Amnesia & Magic
About a hundred yards behind us and coming up fast is a thirty foot tall humanoid creature that looks like it’s made out of the very forest around us. It’s got soil and pine needles and rocks and even little trees in it. The eyes look like hollow pits, there isn’t a nose and the mouth is about 4 feet wide. Did I mention that it’s gaining on the car?
“A forest elemental,” Dak yells, his eyes the size of silver dollars. “They hardly ever come into this world. Somebody must have summoned it.”
I swerve to avoid hitting a tree after nearly losing control of Honey. I need to keep my eyes on the road. It would be good to outrun this thing, but the road has gotten twisty. A glance in the rear view mirror lets me see that the elemental is maybe fifty yards back.
“Dak, what do you know about these things? How can we kill it or outrun it or just get it off our ass?”
He pauses to think for a few seconds, which in our current situation feels like three weeks. I’m of out of Magic, at least as far as Honey is concerned, and I don’t know if I can use the ring or book to do anything. Damn it, I’m a private eye, not a Wizard.
The one thing I do know is that bringing Magical creatures into our world is really big Magic and they don’t stick around long. Of course, that Dragon that flattened half of Mexico City was only around for about half an hour and the Trolls that robbed the Louvre popped out of our world in under fifteen minutes. Unless the elemental vanished in the next couple of minutes, we are in a very bad way.
After taking about half of forever, Dak finally answers me.
“Killing it would be almost impossible, Mick. Elementals are real strong and this one can draw more strength from the forest. We won’t be able to outrun it, either. I don’t know why it’s chasing us. Most elementals don’t care about people unless they are summoned or the person has something it wants.”
Ok, so somebody had summoned this thing and sicced it on us. Could have been any powerful Wizard, but my money was on the Green Man. On the plus side, that didn’t necessarily mean that green bastard knew where we were. On the minus side, the elemental was now very close behind us. What the hell could a Wizard have offered it to make us a target? What would an elemental really want?
Then it hits me and I stop the car.
Dak looks at me like I’m nuts, which I mat well be. The elemental skids to a stop behind us and almost falls on it’s ass. I get out of the car and stand facing it in what I hope looks like a friendly stance. Part of my mind is yelling “RUN!” and another part is hoping I don’t wet myself. If I’m wrong about what the elemental wants, both parts might win.
The big guy looks at me, kind of warily. I don’t think he was expecting this.
“Hello there, noble elemental of the forest. I greet you with respect. Before you do as you have been ordered, may I ask you a question?”
After a moment, the elemental nods and I start breathing again. Undies still dry at this point.
“Am I right in assuming that whoever summoned you told you that your reward would be getting to return to your world?”
He nods again. Son of a bitch, I guessed right!
“Well then, if I can send you home right now, would you let me?”
I had no idea an elemental could look surprised. Then, he nods and smiles. Well, I’m pretty sure it’s a smile.
“Ok then, let me give it a try.”
I take the book out of my pocket and hold it close. I can feel Magical Power coursing through me. I have no idea how to cast a spell, but I think I might be able to break one with good old raw power. I open my mind to only one thought: breaking the spell on this elemental. Then, I give a good hard push.
I’m not sure how much power I used, but it must have been enough, because first I saw a green aura around the elemental, then it was gone. After that, the elemental faded away and I got dizzy and the next thing I know, Dak is splashing water on my face.
“Holy crap, Mick, you did it!”
“Yeah, I sure did, didn’t I?”
Dak helps me up and we get back into Honey, then start off down the road. We’re getting close to Klamath Falls, maybe another two hours to go. After that, Mount Shasta is only couple of hours away. I have no idea where I’m supposed to meet this “Oldest One” that Granny mentioned, but I figure he’s somewhere near our final destination.
I start thinking of everything that might happen between here and there. I also think of what could happen before I get a chance to read the book. In fact, I spend about an hour thinking before I start bouncing ideas of Dak. Yeah, sure, he’s a kid, but he’s smart and he can at least ask me questions I haven’t thought of, which he does.
By the time we stop for lunch, gas and a road map or two in Klamath Falls, I’ve got maybe half a dozen plans for dealing with various scenarios. Most of them are scarily full of holes, but once we’re on the road, Dak and I manage to fill in a couple of those holes. The drive to Mount Shasta is pretty much filled with non-stop “but what if” and “if this happens, then we” talk.
We’ve just turned off the highway onto the road to the mountain when a big black car does the same thing. I’ve been wondering when this would happen. Fortunately, Dak and I are prepared for this.
The car is coming up fast when Dak slides over to take the wheel and I throw open my door, swing my upper body out and give the mugs in that car both barrels of a shotgun. Their grill takes half the blast and the rest shatters the windshield. Quick as a wink, I’m back inside, Dak takes the shotgun and slides over and I hit the gas.
Despite a punctured radiator and no front glass, the goons are still behind us and now they’re pissed off and shooting. Bullets are whizzing by us and a couple hit the back of Honey. That pisses me off, so while Dak steers, I lean out the window and cut loose with Gladys. I his the goon riding shotgun in the throat and he goes down. I pop off two more shots when I hear Dak yelling, “Mick, look at the sky!”
I look up and see clouds forming in an otherwise clear sky, Then those Magical vines appear and I realize the goons were a distraction to keep us from noticing the Green Man’s arrival. All I can do is punch the gas and try to outrun him.
Except that those vines shoot over us and when they touch down, they form a wall across the road just as we enter a flat treeless area. A moment later, the Green Man steps out of those vines, his hands crackling with energy. Before we can do anything, a bolt of black lightning hits Honey and we stop dead.
Not only has he stopped the car, but Dak and I are moving far too slowly to do anything. I can’t even speak clearly. Even thinking is hard.
The Green man is 50 feet away now, walking towards us, laughing. My clearest thought is that he is one ugly son of a bitch.