“Just…well, I’ve got all these supernatural friends, and they got to talking about how their family had supernatural creatures, and how it’s possible that some supernatural genes can skip generations...”
It probably wasn’t the most subtle approach, coming right out and asking her parents bluntly if they knew of any history of witches in the family tree. Plus, she had two sides to climb – her mother’s and her father’s. And neither one of them seemed to know anything.
“Right,” Russ continued. “There’s nothing you won’t investigate, is there?”
“Not really, no.”
Her dad chuckled. “Okay, well, I sure as heck don’t remember anything, and neither does your mom. But we’ve got our old family photo albums, and I did that genealogy thing a few years ago, when that long-lost cousin called. You’re welcome to look through those.”
“Thanks. It’ll be a start, anyway.”
Kenzie hung up and made her way to her parents’ house. Sage had greeted her warmly when she’d returned, though she could sense that something was amiss. But her feelings didn’t seem to have altered since her master had been bitten.
Regardless of what the case may be with her blood and soul, Kenzie’s feelings toward her loyal companion didn’t change, either. She still loved Sage deeply, just as she loved her family and friends.
She was just confused and determined to know the truth, or at least get as close to it as possible.
When she arrived at the house just down the street, she was greeted by Flossy, her parents’ dachshund.
“Kenzie,” her mother said as her daughter stood up from the giddy yapping pooch, “your dad’s bringing his research up from the basement, but I need to ask you – why the sudden interest in possible supernatural creatures being in the family?”
“Like I told Dad, I’m just curious since I have all these supernatural friends.”
“There’s more to it than that. I can tell.”
Kenzie sighed. “Fine,” she acceded. “Paige mentioned a while back that it was so uncanny how I have a pet dog that’s essentially a genius, and half wolf besides. Wolves were common familiars of witches, next to cats. And then there’s the question of why I’m so interested in wolves. I don’t even remember when I began liking them, so it makes me wonder if there’s something else at work.”
Before Constance could reply, Russ came upstairs, dragging a large box.
“Here you go,” he announced as he set it down. “Here’s everything I dug up during that genealogy project, plus some of my old personal albums and contributions from other family members. Whatever you’re investigating, I’m sure you’ll get to the bottom of it.”
“Thanks, Dad. You didn’t have to drag it all the way up here, though. I could have just looked at it downstairs.”
“I figured you may want to take it home with you.”
“Well, I guess I could. I don’t know how much research I’ll have to do.”
Her dad chuckled while Constance seemed dubious. But Kenzie didn’t have time to speculate what could have been behind her mother’s look. She picked up the box and headed back home with it.
Once there, she wasn’t entirely sure where to begin. Her father wasn’t one to keep things in any particular order, and family photo albums were no exception. They were dated, and some papers were placed into folders labeled Genealogy, but that was about it. Everything seemed to be scattered one way or the other, tossed haphazardly into the box.
Until she opened a folder buried at the bottom of the box, almost as though it had been the least interesting file, and a yellowed newspaper clipping fluttered out. Furrowing her brow, she picked it up and scanned the contents.
The article was very old, its paper brittle and nearly crumbling at Kenzie’s soft touch. There was an equally old picture of a family paper-clipped to the article. There was a man and woman, who Kenzie ascertained to be the parents, and two girls, one a teenager and one a child. A sticky note on the back depicted them as being Phinius, Rosagunde, Gwendolyn, and Davina Howell.
Kenzie laid the picture aside and scoured the newspaper article. It spoke of the Howell family, the four in the sepia picture, and rumors of the eldest daughter, Gwendolyn, practicing witchcraft. Based on the age of the paper and photo, plus the attire worn by the family members, Kenzie guessed that this article had been written during the infamous witch trials in the 1600s. Hundreds of people, men and women alike, and even some children, had been accused of being witches and tortured and killed for crimes they didn’t commit.
At least, that was Kenzie’s opinion. She’d studied the trials in school but never outside of the classroom. Now she was beginning to wish she’d looked into them more. Plus, when she’d been at school, supernatural creatures were living in isolation. Everything about witchcraft back then was speculation that innocent mortals had paid the price for something they hadn’t done. Could it be that the accused witches were, in fact, the very creatures they were accused of being?
Continuing to read the article, she learned that Gwendolyn had had a child out of wedlock, a very big no-no for that time period. That was reason enough for the town to turn on her. As for where her child went, no one seemed to know. Or they didn’t care; their biggest concern was burning the “witch.”
Kenzie found it odd that her father never mentioned this to her. Of course, she’d never taken much interest in genealogy before. Plus, this folder was buried at the bottom, so he probably thought it was all ludicrous. Still, had this girl actually been a witch? Had she been killed for being what she truly was, or was she an innocent, misunderstood young woman who’d died at the hands of a judgmental town?
Unfortunately, it seemed like Kenzie would never know that, for she didn’t find any other mention of this family in her father’s files. So she took to the Internet instead.
Sage watched her master questioningly as she searched relentlessly for information. She didn’t know how reliable her online sources were on a subject that happened so long ago, but there were a few more mentions of the family in question on a few different sites.
One even stated that both Gwendolyn and her younger sister, Davina, were witches, and many villagers had witnessed them performing magic and chanting indecipherable words, all while other worldly things occurred. When Gwendolyn was burned for her crimes, Davina had simply vanished. No one knew where she went, nor did anyone know what became of Gwendolyn’s child. Phinius and Rosagunde, however, were also killed, not so much for being witches but for bringing them into the world.
Kenzie was so absorbed in this information that the shrill sound of her phone receiving a text message startled her to the point of making her jump, nearly toppling out of her chair. She saw that it was only Hayden, checking up on her. She stood up and sent a reply.
