…all the way to Alaska, as I recall
Part Two of: Sparrow, Sunny and the Return of Magic
As she approached the cafe door, Sparrow figured that Grove Point was probably too small to have multiple municipal offices, so the town hall or whatever would almost certainly be the location of the Registrar of Wills’ office. She could go there and await the Olsen family. She’d just pretend to be looking up the will of her great great grandfather or something.
The inside of the cafe smelled wonderful, full of bacony deliciousness. There were maybe a dozen customers, mostly middle aged men who looked like they sold insurance or used cars. Only a few of them gave her the slightest look as she went to sit at the counter.
The tall and rather bony looking blond waitress that came to take her order was wearing a name tag that said “Irma”. She was smiling a big smile.
“Hi there, sweetie. What can I get ya?”
Sparrow hardly glanced at the menu. She knew what she wanted and she was getting hungrier by the moment.
“Six slices of bacon, crispy. Four sausages. Four eggs scrambled and two sliced of whole wheat toast. Big glass of milk and a big cup of coffee, black.”
Irma’s eyebrows went up. “Lordy, you must be pert near starving to want that much food.”
Sparrow gave her a grin. “I’ve been burning calories at a crazy rate.”
Irma poured her a cup of coffee and went to give the cook the order. Sparrow was just into gulp number three on her coffee when everybody in the place…actually, everyTHING in the place…stopped moving.
Goddamn it, did George have to check up on her so friggin’ early in the day? Sure, George was her handler on this assignment, but shit, she hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet.
Swiveling the counter stool around, she said, “What the fuck, George?”
George was sitting on the stool next to hers. He was in his usual conformation, that of a long-haired tortoiseshell cat with a very fluffy tail. Sparrow assumed he was the Master’s familiar, and yet he seemed to have more independence and responsibility than usual for familiars. Maybe he was a very old familiar. Whatever he was, he was nosy, egotistical and easy to piss off. Sparrow had learned to her cost never to comment that nearly all torties are female.
“Such language,” he said in that snotty tone of his that she hated, “is most unbecoming a young lady.”
“Oh, well then, I’ll get right to work on that. Thanks for telling me. Now take a hike so I can eat some breakfast.” She had never been a morning person.
George looked her up and down, then gave a sigh.
“The Master chose poorly when he chose you. Your lack of respect for your superiors is a grievous fault.” He paused to swish his tail dramatically. “Still, it is his mistake to make, I suppose. Well, on to business then.”
Sparrow considered banishing him to a Demon Box, but decided not to. It would probably upset the Master and she didn’t want that. Maybe she’d just sneak some fleas into George’s bed next time she was home.
The cat muttered an incantation that might have been Balyar’s Summons or maybe Valkwyn’s Mystical Purse, but whatever it was, a small stone on a chain appeared on the counter between them. It took Sparrow about 2 seconds to recognize the Stone of Sagamoto. This was a seriously powerful talisman.
“Holy crap! What’s up with this, George? Why would the Master give me this for a simple protection job?”
George was beginning to fade away. “I’m sure he had his reasons, child. Now eat your breakfast and I’ll see you again when the job is done. And do try not to bugger things up.”
Sparrow was having thoughts of buggering George up with the toe of her shoe when he disappeared and everything started moving again. She slipped the Stone around her neck and fastened the chain. Oddly, she could feel a bit of heat coming off the stone.
About a minute later, Irma brought her her food and Sparrow dove into eating. As she ate, her mind wandered to memories of her childhood before her apprenticeship. She thought of her friend, Sunflower Nightingale (a name he hated, but for some odd reason never would change) and chuckled.
Sunny was her oldest and best friend, born exactly 48 hours before her on a stormy January day 18.5 years ago. He was equal parts reckless goofball and over-thinking worrywart, which meant that he would join her in the crazy shit she thought up, then afterward agonize over what would happen if they were found out. Thankfully, her own obsession with having an iron clad alibi had prevented them getting caught. Well, most of the time.
