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All Kinds of Magic (14) – The First Night

We eat in mostly silence. They eat slowly; carefully watching me chew each bite, swallow each sip of wine.

“Guys, I need you to help protect the portal. I am not poisoning you.”

“You slipped us a mickey last night,” Nick points out.

“Yeah, well, you needed to sleep and I had a few things to do.”

“So what are we doing tonight? Are you going to explain any of this?” Logan asks, taking another bite of lobster.

“Yes and no,” I say, meeting his eyes.

“Yes and no?” Nick asks spearing a bright red miniature tomato.

“Fine, yes, I’m going to explain some things to you. No, I will not do it all tonight.” I motion to their plates with my fork. “The sooner you finish, the sooner we get to the tonight’s entertainment.”

Then the silence falls and diner is over rather quickly. They work with me, clearing and washing dishes in the kitchen just off the dining room.

Everything shining and in its place, I lead them from kitchen drudgery and show them their rooms.

“We can’t stay,” Nick says gazing at the decadent room. A fireplace rages in the corner. A four-post bed sits the in the center with blue velvet curtains hanging from the posts. There is a window with matching velvet curtains. For Nick, I’d arranged books on the shelves of all the walls and a chair with a table and lamp next to it.

“We have enough time for you to make yourselves at home,” I say. “There are clothes in the closet for you as well as tools to clean your weapons.

“I’d prefer to get some answers first.”

I look at him. Stubbornness has to be an ingredient for the Chosen Ones, the ones who have a Destiny all lined up for them. Or maybe it just comes from messing with magic.

“Fine. First, I show Logan his room. Then we all shower and change. After that, I’ll come get you.” I turn my back to him and lead Logan down the hall.

Logan’s room is almost the same as Nick’s, except that instead of books, there is room for him to move, to train, to pick any weapon from the many choices on the wall and practice.

“Same as before. Take your time. Right now, we have plenty.” I leave him to return to my room.

I do exactly what I expect them to do, shower and change.

Nick answers the door before I finish knocking. He has taken me up on the shower, I can smell the soap and his hair is still wet. Logan meets us in the hall, having heard my knock.

I lead them down the hall, through pics of past questers and family members decorating the walls. There are so many and not all of them reside in this world.

Bringing them into a smallish room at the end of the hall, I close the door and wave my hand over the locks and the two windows on the far wall. Not every room in my house stays as protected as my inner sanctum. I only wrap them in individual magic when I need to.

The boys pace the room, assessing weak points. I’ve picked another bottle of wine. It’s a white this time, from Dragon Valley.

Logan watches me. “Got anything stronger?”

“Yes, but you’re not getting it tonight.”

The fire is already burning in the fireplace. I drop a couple of logs and build it higher mundanely, and draw a large pillow closer. Sitting on the pillow, pulling my knees in, I turn to the boys. Looking up at them, I gesture to the chairs facing me.

They are still reluctant.

“Look, I’m going to give you a few answers right now. Make yourself comfortable.”

They sit, glasses in hand, not drinking, not relaxing. I’ll have to magic them to sleep later.

I sigh and wave my hand over the fire, making it larger, drawing the picture out.
In the flames, a building appears. It is large and square. Windows line only one side, the side facing a dock on a small man-made lake.

The other three are unbroken brick walls. The entrance from the street is a dark wooden door with brass fittings. Above, lit by lamps hanging from the roof, the name of the place hangs in brass calligraphy: Milton’s Gate.

The side with the windows sparkles in the reflected sunlight from the lake. The windows open to the dock and have an amazing view at night.

This is a small get-away with high-priced cabins dotting the lake and the actual town a few miles down the road, leaving the lake unpolluted by light at night.

Milton’s Gate is a coffee bar during the day, with pastries and fancy beans pressed and served to residents that visit throughout the year.

At night starting at the five o’clock happy hour, the jukebox plays, the pool table opens, and the tap runs freely.
Sawyer, the owner emerges from the back office and adjusts the tubes leading to the taps. He says something to the bartender who laughs.

