The cruddy little cabin was a pigsty, the dust said it was probably months since someone stepped inside yet, the floor was still littered with old chip bags, fast food wrappers, little baggies of probably weed, and empty beer cans piled in the sink, parting gifts from the last guests the lazy manager was too preoccupied to clean up. The smell of the stale beer and mildew mixed giving off the homey smell of a dive bar. Lucky me it was their last available room, At least it was isolated, that all I really needed.
Night felt like a cruel joke, the book refused to give me anything, driving me up the fucking wall in frustration, sleeping never even crossed my mind, nothing mattered but the book.
By morning I was breaking. Staring at the beads of blood trickling down from the gash in my palm, I knew I was seriously pushing the line. Common sense would have put me hundreds of miles from here by now and getting further with every second. Common sense would have me not messing with the magical equivalent of a nuclear warhead until I had a place and means to do so delicately. Ya, my common sense disappeared as soon as I touched the book. I couldn’t wait to find what my family wasted their lives looking for, a way to throw away this worthless power. I barraged in with every dispelling charm I knew, to no avail. The powers wrapping around it grew denser the more I fought. Even Seth and Iggy took a turn but the old leather cover was untouched by the wild fire of cutting wind. The little spirits used everything they had, until they faded back to their own realm in exhaustion. The little room in the cabin, was scorched and charred, fabric shredded but they couldn’t reach the damn book.
So now I was left staring at my blood, ready to use the same power I wanted to get rid of. Chills ran up my spine as my body shook on its own, remembering what it cost me last time I tried it. Flashes of a day in hell I’d give anything to forget came to the surface. Screams I could hear clearly even now.
“No” I told myself, shaking away the memory. This time no one was around, and if it can help me get rid of itself, there was no question to it. Rolling up my sleeves, black leather bracers came into view, spell work designs covering every centimeter forming multiple circles, twining from end to end. I stiffened my arm before it could start shaking, pressing my palm on the protective seals to stain them red. The spell resonated with my blood, pulsating soft light, weakening with every beat until they released their grip.
The difference was subtle but there, power flowed a little freer, faster through me nothing more. Not yet anyways. I took the book and threw it on to the mini dining table. My hand extending over it shakily. The mere thought was all it took to use the spell. Tendrils of silver shot from my hand creating a volatile web of energy clashing with the unyielding cover, only to curve around scarring the wood surface. I force the spell to grow gradually keeping it tamed and controlled, barely. Until the quick repetitive banging of knocks of the door distracted me. The little lapse was the power needed to best me, the spell grew on its own pulverizing the table as it clawed at the grimoire “Fuck!” I called feeling the spell breaking from, it lashed further tearing the chairs, the floor, walls, anything it could reach. I commanded my fingers to close while concentrating everything I could on the image of a closing door. Muscle groaned from the strain as my magic fought back, refusing to be restrained once more. The knocking became a constant bang in the background as the tug-o-war from hell was wrenching my fingers off. I dropped to my knee feeling around for one of the bracers and slapping it onto my arms. The magic faded as gradually as it came. My head was an aching mass as they knocked again.
"I’m coming!" I shouted at the stubborn idiot still knocking, using a questionable rag to wash the blood off. I open the door, ready to bitch out whoever was there and send them off before they could get a good look at the room. Big angry extremely beautiful greens eyes met me instead. FUCK was the only word that came to mind. I stepped out scrounging together any functional wit I had left, quickly closing the door behind me. "This isn’t creepy at all."
She shoved past before I could close it completely. "Where. The hell. Is it?"
"What the hell are you talking about? And how did you follow me here?” I asked defensively wincing at the pain of my hand.
She inhaled sharply when she saw the state of the room. "What happened here?” I shrugged, it probably looked like I was playing with grenades. “No, Where is my book?” he corrected herself with concern.
I ignored the question “What are you talking about? Didn’t you take it with you on your high horse.... don’t tell me you lost it in the damn fire. What’s wrong with you after all the not for sale crap." I argued stepping in front the debris covering the book.
Either this was my worst performance ever, which wouldn’t surprise me, or she was too stubborn to believe me.
"I'm not an idiot. Either you give me the book now, or I'll call the cops and tell them that it was you who caused the fire. You'll be a person of interest, and after that you won't be going anywhere fast." She threatened right away.
I ground my teeth I really didn’t need this right now. “I never saw anything like the weird fire before, it was creepy, but you can’t blame me for your mistakes."
I held my act, thinking of the best way to deal with her.
"I could care less about your needs." She snapped, picking up a broken off chair leg from the pile. Then she closed her eyes, beginning to concentrate like you would when working your mana, Crap.
"It's almost like I can sense its presence." She said before dropping to her knees to search the clutter.
