The Rare And Beautiful Yellow Winged Eggdropper Stork Of Potawango Island

…the drop eggs on other creatures just for the hell of it.

 

Amnesia & Magic

Part Eleven

After a few seconds, I recognize who it is: my grandmother, Fawn. Well, actually, I only recognize her because I’ve seen old paintings and a couple of old photographs of her as a young woman, which is how she looks now.

She’s not beautiful like my mom, but she’s very pretty and much taller than I expected. She’s slender, not very busty and her hair hangs in braids nearly to her waist. She looks a whole lot like my Aunt Mari.

Hello, Little Fox. Bet you weren’t expecting this.”

She’s grinning that crooked little grin I remember so well. She sits down on a stump in front of me, a stump that wasn’t there a second ago. Dreams are cool like that.

Hello, Granny. You look good.”

Yeah, I do, don’t I? Everybody on this side looks their best. You ought to see your grandfather. Boy, what a fine looking man he is! Always ready for a lay down in the grass, too, just like when we were young on the other side.”

Other side? So, I’m dreaming about Heaven? Granny looks at me and then laughs.

This is only partly a dream, sweetie. It’s mostly a meeting so you can be prepared for what’s coming.” She pats my hands and I feel six years old again.

Wait a damned minute! I never said that stuff about dreaming out loud!

You read my mind? You can do that over here. Or in dreams. Or wherever the hell we are?”

She laughs some more. Now she’s holding my hands.

Oh, yeah, thoughts and words are pretty interchangeable here. Of course, I could always read you like a book. You’re too much like your papa for me not to.”

Yeah, she was right on that count. Of all us kids, I was the most like Dad, stubborn, curious, reckless, cunning and fast on my feet. I got my smarts and my ability to read people from Mama.

Granny gently squeezes my hands now.

Time to tell you what I can, Little Fox. You’ve got a dream about you and Bill coming up soon. Hubba hubba!”

I’m blushing. Granny always was a risque old gal.

So you know you’re carrying some big magic and you know the names of the book and the ring. That’s good, but there’s more you need to know.” She’s looking much more serious now.

You know about how the Elves came back to our world a hundred years ago. You know how the white people found out that Magic lived in the Elves, and how some humans could channel the Magic to cast spells. You know history after that. Most elves lived in the North, so when the South would not free slaves, the government used Magic to make them. Black folks were freed and nobody cared much about hating them anymore, because every eye was on the Elves and how to use their power. Same for Chinese, Mexicans, Irish and the rest of us. No time to worry about skin color unless it was green.

Sounds good, and it was, but not for the Elves.”

Granny’ right, the world changed almost overnight, and not always gently. There were wars, spying, magical battles and we won’t even get into how things were between those embracing Magic and those who controlled the various religions.

But what the humans, and I mean damned near all humans, didn’t know is that some Native Peoples…us here in North America…some folks in Ireland & Scotland…certain groups across Europe…had known the Elves would come back. Hell, girl, we’d known it for five thousand years. We remembered them from the last time they were here back when we lived among them. It was back then that we made a pact with them. Now, it’s time for you and a few others to fulfill that pact.”

You know, when this is all over, I’m going to take Holmes and Watson and we’re going to jump into Honey and I’m going to drive to the middle of nowhere and rent a cabin and live in No Responsibility Land for a few weeks.

Granny unbuttons her blouse then, and without a trace of embarrassment lifts up her right breast (which I have to admit looks way perkier than you’d ever imagine a granny breast looking) to show me a “Y” shaped scar. At that point, you could have walked up and strangled me, no trouble, because I was dumbstruck. I have the exact same scar under my right breast. It’s always been there, all my life. My parents told me it happened when I was a toddler and I fell on a sharp stick.

It’s not a big scar, maybe half an inch long, but it’s way lighter than the rest of my skin and it has never gone away. It also dawns on me now that nobody, not even Bill, who knew that territory well, has ever commented on it since I was little and my parents told me about it. Nobody. Not even me.

Again, Granny chuckles as she read my mind.

Nobody mentioned it because nobody ever saw it. You could see it, but you didn’t mention it to anyone because it’s a secret mark, made with Old Magic. It marks you as one of our line. Your cousins ‘Netta and Susie have it, too. We always mark three, in case the first choice gets killed. Gotta say, you came close more than once, Little Fox. Good thing you survived, because ‘Netta is as good as white these days and Susie is way to fat for all this running around.”

When I take that vacation, I’m bringing a case of tequila with me. Maybe two.

Granny buttons up her shirt and continues.

Way back, when the Elves were about to leave our world for awhile, they had this big meeting and read some signs and stuff. They saw the future and knew that the humans would steal their Magic and cause their people to weaken and die. They decided to create the ring and the book and put a whole bunch of Magic into them. It cost them dearly.”

I have to ask her. “How dearly, Granny?”

She looks very sad as she says, “When the Elves came back in 1835, the total world population was three hundred thousand. Before they created the ring and book, it was over six million. Most gave up their lives to put Power into those two relics.”

Over five and a half million lives, freely given up. Why?

To save their people and maybe ours. See, the book has been picking up Power over the last century. Every time an Elf, Mage or Wizard dies, their Power goes into it. That’s a bunch of Magic, right there.”

But what do we have to do with it? Were we just keeping the book & ring safe?”