The bartender is tall, blonde with a ready smile, aimed mainly at the waitress with long, light brown hair curling down from a pony tail. Her blue eyes twinkle at him each time she places an order.

A man stands on a small stage, a microphone in one hand, the other pointing at a computer screen in front of him, guiding his eyes through the song. He belts out “Send Me All Your Angels” as if he can actually sing. His grey hair is mussed. His eyes are bloodshot.

His tie is halfway undone. Although he is still wearing the suit, the tail of his shirt hangs out. A woman sitting not far from the stage relieves the customers of the musical agony by going to him and gently pulling him down from the stage and redirecting him to a hot cup of Irish coffee.

There are mirrors on the wall behind the stage. I draw the focus in on one panel.

“What’s going on there?” Nick asks moving from the chair to kneel beside me.

The mirror doesn’t exactly reflect the bar. The images inside are darker, morbid things. The man who’d been singing, his back now faces the stage. His hand, reaching for the mug on the table drops pieces of skin on the floor. The woman who’d pulled him from the stage grins up at him without lips. Darkness warps the borders of the mirror, dripping down like clotting blood, slow and black.

“This is where you are going, boys.”

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in All Kinds of Magic

 

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leave out

leave out the parts

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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All Kinds of Magic (13) – The Witch

I don’t sleep much. I don’t have the time, for the most part. And when my plate gets full, I sleep even less.
Last night, after watching for a few hours, I prepared for the dinner tonight.

When the boys walk in hover around the smallish dining table, I realize the only foods I’ve put in my belly in twenty four hours are the tastes while preparing the meal.

I went decadent for our first meal, lobster tail and shrimp with asparagus and the largest salad I have created in quite a while. I usually grab something on the go, since I only feed myself. Last week I literally hunted for my food, cooking a furry mammal thing over a fire and picking purple fruit from trees. Back home in my own world, I get to eat my favorite shellfish magicked in from some fishing village on another continent. I’m a damn fine cook, when I put my mind to it.

My stomach rumbles when I sit at the head of the table.

I wait for a few minutes, watching the boys. They don’t speak, even to each other. They can’t still be processing, can they? They are White Knights, after all.

I am nothing if not a great hostess, even following privacy rules about not foraging through your guests brains. However, auras are viewable. Theirs have identical sparks.

“Would you like to pray? Offer thanks for this fine meal?” I gesture at the spread. Everything sparkles in the candlelight from the chandelier above and the many dancing flames on various candles sprinkled through the dishes.

Silence. They pace slowly, gazing at the feast before them and me, sitting at the head of the table.

I unfold a napkin and drape it over my lap. Picking up a fork, I spear a lovely bit of asparagus and slip it between my teeth. Chewing, I watch them.

They look at each other, speaking volumes without telepathy and without saying a word.

“Sit. Eat. Talk. This is the question and answer period, guys. You can ask anything, but don’t expect an answer to everything just yet.”

“Who the hell are you?” Logan opens.

“Dude, you’ve got the pic and about three names. Pick one.”

“Garrett sent us to find Kathleen,” says Nick.

“And you’ve found her. Good job.” I stand and pick a bottle from the rack behind my chair. “Maybe there’s a vintage here that will help you acclimate. You’re a little slow on the uptake.”

“Garrett said you can help us.”

“He’s right.” I open the bottle, a deep red from the plateaus of Skull Ridge. Sure, there’s some kind of etiquette that goes with serving wine and food. Something about reds with red meat and whites with shellfish. I don’t know. Nor do I give a damn. I open the bottle that I want, the bottle that goes with my mood. Tonight I open a bottle I don’t mind sharing. Plus, how can you extend the wine tasting rules to vintages that do not originate on the same plane as the rules?

They watch me carefully as I walk around the table and fill their goblets. Logan wraps long fingers around his and examines it. Red wine and blue crystal mixes in the light to a royal purple, a natural effect, not my magic.

“What’s your plan?” I ask, even though I already know the answer.

“Ok, seriously, what the hell?” Logan says setting down the goblet with enough force to rattle the vases in the center.

