Coffee Mishaps (Pt. 2)

The continuing saga of Thornne, Rosalee, and Hyalus…. 

A familiar knock rapped on the door of the closed coffee shop.

Thornne’s head shot up from inspecting her still neon pink tattoos. “Don’t you dare open that door. I mean it. Don’t let him in. Don’t you dare do it.”

Rosalee scrunched her nose. “Oh, please. He’s not going to make fun of you.”

She grimaced. “I know. That’s why I don’t want you to let him in. It would be more humiliating to have him fawn over me than criticize me.”

The modern magic user waved a hand as she glided to the front door. “Hey, Hyalus. Please come in. I locked the door only a few minutes ago, and I still need to finish cleaning up, so I’ll be here for awhile.”

The man with the glass right arm smiled and entered, looking around the empty coffee shop. “How’s business going for you, Rosie?”

“It’s been great. A lot of repeat customers, which has been increasing word-of-mouth. And I promise, no addicting or mind control potions slipped into my drinks.” Her salmon eyes studied the bar stool that just had a patron. “So what brings you by?”

Hyalus ran his hand through his black hair. “Oh, I just wanted to wish Thornne a happy birthday. She wasn’t at her house, and I saw Mr. Sexy in the parking lot, so I thought I’d try here.”

Her eyes narrowed. “It’s her birthday…?” But she soon straightened. “You know what, Hy, take a seat, and I’ll go get the birthday girl. Enjoy that drink on the counter.” With a short smile, she ducked into the back room behind the counter. “Thornne, are you in here?”

The woman with lime green hair had wide eyes searching the preparation space filled with vials, potions, and ingredients. “Rose, we need to talk. Are you…a witch?”

Rosalee sighed. “We don’t use the ‘w’ word here. And to answer your question, no. Even though I don’t know why it would change our relationship if I was. My magic is in my blood, and I channel it through coffee. I’m more of a…beverage sorcereress. How does Hylaus know today’s your birthday, and I don’t?”

Thornne sighed. “Get this pink off me, and I’ll tell you.”

“Have you tried your shapeshifting abilities to make it look black?”

“What do you think I’ve been doing for the past hour?”

The mage rose a dark brow. “I’ll get something to try to help. How does he know your birthday and not your best friend?” She went to a shelf full of partially used containers and grabbed an empty mug.

Thornne waved a hand. “It’s from our government experiment days. Dad always had to parade me around on my birthday like I was some type of god. I hated it. But I’ve always hated both of my parents.”

Rosalee handed her a concoction. “Oh, that’s right. I got out before you and Hyalus were acquired.”

She paused while downing the drink. “Say what?”

“Nothing! How you feeling?”

Thornne squinted an eye. “Why?”

“No reason. What’s your favorite color?”

“Lime green.”

“Your first love?”

“Mr. Sexy.” Thornne stumbled a bit. “What is this?”

Rosalee smiled. “Truth potion. I want you and Hyalus to have a good time. There’s a side effect. It causes drunkenness without the need for alcohol. It’s not harmful. More for my entertainment than anything else.”

She hiccuped and searched for something to support herself on. “Y-you really…suck.”

“I know,” came the chipper reply. “I also know you love me anyway. Now, get. Your non-romance awaits.”

 

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Coffee Mishaps

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Thornne squinted an eye at the mug she finished. “This coffee tastes weird.”

Rosalee paused as she wiped down the main counter. Her salmon-colored eyes widening. “That’s probably because it’s not coffee.”

“Rose…what did I just drink?”

“I, uh, well, I’m not sure.”

Thornne closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Please don’t tell me I just downed another one of your potion experiments. Last time, I almost fell in love with Hyalus, and I swear, if that happens again, I will kill you this time.”

“Oh, come on. You know you love me.” The practicing mage smiled sheepishly. “It’s almost closing time, so how about I shut down early?” She locked the front door of her quaint coffee shop and pulled down all the blinds in the slender windows. Then her expression turned serious. “Give me that mug.”

With a scowl, she pushed it across the counter’s bar. “Take it.” She smoothed back her thick, lime green hair.

Rosalee held the mug under her nose and inhaled a deep breath. “Hmm. Getting some herbs. Ooh, a spice or two for flavor. A hint of honey–”

“Rose, what did I just drink?”

Her tongue flicked along the inside rim of the mug. “Oh! This isn’t anything harmful at all. Just my new way to color my hair.” She tossed her rich chocolate brown hair dipped in fuschia. “A girl like me doesn’t have time for lengthy coloring sessions, so I’m trying an oral method.”

Thornne’s nostrils flared. “Will this change my hair color? Because I have a strict rule of keeping it this vibrant green. I don’t want it to be anything else.”

“I don’t know. I haven’t tried it yet.”