Oh yeah, we did that, although it was really easy for the first four thousand nine hundred years. Nobody could detect it. Once the Elves came back, we had to move it around pretty often. We were selected, we Daughters of Teena, to guard the book and produce the Bringer Forth, which is you. Some of the original daughters traveled to far off lands and married into other tribes of Native People. They did that because, well, because they had to to make the Prophecy work. And now you have the relics and by dawn on the day after tomorrow, you’ll have used them and then things will be ok, one way or another.”

I love Granny, but she does take forever to get to a point.

“Yeah, ok, so I’ve got a day and a half to get to Mount Shasta and, I assume, read this book while wearing the ring? Is that right?”

I may have said that in a less than calm voice.

Granny nods. “Yep, that’s pretty much it. Well, you’ll also have to speak to the Oldest One and maybe shoot a few people. Oh, and you’ll need to trust your gut a couple of times when your head says the wrong thing. And that Elf boy, don’t let him get out of your sight.”

She pats me on the head then.

Well, sweetie, it’s time for me to go. You’ve got a naughty dream to get to and I’m supposed to go “berry picking” with your grandpa. Heh heh…“berry picking”. Good luck, Little Fox. I love you.”

She starts walking away and I want to run after her, but the forest is slowly changing into a room at the Hotel Coronado in San Diego. All I can do is watch, but then she turns back for a moment.

Oh yeah, honey, make sure you put on the ring as soon as you wake up.”

And then she and the forest are gone and I’m in a fancy hotel room with my ex husband, a bottle of champagne and silk sheets.

I’m thinking Granny is right about this dream.

Not In This Issue: Red Pandas, LOLcats or Humorous Basset Hounds

…but I’m sure they’ll all be back soon

 

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

The Doclopedia will start back up on August 21st! This year, my self imposed challenge is 750 entries in 365 days! Yes, that is indeed just over two entries per day. Yes, I may well have finally gone ’round the bend. While I plan on revisiting several Doclopedia themes (The Alphabet, Dogs & Cats Living Together, The Rise Of The…), I’ve got a lengthy list of new theme ideas, too.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Not only will I be doing hella Doclopedia entries, but I’ll also be doing another Reader Assisted Fiction Piece, and this one will have even more reader input than Amnesia & Magic does. Date and everything else TBA.

I’ll also be once more diving headlong into NaNoWriMo, so that pretty much shoots my November in the ass.

I’ll also be doing a bit of writing for roleplaying stuff. Actually, that has already started. Just need to finish it by November or so.

There may even be some other writing projects popping up through the year. Depends on how far I can get ahead on Doclopedia stuff.

So there you go, Gentle Readers, me trying to kill myself at the old word processor. Enjoy.

Mister Porkwaffle Experiments With Love

…he actually distills it down to a beverage with a minty fresh taste

Amnesia & Magic

Part Ten

No sooner has my finger hit the button than I realize that without even thinking about it, my other hand is in my pocket touching the ring and the book

Everything around us fades just as the Green Man sends a black lightning bolt towards us. There’s a moment of dizziness and then we’re sitting on top of a mountain on what looks like a gravel logging road. I have no idea where are, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the “mile or two” that the Mage who set the spell up told me.

Dak gets out of the car and starts sniffing the air and listening to the forest sounds. He tells me we aren’t anywhere near the part of California we just left, but he doesn’t know where we are either. Well, at least the air is clear and the view is nice.

We sit there thinking for a bit and then a big old logging truck crests the hill doing maybe 10 miles an hour. The driver sees us sitting in the middle of the road and stops. Dak & I try hard not to laugh at the goggle eyed expression on his face. Big cars driven by women hauling elf kids around probably don’t make it up here much.

I get out and so does he and we meet about halfway.

Hi there”, I say, trying to act friendly and nonchalant. “Could you tell us where we are?”

His eyes get even gogglier and I can hear Dak collapse into a giggling fit inside Honey.

Sweet Jesus, lady, you’re on top of a goddamn mountain!” I’m having a real hard time keeping a straight face.

Well, yes, we noticed that. We were wondering where this mountain is located and what’s the fastest way to a town and main road.”

The trucker is beginning to look at me like he thinks I’m either crazy or pulling his leg. I think he eventually went with crazy.

You’re in Oregon, lady. Head back down the way I came and after about twelve miles you’ll come to a paved road. Turn right and you’ll hit Medford in about half an hour.”

I thank him and get back in Honey. He stares at us the whole while we drive around him and his truck. I’m thinking that by this time tomorrow, everybody for fifty miles around will hear his story of the crazy lady on the mountain.

The road must be pretty new because the gravel is smooth and there are no bad ruts yet. Sure enough, after a steep drive and a couple of hairpin turns, we reach a two lane road and a sign that says “Medford: 30 miles”.

As we zip along, Dak and I discuss the fact that we teleported so far thanks to the Power of the book & ring.

“Yeah”, he says, “With that much Power, we’re kind of lucky we didn’t pop up in China or somewhere.”

I never thought of that. Of course, I’d never intended to channel that much Power in the first place. I mentioned that to Dak. He nodded and said it was probably the ring and book protecting the Bringer Forth, which is me.