“Hey, be careful. I’d rather not have to go back to the place I got those goblets simply because you don’t know your own strength, Logan.”

“How long have you been watching us?” Nick asks. Perceptive.

“Off and on longer than you think. Not as long or as often as I probably should have. Moreover, I was out of town when you made your decision to come here. Would have had a much better welcome if you’d just called first,” I grumble sitting back in my chair and sip from my goblet. Mmmm, it is a fantastic choice for tonight. I smile at the boys.

Logan paces again, unable to contain the energy thrumming through his entire body.

I sip again and enjoy the show.

“Who the hell are you?” Logan demands again as if he just can’t wrap his head around me.

I let silence grow before rising from my chair and facing him, stopping him from wearing a hole in my rug.

Nick body tightens, weight on toes.

I meet Logan’s eyes, a more intimate moment than I intend, the feel of his lips a soft memory on my own. My lips twitch.

“I am the one who can help you protect the portal. I can draw you a map. I can give you the ingredients, the spells and weapons. But you have to play on my terms.”

“This is not a game, Witch.” He may be a little upset that I played them, especially him. He may be a little pissed that he was that easily played.

“Watch the name-calling, boy. I am only part witch.” It still prickles to be labeled. But witch is the most apt, I guess. “Sit down and eat your supper. We have a while before the world ends.” I wave a hand and make him sit. He doesn’t like that. He slips his hand into his jacket.

Nick doesn’t like the display of power. All his muscles taut, he adjusts his weight, his fingers sliding along the handle of the gun at his back.

“Boys, boys, relax. We really have plenty of time. There are a few things you need to know before you go up against the monsters at the portal.”

Nick sits. They are like petulant children.

“Look, here is what is going to happen in the next few days. You will rest. You will eat. You will get your minds and bodies ready for the battle. It is a battle, mind you, not the war. You will not get chances like this very often. So you will take advantage of my hospitality to make sure you do not make stupid mistakes because you are tired or have low blood sugar.” I pierce each of them with a stare. Both of them avert their eyes before I do. “If you do not believe anything else I say, believe this: I have a vested interest in this thing going the right way. But understand I will not put you on the field if you are not ready.”

They look at each other again and reluctantly take the first few bites.

I am a damn good cook. They haven’t eaten since yesterday. They eat now.

“What do we call you?” Nick asks between bites.

I debate this in my head. Finally, I say, “Call me Kimi.”

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in All Kinds of Magic

 

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ripening

Keats

 

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All Kinds of Magic (12) – Chapter Five – End of the Tunnels

Slide1

CHAPTER FIVE

(It takes me a bit to get back to the boys.

Sure, I know it’s important to help them. It is very important to stop the End of Times. Hey, the lure of kinking the Threads of Fate pulls me like no other.

Understand, I’ve stopped the Final Battle a few times over the years, probably more times than I care to or even can remember. I have the confidence of precedence to keep me calm.

This tranquility has a good side. It helps me to see that there are others I have to watch, others’ lives who will be unaffected by this attempt to end the world (if/when I am successful). I have to keep their lives going. I have to maintain vigilance.

So bear with me when other pressing matters claim my attention.

Bear with me as I tell you that I forgot to peruse my records to remember my own history with the DeBlanc family. This is something I should have done the moment I reached my inner sanctum. But I didn’t. I’m showing off. For who, you ask? You, dear reader? Or posterity? Who the hell knows. I just get cocky sometimes.

The boys are at the last booby trap in the path to me. They have made it through the star map room, the combination panel and the sword room.

Now…)

Logan steps into the small room first, his knife at the ready. He has already had a few moments that made his heart race unnaturally.

He expects more than just ivory pieces jutting out of two walls.

Nick follows, ducking his head beneath the stone.

“You have got to be kidding me.”

The room is small. The wall opposite the door is empty, clean, and smooth. The other two have two rows of ivory and jet pieces sticking out of them.

Logan turns to examine one set more closely. “Notice a theme?” he asks pointing to the engraving above the ivories.

“Everything else has been leading up to this. Heart and Soul, right?”

