Friday, 11 January 2008

Case Number 2: Haste and Decline

Previously on: The Fitcher Files
Our hero, Samuel T Fitcher, is working as a Private Eye in an English town. His use of magic, and the fact that supernatural cases have a habit of turning up on a near-daily basis, have put him in conflict with the local law enforcement agency, especially Karin Masterson (who Sam has a bit of crush on).
On the subject of Mastersons, Sam was hired by Karin’s father to escort and protect his younger daughter to her school dance. Sam does this and starts to develop feelings for the girl, Jessica. The evening is ruined when a possessed girl tries to kill everyone. Sam fights her off but, unfortunately for all concerned, the demon doesn’t wish to release the girl and decides to blow her up instead.
Sam returns to his office where he is almost killed by his half-Medusa secretary and landlady, Cali. After Sam storms into the office’s hallway, he succeeds in insulting and possibly hiring Jessica. Tired, Sam goes to wash away the gore of the evening.

It is now two days later and we join Sam in his cramped apartment.

As I awoke, I was aware of two things. One, my duvet had fallen off me in the night and I was now freezing. Secondly there appeared to be a small crowd gathering in the street below my window. Struggling, I pushed myself to a standing position and shuffled over to my chest of drawers. I grabbed my “Emergency Kit” bag which was sitting ready for such an occasion. I would really love to say this was the first time I had been run out of town.
I rifled through the bag and pulled out the sports bottle with ‘HASTE’ scrawled on the side in permanent marker. I paused. Did I want to do this? Last time I had tried to be smart and make my own potions I had been chased across three counties by an amorous flock of ducks. Shrugging I took a big gulp, damning the consequences. I’d just have to buy a loaf of bread and hope ducks can’t climb trees.
As the potion splashed down I felt the crick in my back unclench. Over the next ten minutes my body should be waking up and be ready for a possible run. It should also help with the hangover.
This done I quickly pulled on clothes and my greatcoat. I allowed myself a glance in the mirror. The green of my eyes had returned to emerald-green rather then the colour of pond scum. My scruffy beard had been removed to give me manly stubble for women to stroke and coo over.
I thought I looked like the brave demon hunter rather than some weirdo in a big coat. I did wish however that I had a stylish hat to finish the outfit but it seems that every two-bit villain tries to blast your hat off. Combine this with the fact that most baddies can’t shoot for toffee and the hat was just going to get me killed even quicker.
As I opened my door Mrs Brooks, the lady from the room above mine, was standing there glaring at me. I presume she had being standing there for a while just frowning at my closed door.
“Good morning, Mister Copperfield.”
It helps having a separation between home and business. Of course any decent stalker would be able to work out where I was living but I like to think most people would be too lazy to put in the legwork. As far as my neighbours are concerned I am John Copperfield, mild-mannered journalist.
“You were sleeping?” Brooks asked looking up at me over her glasses.
“I was at a party last night,” I said trying to find my way around her.
“I heard you coming in.”
Which is all lies because I spent the last two nights hiding in my apartment trying to read “Crime and Punishment” and then getting drunk and watching “Friends” reruns.

“Do you know what all the noise is?” I asked in my most polite voice, pulling the door closed.
Mrs Brooks made a small scoffing noise that vibrated her teeth.
“Students. Most likely on PCP.”
Oh, stoned students. What wonderful scapegoats you are.
“Good morning Mrs Brooks,” I said waiting for her to move.
We stood there for twenty seconds as she sniffed and looked me over. I kept a polite smile on my face as I imagined making her skin melt into neat puddles on the carpet.
“Your dog makes too much noise,” she said before tottering away.
My dog?…CLICHÉ! I span on my heel. Where was he? Oh hell, I might be fleeing for my life and I almost left my dog.
Luckily I felt three noses press into the back of my hand. I looked down to see him sitting by my open door. The door that I had closed. And locked.
I gave him a scratch on the heads.
“You know you’re very smart don’t you?”
Three nods. Smartarse.
“Come on boy. Let’s go hope it’s those wacky kids all hopped up on goofballs.”
Cliché’s head tilted in a confused manner. This made me exhale noisily.
“Yeah, I don’t know what that meant either.”

