Here is Part 3! I will post Part 4 in a few minutes as bonus material.
“What do you think it will be like? The ceremony and getting our powers, I mean,” Plumeria asked Alika, knowing full well he couldn’t answer yet. She couldn’t wait to have conversations with him, to learn what he was thinking inside that cat brain of his. She was certain he was intelligent. His mother had been, too. Sadly, she was gone. She died when Alika was barely weaned. They assumed she died of old age, but Plumeria had always wondered if the fact that Alika was born with powers had something to do with it. Power meant he would have to leave her someday. That was hard on any mother, including her own.
Plumeria wondered if Alika remembered Kalia and if so, how much he remembered. she had been black like Alika. However, she had a white diamond on her chest and Alika was pure black. The Maloa family had always chosen cats as their family pets, but Alika was the first born to be a familiar. When he was born with his little umbrella, they were certain there was something special about him. When the witches came to visit and they learned why he was born with the umbrella, it made him all the more special, especially to Plumeria who knew she was going to join a coven someday. She had always hoped against hope that Alika would be her familiar and treated him as such.
Plumeria was quite attached to Alika. She used to tell him stories about his umbrella when he was a kitten, about how the fairies had given it to him to protect him from the sun’s bright rays because he was just a baby and oh so sensitive. As he got older, she still insisted that his umbrella came from fairies only this time she said he had it because they always wanted to be able to find him and that’s why it was plaid. They never knew when they might need him for something. But he was full grown now, and she couldn’t tell him fairy stories anymore.
She knew they wouldn’t have to wait long for the ceremony. One week wasn’t much notice. She wondered if there was something in particular she should wear. She didn’t have to wait long for the answer to that question, either. One of the members of the coven visited her the day after she found out about the ceremony. Iekika, as she was called, brought Plumeria everything she would need for her great unveiling. Plumeria had a ton of questions for her, but Iekika was silent on the subject, only saying she needed to abide by the secrets of the coven.
On March 20th, the Spring Equinox and night of the new moon, Plumeria dressed in the ceremonial garb Iekika had provided. She wasn’t very happy about the outfit, but knew she had no choice in the matter. Alika just had to wear a special studded collar. Plumeria was in a long grey gown, the color of which Iekika described as a combination of light and dark. They didn’t wish to anger either side, so that is what she was to wear. It was long-sleeved and high-necked, fitted at the waist with a small bustle in the back. She felt like she had just stepped out of the Edwardian period.
Her feet were to be bare once she arrived at the ceremonial grounds, but she could wear shoes of her choice to get there. Her dark hair was flowing down her back with the sides pulled up in barrettes, one black, one white. She wondered if she might choke in the Hawaiian heat, but the fabric of the gown was remarkably cool. She couldn’t quite place the weave or type of fiber, but it must surely be a natural fiber in order to be this cool.
Haukea and Akamai could drive her toward the ceremonial grounds, but they were not permitted to enter the grounds or witness any part of the ceremony. Plumeria was disappointed that her parents couldn’t really see her come of age, never thinking for a moment that it might be frightening to them to see her powers. As they neared the bamboo forest, they found a turnabout on the side of the road that tourists used and stopped.
“This is where we leave you, my girl,” Akamai said, chewing furiously on the tip of his pipe. “Iekika gave you instructions from here?”
“Yes, father,” Plumeria answered, fidgeting with her dress. “There is a path along the mountain and then I should hear the festivities from there.” She couldn’t help but allow a couple of tears to escape from her eyes. Alika rubbed his head against her face, drying their trail.
“Be good, and do what the coven tells you. Take every precaution,” Haukea said, not even bothering to try to hide her tears. She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue that already looked saturated. Plumeria wanted to give her another, but remembered she had been told not to bring a handbag of any sort.
“Alika will take care of you. He always has,”Akamai said, as if reminding himself as well. “He’s the best of cats. Don’t let anything happen to him and he won’t let anything happen to you.”
“Where is Ikaika?” Plumeria asked, wanting to be certain her brother was clear of the celebration. She looked around her as if expecting to see him in the turnabout or under the car seat.
“He wanted to wish you a happy birthday, but we told him you were busy with friends, so he went to a friend’s house for the night,” her father said, tapping the pipe upsidedown out the window and then packing new tobacco into it. She wasn’t sure what made the tobacco unacceptable after a while, but he always changed it.
“Good. I don’t need his jealousy ruining my night.” Plumeria sighed with relief and then began checking her hair in the rearview mirror.
“You look beautiful, honey,”Haukea assured her.
“In this dress? I don’t think so. Is this what all initiates wear or just those born on the spring equinox?” she asked while tugging at the sleeves and neckline. “Well, I guess I had better go. I don’t want to keep the coven waiting.”
“No, you don’t. We’ll be thinking of you, dear girl. We’ll be here when you return from your quest,” her father said, sniffing the new tobacco.
“I know. We’ll miss you, but it is a big step for us, right Alika?” The cat meowed as Plumeria carried him out of the car. She waved a farewell to her family and then crossed Interstate 1 to the mountain side.