Protection of Magic, The Leira Chronicles Book 3
By Martha Carr and Michael Anderle
Leira grasped at her mother’s hand, trying to reestablish the magical connection and find her grandmother one more time. But the hum of energy was gone.
“She was right there! I know it was real.” Her heart was pounding. Leira looked around the patio as if she expected to see Mara standing by the corn hole game or lying in one of the the hammocks near the fence. “Who the hell was that other woman? Is my grandmother in danger?”
Estelle watched them from the dining room inside, smoke curling around her red bouffant. She stubbed out a cigarette and left her perch to go see about a customer.
Eireka put her hand on Leira’s knee, firmly pressing down. “She was there, you’re right,” she said, gently. She wasn’t sure how to tell Leira and chose her words carefully. “My mother, your grandmother…” She took a breath, trying to keep the fear out of her voice. “That place we saw… She’s in a place called the world in between. Have you heard of it?”
“Yes, Correk’s mentioned it,” she said, distracted. Leira kept looking around, wanting to believe she could find Mara, trying to shake off the dread from the dead woman. It was making it harder for her to channel the magic. She shook her head. “I don’t know. He didn’t say much. Made it sound horrible.”
Eireka let out a shudder, her hand shaking on Leira’s knee. Leira snapped her head around, studying her mother’s face, just like she had done so many times to perps in an interrogation room. People always gave away so much information before they ever uttered a word.
“You’re afraid. Tell me why,” she said, sharply. It had been too many years without her mother and too many cases using her skills to get what she needed, the fastest route possible.
Eireka gave her daughter the same look in return. “I’m not a suspect, my dear, and I won’t hide the truth from you.”
Leira softened and asked again, this time more gently. “I’m sorry, habit. That fucking ghost. Wait, not a ghost. What the hell was that?” She shook her hands. “You’re right. Tell me what’s happened to Nana.” The word, Nana, sounded strange to her after four years of not having a reason to say it. No one to say it to. The ache pounded in her chest.
“I’ll tell you what I know. It’s not much. There’s a place between Earth and Oriceran, like a purgatory that captures both the living and the dead and holds them there, forever.”
“Sounds more like hell.”
“Well, you’re right. Your Nana used to tell me stories about the place when I was little. She said it was the most feared place by anyone on either planet. The newly dead are said to never get the chance to pass through completely to the other side and the living are suspended in time, watching their loved ones grow, get old and die.”
“They’re in there together?”
“Yes, for all of time. Able to see both worlds but not really…anywhere.”
Leira sat back, trying to take in the idea. Her eyes grew wide. Four years. Her grandmother must have been trapped for more than four years. Her body began to shake. “This is worse than death,” she whispered.
Eireka didn’t say anything, just kept her hand on Leira’s leg, doing her best to ground her. It took Leira a moment to realize her mother was pushing energy through her leg. Leira made herself take a longer look at her mother’s tired face.
She wasn’t used to having someone else to be concerned with, worry about, wonder how they were doing. There was Hagan but he had Rose who did a far better job of hounding Hagan to eat better, get a little exercise. Not that it had much of an affect.
But her mother was here, sitting next to her. Leira finally noticed the pain in her eyes.
“Your mother is trapped in the world in between,” she said. “I’m so sorry. This should be one of the happiest days for you.”
Eireka’s eyes filled with tears and she brushed a dark lock of hair off of Leira’s forehead. “Oh, baby girl, it is. It still is. Nothing can steal this away from me.” Eireka shook her head, clearing away the rush of memories and of regret for things that she had missed. “But, my mother, Mara Berens is trapped in an eternal waiting room and with the dead shoving her around. No,” she said, shaking her head again. “Not good enough. I don’t accept this.” She stood, clenching her fists, the same defiant stand that Leira so often took. It startled Leira to see, even without her mother there when she was growing up, she was like her.
“No! We are Berens’ women,” said Eireka. “We don’t accept our fate. We do something about this. Leira, we’re finding a way to get Mom out. You got me out, there has to be a way.”
Leira took her hand. “Not that I’m not on board with the whole idea. I’m known for go first, find out everyone thought it couldn’t be done, later. But, getting you away from stupid humans was difficult and now, we’re moving into magically impossible.”
“We’re going to need help.” The two women said it in unison, their one eyebrow arching the same way.
Estelle almost dropped the tray she was carrying, startled at the mirror images of mother and daughter. She clamped down on the cigarette trapped between her teeth, set the tray down with a thump on the top of the bar and yelled, “You need food! You’re wanting eggs! Eat up because the lunch crowd will be here soon and can’t hold them back from sitting out in the sunshine.”
FROM MARTHA >>> Snippet #1! And we’re off to the races! Let’s begin the countdown to PROTECTION OF MAGIC just 10 DAYS away if my math is correct, (which is always in question but I’m close, either way, J) on Wednesday, August 30th! So many fun, good, exciting things happen in this one! Stay tuned… And read on (and leave a review!) BIG GIANT THANK YOU, EVERYONE!