Friday, 27 November 2015

Burning Up

Image courtesy of Tallia22 of

"Are you sure you're okay, ma'am?" The policeman was trying to be kind. 
"It's the shock." His colleague said quietly. 
"Would you like a tea or a coffee?  We've called a neighbour over to sit with you if you need it."
"I'm fine." I said, trying to breathe normally.
"There'll be a lot of press speculation." The first policeman said.  "We've had a lot of calls.  I suggest you get a legal representative and get a statement drafted.  Don't feel you have to answer any calls."
"I think my husband has a solicitor." I said, then corrected myself.  "He had a solicitor."
"He was in a hotel with his secretary, I believe some sort of business trip.  She may want to talk to you but perhaps it's best if you don't speak straight away." The second policeman was trying to judge if I knew about my husband's affair. 
"There will have to be an inquest, of course." The first policeman was watching me carefully.  "Perhaps you should sit down."
I looked at him blankly.  This was all so unexpected.  "Would you like a cup of tea or coffee?" I asked the police.  "I've got some biscuits in."
The police exchanged glances.  "I'll put the kettle on." The second policeman said calmly.  "I'm sure I'll be able to find everything."
"You need to aware that the internet have taken this up as a case of spontaneous combustion.  Someone filmed it on their phone.  I wouldn't look at it, if I were you, ma'am, it's distressing." The first policemen gently eased me into a chair.  "We are going to have to take some samples, the people are on their way, we'll be as discreet as possible.  It will all be returned to you."
"Whatever you need, officer." I murmured.  A cup of over sweetened tea was pushed into my hand.  "Take whatever you need."

Because they would find nothing.  I kept my diaries on my laptop which was currently at work.  I kept my tools in my friend's garage.  And no-one believed that 'How to Cast Spells and Influence People' was a book that actually worked.

Friday, 20 November 2015

A Kernel of Truth

Steve Adderson sat at looked at the result of months of hard work nestling in his hands.  It looked like a conker case, the green, spiky shell that enclosed the polished brown nuts inside.  It had taken him months of hard work, arcane research and difficult spell casting but inside was the answer to a question.  He just had to choose the question.
"What are you going to ask?" Armani said, taking a lungful of foul smoke from his miniature rollup.  The imp settled on Steve's hand and spat on the table next to where it rested.  "There's no rush, boss, maybe just go for a walk, get some fresh air.  It won't hurt to sleep on it."
Steve said nothing, continuing to stare at the cases. 
Armani took another drag of his rollup and pinched it out.  "Listen, boss, you could ask for the way to get Elaine back, to make her stay.  You know she loved you really.  She just couldn't hack the weird stuff."  Armani grasped at straws.  "I tell you what, I wouldn't smoke in the house either."
Steve said nothing.  The cases felt cool and slightly damp against his palm, as if they had been freshly picked on a damp autumn day instead of being conjured in a converted garage. 
"What would you really achieve if you found your father.  He could be dead." Amarni tried to read Steve's face."  I mean, he never knew you, so he could be living with a family.  He could have grandkids.  He may not want to see you."
Steve slowly moved his fingers over the cases.  They felt rough and organic.
"You've missed Elaine a lot." Armani persisted.  "I know she's just dumped her last boyfriend.  Why don't you just send her a text?"
Steve surfaced and looked at the scruffy imp on his hand.  "It's good to know when something is finished." He said quietly.
"Then look for a new girlfriend." Armani urged.  "Ask who would make you the best wife and find her."
"You know who my father is, don't you?" Steve said quietly to Armani.
"I don't know who." Armani said.  "I don't have a name.  But I've got some ideas and you've been a good boss and as a decent imp I'm telling you to step away from this because you had enough pain from Elaine."  Armani pulled out the dog end of the rollup and lit it again with a spark from his fingers. "And there's no rush.  We've got that shipload of dog chews for Lord Thibault to sort out.  You can think it over."

"I need to know who my father is." Steve said firmly.  "And I need to know now."

This is the last Steve Adderson story until after I publish 'The Prince and the Paladin' when all will be revealed.  Publication date - I'm working on it.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Magician

A short story in response to the Light and Shade Challenge for 3rd November 2015.  Do go along and have a look, and take part if you enjoy it.  There is a new one each Wednesday, and all are welcome.

"It is good to meet you again, Steve Addison." Lord Marius smiled with what looked like genuine warmth.  "And so many people are impressed at your ability to provide honey from the other side of the world..."
The bar surrounding them slipped away.  Steve looked around.  Lord Marius froze.  They had met in a bustling, upmarket pub with a big screen in the corner showing the big match.  Now they were in a dark, cavernous space.  Faint lights glowed some distance above, too distant to show the edges of the room.  Cold, damp flagstones had replaced the pub carpet.  Steve swore and purple sparks arced off into the dark corners.
"Someone has pulled us into a dark realm." Lord Marius said quietly.  "And I know not why."
"It always comes down to money." The voice that floated out of the darkness sounded dry and dusty.  "Money, power and sex.  But money, mostly."
"I only have small change on me." Lord Marius said coolly as he watched the figure approach.  "Steve Addison, have you met a lich before?  Those who have died yet remain, animated by magic.  They can be quite dangerous."
Steve could feel the tension in Lord Marius as he watched the violet flame encircling them flickering soundlessly as it marked a line that they should not cross.  "I haven't much money on me myself."
The lich strolled casually into the faint light.  Once he had been a handsome man, but now he looked dried out and papery, his sunken eyes looked mockingly at the two in the circle as he adjusted his old fashioned velvet jacket.  "Steve Addison has made a fortune trading with the elfen - and good luck to him.  There are few who would take that risk.  So the plan is that Mr Addison is the hostage while Lord Marius goes and gets the money.  I believe there is a cash machine less than a hundred yards from the entrance to my realm."  The lich smiled thinly.  "Lord Marius, you can try your best, but your magic is no match for mine.  I've bested you before, remember."
Lord Marius glanced at Steve and stepped forward.  "I do not forgive insults of such magnitude." He said coldly, catching the lich's gaze and keeping it.  "I do not lightly accept such a slur on my honour to be a boy to fetch pennies."

The lich's mocking laugh started to break.  He stared at Lord Marius.  "What have you learned?" He held up his hand and a violet glow surrounded it as he pulled it back, claw like and ready to strike.  Lord Marius watched impassively as the violet glow shimmered and the colour slid to scarlet and started to flame upwards.  The lich stared in horror as his own magic consumed him, burning him up in a smoky pyre, Lord Marius stepped through the fading violet circle.  "I have learned that Steve Addison is a far greater sorcerer than I will ever be."  He bowed politely to Steve and the pub returned around them.  "I believe I owe you at least a drink."