Book Two: See Jane Hex
Rhea E. Rose
Copyright © 2015
This book is dedicated to Kiki cat my own little Cheshire
I wrote Book Two for the same reasons that I wrote Book One. I wanted to create a cozy fantasy series, a world that would be fun and funny to slip into after a hard day’s work out in the ‘real’ world, and this is the first book in that series.
These stories started out as scripts for webisodes, but as I created the world, I realized there was so much more to the stories that I wanted to tell, but couldn’t in the spare form of script writing.
One of these days I’ll probably do the webisodes and put them on YouTube, but that won’t be for awhile, yet.
This is a fiction book. What are the benefits of reading fiction, in this case, entertainment. I had fun writing the books and looking for the images to give the series its feel, and putting it all together to bring into being something which was merely a daydream. This process was, mostly, very satisfying. Most creative’s will agree that having full control over a creative project is the ultimate high.
As well as the books in this series, I hope to have a set of real tarot cards to compliment the trilogy x3.
Why tarot? I love the imagery and narrative that accompanies the mysticism inherent in the practice of the tarot, and I love tarot’s deep connection to the feminine spirit.
Finally, I decided to go indie because I’m getting older and don’t have the patience required these days to hope traditional publishers will take a chance.
I’m glad that you did.
I hope you enjoy.
(The following books are coming soon to an Amazon page near you!)
Copyright © 2015 by Rhea E. Rose.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction, in whole or in part in any form. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover Design by RainWood Press
Cover and interior Illustrations
Andriy Zholudyev ©
Well, after my nightmare attempt to get outta Meadowvale where I moved to after my big, fat divorce from Manuel, I was still carrying the deck of cursed tarot cards, which I’d planned on destroying. They were magical in a bad way, but instead of destroying them, I ended up returning to Maisie Price’s (the town sorceress) Curio shop (minus Glendie, my best friend, and without my Cheshire cat, Sia). I know that’s a lot to take it in, but it should all come clear at some point.
The Tarot spirits had become freed from their deck due to my impetuousness and one of these spirits had taken possession of my best friend. I’d freed her from the spirit possession by flicking the corner of the tarot card, three times, the way I’d seen Maisie do it at the shop. Flick, flick, flick of the fingers on the card corner and
, she came back, sitting in the car like she’d never been gone. I’d dropped that Sun card (the card that had captured and held Glendie) to the bottom of the cursed deck.
After that Glendie and I, well, we went to the Ten Lanes bowling alley and bowled a few games, and that calmed our nerves. We didn’t talk about what happened. Instead, I bought Glendie a few too many beers and brought her home in the evening to her tiny, overcrowded apartment and put her to bed.
I hung around her place for a while, till it got dark and then decided it was time to go get cash, so I could set up one of my dates.
After all that, I’d decided I needed a distraction, so that meant I needed to go on a date, real bad.
One of my favourite pastimes was online dating. I didn’t know why I liked it so much; maybe it reminded me of getting a new present each time I found a guy to match me. Guys liked me. They liked the way I looked, tiny, sassy blond, but it was hard to get any respect. Before I could go on a date I needed more money, so I could get ready.
Before I left Glendie’s, I noticed Sia’s collar in the fridge.
How had it got there?
I took it back and headed for the bank.
he fall weather was arriving earlier than usual (which can happen on the west coast, especially in the evenings.) and it crept in, and with it came the damp, web like mist that liked to wrap itself in my hair and flatten it.
My breath shot out in front of me like steam from an old train engine. I wasn’t any richer tonight even though it was pay day. I walked alone to the outdoor ATM that hung on the granite walls of the bank. Never did it make any sense to me to put money machines on the outside walls of banks, towards streets and alleys where creepers can watch people take their cash, so they can, in turn, take people’s cash away from them.
I can imagine those old, croaky bankers in their board rooms planning the demise of their clients and chuckling at the different robbery scenarios they helped create by placing the money machines where they do.
Koldwell was my bank and aptly named because its attitude was well and truly cold. The night’s mist seemed to love Koldwell. I swear the fog thickened and swirled even more fiercely around the hewn granite bricks of the impassive building.