We walked out into the crisp December morning and a scene of mass confusion. Around thirty people were standing in a circle around a…
“Hells Bells!” I muttered.
The point of interest was at least twenty feet tall. It wore heavy leather armour, had dirty long blonde hair and a massive beard and was now looking down at me.
“I can see that!” I called back.
I had met Giant Cloud in March when he and his friends had decided to come and see what the humans were up to. It seemed that me being polite to the giants and stopping the army from shooting at them had put me in high enough esteem to warrant a title and a promise that if I ever wanted to build a tower, they’d help.

You’d expect giants to be called ‘Jarlson Rumblebelly’ but it appeared they are named by how big they are and something natural. So I suppose there must be a Small Giant Cloud or a Really Massively Giant Cloud.
People were looking at me now and appeared to be moving back to trap me in the inner circle.
Giant Cloud looked around the circle.
He was genuinely upset. I walked over to one large leg and patted it sympathetically.
“Don’t be sad Giant Cloud. I am your friend.”
He looked down at me and smiled.
One guy appeared to have had enough of this and turned to run.
Giant Cloud snatched him up before he had taken five steps. The whole audience and I jumped in what appeared perfectly choreographed terror. Giant Cloud lifted the man to his eye level.
“ohgodohmygodohchrist” the man burbled.
“Put him down Giant Cloud!” I almost screamed.
He looked slightly confused at this.
“ALRIGHT!” he said, lowering the man down.
Then he suddenly lifted the man back to his eyes.
“Please don’t,” said the man, rather reasonably.
Giant Cloud smiled.
“THERE YOU GO,” he said smiling kindly.
We all looked up at the man who was now stranded on a roof. At least he was alive. I could still handle this. But as I was about to speak I heard a voice from behind me.
“You’re a menace.”
Mrs Brooks. Perfect.
Giant Cloud shook his mighty head.
“Prove it!” someone from the crowd yelled.
I glared in his general direction.
“You’re not helping.”
“I TOO ENJOY THE MUSIC OF THE BANDS. SEE HOW I” Here Cloud made ‘air quotes’ “‘BUST A MOVE’”
“Don’t dance. For all things that are sweet on Science’s green earth, don’t dance,” I called, already running.

Yet my demands fell on deaf ears. Giant Cloud stretched his arms out in front of him and performed what I would call an amazingly simple ‘Mashed Potato’.
The street vibrated beneath his massive dancing feet. Car alarms shrilled and windows shook. At least the crowd had cleared out. Might as well end this before any more damage was done.
“Giant Cloud,” I yelled. He appeared to have moved into the ‘Robot’ now.
“You must cease your move-busting in case your moves get old and gather haters,” I shouted.
This stopped his dancing and he tilted his head to the side.
“I don’t really know.” I mumbled.
Giant Cloud now looked down at my pet and he broke into a massive grin.
“Cliché,” I said as my companion got up on his hind legs and begged.
Giant Cloud looked up from Cliché at me, still smiling.
“In its way.” I shrugged. “I didn’t want to play into people’s hands by calling him Trio or Tripod.”
I froze, hoping he wasn’t going to try and pet him. He just seemed content to smile and chortle as Cliché showed off with his tricks.
“As nice as it is to see you, GC I have to ask if there was some reason for you coming here.”
I grabbed Cliché by the scruff before he tried backflips. It was something to do with equilibrium of the heads that made him facesplant.
“A message?”
My mouth dropped and I let go of Cliché, who let out a huff of annoyance. I begin to advance on Giant Cloud.
“Who? When? Why?”
Giant Cloud shrugged.

