Chapter 1

Okay, I missed Muddy River.  Yes, I’m working on another mystery.  Yes, I don’t have much time.  But…what can I say?  I just miss magic sometimes.  And I miss putting up chapters and stories.  So, I’m back at it, but I don’t have any for sure schedule for Hester and Raven.  I’m just going to write about them in-between other stuff, when I have time.  And I wanted to set a story for them in December that has Christmas merriment in it.  Well, as merry as you can get when magic goes awry.  Anyway, here’s the first chapter.  I hope you enjoy it.

Tattoos & Portents   (Muddy River Mystery #4)  by Judi Lynn

 

 

TATTOS AND PORTENTS

Chapter 1

Snow blanketed Muddy River. Raven was working from home today. As our town’s enforcer, December was a slow month for him. Paranormal, local crime didn’t pick up near holidays, and wandering rogues weren’t attracted to such a remote area of Indiana during the cold seasons. I, on the other hand, had to hold the interest of restless students who were more interested in sugar plums and presents than learning a new spell.

Claws and I decided to trek across the street and down the long drive that led to my witches’ school rather than drive. Strike’s sister, Odifa, who’d begun co-teaching with me, would be at Muddy River’s public school this entire month, teaching her type of magic to the young Faes who attended there. Since she and her husband had settled near Amulet Avenue, a small enclave of fellow Faes, she’d learned that young Faes’ training was sadly lacking.

As I left the house, Raven gave me a long, lingering kiss that would keep me warmer than my long, black skirt and knee-high boots, but then my fire demon was always a hot commodity. To teach, I always wore a flowing, black skirt, boots, and a snug, black T-shirt. I thought it gave the mind set I wanted the students to feel. Raven thought it was sexy, but he’s a fire demon, and you how demons are. They radiate sex.

Claws wasn’t much of a fan of snow, but my ocelot bravely tagged beside me as we waded through an inch of it to the school. I waved my hand before we reached the door to unlock it and start the heat.

My first chore, each day, was to write the lessons I meant to cover on the board. This was a one-room school with first graders through seniors in high school. By the time my young witches graduated, they had to learn to read and write, as well as do math, spells, and potions. We had a lot to cover. And after battling Murlyn and his coven, I’d changed my entire teaching schedule to cover more defensive spells and chants and to teach them sooner. Young witches were safe here, but outside of Muddy River, there were those who’d prey on them to steal their magic.

Pre-teens were especially vulnerable, so I’d started including chants to create protective shields and wards in their lessons. I even began teaching combat skills at the beginning of high school instead of waiting for their last year. When they’d graduate and leave this building, they could take their personal grimoires with them, and every spell that they’d written would be theirs to call upon. I included anti-aging spells in the book, as well as potions to clear complexions and make their hair shine, as well as spells to make their witches’ gardens grow longer and be more bountiful.

As always, from the first day they stepped into my school until the last, I taught them the dangers of the dark arts. On this day, I was teaching the young students a spell to clean any room. Their mothers would appreciate me for that. And for the older students, I was teaching them how to whip energy into a lasso to loop over an opponent.

By the end of the day, magic was flying everywhere in the room. I’d cast spells and wards to ensure none of it backfired or went amiss. No harm could come to anyone here. The students were so excited, practicing their craft, that they grumbled when I sent a wind to disperse all of their spells and sent them home for the day. I waved a hand to straighten the room, then started to the foyer to tug on my heavy long coat.

I was surprised to see Wanda and Festus, leaning against the wall, waiting for me. I was fond of the her and her husband. Between the two of them, they had only a modicum of magic. They lived in the suburbs of Muddy River, along with other supernaturals who were only one-eighth or less paranormal. They felt more comfortable among their own.

No mortals were allowed here. My coven and I had set up wards to keep them out, and the Fae had cast an illusion spell to hide Muddy River from them. But even a tiny remnant of magic made anyone welcome among us, and our wards protected them. Raven and I often ran into Wanda and Festus when we went to Derek’s bar in town. We thought of them as friends.

I smiled. “Hello! What brings you here?”

Wanda’s worried face made my cheerful greeting sputter. She glanced at her husband and said, “Festus needs help.”

Wanda was part vampire, and Festus was part warlock with even less magic than his wife. I studied him. Dark circles hinted at sleepless nights. “What happened?”

“Go ahead. Show her.” Wanda nudged him.

Festus rolled up the shirt sleeve on his left arm, and I stared. A complicated, Celt tattoo covered most of his left arm.

“When did you get that?” I’d never noticed it before.

Festus rubbed a hand over his unshaven face. “I don’t know. I don’t even remember getting it.”

Was our friend a fainter? “Did the tattoo artist knock you out so you wouldn’t feel the needle?”

“I didn’t go to a tattoo parlor. All I remember is getting in my car to drive to my next town, then I woke up and the tattoo was on my arm.”

Festus traveled for his business. He left the wards of Muddy River. I didn’t like the sound of this tattoo. I glanced at our yellow, Victorian house across the street. Raven was home. “Why don’t you come to our house, get comfortable, and we’ll talk about it?”

“Hop in the car and I’ll drive you there.” Festus waited while I waved to lock up the building and loaded Claws in the backseat beside me. My familiar went everywhere with me. No enemies could enter Muddy River, but when I was out and about, he never left my side. It was a five-minute ride to the house, and when I walked in with Festus and Wanda, Raven looked surprised.