WolfKen: Finding out some interesting stuff about my family. Looks like witches did exist on my dad’s side. Crazy.
LoneWolf: Any news on the wolf part?
WolfKen: Not yet, but I almost wonder if that was on my mom’s side. In fact, she seemed really concerned about why I was digging into this. Maybe I should go pay them another visit.
LoneWolf: Or Isaiah could be right.
WolfKen: Yeah, I guess. I think I better go talk to them again.
As soon as Kenzie sent that last message, she promptly made her way back over to her parents’ house, throwing off her coat as soon as she stepped in the door. They were surprised to see her return so quickly, but Kenzie wasn’t worried about that. Her visit had a more imperative purpose.
Everyone sat down in the living room and Kenzie relayed all that she’d discovered in a few short hours.
“Dad,” she concluded, “why didn’t you mention the witchcraft portion of our family history before?”
“Truthfully,” Russ replied, “I forgot about that part. All that research was done before the supernatural creatures revealed themselves, so I thought it was all a crock. I just threw it into that box and didn’t give it a second thought.”
“Well, the little girl, Davina, and Gwendolyn’s kid just vanished. If they went on to live normal lives and had kids of their own, they could have all been born with the witch gene. After so long, maybe it died out, but now, it could have skipped down to me when I was born. It skipped over you, Dad, and all your brothers, and your own parents, but who knows where it ended before it hit me?”
“Are you suggesting that you’re a witch?” her mother asked in horror.
“No. I’m suggesting that I’m half witch, half human, and half…something else. Which brings me to you, Mom. Why were you so worried about me digging into possible supernatural things in our family? Does something run on your side?”
“How do you know? Dad didn’t know, or at least he didn’t think anything of it, until now.”
“It wasn’t the supernatural portion that I was afraid of you researching. Kenzie, there’s something we’ve never told you, but I guess now we might as well. The way your father organizes things, I figured he threw the doctor’s report in the box, too.”
“What doctor’s report?”
Constance sighed. “There is a history of something in my family,” she said at least, “but it’s nothing supernatural.”
“Then what is it?”
“Twins? Okay…you don’t have a twin, none of your siblings have twins, your parents…”
“It usually skips a couple of generations, too. Like the witch gene you’re talking about. But in this case, when I was pregnant with you, I was supposed to have twins. They kept showing up on sonograms and everything.”
“Wha…? I was supposed to be a twin?”
“You would have been, but one day the sonogram just didn’t show the other baby. The doctor said it was very common that sometimes one twin is absorbed into the other. It usually happens earlier in the pregnancy than it did with you, but it was perfectly normal. You were born just fine, healthy as could be, and we thought that was the end of it.”
“The end of it?” Kenzie hissed, angry now. “I was supposed to be a twin, and in twenty-seven years, you never thought to mention that to me once?!”
“Kenzie, calm down,” Russ said as his daughter stood up. “This is why we didn’t tell you. We knew you’d blame yourself. It’s not your fault.”
“And,” Constance interjected, “you’re not alone. I was supposed to be a twin, too, but the same thing happened to me. I absorbed my twin before I was born. I don’t know why, but I guess it’s like mother, like daughter.”
Kenzie was about to blast something back in retaliation, but she realized that her father was right. She’d blamed herself for inadvertently killing her twin sibling in their mother’s womb, even though she didn’t know she did it. For all she knew, she didn’t do it and it just happened naturally. Much like her mother.
Funny, she’d always wanted a younger sister as a child. She’d had no idea that she was originally meant to be a twin.
She didn’t press the issue. She had a quick dinner with her parents, the subject was dropped, and she returned home to tell Hayden.
“Well, now it makes sense,” he declared when she told him what she’d discovered.
“What?” she inquired. “What makes sense, and how could it possibly make sense?”
“Well,” Hayden explained, “if there were witches in your family like you said, and the gene skipped several generations to you, you would have been born as a half human, half witch. But your twin, on the other hand, could have been the reincarnation of the werewolf Isaiah mentioned. When you absorbed your twin, you absorbed that blood, too. Hence why you were born with all three blood types in your system – the dominant human blood from your parents, the witch blood from your ancestors, and the werewolf blood, which contributes to your love of wolves. I don’t know about the appearance, but you do resemble your dad.”
“Yeah, and Paige said that reincarnations don’t necessarily have to look like their ‘original’ or whatever you want to call it. I look like my dad did when he was my age, except my hair isn’t getting darker like his. There’s no doubt that I’m still their daughter.”
“Exactly. And it doesn’t matter to me. I love you either way, and I always will. You are you, and no one else.”
“Thanks, Hayden. I love you, too.”
At last, Kenzie said goodnight to Hayden and hung up. As she showered and later crawled into bed that night, her head was spinning. She’d discovered so much about herself in just a short period of time, and yet, it felt good to at least have part of this mystery solved.
There was no solid proof that her theory was correct, however. But at least it was a start.
Plus, there was still the fact that, despite having both werewolf and witch blood in her body, she didn’t possess any advantages of either, like superior senses or magical abilities. But on the plus side, she didn’t have any of the bad parts, either. And really, it wasn’t so bad. She was safe, happy, healthy, and alive. That was the most important thing.
Some questions were left unanswered regarding her family tree, but Kenzie was determined to solve them one day. Maybe she’d eventually discover what became of Gwendolyn’s child and of Davina. Maybe that would further pave her toward the absolute certainty that her theory was correct.
She’d solved several mysteries in her lifetime, but now she knew of one thing for certain – the greatest mystery, one that might be completely unsolvable, was the one inside yourself.