“Who told you?” My voice was getting frantic.
I have friends?
“Thank you Giant Cloud. Would you excuse me if I go and put my affairs in order.”
Turning on my heels, I used the burst the potion gave me to speed up the stairs. I almost kicked the door down trying to get it open. I threw down my kit and grabbed my rucksack and began to stuff my possessions into it. Luckily it was an Abbakanezer brand bag and so I could carry twenty times more then a normal rucksack. I thought about blasting the room to destroy any evidence of me being here but I decided it was more important to close the business. Anyway how would I get my deposit back?
I picked up Cliché and stuck him in the crook of my arm and sent off at a sprint.
Only when I was on the stairs to the office did I stop running. I slid down the wall into a sitting crouch and tried to catch my breath. Cliché sat looking at me worried before heading upstairs.
I was vaguely aware I wanted to cry, vomit and die. This is why you don’t do potions, Fitcher. They give you heart disorders.
I felt a pair of hands on my shoulder shaking me.
“You can’t sleep here Sir. This is a business.”
I looked up. There was an attractive young olive-skinned woman with her delicate hands all over me. A single lock of dark hair dangled from beneath a floral headscarf. The scarf obscured most of her face and a pair of fashionable sunglasses hid what I was sure were beautiful eyes. She was wearing a dark skirt and a cream blouse but I could see fine curves and bumps. Maybe I could-
Something kicked in at this point. Flashes of memory. The woman laughing, face no longer hidden behind the scarf but glasses still on. The smell of her hair as we dance close. The taste of a sandwich she made as I try to solve a puzzle.
And now a large upside-down man whispering threats of what would happen to me if I laid a hand on his little girl.
I saw a pair of terrified brown eyes in near darkness. There is a feeling of pure fear and my mind kicks me out into the real world again.
I believe we both recognized each other around the same time. My secretary Calinansis Mendoza backed away in surprise. She’d be clutching her pearls if she had any.
“Sweet Lord, Sam, you look awful.”
“Always a charmer.” I tried to smile but that hurt so I just tried to look broody and mysterious. This most likely came off as lascivious and drunk but at least I tried.
“You better come in,” she said, putting an arm around me and helping me up the stairs.
“You might want to get some interesting teabags. I’m going to be summoned before the Ein.” I laughed. I kept laughing. I was roaring with laughter
Cali’s grip tightened. “You’re scaring me.”
“You’re scared. YOU’RE scared. Hold on folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” I roared.

As I was carried into the hallway, I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair was down to my shoulders, the hobo beard was back and I must have lost four or five pounds in a twenty-minute sprint. This made me laugh even harder. I should have been dead. Why wasn’t I dead? Oh the questions! So many of them!
“Is he alright?” came a quiet voice.
I span on my heel, hitting Cali in the head. I threw my arms wide- that scared the young girl even more.
She’s a young blonde. Slightly babyfatty but she’s clearly blossoming. She was dressed in blue jeans and a baggy shirt. The shirt was the usual Che Guava print except for Che’s hair had some small white being poking out of it. The slogan below it read “I IZ A GUERRILLA HAIRGHOST!”
I waited for another whiz of memories but these appeared to be from the girl in ten years time. Her hair is short and her face was set into a scowl as she drags me into a car. No, not the girl. Maybe a sister. Sister? Things click.
“JESS! Jess is here! Brilliant!” I ran and grabbed her into a big hug and span around. She lets out a small squeak of terror. Something occurred to me. I let her go and looked at her sideways as she tried to regain her balance.
“Why are you here?”
Jess looks around the room confused.
“I work here,” she says as if I’m testing her.
I looked her over at arm’s length.
“Na-ah. I’d remember hiring you.”
“She rang here and I said she could come and wait for you,” Cali said behind me, voice harsh. “When you didn’t turn up, I gave her a practice day. I hired her this morning.”
I glared at Cali.
“Who gave you permission to hire people?”
Crossing her arms she made it clear there was a defiant stare behind the shades.
“I’m a partner and frankly I keep the office running when you’re off getting yourself blown up.”
“Is your name on the door?” I said pointing at the plate of glass.
“Your name isn’t either,” she snorted.
“Is your name on the door?” I said as I got into her face.
I could hear a small hiss as she sucked in.
“You want to fight, Snakey?” I said wicked grin on my face. “I could take you. I’m not scared of your eyes.” I could only see myself in the glasses but I could tell my words had caused a reaction
“Sam, you’re clearly ill. Just calm down,” she said as if talking to a five-year old.
She tried to push me away but I pushed in further.
“You calm down. I’m fine. You’re the one with the stupid condition.”
I tried to attempt her quiet burr.
“‘Ooo, I can never love in case I kill my boyfriend. Poor old me.”
It made me sound more like a Pepperpot out of Monty Python then a half Medusa, twenty something Greek. Whether it was a statement on my lack of impersonation skills or just because I was going too far, I might never know. Suffice to say Cali lost it and struck me across the jaw. I pulled off a lovely pirouette, headbutted the mirror and then fell to the floor.