The shapeshifter sighed and let her head fall on the counter. “I swear…”

Rosalee’s lips formed a thin line. “Uh, Thornne?”

“What?”

“Look at your arm.”

Thornne lifted her head, holding out her right arm. Watched the tattoo sleeve change color. The roses and spiraling thorny stems faded from black to neon pink. Her jaw set, and she slowly turned her head toward her friend. “Are you kidding me right now? How long is this going to last?”

The modern sorceress held up her hands. “I don’t know! This was an experiment. It doesn’t look half bad on you.”

“We are not leaving this coffee shop until you fix this. Do you hear me? I don’t care if we’re here until the rest of the night. I’m not going to be seen in public like this.”

Rosalee couldn’t contain a giggle. “You know, it’s a good thing were in the Millennial generation. People are used to our ‘exotic’ colors.”

The shapeshifter frowned. “This…abomination is not my color. I only wear black, white, and green. You know this. So fix it. Now.”

“Alright, alright, Ms. Grumpypants. I’ll start working on a counter potion.”

“And while you’re at it, you can get me a real cup of coffee.”

 

Taking of Medalia

Leven, the Outlands prince, waved a hand, forcing open Medalia’s throne room doors. Despite the heavy blockade. His silver armor glistened as much as his bright yellow eyes. A knowing smirk rested on his face.

The soldiers guarding their king trembled. They knew what the foreign prince was capable of unleashing. And his full powers had yet to be seen.

“Kill him!” King Talus cried from his throne.

Hesitating, they rushed forward.

Leven lifted a hand, and all their necks snapped at once. He stepped over their fallen bodies. Gaze trained on Talus. Holding out an arm, the peppered king’s sword came to him. “You’ve grown weak, old man.”

Talus stood with confidence. “The Medalia we know will die with me. You’ll do nothing but destroy it.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. I’m going to take it as my own, seeing how my parents banished me from the Outlands.”

“Their only lack in judgement was that they didn’t foresee you coming here.”

Leven’s grin never faded. He inspected the jeweled sword. “It’s a pity, really. How useless Medalia is now. Your generals have been slain, your son has been captured by my army, and I can waltz right in and take your throne.” He teleported behind Talus. “Your time is up.” In one swift move, he beheaded the king with his own sword. Stood splattered with blood. Looking very much like his mother with his pale skin and charcoal gray hair falling just past his shoulders.

A small gasp caught the Outlander’s attention. He whirled around. Someone was behind a pillar. He teleported to the source of the sound. Grabbed the servant girl by the neck and lifted her up.

Her thin frame quivered.

His head slightly tilted. “There is a power about you that I cannot read. How strange. But I can tell the old king favored you.”

She struggled under his grasp. Fear etched in her face.

“I won’t kill you. Not yet. You may prove interesting. But I am your new king.” He dropped her. “You will serve me, now. I will make you my personal slave. Tell me your name so I know how to call you.”

Throwing herself on the floor, she remained in the lowest form of submission. Her voice small. “T-Teckia, my…my lord.”

The Man of Mystery

The queen awoke with a dull sensation in her head. She blinked a few times and looked around the room. Everything seemed dull. Her gaze lingered in the other side of the large bed. It was empty. A smile crept across her face. That meant she could find the man in her dreams without anyone stopping her.

She went to her wardrobe and threw open the doors. What to wear? Perhaps red would be a suitable color for this excursion? The eye was more attracted to the color red. Yes. That seemed fitting. She also needed the finest silk. Her lips pursed as she pulled out a dress that she hadn’t had the courage to wear before. Until now.

After a soothing bath, she smelled of the best flowers and slipped into the form-fitting gown. A backless number with a precarious slit up the leg. Gold embroidery danced along the edges. A gold sash tied around her slim waist. She accessorized with a few gold pieces. Finishing with a gold circlet upon her head.

Then the queen headed for the royal gardens. Completely ignoring everything going on around her. Though she assumed many stared. But she was determined to find the man plaguing her dreams the past week. She strolled down the stone pathway. He had always shown up under the giant tree in the center.

Her eyes darted around. The mystery man hadn’t appeared yet. She walked under the harboring branches of the great tree. Looked up and sighed. Was it only a dream? Lifting her hands to her chest, she sighed again. Why did it have to be only a dream? With a wistful glance back up at the branches, she turned around.

The stood the man in her dreams. Tall and well-formed, he smiled with the grace of a gentleman. His long, fire-red hair flowed with the wind. Black symbols of magic tattooed his bare chest. “So it is you.”

The queen unusually adopted charmer, cocking one hip to the side. “Unless this is but another dream.”

He approached her in one easy stride. Swooped her down and stared into her eyes. “Have I ever done this in your dreams?”

“No.” She blushed a bit. “How did you know to find me here?”