“Yup.”

“Remember your piano lessons?” Nick asks lightly running his fingers over the top set on his side.

“Don’t think so,” Logan replies, looking harder at the engravings. “But maybe I don’t have to.” He presses hard on the stone that says Heart.

(Smart boy.)

The stone slides back. They hear a faint click.

The empty wall moves to the side with a deep grumble. It stops at the half way point.

Nick reaches up and presses on the stone that says Soul. Another faint click precedes the rumble of the wall moving the rest of the way.

The hall that it reveals is nothing more than a hall with steps going up, no booby traps, no false floors or wrong ways to turn. The hall simply leads up to my reception room. I am waiting for them high upon a beautiful otherworldly throne, appearing much larger than I really am. Smoke and mirrors, literally. I feel like the Wizard in Oz.

I have a different face, something like Angelina Jolie with angled cheekbones and dark red lips. I always found this look rather imposing with a cold, regal bearing.

The boys step through a tiny door into the very large hall. Torches line the walls leading up to my very large throne. The floor is a fantastic mosaic of a phoenix rising from black ashes. The ceiling is so high above I didn’t even bother to hide the bare wooden beams of the warehouse. The massive illusions below are enough to keep the eye from wandering up there.

Each step shuffles the light mists around their ankles. Thicker mists surround the base of my throne, hiding the steps I need to get down. Mists cling to the wall behind me, lessening the need for more decoration.

Their scuffed up boots and second hand clothes look so out of place. Even Logan as tall as he is, used to towering over his world, feels the largeness of this room. They pause like all good questers.

This is usually the moment my magically enhanced voice booms through the room. This is the moment I usually enjoy the most with those who think the entire world is coming to an end because they have one little demon lurking beneath their beds.

For the De Blanc’s, however, I go for the first revelation rather quickly once they see me sitting high upon my very large, very daunting throne.

The mists part at my feet, which are bare due to the fact that I had no time to finish throwing on some clothes before they made it here. So imagine sparkling purple toes peeking through the magical mists surrounding the great witch on her throne. Absurd, right? There’s more.

Sitting there, I did have a few moments to prepare. The skirt I’d borrowed is now longer in the back and trails behind as I take the steps down to my phoenix. But I’d forgotten to change its color. I’d lengthened the sleeves on my ruffled top and managed to change it to gray with silver stitching, but it is still the ruffled tunic from last night. When the braid hits the small of my back, I realize I’ve forgotten the hair.

Instead of the slow reveal I intended, as I walk, my image morphs from one to another seamlessly: witch, Karen, Chloe, Kathleen.

Instead of an imposing witch, I feel like a mismatch of the illusions that are me, like a quilt without a pattern. I have managed to let go of most of the illusions around my face, so now the image that’s in their picture greets them.

I end in the original skirt and the flowered tunic, bare feet and black hair with a white streak running from my left temple.

The boys do not move as they watch me walk through my very large hall. Their faces say everything.

I could have done so much more, but this will have to do.

I invade their personal space, close but not touching.

They do not move.

Most are scared by now, running into corners, begging my pardon and all that wonderful bullshit.

The boys are registering my faces, placing them, and probably trying to find a full sentence.

I snap my fingers more to bring them to focus, but the magic in the room responds to a snap as well.

The mirrors slide back into their slots in the walls revealing shelves upon shelves of books. The torches lose their flame. LED lights installed around the shelves flick on. The room becomes the smaller cave I prefer.

My mosaic remains, but I’ve arranged a few chairs in the middle to make it more comfortable for myself. It is still a large room, but much less imposing. And my throne? Well, it is an inset in the far wall, nothing more.

I grab their hands and pull them to another small door.

“Come on. It’s been a long day. Time for supper.”

They still cannot manage a word. I smile, because that’s what I want for a bit. I’ll settle them at the table and let them wrap their heads around who I am. Nobody gets this kind of disclosure less than twenty-four hours from meeting me.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in All Kinds of Magic

 

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one of the few

Get paid for it

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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fill your paper

your heart

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Quotes

 

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