My Grandparents used to talk about the Great Relics and how they could protect their chosen bearers. But that was a long time ago, because nobody has seen a relic of any kind since the Awakening, and that was over a hundred years ago. Well, until now, that is.”

So, Dak, what do you know about this Ring of Taeena and Book of Changes? Is it really end of the world stuff?” I’m really really hoping he was overstating things earlier.

He nods. Shit!

I don’t know all of the legend, but I know that the ring and book come from the Other Time, when Elves could use magic just like humans can, but we didn’t get sick or weak from it. I know that part of the legend says that when the book comes back, it means the end of the world. Or maybe it means the world changes. I’m not sure which.”

Well, I’ll sure as hell take a changed world over an ended one, thank you. I’m about to ask him a few more things he probably doesn’t know when we see Medford coming up ahead. I tell Dak that we’ll get dinner and a room for the night, then head for Mount Shasta in the morning.

Medford isn’t a very big place and it’s mostly a logging town, but it is on a major stretch of road, so there are a couple of hotels. I park the car behind the “Medford Arms” and then we check in as “Mabel Beach” and her ward of the court, “Javin Birchtree”. The old man behind the desk barely gives us a look as he hands over the key to our room.

It’s a nice enough room with two beds and windows that look out on the street. After washing up, we head to the restaurant across the street and have a couple of steaks with all the trimmings. Nobody seems to notice us, which is both a blessing and awfully curious. You’d think that this little podunk town got black women traveling with Elf kids all the time. Something was not right, but I’m thinking I won’t bitch about it. I could use a little anonymity.

Full of food, Dak and go get some things out of Honey, then head to the room for a good night’s sleep. It takes Dak maybe half a minute to fall asleep after his head hits the pillow. Me, I mull over the day as I drift off. Hell of a lot going on and me right in the middle. There are several folks, my family included, who would not find that surprising.

I have no idea at what point I fell asleep, but the next thing I know, I’m sitting on a tree stump in the middle of the woods and I see somebody coming out of the shadows.

The World According To Carp

…it’s a rather fishy tale

 

Amnesia & Magic

Part Nine

I haven’t seen Bill in five years, since the FBI consulted with me on the Dotsy Dugan case. He’s gotten some gray hair at his temples and it makes him look even sexier than he did before. Parts of me react involuntarily to that.

He’s smiling, but it’s a grim smile, his “I’m glad to see you, but this is serious smile”. He stops just in front of the car and beckons me out with a wave of his hand. I figure if he wanted to arrest me, there would be other agents with him, so I get out and ask him what’s up.

You look good, Mick. The new hairstyle suits you.” His deep voice sounds like it’s coming through a static filled radio. That means this is a waking dream and I’m really still in the car. Pretty hefty Magic and he must be within a mile or two of our current position. I’m thinking the Mage he has casting this spell is really earning their pay.

I look him up and down. As always, he’s well dressed and carrying three guns, judging from the way his suit moves. That’s a .45 in his shoulder holster and I figure it’s still a .38 in his left pocket and strapped to his left ankle. Bill is a southpaw.

You’re looking good yourself, big boy. Now what’s this all about?” I’m not feeling as cocky as I try to sound. I doubt that I fool him.

I’ll give it too you short and fast”

That would be a first.

You’ve got three Wizards after you. Well, maybe two if you managed to kill Leems back there, which, by the way, was a damned clever bit of thinking. The other two are Olivia Saint James and The Green Man. Saint James has sent out at least fifty thugs and a dozen Mages. She’s put a high bounty on whatever it is you have. The Green Man is coming after you all by himself. The good news is that for some reason, all of them insist that you be taken alive and in good condition. The government wants to gives you a chance to surrender to them before they call out their big guns. This is your chance. I told them not to hold their breath.”

Ok, this is a big bunch of information to process. Olivia Saint James almost never leaves her castle in Wales, but she can channel a lot of Power through her pet Mages. She’s dangerous, but not unstoppable. The Green Man is almost unstoppable. Early on, he goofed up some spell that turned him green, ugly and not quite human. He doesn’t need to sleep or eat much and like Tanner Leems, he’s not on a first name basis with sanity. Very dangerous, even if he is coming alone.

Of course, both of them are small change compared to the power of the United States Government and it’s army of Wizards & Mages and Federal Agents. I am, as my Uncle Max used to say, “screwed, blewed and tattooed”.

Except that Bill used “them” and “their” when referring to the government, not the “we” or “our” that he would usually use. That was big and it was meant to tell me that maybe he was not totally on board with the government’s plan. Could it be that the big lug is going soft? I like that idea.

I give him a smile. “I’ll deal with Olivia’s thugs and The Green Man. You can tell your bosses that they can kiss my beautiful bronze ass. Anything else you want to say to me? I’m kind of on a tight schedule here.”

Bill chuckles and runs his right hand through his blonde hair. That has always been our signal to listen carefully to what was next said. He is having second thoughts about the Feds!

Only that I hope you know how deep you’re in and I’m hoping you get out alive so we can go back up to Astoria some day. I’d like to have a glass of wine with you again. And I do still love you, Mick.”

Well, mixed messages there. I know he still loves me and I do still love him. On the other hand, out trip up the coast from San Francisco to Astoria, Oregon was a comedy of errors. Everything that could go wrong did and it soured us on vacations for a couple of years. But his message means that something that happened on that trip was germane to my present situation. I’ll have to do some thinking on that.

