Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Snippet Day - Blood Witch

You know when you introduce a bunch of side characters and they threaten to take over the book? Yeah, that.

So what do we do now?” Imani asked. “Is it worth scrying again?”

Rowan shook her head. “There'll be nothing to find by now. I think it's safe to say Lola has taken all she can from Isako's house, and there was nothing in the alley at the Red Lotus. At least, I don't think so.” She looked to Lola for confirmation.

“Nothing helpful,” Lola agreed. “I think we need to try to figure out who could commit these murders and perform a ritual like this. Talk to other magic-users, see if anyone has heard anything or seen anything...” She trailed off, realizing what a huge task it would be. Especially when you really couldn't just march up to people and ask them if they'd killed anyone for magic recently. “I don't know how we'll do that though,” she admitted.

“I do,” Imani said. “I've met loads of people at college who are into paganism or Wicca and different magic practices. Rumour travels fast – as soon as these murders are public knowledge, people will start talking.”

“That's great,” Rowan said, “but I'm not sure chasing down rumours is the wisest course of action.”

“You've got to start somewhere,” Imani said. “Right now you've got nothing.”

This was much easier in books and movies, Lola thought. You stumbled upon a crucial piece of evidence and the conspiracy simply unwound for you, no effort required. She felt a stab of sympathy for Hardy and Scherer and thought again how much easier their jobs would be if Lola was the killer. And whilst Imani was right that they had to start somewhere, Lola wasn't sure how many genuine magic-users they were going to find at the local college.

So what other options were there? What other approaches could they make?

“All those books upstairs and you have so little knowledge? That's rather sad, don't you think?”

Lola jumped at the sound of Tristesse's voice. The demon waltzed into the kitchen with a pizza box in her hands. She'd swapped her gothic princess attire for ripped black jeans and an oversized hoodie, and now looked like she'd fit in perfectly on a night out with Imani. Lola decided not to think about where the clothes had come from. Or the pizza for that matter.

Tristesse set the pizza down and took the last seat at the table, beaming round at the three of them. “Three little witches, all so determined to act and all so directionless.” She flipped open the pizza box and took out a slice. “I was informed that this has absolutely no nutritional benefits whatsoever,” she told Lola.

Lola glanced at the pizza, which seemed to be topped with everything a pizza restaurant could possibly offer. “No, I think you're safe there,” she said. “What do you mean about all the books?”

“Just that it's surprising you can be so well-read and still so ignorant.”

Lola frowned. “Rowan, Imani, this is Tristesse. Tristesse -”

“Rowan. Imani.” Tristesse regarded them both with lofty disinterest and turned her attention back to Lola. “How was your coven meeting?”

“Annoying,” Lola said. “Apparently the magical community doesn't believe in demons.”

“How ridiculous. What do you know about ley lines?”

“The Old Straight Track,” Imani said. “That's what the guy who came up with the concept called them. They're like a network of natural points of interest, right?”

“Correct, partially.” Tristesse pushed the pizza box towards her as if offering her a reward. “They are vast natural reservoirs of power, remnants of a much older race that dwelt on your plane.”

Rowan raised an eyebrow, expressing more cynicism with the gesture than Lola would have thought possible. “I'm pretty sure ley lines have been debunked very thoroughly.”

“By humans who have no ability to access the power anyway.” Tristesse looked down her nose at Rowan and turned to Lola. “But I can show you how to do it.”

Despite the tiredness settling over her, despite the frustration and anxiety of the situation, Lola felt a spark of excitement at Tristesse's words. “You can? How?”

Tristesse smiled and tapped her lips. “Fancy a walk?”

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