Tempest - Excerpt
Tempest - Excerpt
As I often did on nice days, I’d left the patio doors open. Did I dare? As Napoleon’s dirty hands/hooves reached for my arm, I charged for the doorway, snatched up my broom . . . and leaped into space — in the middle of the afternoon — in view of thousands. A couple drinking coffee on their balcony saw me plummet past. Poor things would have nightmares for the rest of their lives.
Myrador was unlikely to pursue me in front of all these human witnesses but, if I didn’t get my broom under me in the next few seconds, it would be irrelevant. I still wasn’t good at levitating under emergency conditions, not to mention — I should be cloaked. Where was Dorian when I needed him? And, yes, I realize I’d claimed I didn’t need him. Things change!
A red head poked from my pocket followed by a shower of sparkling light. Our descent slowed, and I could tell by the watery effect surrounding us she’d cast an invisibility spell. At least we wouldn’t be seen but the sidewalk still approached too fast. I was going to get hurt — a lot — if I didn’t get onto my broom. Less than twenty feet from the concrete, I’d thrashed around enough to get a leg over it. It was almost like it fought me. I’d suspected before that my broom didn’t like me — or it wanted a better rider. Perhaps it didn’t appreciate being saddled with someone who lacked magical competence. I scowled and envisioned breaking it over my knee.
There was no time for pretty reflection. Myrador wouldn’t be far behind. I’d no doubt he could levitate and cast an invisibility spell with perfection.
I dodged around the crap that infested city streets until I came to the local subway entrance. With a glance over my shoulder, I skimmed down the middle of an escalator that was filled with commuters headed into the bowels of the city. Some took a weak interest in the rush of air before returning to their phones. I don’t know what I was worried about. I wouldn’t have drawn attention even if I’d been visible. A story might’ve appeared in one of the less credible newspapers printed next to Two-Headed Dog Graduates High School!
I needed a hiding place. Most men will avoid a women’s washroom. I spotted one near the end of the escalator, and my heart pounded as I waited for someone to open the door. When a pack of giggling Asian teenagers emerged, I slipped in to float above the stalls until I found an empty one. I lowered into it in case Scarlet’s invisibility spell didn’t hold.
Scarlet popped her head out. “Thought you didn’t need me!”
“I’m not usually chased by homicidal maniacs!” I growled.
“You’d be a splat on the sidewalk without me!”
“Alright! What do you want? A thank you? Thank you, Scarlet, for saving my life! I’ll put it in writing if you’d like.”
Her little face scrunched. “Hmm. That wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped.”
“Are we done now?”
The stall door slammed into me as someone tried to open it. “This door’s jammed, but there’s no one in here,” said a woman’s voice.” She rammed it against me again.
An indifferent voice answered. “Pick another one.”
The first woman had a stubborn streak. “I hear voices. Where are they coming from?”
I put a finger to my lips and levitated. This woman reminded me of myself. I just knew she wasn’t going to let it go. Sure enough, when she tried again and the door opened, she peered into the stall and looked all around.
“I tell you, I heard two women talking! One has a nails-on-chalkboard squeaky voice.”
I felt my diminutive companion stiffen. “Let it go, Scarlet,” I whispered.
“You gotta lay off the pot, Alice. The crazy house is looming.” The second woman peered into the mirror, added more lipstick, and squeezed her lips together. Bright red ran into vertical lines around her mouth.
“I’m not crazy!”
“That’s what all insane people say. Come on. The train leaves in five minutes.” She dropped the lipstick into her purse and snapped it closed.
Alice was almost out the door when Scarlet darted in front of her at head height. With a furious scowl, she snapped, “My voice is not squeaky!”
I maneuvered around the paramedics as a train was leaving. I didn’t care where it was going so long as it was away from there. I floated over a swarm of heads and ducked down behind the last car where I could hitch a ride without anyone being the wiser.