Best Witches Issue 5
Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four
Bright and early Monday morning Tyrone was at the bookstore. He bore good tidings of coffee and bagels. As the door chimed as he walked in, I could hear a groan from Steve from the other side of the store. I have no idea how he runs a shop when he hates people so much; oh wait, I run the shop, duh.
“Morning Tyrone,” I say as he hands me a cup of coffee and my breakfast. My stomach rumbled as I got a whiff of carbs and cream cheese.
“Morning.” He looked like someone who could function before coffee.
“You are my savior,” I mumbled through eager gulps of java. “Steve!” I called back towards the back of the store.
“What, you heathen.” Storming around a corner with a tower of books he glares at us. “Oh, you. Great. What brings this occasion?” Steve had only met Tyrone a handful of times. It seems like he isn’t either on his good or bad-side, so that’s making its way towards positive.
“I need . . .” Tyrone starts.
“Tyrone has a mystery for us. He needs help with a cursed book.” I interrupted. There is a specific way to get Steve’s interest in a problem like this. Straight out asking for help is a sure-fire way not to get it.
Steve sets the tilting tower of books down on a side table that looks almost as precarious.
“Cursed book you say?” I smile, there is a reason why Steve and I work so well together. “Did you bring it? Is it here?” Steve asks. He looks on the verge of salvation and not because of breakfast.
I bite into my bagel and smile at the boys. Cream cheese acts like lipstick, and I wipe it off before anyone sees. Yet, I see Tyrone wink at me as he works on pulling a linen-wrapped parcel out of his bag. Part of the linen slides off the book and a tremor rolls through the building. It knocks over the table and the stack of books Steve had set down.
“Backroom. Let’s get this to the back room now!” Steve calls as he grabs the book from Tyrone like a game of hot potato and running for the workroom. “Now. Now, now, now. Follow me, kids.” Steve yells.
As Steve runs through the doorway, the tremors in the building stop. I flip the sign on the shop to “Out Fishing.” Close on Tyrone’s heels to follow Steve into the workshop. Within the walls of the workroom, a hum seems to be coming from the book.
“Enchanted cover. Smart.” Steve says as he picks at the linen around the book to see what happens when he takes small portions off at a time. The trembling stops as soon as we enter the workroom, but a hum was coming from the book now. Something that set my hair on end, like there is static electricity thrumming through the room.
“I got it at an estate sale in the middle of Nebraska. I’ve never seen anything as powerful as this.” Tyrone says as he hovers over Steve’s shoulder before Steve smacks him away.
“Personal space kid,” Steve mumbles poking at the book. He uses some of the tools of his devising. One sends a lightning bolt whizzing around the room; another sets the end of the tool on fire. “Interesting. Very interesting.” He mumbles. We notice we have lost touch with Steve for the next 10 minutes. I put a hand on Tyrone’s shoulder and pull him towards the side of the room.
“Tell me a little bit more about the book if you can,” I ask him.
“Well it was an estate sale, and I found it in a trunk of old books I bought.” He says shrugging. “There wasn’t much besides some old grimoires. They were all basic spells besides this one. It came wrapped in that cloth it’s the only thing that seems to stop its damaging effects. It almost destroyed my car when we went over a bump, and the cloth slipped.”
“Riley, come here please,” Steve said from the worktable. Turning I walked back over to Steve and lean over his shoulder. The same motion that got Tyrone slapped only got a humph in my direction from Steve. I could hear Tyrone rolling his eyes at us.
“Touch the book please,” Steve says.
“What? No!” My indignation came out in waves at Steve. How could he ask me to touch something that could take down the building?
“Do you trust me?” Steve asks me with as much seriousness in his voice I had ever heard.
“Yes.” I stammered. I couldn’t help but know deep in my heart he wasn’t doing anything to hurt me, but still, how could he know.
“There is no time to explain, please, just touch it. One finger should suffice.”
“Steve you have lost your mind!” Tyrone yells as I move towards the book. Tyrone grabs me and pulls me backward. “You are not touching that book.”
“Tyrone, I trust Steve. Plus, you are both here to revive me if anything bad happens.” I say with a wary smile.
“Not if we’re all incinerated!” Tyrone yells. “You have both lost your damn minds!”
“Science and magic come with risk Tyrone. It’ll be okay.” I say back. Before he can say anything else, I lean down and feel a wave of pressure coming off of the book. I push through the heat radiating off the book. I swallow past my nerves and give one last push and place my hand upon the book.
There is a massive concussive sound and the three of us a blown off our feet. The walls of the workroom catch us from the blast. As concrete walls are want to do. My bones ache. My head spins. The last thing I see before I fade into darkness is the book’s pages as they ominously flap in the wind surrounding the book on the table.
Thank you, Sean Eike, for the image this week.