I closed my eyes and centered myself with a few deep breaths. It was time for the hunt, but I felt so unprepared. My heart wasn’t in it, but I knew if I was going to have a chance to prove myself I needed to go. I wandered down to where I have always seen my prey. Carefully I sat and waited, weapon at hand. Something called out nearby and I tensed, but it ended up being an empty cry. I resettled myself, bracing for what was to come. Did I have the skill to pull this off? Did I have the energy to triumph? Doubt began to creep in. Would my quarry even come by again? I had hunted here many times before, but had this spot finally gone dry? Suddenly I felt the world around me go silent. My pulse quickened. I looked about slowly, not wanting to frighten it off. Yes! There it was, so close I could almost touch it. I lifted my arm and took aim. One shot, one kill. Now I can put this blog post in the bag.
Kegan watched Sariah leave, pretending to sleep. He really never slept, part of being half fairy that he liked most of the time. Sitting in the dark and thinking was one of his great joys. Doing that while listening to Sariah saw a forest’s worth of lumber, not so much. He gave her a few minuted to make sure she was really gone before he left the couch.
Looking at the time Kegan decided to wait a bit before setting off to search for Asopt. He wasn’t sure if Wyndia or Nellissa would show up at the shop this morning. He didn’t really want to deal with either woman right now, but he owed them a little of his time, so he spent it cleaning up his shop and waiting. After half an hour had passed he gave up and left the shop. He put a sign on the door claiming he was working in the back and was not to be disturbed. He was happy he worked with the part of the population that was literate. He hated pictograms.
It took three stops before Kegan was able to get a clue as to where Asopt was working. He was somewhere in the tinker’s district along the west wall of the city. When Kegan arrived in the district he ran out of leads and people to ask. He tried a small bit of magic, but nothing came of it. Kegan wasn’t surprised since he hadn’t really talked to the man for five years or so. The problem with the tinker district was all the buildings were almost identical and laid out in little blocks of eight along a razor straight grid. It was easy to wander around hopelessly if you didn’t have a decent directions sense.
After a bit of foundering around what seemed like the same two blocks for what seemed like forever, an average man wearing average clothing and the typical haircut for the times fell in lock step with Kegan. Kegan startled and cast his force shield, almost knocking the man over. “Is that how you treat old friends?” asked the friend.
Kegan dropped the shiled and held out his hand in greeting. “Sorry Asopt. I was looking for you, but I didn’t expect you to find me,” Kegan said.
Asopt accepted the hand and gave it a squeeze before letting it go. The grip screamed average as well. “A bit jumpy then, are we?” Asopt asked.
Kegan looked around and continued to walk. Asopt once again fell in step. “After last night I have a right to be.”
Asopt slapped Kegan on the back. “That was you?” Asopt asked. “I wondered who was kind enough to take out a few of Warbashes’ thugs.”
“Well, we didn’t take them out,” said Kegan. “We sort of put them down, but someone else put the arrows in to silence them.”
“You said we,” Asopt said. “Who was the other part of the we?”
Kegan ducked his head low and in towards Asopt. Kegan said, “She didn’t want me to tell you this, but-“.
“Sariah’s back?” Asopt whispered.
Kegan stopped and looked Asopt in the eye. “Is that one of your questions, or a statement?” asked Kegan.
“That makes so much more sense,” Asopt said. He rubbed his hands together. “This is going to be so much fun. I’ll need to let Gordo know I’m not available after this.”
Kegan shook his head. “Wait a minute. Sariah hasn’t said anything about getting anyone back together, and what do you mean after this.”
Asopt smiled his average smile. “It’s simple. They were testing you last night, and I know who did the testing.”
Kegan smiled. “You’re still fast on the thinking there,” he said. “So who was it?”
Asopt started off down the street. “I’ll tell you after you help me with a job I need to do. It won’t take more than an hour.”
Kegan groaned, but began to follow. “Why can’t you just tell me now?”
“Now who is asking all the questions?” asked Asopt.
Kegan had to practically run because of the length of his legs to catch up to Asopt. “What is the job?” he panted.
“We are going to see a man about a horse,” Asopt replied.
