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Home: The Toast

Previously: It’s a bunch of years after The War and everything is different.

It was the first day of school and the last day of my sixteenth year. It was also the last day before everything changed, which made tomorrow the first day that everything was different, and also my birthday. Nothing ever changes in this town, until the day everything changed for good. I’ve lived in this town my whole life, and everything’s always been the same, only it turns out that everything I thought was normal wasn’t normal at all, not even me. I’m just a regular kid, or am I.

I’d been having those dreams again. The dreams that started after my parents’ accident, and then went away for a long time, but now they’re back, and this time there’s a girl in them.

“I’ve been having those dreams again,” I told my mother-figure, who was my aunt or my nanny or my Amma or Auntie Rose or something who’s always lived with us since my mom died in that accident, or what I thought was an accident until today. “There’s a girl in them.” She made me eat fifteen pancakes.

“Your room is too messy,” she said lovingly, then made me a thousand more pancakes. She did it for free because she loves me a lot and she doesn’t need a job. “Keep that music down!” I smiled but I didn’t turn the music down, because we have that kind of a relationship where she understands.

My best friend from always picked me up in his beat-up old truck he’s always fixing but never really fixed. “Man, nothing sure ever changes in this town,” he said, “and I’m in a comically lousy band that never gets any better no matter how hard we practice.”

“Oh for sure,” I agreed.

The girl from my dream was at school now, in a real human body, and we had class together, and we were lab partners in it, and we had a mystical connection. Her eyes were green in a really specific way. Other people’s eyes are green sometimes, but not like the way her eyes were green.

Her hair smelled good, like some kind of fruit and also one kind of herb. “Your hair smells good, like some kind of fruit and also one kind of herb,” I told her.

“Thanks,” she said. “I washed it.”

It’s really hard for me to trust people,” I said.

“Me too,” she said.

“Want to trust me, though?” I asked.

“Okay,” she said.

“Do you want to go to that one place all the teens in town usually go,” my best friend asked me after school. “Not today,” I told him. “Today is different.”

“I met that girl today,” I told my aunt-mom later that afternoon. “She’s real.” My aunt-mom sighed. “I guess it’s time we finally told you the truth.” She finally told me the truth, and I had to spend some time accepting it. It changed everything I thought I knew. Who could I even trust now?

“The locket I’ve had ever since I was a baby?” I said, wearing my favorite pair of beat-up Converse sneakers. “But what does that have to do with the prophecy?” It turns out, pretty much everything.

“But I don’t have any cousins,” I said. My dad, who I thought had just given up on life after my mom died but it turns out was actually protecting me from a terrible secret, shook his head. “You have more cousins than you could possibly have imagined, and they’re all terrible. You come from a long line of terrible, magical people.”

“But I’m just a regular teen,” I cried. “My room is messy and I like cereal.”

“Blue for fate and turned too late,” said the sexy witch, and then I passed out for a while, from the magic, because I’m just a regular teen and I’m really not used to this kind of thing. It’s hard to believe that just an hour ago I still cared about things like tests and bands and human problems.

“Let’s fight the thing together,” said my best friend, who found out about all the magic prophecy stuff even later than I did but was remarkably laid-back about it. His name was Colin, if I forgot to mention that before.

“Are you sure?” I asked. This wasn’t really his battle.

“Yeah,” he said, and then he sacrificed himself for me in a really understated way.

“You have two choices, and they’re both terrible,” the sexy witch told that girl who was my lab partner and in my dreams sometimes whose name it turned out was Elena and she’s my girlfriend now.

“No, I don’t, I have a million choices, and they’re all mine,” Elena said, and I was so proud of her, and then she picked a third thing to do that I didn’t even realize was a choice and she totally blew their false choices out of the water.

Finally Elena was safe and things were back to normal. It had already been a year since all the things started happening. “I’d sure like it if things stayed boring around here for a little while,” I said, kind of laughing but also kind of meaning it. Tomorrow I’d be eighteen. “What’s on the porch,” I said, “another prophecy?” It was.

The second prophecy was even more intense than the first one, and introduced a lot of new rules I didn’t even know existed, but everyone else seemed to kind of already know about them. But you know what? We’re a misfit band of teens who will do anything for each other now, like stand up to that town bully who’s not even scary to us anymore, now that we’ve faced pure evil and lived.

Sure, we’re a little strange. Elena’s a cursed half-Morgana. Colin’s lost his legs, but not his sense of humor. Me I’m just a regular teen. But I wouldn’t have things any other way.

Things were going to keep happening to us for at least three books and four movies, but at least we’d realized we were a family now.

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