Protection of Magic, The Leira Chronicles Book 3
By Martha Carr and Michael Anderle
“I smell food.” Correk shut the door to the cottage behind him, looking at the two determined women standing in front of him. “Curious,” he said, walking past them toward the food on the bar.
Leira looked at her mother. “Correk!”
“Good a place as any to start!” Eireka followed Correk over to the bar where he was already loading up a plate.
“You’ll get some bacon, I told you that already,” he said, annoyed with the troll peeking out of his pocket.
“Is he a good idea to have out here in the open with normies so close by?” Leira did her best to casually glance up at the row of windows.
“You mean the humans? Those are still your kind. Normies.” Correk laughed. “Try leaving the troll behind when there’s food. I’ve told you, any magic but yours doesn’t work very well on him. Besides, he felt the disturbance and was wailing in there.” Correk frowned and raised his eyebrows, waiting for an answer.
“Yum fuck!” The troll was halfway out of Correk’s pocket, a leg hitched over the opening when Correk plucked him by the scruff of his neck, depositing him in Leira’s hands.
“Saved by the Yumfuck. You need to feed him and put him down for a nap.”
“I thought we got the kibble for just this reason.”
“Try telling a troll that he’s going to eat bland dog food when he can smell bacon. I’m not sure even a spell would keep him in his nest.” Correk picked up a plate and scooped up the bacon, hesitated but then mumbled, “why not,” and put another piece of bacon on his plate. “Craig and Lucy told me about something called an all you can eat breakfast buffet. I would like to try that.”
“You must have the metabolism of a hummingbird.”
“Very astute of you and accurate. Same reason you are able to eat my leftover pizza, and yes, I noticed, and still get into your skinny jeans.”
Leira stood by the plates, not moving, looking at Correk.
“What? Was is it? Do I have something on my face?” He rubbed his hand over his day-old beard. Two women sitting at a table by the closest window smiled and waved at him. Correk looked confused and waved back. “What is going on with everyone this morning? This is related to the troll’s outburst, isn’t it? Someone want to tell me more?”
The troll squirmed in Leira’s hands as she handed him back to Correk. “You have a pocket. Just give him some of your eggs.”
“Insufferable,” said Correk, spooning eggs into the troll’s wide-open mouth.
“Yum fuck,” chirped the troll.
“Who taught him that?” asked Mara.
“Your daughter,” said Correk, laughing. “I think it’s his name, now.”
Leira ignored what Correk was saying, intent on telling him about Mara. She shifted her weight, not sure how to say it. Finally, she blurted it out. “I found my grandmother!”
Correk stopped mid-bite, turning to look at Leira. “I was only inside for an hour. How is that possible? The two of you need to be careful using magic at all, much less so close to your home, and out here.” His annoyance was growing. “Well, where is she?”
“The world in between,” said Eireka, gravely. “We combined our energy, not exactly using magic and apparently opened a space just big enough for my mother to show herself. That’s it,” she said, waving her hands. “We didn’t get any kind of real message.” There was a sound of disappointment in her voice.
Correk put down the bacon he was holding and wiped his hands on the napkin. “This is bad news, I’m sorry. I know how much you hoped to reunite more of your family. I’m really sorry, Leira.”
“Now, hold on there a minute.” Leira sat down on the bar stool next to him as Eireka pulled one around to face both of them.
Correk looked at the two of them suspiciously.
“You know it’s not possible to get someone out of there. Even finding them, or take it another step, seeing them is very difficult from this side. You may have to find comfort with knowing where she is and do your best to let go.” He looked at the two women in front of him and rolled his eyes. “What am I saying? Of course you won’t drop it. Okay, fine, ask me. I was sent her to help you. Better than watching you do something dangerous without any kind of help.”
Eireka hugged him around the neck. Leira felt a pang as she hesitated, unable to so easily do the same. Still, a smile came across her face.
“But, I’m still going to sit here and eat while you grill me, Detective.”
“Special agent,” said Leira. “Eat away, but try and swallow before you answer anything.”
“Tell me what you saw,” he said, tearing off a piece of bacon and sliding it into his pocket. A loud trill sounded. “Love of bacon knows no boundaries. More powerful than a portal,” he said, sliding an entire piece into his mouth. The two women at the table, laughed and waved again.
Leira looked at her mother. “It’s the elven blood. He gives off a kind of magnetism that makes humans loopy,” said Eireka.