Kegan groaned for the second time. “I told Sariah she always brought trouble with her.” That elicited a laugh of joy from Asopt.
Words fly and spin within my mind
Calling out for me to choose
A pot of gold for me to find
Or a bestselling novel for me to lose
Crafting a story out of blood and bone
Sculpting worlds of light and dark
Mothering characters as they are grown
Wondering if they will hit the mark
The pain of creation is all too real
I have the marks to prove it
I bare my soul for all to steal
Giving permission to abuse it
And now I release this as a tease
Go read my other stuff if you please
Sariah slipped out of the shop early, feeling apprehensive. She had worked for King Georde many times, but she always had used Tomais as her fixer, her go between. That allowed the king a bit of protection should things go bad. It also benefitted Sariah since she did not have her face associated with the king. That was what really bothered her so much about the attack last night. She didn’t want to worry Kegan, but very few people really knew what she did. She had some public scraps, but they could be attributed to her fighting skill. The more people who knew her directly, the more problems she would have.
That brought back the picture of her house fully engulfed in flames. That is why Sariah usually used a fixer. Now she had nothing to hide. If someone killed her they would be putting her out of her misery. Until that time she was going to make sure she handed that misery out with a generous extra helping of mayhem.
Space was at a premium in Ferngreen, so very little of it was wasted. Because of this small shops backed up to the castle on three sides, leaving the south side that faced the lake free for kingly views. Sariah walked past that view and headed to the east wall. There she ducked into a small cobbler shop that seemed a bit down on its luck. The bell tinkled as the door opened. Sariah was almost blinded coming into the shop. The amount of light coming from the multitude of gas lamps left no shadows at all.
Sariah nodded at the mountain of a man cobbler. The man was working on a dainty boot with his huge hands, but his dexterity was amazing. Small taps from his hammer placed the tacks perfectly as he shaped the boot. Sariah loved seeing such craftsmanship. She picked up a pair of light military boots. The bottoms were supple, but had a real toughness to them. She brought them over to the cobbler and waited while he finished attaching the sole of the boot he was working on.
Once the man was done, Sariah showed him the boots she was holding. “How much for these in my size?” she asked as she lifted her foot.
The cobbler glanced down at her foot then looked at the boots. “Eighty-five lumbics,” he replied. “It will take me five weeks at least. You show up on week four for a fitting. Sixty lumbics now, twenty five on delivery.”
Sariah put the boots down and pulled out her sack from underneath her tunic. She fished inside for a moment before pulling out her mark. The cobbler’s eyes widened a bit, then went cold. “Why did you waste my time then?” he asked her.
“I still want the boots,” she said pulling out the full eighty-five lumbics. “I wanted you to know why I am giving you the money up front.” Sariah left the money and the boots next to the cobbler as she moved past him toward the back room. “Hopefully I’ll be back in four weeks for my fitting.”
“If not they will look great on your corpse,” the cobbler replied. That brought back the grim smile to Sariah’s face.
The door to the backroom was a tight squeeze, forcing Sariah to move almost sidewise to get through. The backroom was darker than the front making Sariah pause for a moment to let her eyes adjust. The backroom was a bit crowded with boots and four armed guards with crossbows pointed at Sariah. They were spread around the outside wall, no one in the shooting path of another, and no way to take them all out at once. They did take their back door security seriously here in Ferngreen. She noticed that the bolts all had a discoloration on the tips. “Watch were you point those things. Someone might get killed,” said Sariah, displaying in her hands in a non-threatening way, making sure her mark could be seen by the four guards.
A fifth guard came from behind a stack of boots to Sariah’s right. She noted two more places there could be people hiding. Yep, they took security very seriously.
The newly revealed guard took the mark and did something to hit. The mark glowed for a moment then dimmed down. “She can pass,” said the guard holding the mark. “Follow me.” He gave Sariah back the mark and proceeded to lead her to the back of the shop. The four crossbow wielding guards never took their aim off of her. The guard leading her paused in front of the two doors at the back of the room. The guard opened the left door revealing a closet. “All weapons are to be left here. You will be checked thoroughly before proceeding.”
