[Leaving Detective Sharkey for a bit, it’s time to introduce the OTHER hero for this story. You might remember her from a certain adventure she had down a rabbit hole—but she’s changed a bit since she was a kid… —RFY]
Alice still had a few boxes that she wanted to unpack before giving up for the night, but she was just too exhausted. She dropped unceremoniously into a blue lawn chair, the only furniture in her new living room, and puffed from tired lungs.
It had been a tricky couple of weeks, but Alice felt pretty sure she’d made a clean break. And she felt pretty good—about herself, about this new town, everything. And that worried her. Alice had learned at a very early age that nothing good could come of “feeling good.” It was almost inevitably a sure sign that disaster was about to strike.
Her arms and fingers ached, and she stretched them, then forced herself out of the lawn chair. She pulled a sky-blue scrunchy out of her blond hair, and her hair fell, straight and shining, to the middle of her back. She ran her fingers through it, feeling for imaginary tangles, then scooped it all up with her fingers and pulled it into a tight ponytail. She hog-tied her locks into an unbalanced mass on the back of her head with the hair tie, then went back to work.
Alice looked like she was in her twenties, but she was much, MUCH older than that. Since the 1950s, in what had been a radical, nearly transvestite act, she had taken to wearing jeans and white t-shirts, and she’d stuck with it—although her footwear had changed through the decades. She was fair skinned, fair haired, with pale blue eyes and a trim figure. Dancing had helped keep her in shape, and she certainly loved to dance. Dancing, of course, was one of the most important elements of most of the rituals that she performed. Magic itself had always attracted her, and it’s certainly what kept her young, but she was convinced that the dancing was what kept her practicing the art. Without dance, it was all dusty books and tedious chanting.
In her current persona, Alice was a 28-year-old cultural anthropologist who specialized in pre-Christian, European mythological artifacts. Though there were very few artifacts of this nature in the Pacific Northwest—outside of “private collections,” of course—Alice was able to translate her curatorial experience at her “old” college museum (where she worked for several years, and felt it was time to leave before anyone noticed she wasn’t aging) into a position, starting Monday, at the Broken Ankle Point Historical Museum. Alice was particularly happy that she hadn’t even needed to use magic to get the job. Her publication history had been impressive enough.
She sorted through a few more boxes as the moon rose. She hid a number of items in an extra-dimensional cubbyhole that she created in the freezer. Thank the Gods the kitchen appliances had come with the apartment! Then she set a sealing spell that locked all the doors and windows in the apartment, and half-stumbled / half-sleepwalked to the bedroom and crawled into her sleeping bag. First stop tomorrow morning: a decent furniture store to rent a couch, table, chairs, and—most importantly—a big, comfortable bed.
[I’m going to try to get another chapter to you folks at least once a week, maybe every other week, until the story’s complete—but you know I sometimes overextend… Anyway, if you haven’t read the first two chapters of this tale yet, go HERE. We’ll see you soon!!!]
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
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