Leira looked at Correk, a grease stain across his cheek. “I don’t see it.”
Mara smiled, looking at the two of them. “That’s because you’re part elven too. I’m surprised you haven’t noticed men paying a little more attention to you.”
“She doesn’t notice much unless it involves a case, and particularly a dead body, and then she’s on it. Or if you try to eat her Doritos.” Leira elbowed him in the ribs, making him spit out the piece of bacon he had in his mouth. He ate it anyway.
“Gah, I do not see the appeal at all!” exclaimed Leira.
Eireka put a hand on each of them. “This makes me happy. You made another family, Leira. I wasn’t sure what happened to you and after you stopped coming all the time…”
The smile dropped off of Leira’s face. “I’m sorry…I was wrong…I…”
“It’s okay, it’s hard to know what to do with crazy.” Eireka did her best to give Leira a reassuring smile. She didn’t want to tell her daughter about the spell just yet.
Correk wiped off his mouth. “Tell me what you saw in the vision. Exactly what you saw.”
“A little too much,” said Leira, shaking her head. “Nana was in a room but not like you or I might be. It was more like…”
“Two separate dimensions,” said Eireka. “That’s how I knew it was the world in between. I’ve had contact with others from that realm. There’s a certain feeling that comes with it too. A cold chill that feels like an emptiness. Words fail, really.”
“There was something familiar about the room. Can’t quite place it though,” said Leira.
“Was she easy to see? Did you see any clouds around her?” asked Correk.
“You mean like a weather pattern? No… you mean something sinister.” Leira’s eyes narrowed. “Yes, I saw Nana get pulled away by something and suddenly there was this woman there, begging me for help. A dead woman.”
“What gave you a sense that she was dead?” asked Correk.
“The hole in the center of her forehead was a giveaway but even without that I would have known. I don’t know, it was a feeling. Like the life force was gone from her. How did she do that to my grandmother?”
“Desperation. It can be a very powerful force. Was there a sense of darkness?”
“No…no there wasn’t. Just sadness and an aching need. What a horrible fucking place,” whispered Leira.
“The world in between has existed for as long as there have been portals. There are many ways that have been written about how to get sucked into the void but the most frequent one is attempting a portal when the gates are not open. There is a slight time glitch that occurs when the two worlds are pulling apart or coming together.”
“Like that first night you sent me back and it wasn’t that long after I left the guest house.”
“That’s right. That space sometimes leaves a random opening to a void.” Correk gave off a shudder. “We know a few things about the glitch, like you can’t arrive before you leave, on either side. There’s no kind of time travel.”
“No, there’s something worse.” Eireka looked grim. Correk put a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry. I know this is difficult.”
Leira took a long look at Correk but stayed quiet. Who do you know in the world in between?
“Has anyone tried to see if they can use that glitch to their advantage?” asked Leira.
“It’s wise not to try and play with the time line. I’ve never known it to end well,” answered Correk.
“Has there ever been anyone to escape the world in between?” Leira sat back. Estelle was bustling behind the bar across the patio, getting ready for the lunch crowd that would be there soon enough.
“Don’t mind me,” yelled Estelle, not even bothering to look up. “No need to stop talking just because I arrived on the scene. I’m as good as a bear trap at keeping a secret, anyway.” She stopped for a moment, bothering to take the dangling cigarette out of her mouth, blowing a perfect O into the air, one hand resting on her hip. She let out a cackle and took in a long drag, working her jaw as she blew out several more O’s into the air.
“That is a very interesting woman. I wonder just how much she knows,” said Correk, watching the smoke rise.
“Definitely more than she will ever tell us. You sure she’s not one of yours?” asked Leira.
“Ours,” he corrected. “No, but I see why you’re asking.”
Estelle wandered over, picking up the dirty dishes, the cigarette firmly back between her lips, smoke swirling around her red spiral of teased hair.
Leira saw the troll’s tiny hand coming out to wipe bacon grease off the platter. She batted him away, acting like she saw a fly. Correk started and looked away, preferring not to notice what Estelle would do if she saw something tiny and furry on her patio.
FROM MARTHA >>> Snippet #2! PROTECTION OF MAGIC, Book 3 is just 8 DAYS on Wednesday, August 30th! Some great stuff gets answered… and of course, there’s more YTT! Stay tuned… BIG GIANT THANK YOU, EVERYONE!