Sariah took off her sword and pulled out various knives hidden on her body and placed them in the closet. “Do I get dinner after you are done?” she asked when she was done.
The guard did not answer, but he closed the left door and opened the right door. Something small flew out from behind the door, but Sariah didn’t worry about that because a monster of a dog came leaping out at her. She dropped into a fighting stance, but the dog pulled up short. “What was that?” she asked, then she felt the prickle of a touch of magic from behind her. It was a gift and something she told no one about. She turned slowly and saw that the small flying thing was a mayna bird. They were a semi-intelligent bird that had a talent for magically detecting hunting implements. The mayna flew back into the corridor and the dog grinned and followed it. Sariah swore and looked at her escort. “Are we done playing games?” she asked.
“I am, but I am sure you are not,” he said and he entered the door.
Kegan dropped the crossbar down locking the door. “That should keep us safe till morning,” Kegan said. “I’ll sleep on the waiting couch and leave you the spare bed in the back.”
Sariah laughed. “Decided it was too risky to walk to your new bed?” she asked.
“No, you were right,” said Kegan. “If they wanted to kill us they would have. That means they were testing us. I am testy enough now to take any more tests tonight.” He opened a small locker and took out a flask of amber liquid and two crystal glasses. He filled them both and handed one to Sariah.
“Any more ideas on who was behind this?” asked Sariah. She swirled her glass a bit and breathed in the aroma. “This is quite the brandy.”
Kegan lifted his left eyebrow in surprise. “Good nose,” he said. “It was magically aged for two hundred years in sentient oak. I keep it to help customers loosen up their wallets.” Kegan took a large swig and held it in his mouth for a moment, savoring the taste before swallowing it. “I love this stuff. I just wish it wasn’t such a kick in the wallet.”
Sariah sipped hers, liking the way the brandy played across her tongue. There were hints of oak and a sweetness that played well with the alcohol. When she swallowed the taste lingered on her tongue, playing games with her taste buds.
Kegan refilled his glass and continued, “I was thinking that whoever it was has a good sized group of people to draw from, or money to blow, or both. They must have been pretty sure we would wipe the floor with the ground crew and wanted to make sure if when we won the power would stay anonymous for now.”
“For now?” Sariah asked.
“It was a test. If we failed we would be dead. Since we passed I’m sure we’ll be contacted for a job soon,” Kegan replied.
Sariah took another sip and savored the flavor. She shook her head and said, “I hate being blind in these things. That’s why I’m my own fixer now.” That got both eyebrows raised from Kegan. Sariah held up her hand. “I’m not going into it right now, but let’s say Tomias and I didn’t agree to come out of retirement together. He lost his head about it and I left him behind.” Sariah could tell that Kegan wanted more, but he showed his patience as she continued. “I need to know more before we’re contacted. I can’t negotiate blind.” She took in another sip of this wonderful spirit.
Kegan pointed at her. “You know what,” he said, “I know of one way to find out, your old apprentice, Asopt.”
Sariah spit that wonderful spirit right out of her mouth. “Asopt?” she asked. “He was never my apprentice. I never took him on.”
“Hey, remember this stuff is ridiculously expensive. For intake only,” Kegan said.
Sariah ignored the remark. “I can’t believe he thought that I… Oh that little…” Sariah’s glass was moving in larger and larger arcs as Sariah became more and more agitated. The liquid looked for an avenue to escape.
Kegan wiggled his fingers and the glass flew from Sariah’s hand and landed on the counter. “Hey, why did you do that?” Sariah asked.
Kegan opened up the bottle and filled both glasses before putting the bottle away. “I wanted to fill it up and calm you down. Whether he was your apprentice or just claims it, he is the most connected person in this city, besides the Minister of Lies whoever he is.” He gave Sariah back her glass.
Sariah took a small gulp of the brandy. “I don’t want him knowing I’m in town,” she said. “He was like a puppy. I couldn’t get him to leave me alone. Tomias thought it was cute and encouraged the kid.”
“That puppy has grown into a pit dog with plenty of teeth,” Kegan said. “He still works for Gordo, but runs a network twice as big as Gordo’s. Honestly I don’t know why he doesn’t just go out on his own.”