The next thing I remember, Cali was kneeling on her scarf as she violently rubbed antiseptic into the cut on my forehead. Jess was sitting above me on Cali’s desk. I blinked a few times, head muggy and muscles aching. Now why was I on the floor? Why was Jess looking so angry? Was it me? I wracked my brain. Firstly why was Jess here? Did she work here? Yes and she- a veil lifted from my mind and what I had done punched me in the gut. Also the hangover was kicking in again. Or maybe it was a new headache. There was good enough reason for it to be. There was a high pitched ringing in my head. My groin also ached. I had to wonder if someone had got in a quick kick while I was down.
Looking up at her, I could see Cali was doing her best to give me a cold front. I tried to get her attention.
“Cali?” I was whining but it really didn’t matter.
She answered by stabbing at me with the cotton wool.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured.
She poured more of the liquid on the wound making me wince. I put a hand on her wrist.
“Cali? Look at me. ” Well not at me really. More in my general direction.
She lifted her head, her face wet.
I cleared my throat, guilt not so much gnawing as ripping me to pieces. I knew that there would never really be a sufficient apology but an attempt to explain.
“I’m in a lot of trouble. I needed to get here to be able to cut and run. So I took a Speed potion I made a few weeks ago. I must have taken too much and I’m now on an adrenaline high.”
Cali was shaking her head.
“You ran from your apartment. Don’t you know how stupid that was?”
I started nodding frantically and banging my hand hard on the floor. Great, I had the jitters.
“Yes. Now listen. I didn’t mean to upset you.” I put up a hand to stop her. “We’ll talk if there’s a later. Listen, you have to get yourself away. I’m in no state to fight back. Just pack your things and go stay with a friend.” I turned to Jess “That goes for you too.”
Somehow I managed to get to my feet. The ringing in my head was getting louder. I began to stumble towards my office. I stopped and gave a big smile.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some sleep.”
The last thing I remember was feeling as if my brain had just exploded and the carpet was whizzing towards me.

“Now have you calmed down?”
“Yes Cali” I slurred.
“And you’re sorry about what you said?”
“Yes Cali.”
“And you’re going to tell us what’s going on?”
I shook my head, irritably.
“I just want you to pack up and run.”
Cali was calmly sitting across from me.
My patience snapped and I tried to go for her neck with my teeth.
“Because I told you so. Damn it, do what I tell you!”
There was a small thump as the door opened. I tried to make a leap for my office but only succeeded in almost tipping over. Cali had decided that I needed to be restrained so had done so after removing my coat and anything I could attack her with. She had managed to find rope and I was now tied to my chair. Cali caught the chair, righted me then went back to looking at the wall.
Luckily the door banging was simply Cliché coming to check on me.
Jess blinked a few times then went to go play with him. She catches on fast. Most people try to kick him when they first meet. No one likes my puppy!
I tried to fill the silence.
“What exactly does she do here?” I said gesturing with my head. Cliché was now enjoying a belly rub.
“She helped with the filing and answering the phone.” She turned in her seat to look in my direction. “Now can we get back to the running away?”
But I wasn’t so easily distracted.
“And what is she now you’ve transcend to the lofty position of joint partner? Is she going to stay on the phones while you do my runs.”
“I am willing to gag you if needs be,” Cali said ignoring she was the one who hired the girl. I had a right to know how I was being replaced.
“Or maybe I’ll stay here and serve the tea while you two go off on little jaunts.”
Just like that Cali got to her feet. I felt slightly smug until she began to drag my chair across the room.
Jess and Cliché followed behind at a safe distance.
I was dragged kicking and screaming into my office and then into the small bathroom. She left me in the doorway as she went to start a shower. She didn’t look at me as she kept a hand under the stream of water.
“I tried talking you. I tried to threaten you. Clearly you’re in no condition to be any help. I’m going to put on some coffee and we’re getting you sober.”
Happy with the water, she began to move the chair.
“This is harassment.” I screamed. “I should have you fired.”
“I quit,” she said before tipping me under the cold water.

