Here’s the next installment in the current WIP. Myrtle the Evil Muse is still being evil. She’s dictating the story and refusing to tell me what happens next. This is the rough draft and has not been edited. For previous snippets, check here.
“I’ve got a job, hopefully a very quick one, but one that promises to be bad. That’s all I know. So, I’d appreciate some general protections, personal and for my bike.”
He sat back, studying me over the rim of his mug. “Will you be remaining in the Zone or heading into town?”
I shrugged. “Starting here, closer to the rift. I don’t know where I’ll be going from there.”
“If you are going toward the rift, don’t take your bike. Use one of the trucks. You can leave your bike here. I’ll even ward both the truck and the bike for you. Personal wards will be easy enough.”
“Why don’t you want me taking the bike?”
I leaned back and studied him. We knew one another well enough for him to know I much preferred my Harley to any other vehicle. It was fast. It could go where most other vehicles couldn’t go and it had been modified for me. I couldn’t remember him ever telling me to leave it behind. Did he know something I didn’t?
“I am hearing concerning things about the area closer to the rift, Sam. The rift storms are increasing not only in frequency but intensity.”
I hissed out a breath. Growing up near the rift, I knew the dangers of being caught in a rift storm. They made tornados look mild. Imagine torrential rain, winds as strong as a tornado all coupled with wild magic shooting through the air and that was a rift storm. They often resulted in a change in landscape, and anyone caught out in one risked more than just death. If there was even a small chance of getting caught during one, I’d take the truck. Especially if Razor warded it for me.
“All right. I’ll do as you suggest.”
“Good.” He blew out a breath, obviously relieved I agreed so easily. Then he set his mug to the side and leaned forward, reaching for my left arm and pushing up the sleeve of my leather jacket. His fingers very lightly traced the markings on my forearm before he frowned. “As I suspected. These wards have faded. You should really let me do a permanent tat. It is easier to recharge the wards tied to my inks.”
I shook my head. We had this discussion every time I came to him. Each time, I declined. I can face a lot of things but when it comes to needles, I become a puddle of cowardly goo. Not that I’d tell him.
“Maybe later, but I’m on a time crunch right now.”
“All right.” He stood and pulled a padded table away from the far wall. “Strip and let’s get this started.”
Half an hour later, I finished dressing, my skin tingling as the wards he’d put in place settled around me. This time, instead of drawing them on my arms, he turned my back into what I assumed was a piece of art to anyone with the ability to see the wards. By being on my back, they’d be out of sight to everyone, something important considering where I was headed. Not that it would fool Gemma. Not only did she know me well enough to realize I’d come to her warded to my teeth, but she’d sense the wards as soon as I stepped foot onto her land.
“Take this.” He handed me a leather woven wristband about two inches wide. “It has additional protection wards attached to it as well as a little extra that should boost your own talents if you need to call on them without preparation.”
“Thanks.” I quickly fastened it around my left wrist. Once I had, he touched a forefinger to it, and I felt the zing as the protections activated. “Charge everything to Red?”
He nodded. Then he looked at me, his head cocked to one side. “What else can I help you with, Sam?”
“Nothing right now, but I might be back soon. I need to get a hold on what I’m facing before I do anything else.”
“All right. You watch that very attractive ass of yours. I’d still like to show you how much fun you’ve missed out by turning me down.”
He grinned and I couldn’t help grinning in return. It was never going to happen, and we both knew it. He wasn’t my kind and I liked my head attached to my shoulders, so I wasn’t going to risk the Tribunal’s ire. But there was no harm in teasing since we both knew where we stood.
“Talk to you soon, Razor, and thanks again.”
With that, I left him to deal with his cousins. I had other concerns just then and I pulled my phone, sending a text to have one of Red’s trucks prepped. I wanted to leave immediately, and they’d better not make me wait.
More to come later.
Featured image created using Midjourney AI.