Sariah finished her glass with another gulp. “Because he never wants to be that responsible. It is all about Asopt all the time.”
“I’m going to talk to him in the morning. See what he says,” Kegan said.
Sariah noticed what she had done and regretted not enjoying the brandy more. She stared at the glass mourning her loss. “Fine, you keep me out of it though. I’m going to get an audience with the king.”
“You want to stay unknown, but you are going to see the king.” Kegan pulled back out the bottle and gave Sariah one more refill.
Sariah raised her glass to toast her host. “I have a get in without being seen card.”
Kegan tapped her glass with his. “But someone already knows you are here. Remember that.”
“No, they better remember,” said Sariah as she watched the amber fluid dance in her glass.
Fred sat up straighter. “While sure,” he said. “We finally got home a couple of days later and my wife forgot to let the dog out before coming back to bed. Or at least that’s what I tell people.” Christine put on a professional smile, as well as the keep going eyes. It worked like a charm. “Well, it was cold out,” Fred continued. “I sort of shuffled in the dark, trying to find my slippers. I thought they felt different, but when nature calls the dog, you either answer it or clean up the message, if you know what I mean. I took the old girl down and let her out the door. Just then the sun was coming out and I saw I had put on the ruby slippers. That was impossible though, since my wife’s feet are like half of mine. I thought about how bad I must have destroyed them, but they looked fine. As a matter of fact they felt comfy.”
One of the crew snickered. Christine shot him a very unprofessional look of death. Sarah pulled him out of the room. Christine focused back on Fred. “I’m sorry about that,” she said. “Please continue.”
Fred nodded and cleared his throat. “Well I used to do a bit of soft shoe back in the day, and well I had on these awesome feeling slippers, so I began to dance while waiting for the dog. Want to see?” he asked.
Christine laughed. “That would be great,” she said. “Anything to make the story more interesting.”
Fred stood up and faced the camera. “Is it okay to do it here?” Fred asked.
“Please,” Christine said. She turned to the camera. “Make sure you get a good shot of this.”
Fred said, “I’m a bit out of practice, but here goes nothing.” He began to hum to himself, something out of the forties, big band style but for solo hummer. His feet began to move with a grace Christine hadn’t expected. Left shuffle shuffle, right shuffle shuffle, hop hop, then spin and ended with three heel taps with jazz hands.
Fred then sat back down while Christine gave a very professional clap. When she stopped clapping at a very respectful length of time she said, “Very nice, but if you don’t mind me asking, what does this have to do with your fortune? Did a Broadway producer see you and offer you a huge contract?”
That caused Fred to blush. “No, that would have been weirder than what really happened. You see after clicking my heels together three times and when I was doing my jazz hands I felt myself almost go into a dream. I was suddenly standing in a field where there was a fallen down house. Everything around me seemed more real than you and me right now. The green grass was greener. The air was fresher and more vibrant. The sunlight almost danced as it struck everything. I know what you are thinking. I must have had some good drugs. My wife said the same thing. I really didn’t. I gave those up years ago when I gave up being a professional dancer.”
“I noticed that there were people there, but they were all people who had dwarfism. They were all dressed in clothes from like 1920s Germany. The odd thing was the way they kept looking at my feet. I then realized I still had on the ruby slippers. They asked me if I had known Dorothy, and I had to be the bearer of bad news. They were saddened by this and brought me to this scarecrow, except it was one that talked and danced”
Christine got up out of her chair. This was getting to be too much. That’s when Fred said, “On the way to the scarecrow they took me on a gold brick road. They were real gold bricks. I brought one back with me. Want to see it?”
Christine sat down and nodded encouragingly. Fred ran from the room and returned with a gold brick. Actually it looked like a cobblestone really more than a brick. When Christine took it she almost fell out of her chair. “My goodness that is heavy. Is it really gold?” She asked.
“It is. They all were. That’s why when I went back the next time I brought a bulldozer. I figured if they could pave their streets with gold they had plenty to spare,” Fred said.
Christine gently gave Fred back the brick. “How much gold did you take?” she asked.