My mind was racing, with every piece she moved. "Leave it be, Miss Dallas, You have no idea what that book is." I told her seeing no way out.
"Are you delusional?" She growled, just as her fingers brushed something smooth.
She pushed more pieces aside pulling the damn book free. She hugged the thing so possessively against her chest, you’d think it was a child, and awkwardly climbed to her feet.
I stepped in front of the door so she couldn’t leave, I didn’t know what else to do, first time I screwed the pooch this bad. "That thing has too much power for someone so blind to own it." I told her.
She answered by lifting a bottle of pepper spray ready to burn the shit out of my eyes. "Step out of my way, unless you want to test that theory."
"Fine. I'll show you." I said pushing my hand toward her. her arms was halfway up above her head pepper spraying the air as a wave of pressure shoved her back until she fell onto the mangled mattress. "Remember those old fairytale you grew of with? Magic. Wonder. and all that bullshit. It wasn’t all bullshit." A strangled scream escapes her as she hits the bed. She takes a minute to regain her composure, then realization sinks in. She can't fathom what just happened. "What! What did you do to me, you freakin lunatic!"
"Vents" I muttered letting a light breeze clean the air before the chemicals reached my throat. “that book is from a completely different world then yours." I said ignoring her question.
"Yeah sure it is. Do you have a barcode under your lip? There's got to be a way I can return you to the funny farm."
I rolled my eyes at her. "Really? Your one of those?"
Looking around, I picked up some ash and charred wood, keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t try anything stupid.
“What about this?" I asked wiping blood on the burned wood and grabbing a pair of medallions. After all the mana I used last night the little spell took actual effort. I pushed magic into wood, watching her expression as a thin branch grew gradually. A small bud formed slowly sprouting into rosy little leave growing bigger and greener with every second for the slightest moment I could have sworn I saw awe in her expression, then it returned to fear and confusion.
Taya clutched the book tight for support. Her mind must have been racing, her eyes were dodging around the room trying to find the smoke and mirrors of whatever she think I used for the illusion. No cheaper tricks hear, Miss just good old fashion arcane art, I thought watching her try to rationalize.
She retorted with, "Thanks asshole, you got me second hand high from whatever the hell it was you were burning in here. I have over a hundred miles worth of driving to do. I seriously hate you. And now my lawyer is going to fry your ass so hard, that when we return you back to the psych ward, they won't be able to identify you." She was too damn dense, what did she want? Magic wands? A Genie and Flying Carpet? How about a Glittery Vampire? Ya? No? Alright maybe I was just getting anxious.
"You’re a stubborn little twit, you know that?" I pointed out, tossing her the little branch.
"I'm out of here before you- well God only knows what you'll try to pull." She rushed past clearly rattled.
I groaned, I wanted that book, but Gul would kill me if I left a trail behind. I needed her to believe me. I ripped off the last medallion" Explain this one then." I said drawing a circle in the ash around the charged metal disks and murmuring a quick litle chant "Sorry Iggy i know your tired but help me out." I say softly as the little fire spirit appeared again taking its favorite cardinal form. “This ring any bells?"
She stopped cold in her tracks. "The birds... Your decoy....You really did start the fire." Her hands curled into fists against the aged leather of the book. "You. You’re some kind of desperate sociopath magician. You set a room full of senior citizens ablaze. You'll pay dearly for that, as well." She thew the door open, and slammed it behind her.
I was afraid of that. “Sorry pal little more work, go after her" I told the wisp
I hurried after her before she could go. Catching up as Iggy flew around her in quick circles and landed on her shoulder. She welcomed him with shrieks, batting him away.
Taya turned back towards Me. "You burned me with your wizardry shit! What is your problem?"
"Wizardry shit, that sound like progress." I said hopefully. “Don’t worry he won’t burn you unless told to. And he was careful to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone last night. I’m a thief not a killer." I explained quickly. Most of the exhibits were probably destroyed but the past was dead anyway, I didn’t really care about preserving it.
She shook her head at me. "You're careless and reckless. Get away from me, before I scream, and alert the neighbors."
You know you’re desperate, when the truth is the only thing you can think of to say. “Yeah I was, I went way overboard for that book hell I’ve been going out my mind ever since I saw it was real...But what if I say, that last night was nothing compared to what I can really do. That I have, something beyond frightening inside me that if I can’t get rid of will kill me and anything nearby someday, and nearby can be a very big area. That book may be the only thing that can stop it." I explained, seriously
"Boo fucking hoo. You still can’t have it!" She answered seething anger by this point. That was it, fuck it. I called whatever fumes of mana I hand left ready to throw her back with enough force to knock her out and take the thing. The shield spell came from nowhere, throwing me back a couple feet as it surrounded her defensively until she jumped back dropping the Grimoire to the ground.