The Incidental Sorceress
April Wren 2015 Golden Touch
“Ten! Nine!” the crowd shouted in the nightclub. Coloured lights pulsed across the dance floor, reflecting off fairy wings, flashing on demon masks. The scent of sweat and perfume mingled with spilt alcohol.
In one corner, a couple dressed as a plumber and a princess chanted along with the crowd. A red cap hung crooked on the man’s brown hair, blue overalls tight upon his stocky frame. He flung an arm around her shoulder. She smiled, pulling up the strap of her bright pink dress.
The couple clinked champagne flutes and grinned at each other. He planted a sloppy kiss on her cheek.
In the shadows of the club, a vampire watched, surveying groups of girls dressed as sexy nurses, men as babies, many more as witches, werewolves and zombies; only two interested him.
The crowd’s chorus grew excited, glasses raised, adrenaline spiked, blood pounding through their veins. The sensation washed over the vampire; he breathed it in, savouring its taste. His eyes closed, lips parted to reveal protruding fangs.
A huge roar erupted; hands raised high, party poppers exploding, and alcohol sloshed out of drunken grasps.
“Woohoo! Happy New Year!!”
Auld Lang Syne blasted from the speakers. Revellers hugged and kissed, including the couple he observed. The plumber pressed his girlfriend against a bar stool, arms wrapped around her waist. She linked her fingers behind his neck. They broke apart and he whispered, “Love you babes.”
“Happy new year, Michael,” a woman’s voice said to the vampire’s left.
A petite blonde in her early forties, grinned at him. Her hair tied in a pony tail and blue eyes shone in the low light. She wore a long sleeved pastel flowered blouse, tight black jeans and a pink scarf around her neck. Rings sparkled on her fingers and pentagram earrings hung from her earlobes. Like the vampire, she had opted not to wear fancy dress.
“Lucy.” His eyes widened.
She stretched on tiptoes and kissed him on both cheeks, pressing her body to him.
“What on earth are you doing here?” he asked.
She withdrew a wand from her sleeve and flicked it, a bubble of quiet surrounded them, the voices of the revellers reduced to a whisper.
“Recruitment,” she said, eyeing the crowd on the dance floor as they linked hands and sang along.
“In a mortal nightclub?”
Lucy nodded at the plumber and his princess. “I see potential.”
Michael nodded. “Ah, you have heard about our reluctant new edition.”
“She must be privileged to have the leader of the Coven visit her personally.”
A frown crinkled her brow. “We did send a letter, but received no reply.” She looked out at the club. “Every head counts.”
They watched as a red haired witch danced her way over to plumber and princess. “Happy new year, guys!” she shouted, pulling them both into an embrace. Even through the spell Michael could hear their words, as could Lucy.
“And to you, Cassy. Let’s hope it’s an improvement on the last,” the Princess said. She pouted as her boyfriend slipped out of their arms.
“I’m sure it will be.” The witch grabbed her friend’s hand and gave it a squeeze, holding it aloft, she started dancing, singing along to the lyrics. Her friend fixed her tilted tiara and joined in.
“And what brings you to a mortal nightclub, Michael? Hunger?” asked Lucy. Challenge glimmered in her eyes.
Before he could answer, a gasp drew his attention back to the couple and their friend. The plumber knelt before the princess.
“Mel, babes,” he slurred, producing a box from the top pocket of his overalls. “Will zhu marry’s me?” He popped open the box, revealing a simple silver ring, pink gem embedded in the centre.
Michael stiffened, watching the princess; her face frozen in shock, tears brimming. Her gaze drifted past the plumber to a group of girls dressed as vampires. “I think I’m going to be sick.” She put a hand to her mouth and dashed away.
Lucy flashed a smile. “This might change the situation.”
“Good to see you, Michael.” She squeezed his arm. “Take care.” Clicking her fingers the bubble burst. The blast of the night club assaulted Michael’s ears as she walked away.
He pulled out his phone as the witch grimaced at the plumber; still on his knees, shoulders slumped.
A voice answered on the third ring. “Hello?”
“We might have a problem.”
Slumped on the bathroom floor, I awaited divine motivation to spur me back to bed. My throat sore, skin slick with sweat, head pounding a cacophony worthy of any marching band. If Christmas is the mother of over-eating then New Year is its twisted daughter.
I groaned, gripped the sink edge and pulled myself up. Of the spells I could learn, why not levitation?
My pallid complexion stared from the mirror. Ugh. Blonde curly hair hung lank and greasy, dull hazel eyes, accompanied by smeared pink lipstick and eye liner.
“Never again,” I said.
Post purge routine complete, I returned to bed. Stifling a yawn, I snuggled under the duvet, the cool pillow blissful upon my cheek.
Rain pattered against the window, making my eyelids heavy. Maybe crashing out for a few hours would banish my hangover.