I drew closer and the mist choked everything out of sight and clung to me demonically with damp, unwanted cotton candy like tendrils. The next thing I knew I was cocooned in it. My orientation suddenly got wonky because I couldn’t see anything to the left or right. I tried looking up to see if there were any lights on at Koldwell, or if I might even spot the location of one of the many gargoyles that hang off its sides, nothing.
Mist, mist and more mist.
I kept walking. I knew the bank was right in front of me. Eventually, after a few more steps through the mist, I saw warm, glowing lights. The fog thinned around these lights. They appeared like welcome stars to a sailor lost at sea; they weren’t very bright, but bright enough to lead me through the curtain of weather.
I drew closer, step by careful step; the lights not only cut through the fog, but the fog disappeared in the aura of the glow.
Had I stepped into another dimension?
The lights turned out to be light bulbs. Old fashioned ones, not halogens or spots, but old, colored light bulbs, red and blue and yellow, and they flickered in a pattern that made them look like they were a moving banner. Not all the bulbs on the outside of the machine worked, a few blinked and fritzzed, some remained unlit, but I was drawn to them.
I became the proverbial moth.
For no reason the mist all around me parted like a stage curtain to reveal what appeared to be Maisie Price’s fortune teller machine. I’d seen it in the back of her shop on my last visit. For a few minutes I forgot where I was standing.
To my utter horror a voice came out of the machine.
“A nickel for my thoughts.”
I almost peed myself.
It was Maisie Price’s fortune telling machine! The very one I’d seen in her shop on that fateful day when I’d released all the major arcana folk that were held prisoner against their wills in Maisie’s cursed tarot deck.
On that day the machine was dark and dusty and barely noticeable as it sat partially covered by a tarp. More of a giant paper weight than anything interesting. Now it was completely lit; the unblinking dummy inside with black, glass eyes and black hair held back by a purple silk scarf and a ruby encrusted turban, stared at me. She had chipped red lips, and as scary as she was, she made Koldwell bank and its granite blocks look warm and welcoming.
I approached cautiously, and the fortune telling booth lit up brighter than a shopping mall Christmas tree. The gypsy automaton inside began to move. Her head scanned back and forth as if alerted to my presence. A burgundy colored fringe hung inside of the glass box framing the area in which she sat. A red velvet curtain behind her was drawn closed and the curtain looked a little worse for wear.
At her finger tips lay a pile of cards that looked exactly like cursed ones I’d thrown at Devon Raker’s ass in Maisie’s shop; that day the sorceress and the demi-demon captured me and made me in thrall to their desires!
This machine had to be Devon’s doing. He was Maisie’s side-kick half-demon, and belonged inside the devil card of the cursed deck, although why Maisie thought he was of any use to her or anyone, I will never understand.
While the gypsy fortune teller was a distraction from the cold and isolation of the foggy night, I got more creeped out by its presence. When would Devon jump out of the fog and scare me?
“Hello, Jane, a nickel for my thoughts.”
Holy crap! I did pee myself.
I tried to hang on to my wits, but that wasn’t really working. I looked around me. The fog tightened again and got thicker than ever, nothing but me and the gypsy mannequin.
“Hello, Jane, a nickel for my thoughts.”
, I hated it when she spoke.
I decided to play along for minute to see where this would go; my peripheral vision was on high alert. I looked left. I looked right and then I said, “You look like Maisie.”
I don’t know what I expected from “her,” maybe that she’d turn into a real person and step out of the booth and say “surprise” you’re on our TV show and here are a bunch of prizes and money for being such a good sport!
“A nickel for my thoughts.”
Fine. She wants a nickel. I will give her a nickel. Although, I wasn’t even sure I had one to give. I dug deep into my black patent leather, Armani shoulder bag. It had a decorative chain and studs. I loved it! I didn’t have much change, and I usually let any change I did have lie loose on the bottom of my purse, pennies galore and oddly enough many quarters, which I mistook twice for nickels. They were too big to fit in the slot of the machine. As I was about to give up, I discovered a nickel and quickly slipped it in.
At first, after I deposited my nickel, the gypsy fortune teller only stared, mute. I thought that once again I’d been ripped off by a machine. Maybe she needed to warm up; maybe the fog made her gears damp, but eventually I heard some odd internal squeaking noises as things began to roll and grind deep within the old box.