“Festus has a problem,” I told him.

With a nod, he led us to the kitchen and went to the refrigerator to grab drinks. Once settled at our wooden, work table, he said, “Start at the beginning and don’t leave out anything.”

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Festus took a swig of beer before saying, “You know I travel a few times a year for my job.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoos & Portents

(Muddy River Mystery #4)

by

 

Judi Lynn

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Snow blanketed Muddy River. Raven was working from home today. As our town’s enforcer, December was a slow month for him. Paranormal, local crime didn’t pick up near holidays, and wandering rogues weren’t attracted to such a remote area of Indiana during the cold seasons. I, on the other hand, had to hold the interest of restless students who were more interested in sugar plums and presents than learning a new spell.

Claws and I decided to trek across the street and down the long drive that led to my witches’ school rather than drive. Strike’s sister, Odifa, who’d begun co-teaching with me, would be at Muddy River’s public school this entire month, teaching her type of magic to the young Faes who attended there. Since she and her husband had settled near Amulet Avenue, a small enclave of fellow Faes, she’d learned that young Faes’ training was sadly lacking.

As I left the house, Raven gave me a long, lingering kiss that would keep me warmer than my long, black skirt and knee-high boots, but then my fire demon was always a hot commodity. To teach, I always wore a flowing, black skirt, boots, and a snug, black T-shirt. I thought it gave the mind set I wanted the students to feel. Raven thought it was sexy, but he’s a fire demon, and you how demons are. They radiate sex.

Claws wasn’t much of a fan of snow, but my ocelot bravely tagged beside me as we waded through an inch of it to the school. I waved my hand before we reached the door to unlock it and start the heat.

My first chore, each day, was to write the lessons I meant to cover on the board. This was a one-room school with first graders through seniors in high school. By the time my young witches graduated, they had to learn to read and write, as well as do math, spells, and potions. We had a lot to cover. And after battling Murlyn and his coven, I’d changed my entire teaching schedule to cover more defensive spells and chants and to teach them sooner. Young witches were safe here, but outside of Muddy River, there were those who’d prey on them to steal their magic.

Pre-teens were especially vulnerable, so I’d started including chants to create protective shields and wards in their lessons. I even began teaching combat skills at the beginning of high school instead of waiting for their last year. When they’d graduate and leave this building, they could take their personal grimoires with them, and every spell that they’d written would be theirs to call upon. I included anti-aging spells in the book, as well as potions to clear complexions and make their hair shine, as well as spells to make their witches’ gardens grow longer and be more bountiful.

As always, from the first day they stepped into my school until the last, I taught them the dangers of the dark arts. On this day, I was teaching the young students a spell to clean any room. Their mothers would appreciate me for that. And for the older students, I was teaching them how to whip energy into a lasso to loop over an opponent.

By the end of the day, magic was flying everywhere in the room. I’d cast spells and wards to ensure none of it backfired or went amiss. No harm could come to anyone here. The students were so excited, practicing their craft, that they grumbled when I sent a wind to disperse all of their spells and sent them home for the day. I waved a hand to straighten the room, then started to the foyer to tug on my heavy long coat.

I was surprised to see Wanda and Festus, leaning against the wall, waiting for me. I was fond of the her and her husband. Between the two of them, they had only a modicum of magic. They lived in the suburbs of Muddy River, along with other supernaturals who were only one-eighth or less paranormal. They felt more comfortable among their own.

No mortals were allowed here. My coven and I had set up wards to keep them out, and the Fae had cast an illusion spell to hide Muddy River from them. But even a tiny remnant of magic made anyone welcome among us, and our wards protected them. Raven and I often ran into Wanda and Festus when we went to Derek’s bar in town. We thought of them as friends.

I smiled. “Hello! What brings you here?”

Wanda’s worried face made my cheerful greeting sputter. She glanced at her husband and said, “Festus needs help.”

Wanda was part vampire, and Festus was part warlock with even less magic than his wife. I studied him. Dark circles hinted at sleepless nights. “What happened?”

“Go ahead. Show her.” Wanda nudged him.

Festus rolled up the shirt sleeve on his left arm, and I stared. A complicated, Celt tattoo covered most of his left arm.

“When did you get that?” I’d never noticed it before.

Festus rubbed a hand over his unshaven face. “I don’t know. I don’t even remember getting it.”

Was our friend a fainter? “Did the tattoo artist knock you out so you wouldn’t feel the needle?”

“I didn’t go to a tattoo parlor. All I remember is getting in my car to drive to my next town, then I woke up and the tattoo was on my arm.”

Festus traveled for his business. He left the wards of Muddy River. I didn’t like the sound of this tattoo. I glanced at our yellow, Victorian house across the street. Raven was home. “Why don’t you come to our house, get comfortable, and we’ll talk about it?”

“Hop in the car and I’ll drive you there.” Festus waited while I waved to lock up the building and loaded Claws in the backseat beside me. My familiar went everywhere with me. No enemies could enter Muddy River, but when I was out and about, he never left my side. It was a five-minute ride to the house, and when I walked in with Festus and Wanda, Raven looked surprised.

“Festus has a problem,” I told him.

With a nod, he led us to the kitchen and went to the refrigerator to grab drinks. Once settled at our wooden, work table, he said, “Start at the beginning and don’t leave out anything.”

 

 

 

 

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