I nod and he smiles. Then things get blurry and in a heartbeat I’m sitting in Honey and Dak is shaking his head and asking what just happened. I give him a quick rundown and he expresses a good deal of amazement over how powerful the Feds are in the Magic department.

We start off down the road at a slightly less than suicidal speed and I’ve got Dak helping me watch for anything that looks like trouble. I’m pretty relieved when twenty minutes pass without an attempt on our lives. I hope whatever is waiting at the cabin is worth the damage my nerves are taking.

I slow down to take the turnoff that will run another five miles to the cabin. We get about a mile when it hits me…the wine! Holy shit!

See, on that disaster of a vacation, our old Ford broke down and we had to stay overnight in a barn belonging to a farmer while his son repaired the car. The farmer brought us a bottle of homemade blackberry wine to help keep us warm, although I’m sure the half dozen quilts his wife brought out, along with enough food for six hungry lumberjacks, would have kept us warm enough.

Anyway, we were most of the way through that bottle when we got into one of our discussions about the FBI and all the Magical Power it was accumulating. Bill was telling me I was paranoid and I told him that it was J. Edgar who was paranoid and that much power should not be controlled by one man. He said if he ever believed that Hoover was going to abuse his office and the resources of the FBI, he’d do whatever he could to stop him. I told him that he’d better damned well let me know so I could help him.

And then today he had shown me that he wasn’t on board like he used to be and he had given me clues. At this point in my thinking, I’m sweating bullets because This adds up to one big answer.

Hoover wants the ring and book so he can do a power play. And the only real power play a guy in his position can make is to take over the government.

I think I might pass out.

I take a few deep breaths and speed up as much as the overgrown country lane will allow. Dak is giving me worried looks, but remaining quiet. After a couple of minutes, we arrive at what is left of the cabin.

There’s a tug at my heart to see the old place so rundown and overgrown, but I don’t have time for reminiscing. About a hundred yards downhill from the cabin is the spot where our fort used to be, the spot where all of us kids and sometimes my dad and uncles used to hang out. Nothing left of it, but I see a postcard on the pine tree just left of it. No writing on it, just a postcard saying “Greetings From Mount Shasta!” and showing a picture of that old volcano. Not the most subtle of clues, but it would work. I wonder who put it there? Obviously, I have a mysterious ally.

I let Dak know that we’re going to hit the road again, so he runs behind a tree to take a leak. I do likewise behind a bush and then we head back to Honey.

We’re almost inside the car when three things happen. We see the Green Man descending from the clouds on what looks like vines made of Magical energy, we see about thirty of Olivia’s Ugly minions pour over a nearby hill and an FBI airship comes over the nearby redwoods announcing via loudspeakers that we should drop all weapons and lie down on the ground.

Three ways screwed, oh yeah. No, make that four ways, because it was sure as hell that these guys were all going to fight over my head. Nope, no good would come of this.

Get in the car, Dak, and hang on. This is going to get dangerous.”

No sooner do we shut the doors that an Olivia minion casts a spell at the Green Man while he’s popping one off at the airship. Naturally, the airship unleashes a volley of hexes.

I have one trick that might buy us a few minutes of travel time, but it’s a long shot. What the hell, I’m thinking. I go for it and activate a spell by pushing a small silver button on the dashboard.

How To Make Big Money Without Doing Hardly Any Work!

…just send for our informative booklet, only $15.00 each.

 

Part Eight

The energy ball sends sparks and miniature lightning bolts off all around the Hornet and she slows down by about 20 miles an hour. The other car is coming up fast when one of the counterspells I had put on her kicks in and fire engulfs us right before blasting backward and hitting hard. Our power increases and I’m trying not to skid off the road. A glance in the rear view mirror shows me the big car has stopped and four guys are jumping out. Just as we head around a turn, I notice that one is a tall thin Wizard.

Leems!” I growl it with such hate that Dak, who was turned looking over the seat at the flaming car, jumps.

Sorry, Dak, but that Wizard back there is a very powerful and very bad man.”

Dak nods. “I know he is. Every Elf around knows who Tanner Leems is. In San Francisco, he’s just as powerful as Mr. Hong. Maybe more powerful.”

I wasn’t sure Leems was as powerful as the “God Wizard of Chinatown”, but I knew he was just as dangerous and almost certainly crazier. Worse yet, he was the son of a Wizard, a rare and deadly thing. The children of Wizards who had the “talent” learned Magic a hell of a lot faster than other Wizards and it almost always drove them mad. If they were twisted little monsters like young Tanner Leems had been, they were just about the most dangerous thing around.

We hit a straight stretch and I floor it. Leems would have that car back on the road in a minute or two and I need some room to think.

So, I’ve got a Wizard on my ass and he knows my car has protection. If he has some way of contacting people ahead of me, this is going to be a short drive. We’re maybe three miles from a small town set around a big intersection. I need to keep heading north, but even if he doesn’t catch up to me, there will be plenty of folks who see us go screaming through town. Hell, it’s probable that he’ll get there while they’re still goggling in our direction.

I can turn west, but that’s an old farm road and it’s twisty and dangerous and one slow tractor will pretty much stop us. Going east won’t get us and closer to Mendocino and will take us back to the new highway, which I’m sure is thick with cops now. Shit!

