Header Illustration by Erica Lahaie.
Welcome to the Waypoint High School Class of 2016 Yearbook. We're giving out senior superlatives to our favorite games, digging into the year's biggest stories via extracurriculars, and following our favorite characters through their adventures together in fanfic. See you in 2017!
Jaehee walked through the empty quad and past the school's back gates, her modest heels clicking against the warm cement and echoing on the plaster walls. After passing a collection of temporary class structures with a boisterous ROTC group doing drills out front, she hung a quick right to cut along the humming central air conditioning units and directly into a patch of shrubby trees.
Pausing in the shade of the small grove, she audibly sighed and gripped her binder, overladen with important-looking papers, tighter to her chest. "Come out, Tharja. I can smell your cloves."
A girl dressed head-to-toe in black (not at all suited to the day's heat) slid out from behind a tree trunk and leveled her eyes at the intruder while taking a long drag of her small cigarette. "You don't see me busting into the library to hassle you during your precious club meetings." "Tharja, a batch of trees isn't your club space!" "It is when you're trying to commune with the spirits of nature!" As she said this, Tharja raised her hands up and spun around, cigarette smoke spinning in perfect circles above her. Jaehee sneered for longer than she usually would, then unceremoniously dropped her binder burden to the ground, to use as a convenient stool. "Whatever. Give me a cigarette."
The young witch grinned, letting out a small snicker as she knelt down and produced an overly ornate cigarette case for Jaehee to take her pick of. As she lit the cigarette, she noticed the sound of rustling form behind them. Jaehee froze but Tharja stood up excitedly and waved over the new intruder.
"Sombra! You felt the energy of the coven gathering and came!" "Uh, no, bitch. You texted me!" Sombra plopped down next to Jaehee and took the cigarette out of her frozen lips. "Shhhhhhhh!" Tharja dramatically raised a single finger to her lips, and spoke with a stage whisper. "Sombra, we're supposed to be impressing the new recruit with our powers!"
"She looks plenty impressed to me!" Sombra lit the stolen cigarette and let out a long growl. "Besides, computer lab was boring."
In a sweeping spin, Tharja sat next to Jaehee and Sombra, completing the circle. "Why do you even take that class? It's like cheating."
"Easy credit! And the teacher let's me skip whenever, as long as I get the work done. ¡Eso! I'm here!" Sombra pulled out her phone and tapped a bit into it, then two chimes went off on the other girls' phones. "Slumber party tonight, you still in?" Jaehee finally spoke up, "Aren't we too old for slumber parties?" "It's not a slumber party! It's a seance!" Tharja grinned creepily and shook Jaehee by the shoulders.
Sombra gave Tharja a tired look. "I'm only going to tolerate about half an hour of that crap, then it's on to normal stuff like movie-watching and nail-painting. I need to relax."
"Oh. Yes. You need to relax after your exhausting class schedule." Jaehee stole her cigarette back and gave it a drag.
"Jaehee's right!" Sombra clearly didn't get the joke at her expense. "I just wanna do nothing. Witch stuff sounds like work." Sombra stretched out, laying herself out in the dirt, letting it muck up her outfit without any visible care. "Let's meet here after classes and we can walk to my place." She closed her eyes slowly and purposefully, like she was about to nap.
"Walk? But it's so far…" Tharja whined. Jaehee blew out her cigarette smoke and chimed in, "There is that all-day breakfast place on the way and w-." Sombra immediately shot up, "Hell yeah! We can get some pancakes!" She gave Jaehee a strong hug, "You and your good ideas were such a welcome addition to this friend group!"
"Coven!" Tharja shouted.
Jaehee smiled and discretely brushed off the dirt that Sombra was spreading all over them.
The planchette scooted slowly across the Ouija board towards the letter N, and then all three girls let their fingers up. "A-L-A-N. Alan. So your soulmate is Alan." Tharja proclaimed. "That's so stupid. I'm gay. My soulmate isn't Alan." Sombra huffed.
"I don't make the rules! That's what the ghost says. Please be more respectful of the ghost's feelings." Tharja picked up one of the fake candles (Sombra's guardians had forbidden real ones, she'd explained), and waved it around in a placating manner.
Jaehee was folded up the board. "That's enough of that. I don't want you two at each other's throats before the end of the night. What did you say about a movie?"
Tharja crawled over to her bag and pulled out a DVD case. "I want to pay respect to the dearly departed." She displayed the cover of The Labyrinth proudly. "May Jareth, our beloved Goblin King, rest in peace." She closed her eyes, put the DVD over her heart, and hung her head in a moment of silence.
"Sounds good to me!" Sombra hopped up and made her way to the kitchen, where a minute later a microwave and some faint popping could be heard, until it was drowned out by her shout. "David Bowie was hot!"
"I thought you were gay," Tharja crooned.
Walking back into the room with a bowl of fresh popcorn, Sombra huffed. "Well, David Bowie doesn't count." Jaehee's eyes sparkled, "Is there singing?"
Sombra and Tharja were silent for a shocked moment. "You've never seen The Labyrinth?" Tharja's eyes widened, staring at Jaehee with disbelief. Sombra plopped down on the floor after stealing a couple of pillows from the couch. "No. My parents said something about… bulges… and I never asked again."
"Ohhhhh, girl you are in for a treat!" Tharja grabbed her brush off the side table and patted the couch next to her. "Come here darling, I'll brush your hair and you can experience the Goblin King!" Jaehee returned the Ouiji box to the corner and upon return crooked her eyebrow at Tharja. "I don't have much hair to brush." "Oh tosh, it'll feel nice regardless! Indulge me. Sombra, can you put the DVD in for me."
While Jaehee took her seat on the couch next to Tharja and situated herself so she could see the TV screen, Sombra shoved a handful of popcorn into her mouth, grabbed the DVD, and crawled over to the TV stand. Then she got up to turn off the lights.
Jaehee was asleep with her head resting on Tharja's lap by the time the cute little worm with the cockney accent showed up. For her part, Sombra was still on the floor with her legs crossed, laptop open and tacking away. "I thought you said no computers," Tharja whispered. Sombra was focused intently on her screen but still picking at the nearly empty popcorn bowl. "I say a lot of things." Tharja sighed.
"I don't want to wake her, up so she'll take the couch. I brought my sleeping bag. What about you?"
"This is my house. I have my own bed." She didn't even look up from her computer screen.
"You are so bad at slumber parties, Sombra."
With a shrug, the hacker shut the laptop with a snap, slipped it into a hidden pouch, and tip-toed up the stairs to her room.
Tharja shook her head as she snuck out from under her friend's tired head and began to lay out her sleeping bag. Her coven didn't cast any spells. It didn't perform any rituals. It didn't hex a single person—not even that shitty Statue guy who acted like he knew everything about the world. They were a bad coven, but they were her coven. And they were magical.