I’m going to take just a minute to say thank you to all the Scribes who have gone before me. I’m so happy to be here!!
And now for part 6 of the Story In The Round…
Mom faded back into whatever dancing heaven she’d come from, leaving me alone on the porch with the fireflies and the dark. What the hell was she thinking? I’d done everything I could for a single glimpse – spells, incantations, begging on my knees in the dirt – and hadn’t felt the barest breath of her presence. Now, the first time I touch magic in years, I witness the arrival of two mysterious beings, I lose my housemate and best friend, and then Mom wanders by to tell me things are hopeless.
One too many creepy coincidences for me.
Anger poked its head up like a fractious gopher, rattling my mantle of calm. I popped the lock and flung open the front door, teeth clamped to hold back the crescendo of fear and frustration screaming up from around my heart.
I slung my backpack on the couch. Our tiny living room looked fine, normal. Danny’s magical detritus sat neatly around his desk, and my yarns and fabrics made a disordered pile in the corner.
My real toys were in the spare bedroom. See, magic isn’t the only source of power in this world.
I had to snicker when I glanced at a candle and it burst into flame. Apparently my tricks were back. Adding magic to my new, hard-won skills would be a very good thing.
Lifting the candle by its pottery base, I headed for the spare room. Eight katanas hung from the wall opposite the door, each sheathed in onyx, their ornate hilts gleaming in the candlelight. Utility shelves held French tomahawks, knives of various sizes, and throwing stars. All of them were cleaned and sharpened and ready to rock.
So was I.
The center of the room was empty, the wood floor polished by bare feet and sweat. That’s where I practiced. I kept a locked jewelry box on one of the shelves, mainly to hold my cell phone and debit card when I didn’t want to carry them. I’d left the cell phone home, figuring the magic of the dance might eff up it’s inner workings. Bringing it out of the jewelry box, I scanned my address book, looking for a name.
My heart gave an extra-heavy thump.
My breath came in shallow pants. Sweat dribbled between my breasts.
Yuko answered, his voice dark satin, otherworldly.
I had to clear my throat before I could respond. “I need help.”
“It’ll cost you.”
By the time I hung up, I’d twisted my long ginger hair into a knot at the nape of my neck. Yuko traveled fast. Dressed in black, with my hair pulled out of the way, I felt less like the pigtailed moppet who’d first contacted him six years ago. Still, when he came through the door, I almost backed out. His dark, glossy hair was cut on a knife’s edge at his shoulders, and his exotic eyes held secrets I didn’t want to learn. Beyond that, his core of preternatural stillness was way more dangerous than any of the blades I’d strapped on.
He closed the door, and I breathed deep, pulling in the faint scent of nag champa incense that followed him. I can do this.
“Well Deeny, it’s time to put your training into practice.”