Dak is back to watching our rear and he tells me he can see the other car and it’s coming up crazy fast. I get a look just before we have to take a turn in the road and yeah, that car is flying low. Looks like we’ve got a race on and I’ll be zooming though the town ahead with a Wizard right behind me. I slide around the turn and punch the gas. All the while, I’m thinking of what options Honey has for dealing with this situation.

I can see the town up ahead and Dak says they black car is maybe 100 yards behind us and coming up fast. I flip up a hidden panel and there are three switches. Just before we shoot through the stop sign and across that intersection, I flip the blue switch.

I’m lucky that nobody is anywhere near the intersection as we fly through it, all the while leaving three dozen shiny little items for Leems and his buddies to drive over. A few seconds later, the car hits the field of caltrops and all four tires blow out. Dak and I both watch because we’ve never seen what happens when four tires blow out at 90 miles an hour. We both find it impressive.

First, the car begins fishtailing, then it goes into a short slide sideways down the road, then it rolls over maybe fifteen times before sliding another hundred feet on it’s roof. Amazingly, it doesn’t hit any buildings or people. As we crest a hill, the last thing we see is a crowd gathering, but nobody getting out of the car.

“That was nuts!”, Dak yells. “The tires blew out and it was all over!”

I have to grin at his assessment. Leems may have had the Magical end of things covered, but he hadn’t thought of a little good old fashioned booby trapping. With any luck, the evil son of a bitch was dead now.

We put plenty of distance between us and the town. After another hour with no sign of a tail, I relax and start talking to Dak about Magic and Elves and things like that. He doesn’t know much more than I do about Magic, but it helps pass the time. Before we know it, another hour has passed and we’re getting pretty near the turnoff that will take us to my family’s old cabin just south of Mendocino.

As I drive along, I’m noticing that things outside don’t quite look right. Everything looks slightly out of focus. I go to mention this to Dak, but he’s slack jawed and staring off into space. Then I notice Honey is slowing down to a crawl. Then she stops.

There’s Magic at work, but I don’t seem too affected by it. Maybe moving a bit slower than normal, but my thoughts are clear.

I’m sitting in my stopped car, wondering what will happen next when I see the man step out from behind a redwood.

The Twelve Things You Should Know About Dinosaurs

…#3: Never poke one with a stick!

Amnesia & Magic

Part Seven

As my vision clears and I start to stand up, Hoagie gets his arm around my waist to help me up and Lillian hands me a glass of water. My head clears pretty fast and I know that Dak and I need to get on the road ASAP.

How long was I out?”, I ask Hoagie. He doesn’t look too worried about my little fainting episode.

Maybe three minutes. Feeling better now that you’ve got it all back?”

I nod. “I told you what I was doing before the mindwipe, didn’t I?”

He grins and nods his head before getting back to those sandwiches, which by now are smelling really great.

I’m still a little unsteady, so Dak and Lilian help me back to the counter. I drink the water, then down the lemonade. At that point, I notice the tea and figure I’ll be needing a long bathroom break soon.

Despite the previous liquids, I take the cup of tea and down it in a couple of swallows, which is the best way to drink most Elven herbal teas, because they taste terrible. I’m getting no immediate effect, so I’m thinking the fun will start later. I was not told what this tea would do.

Hoagie bags up the sandwiches and some napkins and a couple of cupcakes. Lillian fills up a bottle with lemonade. Dak and I both get hugs from Lilian and handshakes from Hoagie, who gives me some advice.

Two things, Mick. First off, avoid the new highway up to Mendocino. Take the back road that your dad used to use. The highway is going to be full of cops and that Hornet of yours sticks out like a whore in church. Next thing is, check the trunk of the car. You didn’t ask, but I figured I’d stock it up while it was parked down at Tiburon. You never know what you might need.”

I thank him and we start heading for the door. Before we step outside, I take a look at the street. Nothing hinky going on, so we go out. The car is untouched and I go around to open the trunk.

Holy cow! Hoagie has the entire trunk packed full of guns, knives, camping equipment, food, blankets, a first aid kit and a quart of tequila. I love that guy!

“Dak, do you know how to use a gun?”

No, I don’t. Not much use for one in the city. But I know how to use one of these.”

He picks up a big Bowie knife and hefts it in his hand, then he takes another. He looks at me and grins.

Good enough. Climb in and let’s get out of here.”

In less than a minute, we’re heading down the road. No tails that I can see, but where magic is concerned, that doesn’t mean much.

Once we’re on the highway, I speed up until I’m passing everything else. We get about twenty miles when I see the turnoff for the old Coast Road. It’s not very wide and it’s beginning to show the lack of maintenance, but it also has almost no traffic, so I punch it and we’re zipping along at 70 miles an hour. Dak breaks out the sandwiches and we start chowing down.

If you don’t mind me asking, Miss Mick, where are we going and what’s going on?”

He’s a polite kid. I like that.

First of all, just call me Mick. The Miss part makes me sound like an old maid teacher. As to what’s going on, we’re delivering the book and ring to somebody. An Elf, I’m sure, but I don’t know his or her name. Don’t know where he or she is, either. The setup was that I’d find clues that would lead to a meeting place. Once I’m there, I hand over the book and ring and that’s it. Well, at least it was until your dad started telling me I was the Bringer Forth and there was a damned prophecy. Now I’m confused as all hell. Whatever the book and ring are about, they were so important that the Wizard who hired me strongly suggested that I have my mind wiped or I’d never get out of the city alive. I left myself some notes to help me along and now you know the whole deal.”

