Chapter 3: An odd occurence and an odd bookstore

Fiction By Christa // 2/4/2008

“Hey there stinky. I’m glad you’re awake. When Carl brought you through the house portal he said he’s never seen anyone black out as fast as you from a little bit of mind reading before. You oughter be more careful, you’ll get the suits more interested in us than they already are.” Jeb’s voice, deep with an occasional odd high-pitched crackle, jabbed sharp stiletto pains into Jenna’s skull fiercely in time with her heartbeat.
“I know – jeeze my head’s killing me. I don’t need a lecture from a little twerp like you. Anyway, it’s not like I really had a choice – reporting’s part of my job. When you get a job, and I get to go to school, than I’ll let you lecture all you like. Oooh, do you have some tylenol?” Jenna groaned and cradled her head, curling back into a ball in the middle of the bed. She half opened an eye to look around the room – she was looking at the bare walls of the house she and Jeb lived in with a handful of other odd people that worked for the wizards. The door to the room they shared was closed, and her younger brother picked worriedly at the sheets at the edge of her bed. His sandy blond hair fell haphazardly around his deep green eyes, and his baggy second-hand clothes only seemed to accentuate the lankiness left from the latest growth spurt.
“Carl said that meds won’t work, you’ll have to meditate. But enough about your head – what’d you see that was so important you had to report to the suits?”
“Nothing much… just an elf in the city… at least I think it was an elf, did Carl say anything about it before he left?”
“Nope, not a thing, just said that he’d tried to read your recording and that you’d gone out like a light. Oh, he also said that Andy’d probably call for you to have dinner with him.”
Jenna tried to think for a moment and sighed. It was still early afternoon; she couldn’t have been out that long. What on earth was up with the headache? Clearly thinking was not going to be her forte this morning. She started stretching through some poses to prepare to meditate. She’d have to get rid of this headache to be of any use. She still had a feeling the day was going to be a long one.

Meanwhile, Drenan, the elf, was fighting through the crowds of tourists to some of the quieter corners of the city. He sidestepped a gaggle of blond sorority girls near a local art university and pushed open a door plastered with signs for different events. The bustling city seemed to disappear as the door Bells chimed. He stopped to acclimate to the quiet atmosphere, filled with old coffee and book smell. It was an odd store, with an open front filled with comfortable chairs and plants for people just wanting to get away from the city and sit with a cup of coffee, and a back and upstairs that was a maze of narrow, cramped bookshelves, stacks of books and dead ends. Note cards taped haphazardly on the bookshelf ends unsuccessfully attempted to bring order to the paper chaos, separating out the different types of books. It was clear to everyone that the note cards lost the battle long ago. Drenan grabbed a chai latte from the counter and eased into a comfy corner seat, breathing in a sigh of relief and touching leafs from a nearby plant. It wasn’t long before a short, plump, rather unpleasant looking middle-aged man came up to him and growled, “Yer early. Anyone see ya come in, na? Drenan come to ther back, we’ll git started. And whot are ya doing drinkin that muck? Coffee too good fer ya?” Drenan stretched his tall frame and smiled down. “Good to see you again too, Hobblin. No, I don’t think anyone else knows I’m in the city. Lead away.”
Drenan eased his tall body through the narrow shelves, while the Hobblin stopped every now and again to ease a book out here, poke a book through the shelf there, restack another book just there, with no discernable pattern. The floor dropped out nearly from under the Hobblin’s large booted feet at the end of a row, revealing a spiral ladder going down to the cellar. Drenan looked around, nervous for the first time. Although he came to the city specifically to meet with the Hobblin and the others, he wasn’t sure if they regarded him as much of an ally. Most fay creatures never forgave the elves for not fighting when the elves were stronger and more plentiful than the wizards, and the entire fay knew that elves were not strong in dark, enclosed spaces…

Jenna came out of a gentle sunset pose and sighed, feeling more at peace than she had in a while. She was rarely jealous of her brother’s training and schooling, she wanted the best for him after all, but she realized how much she missed out on when she worked all day in the claustrophobic streets of New York, only to come home – exhausted, tired, dirty – to collapse mindlessly in front of the TV. I should meditate more, she sternly told herself. She didn’t let herself dwell on negative thoughts, so she pushed the thoughts down into the ground. Jenna paused and thought about what she was thankful for, and then sent a mental image of her brother’s happy face out into the world, for everyone to enjoy.
Sttrrreeeeeeettttchhhhh – Jenna pulled one arm around and then another, rejoicing in being young, healthy, and clean. Her blond hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail, and although the sweat suit she was wearing was old and worn, with a bright peeling logo of a college on the front, it was comfy and smelling of fresh laundry. It was times like this, Jenna thought, which made her job worthwhile.
She was startled out her thoughts by a sudden flurry of movement near the door of the meditation room. Her brother was waving for her to come out, so she picked up her mat and wove around the few other meditaters willing to come in after the wizards were done for the day. The teacher smiled at her out of the corner of his eye, an open invitation to come back.
“You’d better hurry up! Andy’s waiting for you – and you’re still in exercise clothes!” Jeb hissed at her as she scurried after him through the corridor. Jenna looked at him amused, “What are you so worried about? He probably just wants me to repeat what I said before about the elf.” Jeb rubbed a hand through his hair and looked worried rather than reassured, “I dunno – you got the suits attention by passing out. You don’t go to school with me, you don’t understand – the suits always mean trouble! It’s like the principal in regular school, they don’t call you to the principal’s office for good news.” “I’m sure it will be fine, although you’re right: I do need to change out of –“ Jeb opened the door to their room and stopped. Jenna stopped talking too when she saw who it was.
“Oh, I think you look fine for dinner!” Andy smiled as he snapped shut one of Jenna’s books and carefully replaced it on her bookshelf. He bowed and held out an elbow to Jenna, “Shall we?” Jenna was oddly reminded of a panther waiting to pounce on its prey. Jenna exchanged a look with her brother and quickly smiled cheerfully at the dashing, black-suited wizard, “Of course.”

Comments

Good job!

I can't want for the next installment! You've got me writing a sort-of urban fantasy book too! :)
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Whatever you are, be a good one-Abe Lincoln

Heather | Sat, 03/08/2008

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"