This story is presented weekly in draft (unedited) form. Each installment is available for one week until the
next is posted. Miss one? Email me, and I’ll hook you up. Enjoy!
Under His Wing
Xavier grinned, downing most of his coffee in one long swallow and then tossing it into a rusty barrel several feet to the side.
“We’re just waiting for one more person. The navigational expert, if you will. I’m sure he’ll be here soon. Is that breakfast?” Xavier pointed to the bag Katie still held.
She nodded, handing it over. “Knock yourself out.” She looked at the sphere again. “This doesn’t have a…GPS or something? Seems like that would be important trying to time travel.”
He shrugged, pulling an egg and sausage sandwich out and handing the bag back.
“It’s kind of tricky finding a manor that keeps moving,” he said around a too-big bite. “We had to find a connection of some sort between this time and place and wherever the manor is now. That’s the only way the magic will work.”
That made sense. Katie looked around. “So where’s the connecting piece?”
“That would be you, my dear. I’m so glad you’re here.”
Twirling to look behind her, Katie gasped as she saw one of the same green-robed, black-eyed figures that she’d seen at the mansion coming toward her.
“You’re…” she backed away, suddenly realizing that this had been a much larger mistake than she’d realized. “You’re one of them. How are you here? Why aren’t you with the manor?”
She got the sense that the creature might have laughed, were it human.
“We are not all part of the Dunning Manor curse,” it replied. “We exist throughout throughout what you refer to as time and space. We are not bound as you humans are to a single plane of existence, though you are incapable of comprehending the concept.”
Katie raised her eyebrows. “That may be, but I’m more than capable of understanding that your people took the man I love away without giving me a fair shot of breaking the curse. Your people broke their own rules, and I wouldn’t trust you any farther than I could throw you. So let me rephrase the question. Why are you right here, right now?”
Xavier stepped between them. “Darius is the only person who can make this whole thing work. He’s got the magic, and as he said, you’re the glue. Your connection to Thomas is what will ensure we find the manor instead of bouncing around aimlessly through time and space.”
“So that’s why you invited me. You don’t want to help me, you need me to find the manor. And then you’ll destroy it, and presumably the curse.” She shook her head. It all made sense now, but how could he be so stupid?
“Why you trust these…people – aliens – whatever? If they won’t abide by the rules they set in place, how do you know they won’t just screw us both over?”
“You don’t.” Darius spoke up, peering around Xavier. “But I have my own reasons for wanting to find the manor, Xavier needed my help, and we both need yours. In the end, we all get what we want.”
Katie crossed her arms over her chest. “And if I refuse to help?” She’d never really trusted Xavier, and there was no way she’d trust one of these druids. She should have trusted her gut. The one that was now flopping around in her stomach cavity like a dying fish.
All at once she couldn’t move – her arms were locked in place, her feet stuck to the floor, even her shoulders were limited to a gentle swaying motion. When she tried to speak, she found she could move her mouth…
Just not her vocal chords.
Xavier walked around her, holding up one hand to wave in front of her face, like she was a mannequin or something.
“I thought we agreed not to do this Darius,” he said. “Besides, you said she had to be willing. Does that look willing to you?”
Darius walked by on his way to the sphere, giving Katie only the barest glance. “She came here of her own accord, fully intending to participate. That’s all that is required for her usefulness. Now, did you make the modifications I asked for?”
Katie listened as the men talked, using a bunch of terms she didn’t understand. She had to get out of here. She had to find a way to warn Thomas and the others before it was too late.