Can I see the book and ring?”

I figure it’s not gonna hurt anything, so I hand them over. Dak sees them and his face

gets a look like I suppose would be on Grandma Silvia’s if she suddenly met Jesus and the Virgin Mary in person. It was a bit unnerving to me, the decades lapsed Baptist choir girl.

That’s the Ring of Taeena and the Book of Changes! This is really powerful stuff! No, this is THE powerful stuff! Holy shit, Mick, we can’t EVER let a human get hold of this!”

Oh, great, I wasn’t nearly nervous enough.

How powerful are we talking, Dak?”

He looks at me with eyes that could not get any wider.

End of the world powerful”

That has about two seconds to soak in when a big black car shows up in the rear view mirror and starts gaining on us. It’s way too big and expensive to be Feds, so I’m thinking it’s gotta be a Wizard.

I have just enough time to tell Dak to hang on when I see a ball of purple light shoot out of the window of the black car and come streaking towards us. Both sides of the road are lined with pines and there’s nowhere to dodge and then the ball of energy hits.

Oyster Milkshake

…ewwwwwww!

 

Amnesia & Magic

 Part Six

My name is Michelline Lenore Allen, but everyone calls me Mick, except family, who call me “Snoopy” and my Cherokee grandmother who always called me “Little Fox”. I was born in San Francisco on March 8th, 1895, which means I’m 40 years old. I have an older brother and sister and two younger twin brothers. My parents live up near Lake Tahoe now. I was married once, for ten years, to Bill Allen, who is still an FBI agent and the most handsome man I know. We divorced because I just couldn’t keep doing what old man Hoover wanted us to do.

I have a dog named Watson and a cat named Holmes. Neither of them is exceptionally smart, but both of them are lovable. I need to get my house painted. My mother used to be a singer. My dad was a fireman and part time fishing guide.

I have big feet for a woman. My sister is a teacher, my older brother is a lawyer and both of my younger brothers are truck drivers. I don’t like applesauce. I don’t get seasick.

I’ve been to South America, Europe and India. I like reading mysteries and horror stories. I would have sex with Gary Cooper in a hot second. My best pal from high school, Martha Hendricks, is a spy in Germany right now.

I have 12 nieces and nephews, but no kids of my own. I like sitting on the beach watching the sun set. My favorite booze is tequila, straight up. I still own my first big girl party dress. I prefer showers to baths.

When I was 10 years old, I convinced my little brothers that they were invisible. They got in trouble trying to steal cookies right in front of Mama, Auntie Gayle, Auntie Bonnie and Grandma Sylvia.

I’m a very good shot with almost any type of gun. I have been forced to kill people who were trying to kill me. It didn’t bother me a whole hell of a lot.

I love solving mysteries. I haven’t gotten laid in six months. I love ducks. I hate snow. I can change a flat tire in record time. My best friend, Jane, named her first daughter after me. I’m a registered Democrat. I’m a hell of a tree climber.

I’m allergic to roses. Cats can be used by Wizards to spy on people. I like Elves. I don’t like humans who use Magic now that I know it’s killing off the Elves. I’m on J. Edgar Hoover’s enemies list, but he can’t do anything to me because I have photos of him engaged in homosexual activity. He was in drag at the time.

I’m Mick Allen, Private Investigator, and I’m on a case that could change the world.

Time to wake up and get at it!

Junior Muskrat Goes On A Drinking Binge

…mind you, he’s mostly drinking cream soda

Behold, Gentle Readers, Part Five is up for your perusal and enjoyment. There will be no poll after this one, because Part Six is all about Mick getting her memory back.

Amnesia & Magic

Part Five

Dad Elf grabs one of the Feds from behind and tosses him into the water like he weighs nothing. The big lug hits the water in a belly flop and Dak starts laughing. A second later, the second Fed is in the drink, put there by Mom Elf, who got him with a flying kick.

I’m chuckling now, too. Those Feds have been trained to believe that they were the toughest mugs around, but now they’re bobbing around in the cold water. One of them tries to pull his gun, but now there are a dozen sea lions swimming around them, pushing them and generally moving the two men away from the docks.

That was my doing,” Dak says, “I asked the sea for help.”

That stops my chuckling. I thought Elves couldn’t cast spells, so I ask Dak what gives.

“”Oh, we can’t cast spells now, but we can speak to Nature when we’re healthy enough. I just asked for the Sea to help us out. I don’t think it’s done yet.”

Sure enough, it’s not over for those government boys, because now about a dozen pelicans are joining the sea lions to keep things busy. One of the pelicans grabs a Fed’s ear and you can year the yelling over all the other noises. I’m laughing again.

That was a while ago and now we’re about three quarters of the way to Tiburon. I’m pretty sure that there will be Feds waiting for us when we get there and I ask Dak if he can help. He says he doubts it, because by now the Feds will have protective spells up. On the other hand, he tells me that he might have another way of getting us past them.