It had been Sunny who, as they were both entering puberty, noticed that there was something odder going on than just the appearance of body hair and the changing of body shapes.
“No, really, Spare, I think something strange is happening to us.” He was telling her this over lunch in the school cafeteria. “I mean, what about the other night at old man Kelman’s place? We were running like hell, bags of peaches in each hand and when we came to Fish Creek, we JUMPED ACROSS IT! That creek is like, 15 feet across at that point and we cleared it by 4 feet easy.”
She had kinda not wanted to think about that. It was just another one of the dozen or so strange things that had happened over the last 3-4 months. She was kind of hoping it was all just temporary and connected with getting her period, but when she found out things were weird for Sunny, too, she crossed that off.
“We were scared,” She said around a bite of roast beef sandwich. “Our adrenaline was up. He was chasing us with those bigass dogs, after all.”
“Oh, yeah, you mean those two huge rotties of his that refused to cross a creek that was no more than 6 inches deep? Spare, they stopped right at the edge and just looked around confused! AND SO DID MR. KELMAN! I’m telling you, we DID something. And it’s wasn’t the first time. Shit, dude, my fucking room cleaned itself in the middle of the night while I was asleep last Wednesday!”
Sparrow could see that he was getting really wound up about this. She started to say something about everybody being able to hear him when she noticed that everything…EVERYTHING…except her and Sunny had stopped moving. He could see it too, she could tell, because his eyes looked ready to pop out of his head. And then a voice spoke up saying “I believe I can offer the two of you some answers.”
They had turned their heads so fast their necks both cracked. In front of them stood the man they would both soon be calling “Master”.
More Story Soon.
…run away! For the love of Dog, run away!
So, Gentle Readers, I have some New Content for you. See, over on the 30 Days Wonder Facebook group, I do storytelling and gaming experiments. The current one involves me telling a story, but each day at the end of the segment, I ask readers for suggestions that influence the next days piece. I then choose the one I like best and use it.
Reprinted below are the first three parts of the story. Enjoy, and if you are on Facebook, check 30 Days Wonder out.
Sparrow, Sunny and the Return of Magic
Sparrow checks in all directions to see if anybody has seen her. Not that she figures many people would care about her spending the night in a cow pasture, but you never can tell with these small town folks. After rolling up her blanket and taking a couple of gulps from her canteen, she pours a bit of water in her hand and washes her face. Drying her eyes on her sleeve, she then digs around to get her Leatherman tool and the map out of her backpack.
She puts the Leatherman into her pocket, but leaves the compass and binocs in her pack. Finally, she takes out the map titled Elk, Pine and Willard Counties.
Checking the map, Sparrow notes that this is in fact Grove Point, a rather sleepy little town of 6,000 residents placed smack in between farm country and Elk Lake, a once popular tourist destination that has declined in recent decades thanks to Big Elk Reservoir 20 miles down the road and much closer to the interstate.
Taking a boosted granola bar from her pocket, Sparrow takes a bite and begins walking toward the main road. After climbing through the barbed wire fence, she looks up and down the road to make sure that nobody is approaching, then takes a deep breath and heads toward the road.
After climbing through the barbed wire fence, she looks up and down the road to make sure that nobody is approaching, then takes a deep breath and walks into the center of the road. There, she takes out the map, orients herself to the correct side of the road, and sits down crosslegged on the pavement, closing her eyes and stretching her arms, one in the direction from which she’d come and the other in the direction she intended to go.
Clearing her mind, she then says “By the Wondrous Winds of Warloo”. There follows a few moments where she feels like a dandelion seed in the wind, then the sensation of damp grass under her butt. When she opens her eyes, she is in the main city park in Grove Point. Nobody has seen her arrive.
The spell worked! Her Master would be so proud of her! Getting up, she brushes some grass off of her jeans and looks around. Across the street, she spots a Lenny’s. Sounds as good as anywhere to get some breakfast and a cup of joe.
As she heads off for some grub, she thinks about where she needs to be here in town at exactly 1:30 this afternoon.
More Story Later