“That’s a secret, but let’s just say they have paved streets now, that I paid for, to replace the gold I took. After that I am still very well off,” Fred replied. “The Munchkins…”
“Munchkins?” Christine interrupted Fred.
“Sorry,” Fred said. “That’s the name those dwarfism folks gave themselves. I mean nothing of it.”
“Of course you don’t,” Christine said. “Please continue.”
Frank said, “Well, those cobblestones sucked to move goods to the Emerald City. With my blacktop in place it saved them so much time and energy. They loved me for it. I also helped with their employment problem.”
“How did you do that?” asked Christine.
“I found another chap over in England who was looking for good help,” Fred said. “I just hooked the two of them up.”
“Who is that?” asked Christine.
“Willy Wonka, the candy maker,” said Fred. “That was another win-win. Of course then there were the flying monkeys.”
Christine shook her head. There was just not a professional face or gesture that fit. “Flying monkeys,” she repeated. “Boy, without this cobblestone I would think you were telling me quite a tale. We will be right back to hear about the flying monkeys.”
To be continued….
Christine looked into the camera and pasted on her professional persona. “This is Christine Grady and I am here tonight with entrepreneur and philanthropist Fred Smith. Mr. Smith, I understand your path to fame and fortune is a rather unique one. Would you care to share it?”
Fred Smith smiled a goofy smile and checked to make sure the color of his blue polo shirt was down. “It’s sort of a crazy story. It all begins when I was traveling through Kansas. My son, Kurt, wanted to visit Emporia State, so we decided to make it a family vacation. So after checking out the school we decided to look around the area. That’s when I stumbled upon them.”
Christine jumped in with her interviewer’s intuition. “Stumbled upon what?” she asked.
“There was a garage sale and it looked like they were selling some old musical instruments. Well I love collecting musical instruments and making planters and lamps out of them so I stopped the car and checked it out. Found out that this woman, I believe her name was Dorothy had just died and it was actually an estate sale. The whole family poked around. I picked up a coronet and a Suzuki style violin. My son just sat outside and played with some dog. My wife though, she found a pair of the reddest slippers that glittered like they were made of rubies. I thought they were gaudy as hell, but she wanted them.” Fred stopped up short. “Is it okay to say gaudy as hell?” he asked.
“Don’t worry about it,” Christine said. “We can always edit it out in post. So what was so special about the violin?”
Fred laughed. He said, “The violin was a piece of crap. I gave it to some homeless guy in Vegas. No, the slippers were the real find.”
Christine used her profession nod technique. She then probed deeper. “They were made of real rubies?” she asked.
“Don’t know, and I really don’t care,” Fred replied. “You see, those slippers are how I made my fortune.”
Christine decided to fall back on the nod again. “Fascinating,” she said to Fred. She then turned to the camera and said, “We’ll be right back after this commercial break.” She smiled at Fred. “Excuse me for a minute please.”
“Sure,” said Fred.
Christine got up and found the Sarah the director. Sarah could barely contain her mirth. “Really, ruby slippers? You sure this isn’t a homeless guy and you’re pranking me?”
Sarah laughed, but then she got herself under control under the burning gaze of Christine. “Look, he is the real deal. He made a fortune in gold and no one has ever gotten him to talk about it. He said he would only talk to you. This is going great.”
“Going great?” Christine asked. “He sounds like a nut job.”
Sarah looked Christine in the eyes and tried to wipe the smile off her face. “He may be a nut job, but this is your job. The bosses want this interview, and you are the one to do it, so suck it up and do your job, even if he sounds ridiculous.” Christine didn’t look convinced. She placed her hands on her hips and looked like she was about to throw a fit. Sarah continued, “Besides, this guy must have something going for him. He has made billions, and you are his first interview. Treat him like the virgin he is.”
Christine shook her head, then stomped her right foot, but she then spun on that foot and cruised back over to her chair, her professional smile pasted once again on her face. “Thank you again for this opportunity Mr. Smith. May we continue?” Christine asked.
Fred looked like he hadn’t heard a thing. “Sure, that would be awesome, and please call me Fred. I’m not that special.”