A few minutes of Speaking with Nature and we are now at the rear of the ferry on the port side. The ferry terminal is maybe ten minutes away when everyone starts heading to the starboard side of the boat. I get a quick glimpse of thousands of fish leaping out of the water in a sort of ballet scene, then Dak is telling me to get over the side and into the water.

It occurs to me that I have no idea if I can swim. Well, only one way to find out.

Nobody sees us get off the boat because the passengers are watching the Oceanic Bolshoi and the crew is worried about capsizing. I realize I can at least tread water when four dolphins pop up and Dak tells me to take a deep breath and grab a dorsal fin in each hand. Next thing I know, we’re underwater and moving fast.

This is one of the most amazing things I can remember doing. Admittedly, that only covers a few things, but I’m pretty sure that even when my memory is fully returned, this will rank high.

We come up for a gulp of air only once, because it only takes the dolphins about 4 minutes to get to shallow water. We thank them before we start up under a pier that looks to be a couple hundred feet from the ferry pier. Through the pilings, I can see a Federal boat heading out to the ship. That’s good, because it means nobody saw the Dolphin Express.

Once we’re on dry land, Dak runs ahead and takes a look around. He gives me the all clear and we start walking towards the parking lot. I check my pockets and find that, despite my clothing being soaked, Glady’s, the book and everything else is as dry as a bone. More magic. I’m wishing it had been cast on my underwear.

The parking lot is full of cars, but empty of people. At the far end, I see the yellow and black Hudson Hornet and about a million half-memories explode into my head. That’s MY car. I bought her new, had some improvements made and named her “Honey”. She’s roomy and fast and beautiful.

Dak sees her, too. I know this because he lets go with a “Wow!”

We get to Honey and there’s a note under the driver’s side windshield wiper. All it says is…

Get in and get going, Mick. If your memory isn’t back by now, it will be soon”

We climb in after tossing everything but Gladys into the trunk. I start her up and the engine growls in a deep low voice. Three minutes later, we’re, out of Tiburon and on the highway heading north. I’ve got Dak checking behind us, but so far, no tail. I don’t really relax, but I’m less nervous when, after twenty minutes of driving, I see the fading sign that says “World Famous Hoagie’s, next right”. More almost memories hit me and I’m pretty sure the memory dam is about to bust wide open.

When we get to Hoagie’s, it’s a pretty small joint on a side street full of shops selling everything from used books to furniture, with a couple of auto shops thrown in for good measure. It’s nearly one o’clock and there’s very little traffic, auto or human. I park in the alley next to Hoagie’s and Dak and I go in.

I remember this place! Garson “Hoagie” Hoaglin is a veteran of the Great War and an ace pilot. He’s originally from Newark, New Jersey and he’s married to Lillian, who bakes all the rolls used for the hoagie sandwiches. They have three grown kids.

And both of them were once private detectives. I know that, because they’re the ones who trained me.

Lillian is waiting near the door and gives me a big hug and kiss before shaking Dak’s hand and flipping the sign from Open to Closed.

It’s so good to see you, Mick honey. Hoagie is fixing you up a nice pastrami. What can we get for you, young man?”

Dak introduces himself and says a pastrami is fine by him, too. Then Lillian asks for the keys to the car, so she can go get our changes of clothes. As she leaves by a side door, Dak and I take seats at the counter. Hoagie turns away from the grill to great us.

He’s a big guy, Hoagie. Reminds me of my dad, especially since they both have a limp and noses that have been broken more than once, although my dad got his limp after being knocked down a mountain by a bear and Hoagie got his courtesy of a German artillery round.

Yeah, I’m remembering lots of stuff.

How ya doin’, Mick?” Hoagie takes my hand in one of his big mitts and gives it a gentle shake. He’s got just the barest touch of worry in his voice, which in anybody else would mean a hysterical crying jag was imminent.

Well, aside from not remembering most things, I guess I’ll live. Anything new with you?” Aside from the amnesia reference, this is pretty much the beginning of every conversation I’ve had with Hoagie over the last 15 years.

Same old same old. Who we got here?” He extends his hand to Dak, who shakes it and introduces himself. Hoagie smiles and pours us both a lemonade.

Got a soft spot for Elves. One of ’em pulled my wounded ass the better part of a mile in France until we were safe, then he rubbed some mashed plant goo on my leg and other wounds. Saved my life so the doctors on our side could fix me up.”

Dak is about to ask him something when Lillian comes in with our clothes. We head off to the Ladies & Gents to change after I give Hoagie the bag of herbs and ask him to brew it up for me.

I’m in the bathroom changing into a shirt, trousers and a nice pair of walking shoes when I get dizzy. Not just a little dizzy, but full on room spinning dizzy. I make it out the door when things go from bad to worse and I fall across a table.

Then the lights go out.

The Totally Sappy, Yet Still Quite Thrilling, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty and The Magical Party Dress

…co-starring her pet kitty, Ozymandias

 

Hey, folks, remember to go over to my Facebook page and vote in the poll after you read this!

 

Amnesia & Magic

Part Four

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the man and woman with him are his parents. He’s looking even better than the last time I saw him, but his folks look about three steps from death’s door. I know what’s coming even before he speaks.

I’m really sorry to bother you, ma’am, but could you help my parents out, like you did me? Please? They’re really bad off and…”

His dad steps forward and looks me in the eye. His skin is ashen and hangs loosely on him. His hair is yellowing and he’s probably blind in one eye.