While the mechanical lady warmed to the weather, I noticed a sign I hadn’t spotted earlier. It said Cartomancer for the Ages. Car-to-man-cer.
Never heard that word before.
There was more:
Madam Leonard Knows All and Tells All
. I could’ve sworn Madam Leonard blinked while I read her sign. I tried reading it aloud and watched her face as I did, but there was nothing, not even a twitch from her. The glassy glow in her eyes seemed to reflect my movement. The fog crowded in.
I was so creeped out; I didn’t know what to do.
“Come on genie. Talk. I want my fortune.” I decided she was better company when she was talking.
Then a card slid out of one of her slots, a business card, or so I thought. I grabbed the card, read it --
Money comes your way.
At first I felt puzzled, then elated.
I turned the card over --
Easy come easy
I stood there and read the card a few more times, flipping it over and over. Then a pile of cash bills pushed out of Madam’s slot.
My eyes widened and I grinned like a dog in a bone yard.
“Money!” I said to Madam, and clapped her on the glass. “Yes!” More money than I might have got out of my bank accounts. While I was making friends with the generous fortune teller, a shadow slid across her pane. At first I wrote it off as my own reflection as I moved in to take the cash. I steadied my purse under the stack of bills and got ready to fill my Armani.
The fog had to have cloaked the sound of footsteps behind me because I didn’t hear anyone around me. Then, as if out of nowhere, a strange hand darted in from behind and beat me to the stack of bills.
“What the eff?” I said to Madam Leonard, as if she had anything to do with it. The fog cloaked us so heavily that the identity and the direction of the thief remained a secret.
Still I recognized that dirty, nail broken and bitten hand.
“Devon!” I yelled after him to let him know that I knew it was he who ripped me off. Then I turned back to the fortune teller hoping for more money to come sliding out, but Madam Leonard, Cartomancer, was gone, and only the regular ATM rested in its place.
Late the next morning, I finally got to Maisie’s shop where I found her there dusting a few things. Keeping Maisie some company was Emilia Darkiness, Maisie’s side kick death dealer from the cursed tarot deck. Emilia was bodyguard of sorts, and she sat on a large crate pushed to the rear of the shop.
The shop chimes had announced my arrival, but neither Maisie nor Emilia looked up at me. Maisie had a huge old fashioned feather duster that made me think of a turkey tail on a stick. I don’t know how she didn’t knock every knick knack to the floor using her duster.
Emilia sat on the unpacked box in a corner polishing her sword. I carried my favorite over-sized Gucci handbag. It made me feel wealthy and secure, and I flopped it down onto the counter.
That got their attention.
I nodded first at Maisie and then to Emilia, and I didn’t care how much of my grumpiness got expressed. And I guess I expressed myself pretty well because Maisie and Emilia exchanged amused looks. I didn’t want to talk, so I pretended to look for something in my purse. I really wanted to chew some gum, but I knew I’d eaten my last piece a while back. Emilia got up and moved a little closer to me and as usual she wore her black and red judogi, although she keeps telling me it’s not a judogi because it’s not Japanese.
Her long, wild, almost afro, with dreads, was held back with a brightly colored, woven headband and her sword handles protruded from her in all directions. She looked like a walking pin cushion. Then I remembered the fog and the fortune teller and the fact that I had no money and I got grumpy again, wondering if the two of them had anything to do with last night
I’d received Maisie’s text message. She said she wanted me this morning because she wanted to discuss my working for her in the shop for awhile. She said she’d schedule me around my part time teaching job, and that she paid well, also, that we’d sort out the whole weird star card and ‘you’re my prisoner’ business that had also happened the day before. (Maisie had captured me and temporarily locked me inside the star card of her cursed tarot deck. I was unable to get free until I’d agreed to participate in her scheme to free herself of the cursed tarot deck.)
So, here I am.
“Good morning, star shine. What took you so long? I thought you'd find your way out of the star card a lot sooner,” Maisie said, as she continued to dust.
I gave her the silent treatment.
“You have a bad date?” she asked.
I gave her a look.
How’d she know about my dating?
“Devon stole money from me last night, if that's what you're getting at,” I said, staring down the two of them.
I saw her exchange looks with Emilia who’d walked over and stood behind me. I turned around to look at Emilia and she avoided eye contact, not hard considering I’m five foot two and she’s about half a foot taller.