His voice lowered to a rich tone. “Because you have been in my dreams, my beautiful temptress. You have been in this same exact spot all week. I had to know if you were real.”

“That’s why I’m here. I had to know if such a specimen of a man existed.”

The peculiar man flashed another grin. Until he noticed the ring on her left hand. “Will your husband mind?”

Her cool demeanor didn’t change, sliding the ring off her finger. Tossed it off to the side. Not caring where it landed. She matched his smooth tone. “What husband?”

Thoughts on Being a Writer

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Now, I’m not famous. I have yet to publish a book. So I’m not sure how much authority I have on this subject, but after seeing Doctor Strange, I can’t get one thing out of my head. Writers are master sorcerers. We take blank thoughts and make everything. We use pen, paper, and words to shape whole worlds. Use words to shape opinions, thoughts, and feelings. As represented in the picture above. We govern characters, what they will or will not do. Govern the balance of thought-out worlds. It’s a craft that’s mastered naturally by some and gradually by others. But I’ve seen the craft bite back. The majority of the time for the better. I don’t know how many times one of my characters has done the opposite of what I wanted or how a story has twisted in a completely different direction. Magic flows from our hands and minds. Whether or not it’s controlled is a separate matter. But does it need to be? I’m not even sure I can control how this post will turn out. I’m okay with it. That’s when the magic takes over. That’s when our inner sorcerer shines through. How many dimensions have we each created? How many universes float through our heads? And all of them are unique. Sure, nothing’s new in the world, but we have our own flavor we’ve honed. A new persepctive to spin on an old tale. It’s one of the things I enjoy most. Succombing to a writing mood and creating new things. Allowing everything else to fade away. It’s therapy. Writers are also therapists. Well, let’s face it, writers are many things. But how many people just want to delve into a fictional world to forget their own? In a way, we carry a heavy burden. We’re responsible for providing the escape material. It’s worth it, though. Knowing something we’ve written has touched someone in some way. It really goes for any craft. However, writing holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the few things I’ve done since I was a child. I have heard the magic in storytelling, read it in books, and I hope to do that myself someday. It’s amazing how much words can affect the world. As long as someone needs the magic, I take comfort in knowing a writer will be there to take up the mantle. It’s a satisfying feeling.

Amongst the Stars

A comforting chirp made my head rise. I smiled beneath my mask. My familiar glided into my room and landed on her perch. She was a pure white owl. The last of her kind. Her brilliant feathers reflected light, giving her a soft glow. I reached out a hand. Her head swiveled to me, slender black beak complimenting the shape of her head. It was her head that inspired my mask. We all had to wear masks. At least, we magic users. As much as magic was frowned upon, we “men of science” could use our powers safely if we wore masks. I disagreed with it, but I wasn’t ready for death. There was so much to be discovered! Long ago,  I came to realize I would have to be the discoverer. The others were content with their lives behind glass. None of them wanted to step outside our ship and walk amongst the stars. The stars were right there. Right outside the glass. The other so-called scholars scoffed and thought nothing more of the stars. I, on the other hand, made the stars my life. I studied them. Drew them. Visited them in my dreams. Even my robes were midnight blue and littered with stars.

I sighed when Aphrodite refused to come to me. She most likely thought I was crazy, too. Turning back to my desk, I gazed out my window. Let my mind wander through the stars. I didn’t understand. Why were they so bad? A small weight landed on my shoulder. Aphrodite chirped at me. She gazed at my drawings. Sketches of a streamlined vessel that would take me throughout space. I conjured a small model with my magic. Everything had been perfectly thought out. Though the design had been tedious. The air locks startled me. Standing, I reached behind me and covered the drawings. Never had I been so thankful for the mask. The High Counciler of our mega-ship stood in my doorway. “May I come in?” It took me much longer than I wanted to find my voice. “Yes, your grace.” He strode into my room, studying my various instruments and tomes. His white and gold robes trailed him. I swallowed. This was bad. He typically left magicians alone. Unless he disposed of them. Well…I did want to learn more about space, didn’t I?

His piercing brown eyes settled upon me. My limbs trembled. “It has come to my attention that you wish to study the stars. Is this true?” All I could do was nod. “Excellent. An enemy threatens our colony. One from outside our ship. I require your assistance. Your studies will prove useful against these aliens. Will you help me save our ship and people?” My voice left me again. I was surprised. For the High Counciler to personally ask for my help…? Though he didn’t have his normal entourage. Perhaps they prepared defenses? Grinning beneath my mask, I nodded once more. “Absolutely, my grace. It would be an honor and privelage to work alongside you.” He clasped a strong hand on my shoulder. “Fantastic. Come with me, child.” I followed, overwhelmed with the task ahead of me. My head suddenly exploded with pain. Darkness became my vision.

