

At the cold feeling, Jenni laughed and tried to wiggle away, but Derry asked for her to hold still for a while as she recited a short chant. Somehow, the nosebleed stopped!

“It’s not running anymore!” Jenni squealed in delight, checking her nose repeatedly. “How’d you do that?!”

“Magic, of course!” Derry chuckled, as Jenni “wow”ed to herself and continued to check her nose. Looking over to her pupil, Derry asked, “Pecan, what did you end up doing with the ropes… on those flyers from earlier?”

Pecan shuffled over to the trash can beneath the register and pulled one of the long, jute strings out from it. “What… uh… this?” Digging in the trash was perhaps not the most clean thing to do, but in that situation the only thing there was the string in question.

“Yes! Thank you!” Derry walked over and grabbed the jute strings from Pecan, pushing them through the key’s opening. And just like that, she made a necklace which went right around Jenni’s neck. “Here you go, Jenni. Wear it as much as you can”.

“Why’d you do that?” the curious Jenni asked, giving her new necklace a long inspection. It definitely wasn’t the most typical type of jewelry!

Derry smiled wide, “This type of thing… it should help! Hold up. I have the perfect drink for you.”

With this, Derry walked behind the counter and grabbed a few oranges left over from the breakfast she had with Pecan earlier. Instead of placing the bowl on the counter like she usually would, she prepared a jar instead. And of course, she washed her hands. Washing your hands is important when working with food and drinks after all!

Jenni rushed up to the counter and tried to stand on the tips of her toes to see what Derry was making. “What is it?”

“Are you just making orange juice?” Pecan asked with a laugh as Derry cut an orange in half. Unfortunately for Pecan, she was right, but Derry wanted to keep her drink a surprise. Though really, it seemed quite obvious that it was just going to be orange juice. It wasn’t long before Pecan found herself roped into cutting the leftover oranges in half with Derry as a punishment for revealing the secret.

Derry looked over the counter at tiny Jenni. “This’ll be… a special drink, okay?”

“Okay!” Jenni shouted excited as she could be for the moment.

“The most special, completely average orange juice you’ll ever have,” Pecan said quite dryly with a trickster’s grin as she began squeezing an orange’s juice into the jar.

Jenni didn’t pick up on Pecan’s signature sarcasm, so she was enthralled by the idea! This was a witch cafe, so there was an idea in that little, young head of hers that believed anything could happen there!

Pecan watched Jenni continue to try to peer over the counter and had an idea. “Did you want to help?” she asked.

“Yeah!!” Jenni cheered, but Derry was not fond of such an idea.

“Two of us… really is enough, Pecan. You don’t have to do a thing, honey,” Derry said, worried that having a guest work for their drink was a bit much. Perhaps that was a concept another cafe could explore, but not in Derry’s place!

However, Jenni was more than happy to squeeze the oranges, exclaiming, “I wanna do it!”

“Alright, let’s do this at a table,” Pecan said, grabbing the jar and a few cut oranges. Derry reluctantly grabbed cut oranges as well, placing them on the table closest to the counter. And with that, the witch, the apprentice, and the little girl spent time squeezing oranges together, filling up the jar as much as they could.

The final orange was squeezed and yet the jar wasn’t even half filled. Nonetheless, little Jenni was satisfied with her super special, mundane orange juice.

“Now make sure you drink that with… something meaty. Tell your mom I told you that, okay?” Derry said.

Jenni shook her jar, watching the pulp of the juice float around. “‘Kay! Thank you, Deli! Thank you, Peecan!”

“Pecan-- and Derry,” our witch-in-training corrected a little too late. Jenni had already been out of hearing range and out the door! However, it was best to let that go for that moment.

Instead, Pecan was much more interested in Derry’s actions against the nosebleed! “Uh, by the way, that key and meat stuff was all really specific...” Pecan said as she wiped the table off of its sticky residue. “What’s with all that stuff? How did you know what to give her?”

Usually, you would expect an interesting explanation in this type of situation. However, Derry simply said, “I dunno,” as she wiped the counter. A tag team clean!

“Wait… uh... you don’t know why you did any of that?” Pecan asked.

“Not really. That’s just what my grandma taught me to do when someone has a nosebleed,” Derry responded. Now of course, there actually are perfectly logical explanations for all of the many things Derry did for Jenni because of the nosebleeds. Unfortunately, Derry just wasn’t aware of how each action helped for the situation specifically. Of course, the non-explanation tired Pecan out, but if one does not know, then there isn’t much to be done from there. The two could only wait for any other customers to roll on over to the cafe.

It might please any interested persons to know that Pecan and Derry, indeed, did not spend the day only making orange juice and tending to a bloody nose. However, the rest of our story will have to continue another time. One might agree that some things are best told on their own. That being said, we will be picking up our story later on a less citrusy note!