I sniffed and huddled nearer to the radiator. I was in my pants beneath a blanket as my jeans and t-shirt dried from their soaking.
“You feeling better?” Jess asked as she gave me a cup of black coffee.
I nodded as I wondered whether coffee was the best thing to be giving someone coming off what were basically supernatural stimulants. I rubbed at my eyes and was surprised by the amount of wet hair that was dangling over my face.
“You got a hair tie?” I asked.
Jess pulled one out of a pocket and I began to tie my hair back.
“Why did that happen?” she asked waving her hand over the sodden clump.
“You take these potions and you can never be quite sure what’s going to happen. I should have had a heart attack but,” I paused and took a small sip of my drink. I choked. “t’s ’ot”
“It’s hot coffee,” Cali stated as she walked in from the kitchen. As she sat in a chair across from me, she handed a mug to Jess.
“Didn’t you leave?” I asked.
She snorted and mindlessly stroked a sleeping Cliché.
“Nice to see you again Sam.”
“Hello Cali.”
She took a swallow of coffee. “That was stupid and reckless of you. I should break your arm or something.”
I shrugged.
“I had my reasons. I needed to get here quickly.” The advantage of which, I ironically thought, has been negated completely by being knocked out and drowned.
Cali pulled a couple of chairs around me. The women took a seat. I sighed and braced myself.
Cali began.
“You said something about an Iron?”
I put my mug down and cleared my throat

“The Ein are the law enforcers of the magic world. They are given permission to break the Wizard Laws, which are long and stupidly complicated but are most commonly broken down into two simple parts. Firstly, don’t kill with your magic and secondly, a man is master of his domain.”
We all snorted at this.
“It means don’t cast magic which makes people act against their will,” I explained.
“What about illusions?” Cali asked.
I rolled my eyes.
“Acres of sublaws around those. There are limits on what type of flowers you’re allowed to conjure with.”
“Limits? Why?” Cali asked.
“Does Tulip Fever mean anything to you?” I enquired
The women looked at each other, perhaps wondering if I needed another shower. Cali spoke up first.
“Sort of, but-”
“A Wizard did it.” I smiled.
They both looked baffled.
“Okay, the people said ‘Ho-ho! There be money in this whole tulip bulb business’. Someone magics up thousands of bulbs and WHOOF the market collapses. People’s lifesavings are gone overnight. Riots and bloodshed galore. All over some flowers.”
“How do you know this?” Jess asked.
I shrugged.
“I knew someone who was there.”
“Is that a sneaky way of saying you?” Cali said with a raised eyebrow.
I had to laugh at this.
“Nope. Oh Lord you want to get into my heritage?”
“Does it really matter?” Jess inquired as Cliché snuffled in his sleep and rolled over.
Not really but I had a captive audience.
“I’ll make this brief. I’m mostly human which means I’m classed as a mage. If I stay healthy I’d probably last a hundred and fifty years as to opposed to the wizards, who as far as I know have never died of old age.”
“Wizards are different to humans?” Jess asked.
“We really don’t want to get into this subject,” I said, putting my head in my hands. “It involves tons of bloodline charts. They did tests, the mana in my blood is only 57% rather then the usual 87%”
“So you’re weaker magically then an actual wizard?” Cali said, clearly worried.
“I have a smaller chance of having my blood igniting from a sneeze.” More incredulous looks. “It’s true. Winter is a bitch for the wizards. Which made the whole living in the tower seem stupid…er.”