When I woke, I felt weightless. Felt odd. My eyes opened. I floated amongst the stars, suspended in a force field. But for how much longer? My magic was instinctual, but it wouldn’t last forever. I spun around. The colony ship was no where to be seen. Aphrodite couldn’t be found. I was alone. With the stars. Panic grew inside me. Gnawed at my very core. I would die with the stars. My force field flickered. It wouldn’t last much longer. More flickering. The magic faded. I was lost. It didn’t take long for lack of oxygen to slay me. An invisible vacuum sucked my air away. My vision blurred. I felt myself sinking, falling. Had gravity taken over. How– My body hit a hard surface. The stars disappeared. This was it. I had died.

“Simulation complete.” My ears heard, but my brain didn’t comprehend. Someone ripped off my mask, placed something over my nose and mouth. Full consciousness returned. I coughed until I could breathe normally. Stood sooner than I should have. A medic crew caught me before I fell. I looked around. I was in the Simulation Chamber. Why? Why had I been rendered unconscious? What was going on? Where was my familiar? I struggled against the medics, but I was too weak for them. Not even my magic could be summoned. The High Counciler placed a hand on my shoulder. “Your magic surpassed expectations. We have been doing our own research. However, technology fails us. It doesn’t last in space’s conditions. Please help us. I promise there won’t be any more surprises.” I studied him in wonder. That had been a test? I passed?  I had honestly been recruited? “I exceeded expectations?” He nodded. “Yes. Your magic kept you alive for the equivalent of six days. If we could combine your archaic knowledge with our technology, we could discover amazing things.”

Pride swelled in my chest, replacing any fears I might have possessed. They were ready to accept magic. And they had chosen me. I had kept studying the stars when the Elders mocked me. I learned how a spaceship works and designed my own. I didn’t fail myself, and I now had the High Counciler asking for my help in true space research. My eyes glistened with happiness. “As long as I can properly enjoy the stars.”

 

 

The Magic of Music

The music store door opened with a pleasant ding of the entry bell. Marina entered with a smile, her sun-kissed skin glowing in the noon sun. A quick glance affirmed she was the only customer at the moment. She sauntered to the sole employee polishing electric guitars. Delighted to see a man. Clearing her throat, she adopted her sweetest voice. “Excuse me. Could you help me?”

The employee rose. Completely enthralled by the woman in front of him. “Certainly. What…what can I, uh, find you?”

She smiled. Pulled herself onto the counter and coyly crossed her legs. Mini-skirt providing very little coverage. “I need the highest quality microphone you have.”

He was at her feet. “We have several types. Are you wanting–”

“Shh.” She placed a finger over his lips. “Spare me the details. Bring me the best one for picking up multiple voices and tranferring them to a video.” Mouth open, he nodded and did as he was told. Her turquoise eyes watched him. “What’s your name, lad?”

“S-Slash. That’s what they call me, at least. Y-you?”

“Marina.”

“How aquatic.”

She scrunched the back of her sun-bleacahed hair as he returned with her request. “It is. Tell me, Slash, would you like to know why I need this?”

“Yes.”

Her lashes batted. “My sisters and I are making a music video. You can find us on YouTube under Marina and the Sirens. We’re uploading at midnight tonight. Would you like to hear a sample?”

He nodded more enthusiastically.

Sliding off the sales counter, she carressed the side of his face. Eyes swirling like the Bermuda Triangle. Then she began her song.

“When the full moon rises
And the tide is high
We’ll be rid of guises
Victory is nigh
As the raging seas churns
Secrets come alive
Soon you’ll see water burns
Only strong survive
Come with me, to your watery grave
Come with me, I’ll hold you hand, all the way
Listen to my voice, soon you’ll have no choice
But to dive into deep waters
Come with me, without falter
Come with me…”

She drew out the last note for more effect. Slash had been entranced, hanging on every syllable. Her eyes continued glistening. “You will give me the microphone. Say your counts were off. You will scrub any security footage of me. You will remember nothing. Except that a little birdie told you of my group. And you will convince your friends to watch our video at midnight.”

“Yes, Marina.”

“Excellent.” She grabbed his face with both hands, kissing him passionately. “Now go.” One last nod to her commands. Her eyes returned to their normal color. She took the box. Smiled again at the door’s ding. With graceful ease, she slid into the car she sung off a man three weeks ago. The surface world was so easy to manipulate. She pulled out her phone. Dialed one of her sisters. “Put me on speaker.”

Marina watched the still spell-induced man inside. “Listen up, sisters. We have eleven hours to be ready. I have the microphone. I’ll pick up the last bit of items we need. Practice the song. At midnight, we’ll upload the video so everyone in the world can hear it. When they do, they’ll be under our control. We’ll lure them all into the oceans. We’ll take back what is rightfully ours. The oceans will be filled with bones once again. Spread word to all our sisters. Victory is nigh. We’ll show them the true magic of music.”