Easy Mistake to Make

person holding green pine tree leaf

Image from Unsplash taken by Dayna Lepp

“So how did you find out where I worked?” Jasmine asked suspiciously.

“I have my ways.” Tyrone said, airily.

“And those ways are?” Jasmine pressed.

“Jay saw you walk in here last week.” Tyrone admitted. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m here, and so are you.”

“I’m working.” Jasmine said. “Excuse me.”

Tyrone stepped aside to allow Jasmine to ease past as she carried a large box over to the display of herbs. “That looks far too heavy for you.” He smiled at Jasmine. “Let me carry it for you.”

“I’m fine.” Jasmine rolled her eyes and set the box down. “I’m stronger than I look.”

“You had better believe that.” Mrs Tuesday said, grinning happily.

Lady Freydis drifted over. “Jasmine, you have an admirer.”

“It’s okay, Tyrone knows we can only be friends as I have a boyfriend!” Jasmine glared at Tyrone.

“Babe, you should rethink that.” Tyrone said. “I’m good looking, I’ve got a good job lined up, and I bet I could wipe the floor with any pretender to your heart.”

“I think ‘Pretender to Your Heart’ is a very good saying.” Lady Freydis said. “Which book did you find it in?”

“Seriously, Tyrone, I’m happy with Darren.” Jasmine shoved out some packets of fern seed. “I’m sure you’ll find someone else.”

“I can’t sleep at night.” Tyrone said. “I’m dreaming of you all the time.”

“How can you dream if you are not asleep?” Lady Freydis asked.

Jasmine ignored Mrs Tuesday chuckling in the background. “I have a boyfriend. I’m very happy with him. Please, just leave me alone.”

“Never!” Tyrone declared. “I’ll never give up.”

Kadogan strolled in. “I thought I felt some embarrassment.” He looked narrowly at Mrs Tuesday. “What have you done?”

“It’s not me this time.” Mrs Tuesday said. “Jasmine has an admirer.”

“Does Darren know?” Kadogan asked.

Tyrone looked at Jasmine. “You really do have a boyfriend? I thought you were just saying that to put me off.” He shook his head. “Forget him, babe, I could treat you like a queen.”

“I advise against pursuing Jasmine.” Kadogan said. “I do not deny that it is entertaining to watch, but Darren was formerly a Royal Marine and is quite ruthless when he deals with opposition. I do not wish the White Hart to be caught up in anything unsavoury.”

Tyrone snorted. “They all say that they’re ex-army, but they never are. You put me and him against each other in the gym or sparring or whatever, and I’ll show you what a real man…” He trailed off.

Darren walked into the shop and Jasmine’s face lit up with joy at seeing him. Darren’s face relaxed a little and a warm current of love ran between them before Darren looked up. “Just water today, please.”

Tyrone looked at the hard muscled, hard faced, lethal presence that was looking so softly at Jasmine. “I’ll see you in college, Jas.”

Human Error

black and silver microphone on brown wooden table
Image from Unsplash, taken by Randy Fath

Steve tentatively opened his eyes and squinted into the lights. As he regained his senses he realised he was strapped to a chair and surrounded by recording equipment. “What?”

“You are half elfen.” A tall man, lean and unshaven, stood at the back of the neglected room. He had a small laptop perched on a barstool next to him. “You are going to tell me everything.”

Steve shook his head and winced. “You hit me over the head when I was getting into my car.”

“You can’t escape.” There was a psychotic flatness in the man’s voice. “I’ve taken all precautions.”

“Yes, my father was elfen.” Steve said. “But I wasn’t raised by him. I was raised by my mother.” The leather straps that loosely held his wrists were scored with arcane symbols and Steve could sense some serious magical power in there.

“But you know your father, and you know other elfen. I need you to tell me everything.” The tall man tapped some keys on his laptop. “I’m starting the recording. Now, tell me about your Queen.”

Steve checked around. He was surrounded by a circle of what looked like iron filings, intertwined with red thread. A second circle of salt surrounded the iron. He narrowed his eyes. The damp patches on the bare boards probably meant a sprinkling of holy water. “Queen Elizabeth II, of the United Kingdom and other places. I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“No, your real Queen, the Winter Queen.” The man insisted. “I have ways of making you uncomfortable.”

“You’ve tied me to a chair.” Steve tested the straps on his wrists. “That’s not comfort.”

“You see the runes on the straps.” The man leant forward. “It took a lot of research to find them.”

“Yeah, the magic is pretty robust.” Steve admitted. He tugged at them again.

“I know!” The man straightened. “Tell me your name.”

“It’s Steve Adderson.” Steve said. “You must know that.”

“No, your secret name, the one you hide.” The man stalked over and leant close. Steve could smell the coffee on his breath. “I can make things very unpleasant. What is your name?”

Steve looked directly into the eyes of the man and then headbutted him. As the man reeled back, Steve kicked his legs from under him and then tugged his hands free of the straps on his wrists. He kicked the circle of iron shavings aside and dragged the terrified man to his feet. “I’m half elfen. I’m also half human, you muppet.” He looked around. “Get this mess cleared up and then we will have a talk.” Steve glared at him. “And uncomfortable is the least of your worries.”


siamese cat on gray stone during daytime
Image by Eddie Howell on Unsplash

Darren glanced at the reflection in the window. The wight was still following him. He crossed the narrow street and turned into Fishergate. The wight change course after him, carefully avoiding the crowds of tourists and focused on the pursuit. Darren crossed the road, dodging between cars, then crossed back. The wight followed his every move. Dammit, thought Darren, the creature isn’t even trying to be subtle. It wants me to feel the fear.

He crossed back and then ducked down Howard Street. As he upped his pace past the quaint Victorian houses, he hoped he had remembered correctly. Howard Street was a dead end to cars, but there should be an alley at the end, which would take him out of there. He could not allow the wight to catch him in public.

He was almost jogging now, ducking into the alley way and under the leafy trees. He could feel the dark, draining presence of the wight behind him. Night was falling and the wight would be stronger as the sunlight faded. He muttered a quick prayer. He had to get the wight away from the general public. It was getting closer, moving in for the kill.

Darren glanced quickly around and headed into York Cemetery. The shadows were stretching down and across the rows of old fashioned graves. He slowed and looked along the paths. Where could he go next? There was a dry chuckle behind him.

“You let me hunt you to a graveyard? The home of the dead?”

Darren turned and looked the wight straight in its sunken eye. “You didn’t hunt me.”

“Yet here you are, alone, with me. Do you know what I am?” The wight hissed, dropping any attempt at glamour and showing its dark, fibrous shape.

“Do you know what I am?” Darren said. He made the sign of the cross and started praying.

A cat slid past his legs and leapt with effortless grace onto a nearby headstone. The image rippled and Lady Freydis sat, her eyes very bright. “And do you know what I am? I am the very angry prince who let an exorcist lead you to hallowed ground. You are not so powerful here, wight.”

A groan bubbled from the wight as Darren’s prayers drained its power. It looked around wildly, but members of Lady Freydis’ court were fading into view from the cemetery shadows and blocking all means of escape. Kadogan leant forward. “And you thought you were the hunter!” There were malevolent chuckles in the group surrounding the dwindling wight. “Perhaps you should have hunted a with a little more care.”

Darren pronounced the final, Latin blessing and the wight collapsed into dark dust, blowing into the leafy calm of the cemetery. He nodded to Lady Freydis. “Thank you.”

“Not at all.” Lady Freydis said, gracefully sliding from the headstone. “We all enjoy a good hunt.”