Short Fiction - Monsterhearts: Catrin - Off to College

Catrin rolled over and fumbled for the alarm clock on her bedside stand – no need to wake her parents for this little chore. Especially not at 8am on a Saturday. One of the so very few times in the week she was sure she would have some privacy. She just needed to finish packing her personal things before starting the drive to the other side of the country. The last of the graduation parties had been thrown months ago, at the beginning of the summer, but still, there had been the chance she’d run into someone at her crummy retail job, or out on the beach over the summer.  With only a couple days until she left though, it was time.

Sitting up on the edge of her bed, feet flat on the floor, Catrin rubbed her face briskly for a moment to wake up just a little more. She then grabbed the scrunchy on the stand and pulled her hair back into its customary ponytail. Standing up, she briefly debated not getting dressed but settled on a loose pair of yoga pants and a sports bra – easier to lie to Mother that she’d gotten up early for one last morning meditation that way. If it came to it. Not that Mother would approve of meditating with all her bracelets on.

Looking down at the open dresser drawer, Catrin had to admit that Mother might have a bit of a point. Enough thin, single-band stainless steel charm bracelets to form a solid(ish) cuff of two inches up each of her wrists was a lot of bracelets. Slipping them on one-by-one was a pain in the ass too, but moving from just one to multiple charms per bracelet would make it harder to grab precisely the right one in an emergency. Which had been the entire point in the first place.

Having finished slipping all of her bracelets on, Catrin reached in the back of the drawer and pulled out a box. It wasn’t a very interesting box to look at it, just one of those cheap colored cardboard pieces jewelry stores packed your purchases in to walk out the door with. But inside were about half of the charms which had originally come with the bracelets. She was going to need to put a lot of them back on.

Sitting down in the middle of her floor, between the packed suitcases and sealed boxes, Catrin began systematically taking off all the bits-and-bob sympathetic tokens she’d collected from her classmates over the past four years of high school. Once those were all off and in a small heap at her feet, Catrin examined her other charms, the teeny-tiny test tube charms she’d spent so many hours scouring the city for. Be a shame to lose those, but she really didn’t need the scraps of bloody tissues in them anymore.

Trying to work the first of the little corks off a tube nearly sent it flying out of her hands and across the room. Tapping the end of the tube to get the tissue out didn’t work either. Catrin made a moue of frustration with her lips for a second, then her face cleared and she headed off to the bathroom for a pair of tweezers… and the tiny bottle brush that’d come with the box of test tube charms.

Half an hour later, the heap of old sympathetic tokens on the floor included all the test-tube contents and all the bit-and-bobs had been replaced with some of the original charms. The cutesiest of the originals stayed in the box – Catrin figured she might need them at some point, like if some of the tubes broke. Maybe she could drive over to that crafting store she’d found them in the first time and pick up another set today.

Catrin paused at a faint sound from her parents’ room next door. Were they getting up already? No, must have just been turning over in bed.

Looking at the heap of tokens on her floor, Catrin bit her lip. Some of them were probably old enough to have lost their emotional significance to her former classmates. But the others could still be magically useful for hexing their original owners. Wouldn’t be fair to the classmates for her to dispose of them only for some other witch to come along and use them. Seemed like a remote chance, but still. Worth the time to do things right, Catrin figured. A cleansing ritual should do it.

From the back of the bracelet drawer came her blade. She did rather hope that Odin would approve of the wisdom of using a butterfly knife as her magical tool. She wasn’t really worried that any of the Æsir would object to using a practical fighting knife for magic, though. After all, what good was a knife you couldn’t fight with?

Kneeling down, Catrin took a deep breath and centered herself. It wasn’t even nine o’clock yet. As soon as she’d cleansed the tokens of their sympathetic links and disposed of them in the trash, she’d have plenty of time to start hiding her sex toys in suitcases before her parents woke up.