“Thank you Fred,” Christine said. Turning back to the camera Christine continued, “We are back with Fred Smith. When we left off you were talking about how a pair of glittering bejeweled red slippers were the key to your fortune. Would you like to explain more?”
To Be Continued….
Kegan caught up to Sariah as she was half way back to the Purple Feather. “Do you know how hard that was to explain away?” he gasped. “I had to pay double to make things nice with the owner.”
Sariah kept walking, but she did slow up some to help Kegan keep up. “Why didn’t you just kick up the charm?” Sariah asked.
“Too many people, which would cause too many questions,” Kegan answered. “But you knew that. That’s why you left so quickly.”
Sariah let out a hint of a smile. “I don’t live here. I don’t mind leaving questions,” she said.
“Very funny,” Kegan continued. “Oh, and I can still move in with Wyndia, thank you very much.”
“See, you didn’t need to pump her full of magic,” Sariah said. “I approve of the two of you now.”
“You approve?” Kegan asked. Kegan looked around at the nearly empty street. He adjusted the tone of his voice to being much more serious. “Really? There are times I am jealous of your marks.”
That brought Sariah up short. She stopped and stooped down to look Kegan straight in the eye. “Why would that be?” she asked.
Kegan didn’t blink. His voice got even harder. “They meet you once, then they are off to meet eternity. Me, I have to put up with you for what seems to be the same amount of time, but with no chance of paradise.”
Sariah reached for her sword and eased it a bit out of its sheath. “That can be arranged,” she said. “Want to test your luck? I figure you’re being outfitted for an eternity of short jokes from giant women.”
Kegan pulled out a thin cherry switch. “Is that the best you can come up with?” Kegan asked. “Turn around and I’ll hit that behind so hard they won’t know what hit them.”
Sariah smiled. “They?”
Kegan shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Now!”
Kegan spun around and blowing lines of force shot from the switch hitting three people that had been following Kegan from the Water Buffalo. It wasn’t enough to knock them down, but it slowed them and caused one to fumble the blackjack he had been carrying.
Sariah spun, pulling her sword free and surprising the fourth attacker who was about to stab Sariah with his dagger. The weapon clanged to the ground as Sariah finished the job, making the dagger an orphan. The fifth and sixth attacker flung their daggers at Sariah and pulled their own swords. Sariah parried the daggers and ran at the two before they could bring their swords to bear. The two were trained well. They separated and forced Sariah to back away to keep them both in front of her.
Kegan was retreating as well. The three attackers he had slowed down were also spreading out, not allowing him a chance to do more than hurl mini missiles of fire to keep them from just rushing in at once.
Soon Sariah and Kegan were next to each other, their back to a wall, and all five of their remaining attackers confidently, but slowly closing in. Sariah said, “Okay, you can go home now boys by just telling us who sent you.”
That earned a low chuckle from the attackers. “I would listen to the lad,” Kegan said. The attackers glanced at each other and came another step closer. Kegan cast a quick glance at Sariah. “I don’t think they are in the mood to talk,”
“That’s fine,” Sariah replied. “They can send a massage to their boss with their bodies.”
Sariah then took a step forward and took out the two who had been attacking her with three quick strokes. As the other two tried to react, Kegan force blasted the knees of another two, crippling them and sending them to the ground. The last remaining attacker tried to turn to run, but Sariah sliced both of his Achilles with one stroke, sending him face down on the cobblestone. Sariah stepped on one of the destroyed knees causing a cry of pain. “Who sent you?” she asked.
An arrow flew out of the darkness and took the attacker Sariah was standing on in the throat. Sariah ducked into as much shadow as she could find, while Kegan called up a force wall around himself. Two more arrows found homes in the throats of the remaining attackers.
Sariah pointed in the direction of where the arrows had come from. “There!”
Kegan shook his head. “So? What do you want me to do about it?”
“You’re the mage. Cast a spell,” Sariah said.
“I did,” he said. “It’s called force wall and I am safe behind it.”
Sariah picked up a stone and chucked it at Kegan. It bounced off. “Hey,” Kegan yelled, “Why did you do that?”
