Think about going home. You travel the same roads, see the same buildings, houses, trees, neighbors, etc. No matter how far you go, when you reach a certain point on your return, your mind switches into auto and you simply follow the route. You park, check the mail, unlock the front door and start dropping things on whatever flat surface greets you. Maybe you drop your keys in a bowl, maybe your purse lands on a nearby table. Maybe you walk through the living room, checking your phone, flipping on the TV. Maybe you make it to the kitchen and browse for a snack or start thinking about supper. Maybe you stop to make yourself a drink before returning to the living room and falling on the sofa, finally finding the first tendrils of relaxation after a long day.
Technically, the end of my day is not much different.
I cannot find any evidence that my blood contains any hint of demon. This is why I cannot just blink home. You know, travel from one place to another in the blink of an eye, unless it is a recessive trait that completely skipped me. I also cannot telekinetically lift myself from one place to another, i.e. fly. Think of it like trying to pick yourself up physically. I can’t physically carry myself, so I can’t psychically carry myself. Kinda works like that.
I do, however, have several other viable modes of transportation. Just because I’m magic doesn’t mean I don’t employ mundane means of travel. I have a bike or two, a couple of boats, and I drive a ’69 Charger that has seen better days. And yes, I drive around town and run errands just like any woman. I have to keep up some appearances. I am not a complete hermit. Keeping my home safe requires a presence in Port Azil.
Sometimes, I quite literally hoof it home in the least magical, most mundane, most hidden way possible…the sewers. The bigger tunnels aren’t used anymore, because they all end at the river and it’s just not environmentally sound to deposit waste in the muddy waters of the Mississippi. Therefore, they redirected, now recycle, and filter the water in several plants south of the middle of nowhere.
And I get to travel through ancient, mostly dry brick tunnels.
I have had to create entrances that never existed in the original plans, of course, because, seriously, who would drop waste through a secret panel in the basement of the town’s only library, or a broom closet in some random office building, or even the ladies room on the second floor of the courthouse? I’ve lived here so long…long enough to create my own spider web through the town. And, I, in my various forms own a good chunk of it.
For me, going home is never exactly the same.
Tonight, I walk through the tunnels checking various points on my way. I make sure that the magic has not deteriorated and the boys can get through them safely if they follow the directions I slipped into Logan’s pocket. If they follow the directions, I will not have to reset my booby traps, they will automatically reset themselves and that will be one less thing to think about.
My home is my sanctuary. It is a monument to decades of work, some mundane, some magical. I made many mistakes, but learned from them and now my home protects me and anyone else inside from all the bad things outside. For all but me, it is not easy to enter.
There are dead ends and traps that confuse humans, demons, and many other magical creatures.
After entering my home from one of the tunnels, it takes a full five minutes to get to my inner sanctum; the most magically and mundanely protected area of my entire home. Three rooms: sleeping, records and workroom lie hidden behind so many tricks and trips that only I can simply walk through. It is only paranoia when no one is out to get you. It is precaution when there are any number of things out to get you.
I do fall on the sofa, kick off my boots and seek relaxation. A glass on the table next to me fills itself full of deep red wine. I take a long sip, appreciating the otherworldly vintage. This glass is enchanted. It chooses whatever beverage it thinks I need. This time it is the second best from my collection: a red from an agricultural-based world I visited about five years ago. The best is the white, closest to the taste the Greek gods enjoyed in ambrosia.
I toss some magic into the fireplace and welcome the brisk flames, urging them higher and higher. Here, I can work all the magic I want. Here, protected, my magic doesn’t even brush against the ether.
I pull a small table close to me and drag a blanket over my legs. On the table is a carved frame holding a crystal square. It is one of the divining tools I use to monitor…stuff. Tonight, I watch over the boys sleeping in Jim’s loft, Jim’s arrival at his own home and a couple of others I keep on the backburner because, frankly, they are either family or key players on the board or both.
I pull my blanket tighter and watch a distant cousin meet her future best friend for the first time. I smile and breathe words that make her memory of this event fade to dream-like status so that when she sees him again, it won’t completely freak her out.
I’m a meddler.