Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Snippet: 7.13.07

Since I'm having trouble with the Read More tags, you may have to click on the title instead to read the entire post. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I don't know how else to fix it at the moment. (Also sorry for the delay - I wanted to be sure to post today, but I wanted to get those bugs fixed, but...)

Anyway. This skips a bit of action where Cynthia goes on a place trip home to visit family for her birthday. But since I am 99% sure that scene will be cut - or at least majorly revised - I'm posting this part instead. This will (I hope) be in the final draft, at least the dialog part. The action might have to move if the previous scene gets cut.

Reminder: this is draft material, has been copyrighted by the author, and is not to be reproduced anywhere or in any form. It may not be in the final draft, and will probably be altered if it does make the final draft.

Once the plane had pulled into the gate, I dug out my cell phone and called Rich.

“Hey there!” I said once he picked up. “I just got in—can you chat for a moment?”

“Sure! But can you?”

“Well enough.” I was surprised at the reception. There was hardly any static interference on the line. “I have to wait for the people in from of me to drag their 300-pound carry-on luggage out of the overhead compartment, anyway.”

My comment earned me a glare from the chatty couple, who were now standing in the aisle and tugging at their too-large luggage. My brother laughed, though, which was the reaction that mattered anyway.

“I mean it. Can you really talk well enough when you’re surrounded by Mundanes?”

“Sure, as long as you don’t expect a play-by-play.”

This comment, as I’d hoped, caused the super-sized luggage people to crowd forward as far as possible. Since there was no one behind me, this put enough space between me and everyone who I didn’t want to overhear my conversation.

“Okay then, spill it: what does your new book do?”

“It’s a protection spell,” I said, dropping my voice. “I haven’t tested it yet, obviously, but it seems to be some kind of shield spell.”

“Neat! I wonder how much use it will be, though? You’d better not be heading into combat-type situations. That’s my field.”

“I hope I’m not!” The aisle was clearing. “Listen, I’d better get going now, but I’ll call you again once I manage to test the spell. Maybe I’ll get Scott to help me experiment with it.”

Rich laughed again. Up ahead of me, I was a flight attendant staring back in my direction. I got up and started to collect my things slowly so that she wouldn’t have an excuse to come back and ask me what was wrong.

“You just want an excuse to spend time with Scott!” Rich hadn’t stopped laughing. “Hoping for a little smooch session?”

“Hey, he has a girlfriend!”

“Sure he does.”

My carry-on was the last one in the overhead compartment. I managed to get it out one-handed, but also succeeded in causing a rain of pillows to come cascading down on my head.

“Her name’s Karly. And just because I think he’s cute, it doesn’t mean I’m going to jump in bed with him, unlike someone I happen to know.”

“Who me?” My brother, Mr. Innocent. “I wouldn’t do a thing like that!”

“Yeah, but only because he’s male.” The flight attendant was working her way pas the last of the debarking passengers now, probably having seen the shower of pillows. “I have to go now, Rich. Really. I’ll call you later, though, ‘kay?”

We hung up before the flight attendant reached me. I still have a fear of being told to “get off that phone while you’re onboard the airplane, young lady,” even during times when it’s allowable to be on a cell phone. Old habits die hard.

After collecting my luggage, I made the trek back to my car in long-term parking. It probably would have made more sense to leave my car at home and just catch a cab, but I have this thing about being stranded. I would prefer to drive my own car everywhere, even to a family gathering where there would be fifteen other people perfectly happy to drive me around and spare me the gas money.

Thank you for your concern, but no thanks. I’ll just pay the buck-eighty per gallon myself. That way I know I have a ride.

The walk to my car, and the drive home afterwards, gave me plenty of time to really think about my two new spells. A Detection spell and a Shield spell, and both seemed to be tailored to dealing with magic. And that was just weird. Watchers had magic. Mundanes did not. Yet whom did we Watch almost all the time? Mundanes. With no magic. So why should I need to detect magic? Or shield against it?

The more I thought about it, the more I worried.

We usually gain spells as we need them. For instance, when I first started working on a casino floor, the cigarette smoke really got to me. Coming from California, where smoking was getting increasingly more curtailed, to Nevada, where you could smoke practically anywhere, was torture. I would have fled the state if I hadn’t gotten a spell that took care of the problem.

The same day I started at Jade Mountain, I found a special book, which gave me a spell for purifying air. Not all air, but a bubble that floated around my head so that no matter where I went I was breathing clean air. It only lasted about six hours, but that was long enough to last for most of my shifts. If I hadn’t moved to Nevada, I wouldn’t have needed the spell, and could probably have walked past the book ten times without once noticing it.

So, there had to be a reason I needed these new spells. My paranoid brain decided that it meant I was going to be facing off against someone who used magic. And the only people I knew of that used magic were other Watchers. Much though I loved the thought of seeing more action, I was a bit nervous. Tricking Mundanes was one thing. Pitting my skills against another spell caster was quite another.

There was only one bright side to this situation: I did not yet have an obviously aggressive spell. As much as I want to run after the bad guys with spells blazing, I’m not looking forward to the type of crisis that would require that. If the attack on the World Trade Center hadn’t merited aggressive spells, I don’t want to know what would.

But these... they didn’t disrupt magic, just observed and protected against it. There was no cause for real worry, not yet.

If I ever got my lightning bolt spell, then I would worry.

Right after I jumped for joy.

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