Sariah stood up and walked out into the open. She said, “Wanted to see if you were lying or not.”
“Get back here. I can put it around you as well,” Kegan said.
Sariah shook her head. “No need.” She kicked the arrow through the throat of the attacker she had lamed. “Whoever did this is gone. They could have killed us before we could have reacted. They didn’t want us to know who or why they were testing us.”
Kegan kept the force wall up, but he moved away from the wall behind him. He pointed to the dead men. “I think they failed. We didn’t even breathe hard.”
“Agreed,” Sariah said. There was the sound of police whistles in the background. “We better get out of here. I don’t want to have to answer questions.”
Kegan finally dropped his wall. “Yeah, but questions is all we’ve got right now.”
Kegan tipped his mug toward Sariah. “Here’s to the next couple of weeks being better than your last two,” Kegan said. Sariah lifted her mug and together they threw back the contents of their mugs and slammed them to the table. Sariah was just a hair faster, which upset Kegan. “I would have thought you would be slow in your old age,” he said.
Sariah picked up the leg of her roasted rabbit. “I can’t afford to be old if I’m going to get back into the business.” She bit into the leg sending juices dripping down her chin.
Kegan leaned in with a cloth. Kegan said, “Let me get those for you.” As he wiped her chin his eyes twinkled in the gas lamp light.
For a second Sariah felt a bit of desire flare up, but then was quickly quenched. “She pointed the rabbit leg at Kegan. “You tried your charm, didn’t you,” she said. “I’ve shared your blood. You know better.”
Kegan smiled sheepishly. “I wanted to see if it still worked. We shared so long ago I wasn’t sure.”
Sariah stabbed the leg into her pile of mashed potatoes. “You liar. Fairy blood is a pact. I ought to…”
“Quiet on the f word,” Kegan whispered. “People don’t like their humans mixed. Not around here.”
Sariah let it dropped, but she still wasn’t sure if she was flattered or upset. As she took another bite of the rabbit she decided both, but she was okay with that. “Do you ever feel guilty about it?” Sariah asked.
“Do you feel guilty giving the killing blow?” Kegan asked. Sariah didn’t respond since she was caught off guard. “Of course you don’t,” he continued. “You and I, we embrace our gifts. We might find more respectable outlets for them, but when you are born to do something, you do it.” Sariah stayed quiet as he bit a chunk of carrot. He leaned in closer and whispered again, “It’s like the gift of that damn purple dye. Take a basic king maker’s dye, weave a bit of magic and presto. Brilliant idea that I never thought of using for more than something to track marks.” He leaned back and smiled broadly. “You wanted a dress made of it because you loved the color. The rest is history and money. Lots and lots of money.”
Sariah smiled. “I loved that dress,” she said. I couldn’t wear it often, but a stain could never stay in it after you were done.”
“That’s why my stuff is so popular. Never breaks down really until its time is up.” Kegan lifted his mug to call over the waitress. “I don’t suppose you still have the dress.”
“Lost in the fire with everything else,” Sariah replied. She played with the rabbit leg in the potatoes. “Just like everything else. So you’ll help me then?”
The waitress came over and gave Kegan a kiss on the cheek. Kegan’s eyes glittered coldly and he kissed her full on the lips. “Wyndia my darling. I might be home a bit late. You’ll wait up for me, won’t you?”
Wyndia filled Kegan’s mug and then Sariah’s, but her eyes never left Kegan’s. “Of course my love. I will wait as long as it takes.”
Kegan gave her a love tap on the bottom. “I won’t be long,” Kegan said. “I just need to walk this pretty lady home. “ Wyndia finally took notice of Sariah and her smile began to droop. Kegan continued, “She’s just visiting my dear. I’ll set her up at my shop and I’ll come home.” Wyndia’s smile returned in full force and she practically skipped away from the table.
“Wasn’t that a bit much?” asked Sariah.
“It’s easier in the beginning if I turn it all the way on,” he said. “Besides I’m with you. It’s harder to work my magic with another lady at the table.”
“That is still wrong,” Sariah said. “Getting a place to stay I understand, but the other. I should go.”
“Is that what you say when you kill?” Kegan asked.