I glanced at Cali “Don’t you already know this?”
“I’ve never heard it from an actual mage,” she shrugged.
“Now brace yourselves, it’s about to get even more snobby. There are four major groups of human magic users. These are Wizard, Mage, Mancer and Shrub. Shrubs are wild magic users who have had no official training. The Wizard and Mages remain Jack of All Trades while the Mancers focus on a certain part of magic. For example Necromancer, Geomancer, Erosmancer.”
“Lovemagic,” Jess interrupted. “But that’s against that law.”
I smiled here. Give that girl a point.
“Now there’s also sorts of class snobbery with everyone hating everyone else. Wizards have to be at least fathered by another wizard and have so much Mana in their blood. But in the Dark Ages, wizened crones kept turning up using power the wizards said were impossible. So if a Shrub goes in for training, they can become a male Mage or a female Witch. They get the same training as the others but never become a Wizard. While the inbred child of a Wizard is a Wizard from birth and can train to be a Mancer.”

“In conclusion, I can never be a Wizard neither can my child who can be a Scrub. We both could be Mancers though. Someone can have a wizard father and still be classed a Mage due to lacking Mana. These are the young pig farmers who suddenly realise they look like Ovar the Gentle and go on great quests to return to his graces.” I pause, remembering the run-ins I have had over the years. “I hate those bastards.”
The info-dump complete I leant back in my chair.
“So why are these Wizard police coming for you?” Jess asked.
“We simply wanted to talk to you.”
We all screamed at the voice that had come from the doorway. Cliché leapt to his feet and began to growl. I reached for my blastrod but then remembered Cali had taken it from me. I picked up the chair and threw it at the man who was in my doorway. He waved a hand and the chair clattered off a forcefield.
“Crap,” I murmured and went for a pot plant.
“I would stop that if I was you.” The intruder stepped into the hallway now. He was a young black man, dressed in the traditional deep red robes of the Ein. He also had the trademark-shaved hair. Most magicians grew their hair to show age and for girls to stroke. Okay that last one was the unofficial reason but it still mattered. Anyway, the Ein realised that long hair is great when on the pull but once a Satanic Master has you in a headlock, the less they could grab the better.
The man bowed deeply.
“I am Caspian DeFlyn, messenger of the Apotopaic Einheriar Clan.”
I leant over to Jess.
“It means to protect from evil.”
“And I-in-hear-ear?” she said.
“We are named after the Viking warriors who spend eternity fighting in the Ragnerock,” Caspian said, standing a little straighter. He then turned to face me. He raised an eyebrow.
“You are the Fallen Fitcher?”
“Is that what they’re calling me?” I asked, attempting to be as intimidating possible while still wrapped in a blanket.
“Fallen?” Cali asked. She was holding the Druid knife we used as a letter opener.
“Yes. He was removed from the Clan.” He looked at me slightly appalled “Did you not tell them this?”
“I was getting there before you interrupted,” I scowled as I looked him over.
“What happened to Liam?”
Caspian smiled a little.
“He is now a father to twin girls. He quit to care for them.”
Jess stepped forward.
“Would you like to sit down Mister DeFlyn.”
“Thank you,” he said as he sunk into one of our plush chairs. He reached down to stroke Cliché who tried to bite him and then ran and hid in my office. I had to appreciate the attempt at defending me.
“Shouldn’t we be in the office?” Cali said, already getting to her feet to show the way. I wasn’t sure why they were being so friendly. Maybe they didn’t want to be dragged down with me. No, that’s a terrible thing to think. These are my friends. I think. I hope. Unless this was a conspiracy on the Wizard Councils part. They wouldn’t. They’ve done much worse before. I mean look at the Kennedy Assassination. Both of them!
I realised everyone was staring at me.
“The hall will do. I presume Mister DeFlyn won’t be staying.”
Caspian shifted in his chair and tapped the armrest in annoyance.
He looked me over. Pale, gaunt with long hair and wrapped in a blanket with sheep on it.
He waved a hand at my head. I braced, ready for him to release a blast of arcane power. He noticed this and raised an eyebrow. You notice how people who can cock an eyebrow need to do it for every emotion?
“I was going to say I liked what you did with your hair,” he said with a small smile.
I looked up at my coin, still stuck on the ceiling. With a small mental push, it fell into my open palm. I caught it and began to rub it. I needed something to distract me.
“You were in this Clan togther?” Cali asked me.
Caspian looked to me. I started running the coin over my knuckles. He sighed.