My mobile phone sprang to life, the sound cutting through me like a descent of woodpeckers, buzzing across the bedside cabinet. Growling, I reached across and picked it up.
“’Lo,” I answered.
“Happy New Year!” said my best-friend, Cassy, chirpy as a canary on Speed.
“I agree with the latter, though I’m not sure it’s happy.” I massaged my temple.
“Yeah, shame the ‘golden touch’ doesn’t work on you.”
“You’re healing hands,” she said in a whisper. “I can’t thank you enough for curing our boss of his man-flu last week. He acted like such a dick that I didn’t sell that Caribbean cruise.”
“Hmmm. It was worth the stomach ache.” My natural healing ability always left me with an ailment in some form.
“I know you’re hungover, Mel, but I thought you’d be over the moon?”
“Er…yeah of course I am.” I rolled onto my back, the room spun with me.
“I can’t believe you’re getting married.”
“I’m what?!” I shot up.
“Jeez, Mel, you weren’t that drunk were you?”
“No. Kind of.” I squeezed my eyes shut, vaguely recalling Dan dropping to his knees. “And I er…said yes?”
“I think the ring might give it away.”
I gasped, a simple silver ring with a pink gem shone on my matrimonial finger.
“You having second thoughts?”
“We’ve only been back together a couple of months. Isn’t it…too soon?”
“You seemed pretty sure last night. After you christened the club toilet.”
I rubbed my forehead. “Thanks for the reminder.”
“You’re welcome. Besides, if you do decide to become Mrs. Daniel Green, you’d better have a chat with him about the other matter.”
“What’s the point? Magically boiling water or opening and closing doors is not going to help me save the world or anything, it it?”
“He still should know you’re a sorceress. Especially if you’re intending to spend the rest of your life with him.”
I sighed. “I don’t need a lecture.”
“You should be proud of your heritage,” she said.
“What heritage? I hardly knew my father and I’ve no clue how his world works?”
“You could learn more.”
“Maybe.” My gaze drifted to the wardrobe where my late father’s journal lay buried in its recesses, filled with spells and undecipherable notes, I doubted it would see daylight for a long time. “But it took me weeks to learn two spells. I’m not sure it’s my thing.”
Cassy huffed. “You’re such a quitter. You’ve not tried yet.”
The doorbell rang, bleating a rendition of Greensleeves. “Someone’s at the door. Gotta go.”
“Ooo, lover boy, no doubt.”
I hung up, kicked off the duvet and grabbed my pale blue robe. My unwanted guest couldn’t be Dan. He wouldn’t rise from the land of alcoholic fuelled rest for several hours. Also why he hadn’t spent the night, his snoring drove me insane. Probably an issue to address if we were to take the next step.
My visitor banged the door. I groaned as the noise knocked through me. “I do have neighbours!” Slipping on my pink bunny slippers, I staggered into the hall. Whoever tarnished my doorstep had better have a good excuse or a hangover cure.
I flung open the door. “Oh fuck!”
“We need to talk,” said Michael. He strode into my apartment and surveyed the messy living room with a barely-disguised sneer.
I gaped, mirroring the cover of my Step-father’s In the court of the Crimson King album.
Six feet of gorgeous muscular perfection stood in my flat. Blue eyes, alabaster skin and square jaw, luscious lips set in a thin line. Jet black wavy hair flicked at the front. Lean with a smooth six-pack, not body builder buff, but enough to make a gal weak at the knees. He wore his customary sharp suit, this one black with a crisp white shirt. I’d not seen him in anything other than a suit, except for butt naked.
My palm pressed the door into its frame. “I don’t recall inviting you in,” I quavered.
“I am afraid, my dear, that is a myth.” He fingered a framed photo of Dan and I.
“Surprised you bothered to knock.”
“Being a vampire doesn’t mean I have forgotten my manners.” He turned to me, his gaze set to stun.
My gut contorted. Memories of our week in Spain flashed before me. Our limbs entwined, skin hot and sweaty, his lips kissing, his teeth biting my neck. Had it been three months ago?
“What’s so important you’ve flown however many miles to see me?” Flushing, I gathered the empty bottles and glasses of my pre-party drinks from last night. The throbbing in my temples easing, maybe he had brought a hangover cure by his sheer presence.
“Unfortunately I bring bad news,” he said.
I carried the glasses into the open plan kitchen, and placed them next to the sink. He followed. The hairs on my neck rose in ovation to his proximity.
“Oh?” I faced him, hands gripping the kitchen worktop.
“It’s about your proposed marriage to Daniel Green.” He studied the kitchen shelves before settling on me.
“Uh-huh.” How the hell does he know?
“You cannot marry him,” he said.
My jaw dropped.
“It is not what you think.”
“What on Earth do you mean?”
“It’s nothing personal is what I mean.”
I looked away. “So, what is this?”
“You cannot marry Daniel Green as it’s forbidden,” he said.