Sariah stared him down. “Mine is a job.”
Kegan asked, “Always?” Sariah did not respond, but she didn’t back down. “Fine,” Kegan continued, “you are right. No hanky panky until I let her out completely. You are no fun.”
Sariah was not happy still. “I will not let you rape a girl just because you can.”
“What has gotten into you?” Kegan asked.
“Swear to me you will not take advantage of her,” Sariah said as she held out her hand.
Kegan sighed and took her hand in his. “I swear I will do as you say,” he said.
Sariah swiftly took the knife that came with her meal and made a shallow cut across their clasped hands. Kegan tried to pull his back, but Sariah did not let go.
“We already shared my blood, remember?” Kegan asked. “Is this really necessary?”
Sariah let Kegan go and licked the blood on her hand. She stood up and walked to where Wyndia was talking to another table. She without a word she spun Wyndia around and planted a deep kiss on the stunned woman. After breaking the kiss, Sariah told her “You’re welcome.” Sariah turned to Kegan who just shook his head stunned. “Now I believe you,” she said.
We were given till Monday, so I pushed it to Sunday. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.
What is my most precious possession? That is a deep and weighty question. It can also be quite a delicate one. The question itself stymied me. How do you define a precious possession? I tried to ask myself if there is a fire, what would I absolutely need to get out of the house or I would regret it for the rest of my life. Of course the gut reaction was to say my wife and children, but that is a bit problematic. I don’t own them, so they are not technically a possession. I mean I did donate half the DNA to make my girls, but they are half my possession at best. Then again, can you truly possess a person? You used to be able to, but that was a while back and would be frowned on in today’s society, unless there is a safety word and consenting adults involved.
Okay, so on the same line of reasoning I would not count my animals. I do own them, and I would be financially harmed if they did something and I was sued, but most of the time I feel they own me, and not the other way around, so scratch them off the list. (I own two black cats, which makes the end of the last sentence quite funny. Sorry, but I wanted to share how punny I was. )
Alright, not the wife, not the kids, and not the pets. That definitely leaves a lot of inanimate objects. Where do I go next? Well there is stuff that I currently have at home from work. I would want to get that out of the house so I wouldn’t have to pay to replace it. Nah, that doesn’t really count either. Oh, and I promise to get all of it back soon, I promise, if you are reading this from work.
Let’s see, so an inanimate object, that is not from work, that I would regret for the rest of my life if it went up in flames. That is the rub. With the advent of cloud storage, everything I have at the house is stuff. The things I create are on the web. That is what I would miss if it was lost. I once lost a musical I was working on when the hard drive bricked. I still have most of the music, but the plot and parts of the play are gone. I have never sat back down to try to rewrite it yet. I will someday, but right now I am trying to find my most prized possession.
Now here is a twist. What if my greatest possession could be me turning into a ghost and possessing another person. That would be fine since it wouldn’t be buying another human being. Of course that would mean I would be supernatural and or a ghost, making me not all human, so the creepiness of humans owning humans wouldn’t be there. Of course, since I am not supernatural yet, this is also a nonstarter, but I did say yet. There is still hope. I once started a story about a man who dies and becomes a ghost, maybe that counts. No wait, that was also on the bricked hard drive. ARG! This is why I love cloud storage. Besides, I know at least one or two people from the NSA (okay computers, but I can dream) read everything I put up there, so it is almost like I am a published author.
I could say I am already in possession of myself. I would very much want to get that possession out of a fiery situation. Do you really possess yourself? It so, can I sue to get out of that possession? Would that be weird if you were found at fault with yourself? Would that open up too many questions? Have I already asked too many questions? What about if there is one more? Should I just move on?
Okay, I think I have it. My most precious possession is something I would want to save from a fire, but that would be secondary. My favorite possession is my humor. I mean my faith, right? No humor. I can profess faith, and have faith, but possession means a whole other level when it comes to faith. We would be back to ghosts and daemons, right?
Hopefully after all this you will agree that I should save my sense of humor. If not, watch out when I get that whole supernatural thing going. Then you’ll wish you had agreed with me. Oh, and ignore that wet spot on the floor.