I have told Dak that this is not our way, so my wife and I will not ask or expect anything from you. We came along only to see if the rumors are true. We wished to see if you are the Bringer Forth. We can now see that is true and that you are busy with the Quest. We will bother you no more.”

My head is spinning like a top hearing all this. Bringer Forth? Quest? Rumors? I thought I was in deep before, but this makes me think that I’m in way deeper than I imagined. Jeez, woman, what the hell did you get yourself into this time?

He starts to turn away and without thinking I reach for his shoulder to stop him. When my hand makes contact, I get a hell of a jolt and everything around me just vanishes.

I’m standing in a garden behind a big Victorian house. I can look over our back fence and see the ocean a couple of miles away. My mom is hanging laundry on the clothesline and my twin baby brothers are playing with toy cars nearby. My mom is a tall woman, a negro. She’s beautiful and she’s singing a song about sunshine. Just then, a man steps out of the house. It’s my dad, who is this big…Cherokee Indian? He’s asking if we all want to go to the zoo later.

Now I’m going up the back steps of an apartment in New York City. I’m maybe 25 years old and I’m carrying a sawed off shotgun. We’re going to arrest a group of bank robbers. My partner is with me and he’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to keep my mind on business, because I’m thinking how we made love that morning.

Now I’m sitting in an office reading a newspaper. The office isn’t big, but it’s nicely furnished and clean. The door opens and my secretary, Telan, an Elf, tells me my noon appointment is here. She looks pretty healthy for an elf. She shows the appointment in and he’s a…

And then I’m back in the Ferry Building and the Elf is looking at me with a mix of shock, fear and joy. He’s looking healthier already. Me, I feel like I’m going to pass out, but I haven’t dropped me coffee.

He and the boy help me sit down. There aren’t any more shocks from them, so I guess it’s a one time thing per person. I’m gulping down coffee and I see that his wife is smiling and weeping. Oddly, nobody in the area seems to have noticed any of this. Magic, or just big city folks oblivious to everything but themselves? I don’t know, but I’ll take whichever it is.

After I’ve nearly emptied the coffee cup, I decide Dad Elf owes me some answers.

Ok, what the hell just happened there?”

He looks around, then sits beside me. The kid sits next to him and his wife sits across from us.

You have accepted a very important mission. A mission that means much to my people, but also means much to the ones who use the Power. You carry two things hold great Power, and very small amounts of this Power pass through you and into us when we touch for the first time. It heals and regenerates us. It also seals the Power within us, so that it cannot be tapped by human users.”

Wow! Not only did I make them healthy again, but I made them untouchable to Wizards and Mages. I’m surprised every Elf in the city isn’t looking for me. Dad Elf keeps talking.

I do not know or want to know what your mission is, but I will tell you that it is very dangerous. You will need help on it. To give you that help, I will send my son with you. Dak, go and buy a ticket for the ferry.”

The kid runs off and I’m getting ready to protest this until I give it another thought. I’m alone in this, my memory isn’t back yet and this is sure to have me mixing with Elves. Maybe the kid coming along, at least partway, isn’t such a bad idea. I nod to his dad to show that I approve.

The boy is very smart,” he tells me, smiling, “and he knows much of both the Elvish way and the ways of humans. He will give everything for you, if need be.”

Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, I’m thinking. I figure I’ll send the kid home when things get really rough, which could be sooner than later now that my memory is coming back. I give the area around us another quick look, but nobody sets off my trouble sense. Still, just because you can’t see trouble, that doesn’t mean it can’t see you.

Well I’ll be damned. That little quote about trouble was something my Dad used to say. The fact that I remembered that is not comforting.

At that moment, Dak returns with his ticket and the announcement is made that the ferry has started boarding. Dak’s mother hands him a bundle of clothes and they hug. When he goes to hug his father, I walk over to his mom and give her a big hug.

My gun is named Gladys. I love Mexican food. I will never drink gin again so long as I live. My mother’s favorite color is red. My ex husband was a tough guy, but scared of clowns. I’m a reasonably good cook. My older sister broke that window and blamed it on the dog.

I lost my virginity in high school to a sweet little white boy named David. It was not a bad experience.

My nickname is Mick, short for Michelline. I’m not a big fan of flying. My best friend, Jane, is the funniest person I’ve ever known. Billy “Two Guns” O’Donelly swore that he would break out of prison and kill me. He broke out of prison, but an hour later got run over by a truck.

I live in the same house I grew up in. I take the bus to work every day.

I’m a private detective. I used to be an FBI agent.

I remember all of that and when we break the hug, both of us are crying.

I’ll take good care of your son.”

She nods to me. She’s so much more healthy that she doesn’t look the same as she did before. She’s very pretty.

Go now, Bringer. Help my people and yours with whichever of the Three Ways you think best. Only your choice will be the right one.”

I want to ask her more, but next thing I know Dak is leading me onto the ferry. A minute later, the boat casts off and we wave goodbye to his parents. As we do, I see some big bruisers in suits enter the dock area.

Feds! Oh shit! They’ll get the ferry master to radio our ferry to turn back. Or maybe they’ll just come after us with a fast boat. Either way, things don’t look good.

Dak sees them and begins saying something in Elvish. When he finishes, all hell breaks loose back at the Ferry Building.