“Why?” I folded my arms, the ring digging into my finger.
“As he is a mere mortal and you are not.”
“You are joking.”
He stared at me. No glimmer of humour in his stare, no twitch of a smile.
I flicked on the hot water and squeezed detergent into the bowl of dirty dishes. My shoulders hunched as I scrubbed. “Whose stupid idea is this? And why did they have to send you here?”
“Because, Melinda, I’m the only person within the supernatural world who’s acquainted with you.”
I swung around, pointing a sudsy finger at him. “You can inform your supernatural gov-”
“The six Apostles,” he said.
I frowned. “Aren’t there meant to be twelve?”
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “I’m afraid you’re getting your biblical knowledge confused with our historical.”
“Yeah, whatever.” I attacked the glasses, scrubbing them with harsh swipes. “I’ll marry who I want, whether they like it or not.” I barked a laugh. “What are they going to do? Burn me at the stake?”
“I can assure you they will not. However, your fiance could be sentenced to death.”
“What?!” My grasp tightened on a wine glass. It shattered. A dull pain throbbed in my index finger. “Shit.” I yanked my hand out of the suds. A bloody bubble pooled on the tip.
Michael appeared by my side.
“Don’t even think about it!” I ran my aching finger beneath the cold water tap. Blood pounded in my ears. Murder?! Why murder anyone for wanting to get married?
“I was going to offer my assistance.” He grabbed my wounded hand, shivers coursed down my spine from his soft touch. Gently blotting my finger dry with a towel.
I pointed at a drawer behind him. He pulled one out and wrapped the plaster around my cut.
“Thanks,” I mumbled.
He led me to the sofa, and I slumped upon it. Stupid Spain, stupid vampire. Why couldn’t my life be normal? Boring? I hadn’t decided if I wanted to marry Dan, but how could they say I couldn’t? I hardly constituted as a risk to the world.
I narrowed my eyes, watching as Michael deposited the broken glass in the bin. “This law that says I can’t marry Dan. Is it new?”
He walked into the living room and perched upon the sofa arm opposite me. “No, it has been in existence since the dawn of the Apostles.”
He gave a hesitant nod.
“Tell me something. My dad was a sorcerer and he married my mortal mum. So, why is it different for me?”
“Ah,” he said, “The law doesn’t apply to sorcerers. They are free to marry whomever they choose.”
“Jesus! Do you live in the dark ages? Have you not heard of woman’s lib? Let me guess, all six Apostles are men?”
“No, they are not.”
“How can I contact them?” I jutted my chin.
“It’s not possible for you to contact them.”
“Why? Are they on a parallel plane?”
“They live in Shropshire, but it’s doubtful they’ll grant you an audience.”
“I want an email or phone number, not an invitation.”
Michael shook his head. “What makes you think it will do any good Melinda? Do you honestly believe the Apostles will change their laws to suit one silly little witch?”
“But I’m not a witch, Michael, I’m a sorceress. Remember? One of a kind. Meaning their rules can’t apply to me.” I leaned forward. “And why the hell should I abide by them? They didn’t give a damn about me when my father died. I wouldn’t have known who I or my father were if it wasn’t for a chance encounter.”
“Your mother didn’t want you to be a part of our world. That’s why they never intervened.”
“It’s still not my fault is it?”
“I guess not.” He sighed.
“Then why should I suffer their pathetic laws? I’m not a part of your world.”
He straightened, resting his palms on his knees. “This situation hasn’t occurred before. Technically, you shouldn’t exist.”
He took out his mobile phone. “I’ll have to make a call.”
I shrugged. “Go for it.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Do you mind?”
He pointed at the screen. “You want me to call them or not?”
“Fine.” I headed for my bedroom, mind whirring over the events of the new year. Engaged, my Spanish fling reappearing, and now bound by stupid rules. I sank onto the edge of my bed and picked up my phone. Scrolling to Dan’s number I sent him a text: “Happy New Year, hope UR well. Speak soon XX.”
Movement caught my peripheral vision. I jumped.
Michael stood on the threshold, lips set in a grim line.
“Well?” I clasped my robe tighter around me.
“I’ve spoken to them and explained the unusual circumstances of this case.”
I cocked my head. “And?”
“They’ve invited you to their headquarters to discuss the matter further.”
“So, I do have a point.” I grinned.
“It appears you may have. My instructions are to drive you there for a meeting set for two thirty this afternoon.
“Today? I thought you said I could not possibly contact them? Let alone see them?” I sauntered to the door. “Yet, here I am invited to the party?”
He scowled. “It is an invite to a meeting and should be taken seriously.”
I smirked. “Okay. I’ll wear my best pair of skinny jeans.”
He shook his head.“We leave in half an hour.”
“Great.” I beamed and slammed the door in his face.
This is Chapter One of The Reluctant Sorceress series. I’d love to hear your thoughts and gain some feedback. Thank you.