This snippet comes from my last Muddy River mystery, TATTOOS AND PORTENTS.  I hope you enjoy it:

I studied the dark ink, a Celt symbol. “May I touch your tattoo?” I asked Festus.

He rolled up his sleeve again, and I placed my hand on it. “I feel both Fae and witch magic.” Keeping my hand on the tattoo, I cast a spell, and suddenly, an image appeared in the air before us, a scene that played out as a movie.

We were seeing the images through someone else’s eyes. Whose, I couldn’t tell. But we were walking along a river bank, picking leaves and roots to brew for potions. We felt the sun on our backs, but the air was cool. Leaves were changing colors, and some had already fallen to the ground. Autumn. Late October maybe?

We could feel the seer’s thoughts and emotions. Whoever it was, was new to the area, surprised by how many varieties of plants grew there. She almost had her basket full when the sound of movements made her glance up. A swirl of spirits raced toward her and whirled around her like a gray tornado of dead souls. Wisps of faces flashed past her. I’d seen spirits like these before at the voodoo village across the river. I knew the spirits could do no harm, but this girl was frightened. She screamed, dropped her basket, and threw up her hands to defend herself. Then, she heard more movement behind her, but before she could turn, pain exploded in the back of her head and oblivion overtook her.

The scene ended for a moment of blank air, and then we felt her consciousness stir. The next images were fuzzy until her eyes focused better. A horrible headache made me press my hand to the back of my head. She teetered, unsteady, as she rose to look at her surroundings. Bars surrounded her. She was in a cage in what might be a basement. Gray, cement walls and a cement floor were lit by a lightbulb dangling in the center of the room.

She spoke a spell to unlock the cage door, but nothing happened. We felt her surprise and fear. She went to the door and shook it, chanting more spells. None of them worked. Trapped, terror raced through her. Then we heard footsteps coming down wooden stairs. Panic paralyzed her. She stared, holding her breath.

A tall, gaunt man shambled forward. He never blinked, his eyes glazed with no emotion behind them. His movements were jerky. He opened a small slot at the bottom of her door and slid a tray of food to her. Her stomach growled, and she realized she was starving. How long had she been unconscious?

She grabbed the bars with both hands and pleaded, “Please help me. Let me out of here.”

Unhearing, the man stood, turned, and walked back up the stairs.

The image dissolved, and Festus blinked, stirred, and gripped my hand. “That’s the dream. Every night. What does it mean?”


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