“Sam was but he had to be removed three years ago.”
“What did he do?” Jess asked glancing at me. I was in full pout mode now as I made the coin disappear and reappear.
“I’m afraid that is confidential Clan business.” Caspian said.
“Three years ago I tried to kill one of the chief Ein,” I said not looking up. Fifty pence, two pence, a shilling, a pound again.
Noticing the pause I looked up. Caspian was staring at me in annoyance. I opened my eyes as wide as I could. He didn’t flinch. So it was to be a battle of the wills then.
“You were lucky that he didn’t try to rip you to pieces like he should have.”
“I could have taken him.” I began to flick the coin through the air.
Caspian snorted.
“I doubt it. “
He looked at my employees now.
“The man he attacked chose not to kill him and even fought to stop Sam from getting the death penalty.”
Now it was my turn to snort. I reached over and pulled the coin from behind his ear. He grabbed my wrist.
“Are you going to keep doing that or do I need to break your hand?”
“I’m done,” I said.
He dragged me to my feet. As the blanket fell he throw his head back.
There was a loud crack and I felt like I fallen into a vat of treacle. A tingle of worry began to run up my back. I had tried to run because the Ein needed to be kept on their toes. But why did they need to freeze time around me?
When Caspian looked at me, his eyes were glowing red. The tingle became a throb.
“Fallen,” he began. His voice echoed around the room as I slumped to the floor. This was the Voice of the Messenger. Any who heard it had to listen. They only wheeled it out for the huge messages. I was screwed.
“You are accused that on the 8th December that you did kill a Miss Carrie Brown through the use of excessive magic. You will be tried at the next convening of the council.”
Caspian almost collapsed as the Voice left his body. I allowed him to fall. Hell, I was expecting a slap on the wrist for not paying for a magic animal licence not to be charged of murder.
I was going to be sick.
I felt Caspian put his hand on my shoulder. I didn’t look up.
“You had a protection spell on me.” I mumbled.
He leant against the wall next to me.
He blew his cheeks out in an exhausted breath.
“It’s procedure. We needed to ensure you’d received the message.”
He slumped next to me. We looked at the girls behind the shimmer of the time stop. They had both leapt to their feet and I think they were starting to shout.
“If it makes it any better I didn’t know that was the message.”
“You couldn’t send an email?” I deadpanned.
He laughed quietly.
“We had to make sure you got it.”
“When is the next meeting.”
“Twenty first.”
I had less then a fortnight.
I began to pick at a piece of fluff.
“Who am I up against?”
“Blackthorne is on duty then.”
I looked him. His face broke into an embarrassed smile.
“I would be him, wouldn’t it?” he said.
“Knowing me, yes.”
He laughed again and got to his feet. I did too.
We stood and faced each other. Bowing deeply, the rite was done. Caspian opened the door and as it closed the time bubble broke.
I turned. Cali and Jess looked shocked, as it had appeared I had managed to get naked, move across the room and hide Caspian in a blink of an eye.
I rolled my eyes
“Very long story”
As the spell that ensured my protection broke, I felt all the acid and pain from the day rush into my body. Eyes rolling back in my head, I collapsed as black rushed over me for the third time in three hours.
Not bad for a morning’s work.