Best Witches Issue 16
Previous issues can be found on my author page.
I threw myself down to sit on the stairs of one of the bridges overlooking the canal in Venice. Finding myself here was not nearly as magical as I had hoped. I had daydreamed of being whisked away across the ocean to travel and adventure. I was probably right on the nose about the adventure part.
Patting my pockets, I realized whatever sent me here had sent just me here. No friends. No foes. No cellphone, ID, money, or anything to help me getting back across the ocean. I pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes again. What was I going to do?
I’m thousands of miles from home, with no way to call for help, no way to board a plane, and no way to pay my way back either. As I dropped my hands from my face, I caught a flash of color on the insides of my wrists. I turned both my arms to show my inner forearms, and there sat two tattoos. On my right, a dagger in stark contrast in black against my pale skin. The left was a wrapped text going from my wrist to my elbow. The same passage from the book.
“Perfect,” I grumbled.
Trying to calm myself, I filled my lungs to the brim and slowly released it. Then I did it again. Feeling some of the tension slip its way down my spine, I looked around.
“Well, hot damn. I made it.” I said and then giggled wildly. “I’m in Italy.”
It was mind-boggling how old everything in this city was. The stones I was sitting on. The buildings I saw across the way. Taking one more deep breath, I ran my fingers behind my ears, the tingle of the magic caressing the soft skin there. Slowly the chaos of the city came into focus. The strange words translating themselves into English.
As I sat listening to the city, people around me chatting and laughing and yelling, my mind went to the girls. My heart constricted. I had no more control over what was going on with them than being able to get myself home. I held on to the idea that I had incapacitated the men long enough for the girls to get out of the cave. There was also the chance I had killed them. The blow from the dagger had seemed powerful, too powerful. Now the damn thing seemed to be trapped under my skin.
Standing up, I brushed off my pants and slapped my hands down on the railing of the bridge. Well, nothing could be done about any of that now. I had to find a way to get home. It wasn’t like I could just start a life here. I had to get back.
With that, I spun on my heel and headed through Venice, hoping something would just jump out at me. I walked away from the canal through some back streets. They wound in and through one another until ending up almost falling into the water at a dead end.
This led to the next thirty minutes of being completely lost in the back alleys. As I wandered, I started to hear haunting music waft through the air. It’s melody was bewitching. It bounced through the brick pathways, taking me this way and that trying to find it. Finally, I came upon a nondescript doorway with a sign hanging above that was almost too worn to see.
A violist was in the back of a shop filled with trinkets and furniture and all manner of things. I couldn’t help myself. I placed a hand upon the door handle jumping as my hand was shocked by the touch. The music continued, but the woman’s eyes were locked on mine as I entered the shop.
I slowly walked through the store, lightly picking up a glass statue here, and trailing across the lid of a music box there, as the music haunted me. Finally, as one long last note held on for dear life at the end of the piece, I stood just letting the note nip at my soul.
“Hello, Riley,” the woman said once the song was over. My head snapped towards her, and I leveled a glare in her direction.
“How do you know my name?”
Thank you, Sean Eike, for the image this week.