Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lady, you've got a poltergeist in your kitchen...

Sometimes Zofia, who is a sorceress, has to let an Ugwump--that's a human in her language--into her house to fix something. Now you know that anything might happen, since the humans on Earth simply don't believe in sorceresses, or in many other supernatural beings.

In this case, when Zofia has allowed someone to fix her cupboatds, there's definitely trouble bound to strike since her invisible servant, Biddle, is about to intervene because he feels she is in danger.

This excerpt is an example of the crazy, quirky situations that fill the work,  Spell of the Black Unicorn.

The doorbell rang, interrupting her thoughts and Biddle howled like a banshee.
Zofia rushed through the dining room drying her hands on a towel.
Opening the door, she found herself staring up at a giant. Close-set, steel-blue eyes gaped back down at her from a face as round as a balloon. The closely-cropped hair on his head resembled a five o’clock shadow. In contrast, a meticulously trimmed black beard, allowed to grow just under the chin, framed the roundness of that plump face. Not only did he tower over Zofia, but he took up a good deal of the doorway. The sight of him sent shivers through Zofia. He resembled Blood’s giant—from what she could remember. The same one who had tramped into her parent's home and ripped the place apart looking for her when she was ten. She knew he wasn't, but all the same, it took her a few seconds to get hold of herself.
Then the most extraordinary thing happened. He smiled. Those arctic eyes became suddenly warm; his face nearly cherubic. His smile had turned harsh features into something less scary. When he spoke, his voice tumbled from him with great control, as though with the understanding full volume might reverberate in such a way that its sheer power could make the rafters of the house tremble.
Hi. I’m Newell Vosserman. You called the other day?”
Having lost her voice momentarily, Zofia squeaked, “Yes.”
I came out here yesterday, but the elderly lady said you were under the weather. Figured, I had time today, and so came out.” Forearms the size of full-grown swamp lizards grew out of the rolled up sleeves of his work shirt. The material stretched and strained somewhat at the shoulders and chest.
Yes—um—I was, but I’m much better now, thanks.” She spoke quickly and stepped aside. “You may as well have a look at it, since you’re here.”
The huge man lumbered in. He owed his bulk not entirely to a generous amount of body fat. In contrast, his pants were loose-fitting, a generous amount of material was needed to cover that part of his anatomy, as well.
Nice place you got, Mrs. Grandier,” he said as he side-stepped the dining room furniture with some effort, very much aware of his size. Taking Newell in visually, Zofia now understood how he, even as a boy, might have been able to choke another boy to death.
Thanks,” she said, leading him through.
I can see this house is one of the older ones,” he said, looking around. His massive hand clutched the timber of the hall entryway.
Upon entering the kitchen, they were greeted by explosive hisses. Zofia turned toward the source of sibilation and found Perth and Argyll arching their backs, spitting and growling. Their ears flat against their heads; fur standing straight out on their backs and tails.
Enemy! Run!” Argyll cried.
Change us to humans and we’ll cut him up!” Perth said with gusto.
You’ve got cats,” Newell said. “Cats don’t like me much,” he added, halting half way through the room eyeing the two hissing felines. “I think it must be a karma thing. Like maybe I was a dog in another life, or something.”
Perplexed by Perth and Argyll’s sudden dislike for the huge man, Zofia frowned. “I’m sorry. They sometimes act this way with strangers. Especially men.” She leveled a scathing look at the two.
Suddenly Argyll clawed at Newell’s legs when he came within reach. Newell jerked back, startled by this aggressive display.
Zofia snapped up the broom and jabbed at them. “Argyll! Perth! GO!”
Angry hisses, both felines scrambled away. Newell jumped back. A shower of dried leaves rained down over his head and shoulders from above. He looked up at the herbs hung to dry along the rafters from square nails, then at the mess he’d made.
Gee, I’m sorry, Mrs. Grandier. I didn’t see... I didn’t mean to—”
No, that’s all right,” Zofia said, and stepped around him like he was a large appliance and found him holding the twiggy remains of dried oregano in his huge hands. Cupping her own hands, she relieved him of the crumbling herbs and disposed of it all in the waste basket nearby.
Gee.” He sniffed at his hands. “I smell like a pizza.” He chuckled lightly. Then looking beyond Zofia, he said, “Is that what needs fixing?”
She turned to see him looking at the gaping hole in her cupboards. “Yeah.”
He shambled forward. Bits of dried oregano snowed from his head and shoulders as he bent down. She could only think of the mess she’d have to sweep up once he was done, or Biddle would have a hissy-fit.
Newell bent over, exposing a portion of his fleshy backside to her. Mortified, Zofia turned; her exit almost as swift as her cats. But movement in her periphery stopped her. Two drawers slid open, and then closed as if of their own accord. Cupboard doors, top and bottom, swung open one after another.
Zofia sprang into action and sprinted across the room, closing doors and shoving drawers shut. Although she did all this soundlessly, the slamming of the last door was her undoing.
While still on his knees, Newell straightened and gaped at her.
Zofia twirled to face his startled gaze with one of her own. Quickly, she pasted a smile on her face, fearing the poor man might have seen the phenomenon. But his expression didn’t indicate this. Believing the crises had passed, and Biddle's exhibition was over and would not be repeated for the stranger’s sake, she relaxed.
But, before she could relax fully, another drawer, the one closest to Newell, slid open a few inches. They both watched transfixed as it slid open molasses-slow, then stopped half way. Without warning, it slammed shut, jarring the cutlery inside with such violence Zofia’s mind quickly conjured a picture of her silverware drawer now in a tangle of knives, forks and spoons.
Suddenly, two cupboards nearby swung open and slammed shut several times, followed by Biddle’s detached and very deranged-sounding laugh, (the very one he’d used last Halloween to scare the heebie-jeebies out of a few teenagers who’d come to the house sans costume and argued that Zofia owed them candy).
Zofia realized she was holding her breath, offering Newell a nervous smile. Her whole face felt hot as a cauldron over a fire.
Wow, Mrs. Grandier. Looks like you got more problems than a broken cupboard,” he said, sounding too calm.
Yeah, I guess so,” she said, and heard herself chuckle sharply.
Yep. Looks to me like you’ve got a ghost.”
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that’s exactly how your cupboards got broken.”
She managed to turn her open-mouthed look of surprise into an open-mouthed smile. “You hit the nail on the head, Newell,” she said, well aware that her lips were quivering. She couldn’t believe she was having this conversation with an Ugwump.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet you got yourself a poltergeist. Them’s the worst kind of ghost there is,” he went on somewhat like an auto mechanic might after looking under the hood of her car. He turned back to his measuring and examination of the cupboards. When he went down on all fours, he exposed a little too much information to her, once again. All the same, his nonchalance over the fact he knew she had a ghost in the house made her a little wary. Most Ugwumps didn’t believe in ghosts, even when they said they did. They came up with plausible explanations for the weird, unexplained happenings at a moment’s notice. Or, they became unnerved by it. This kinetic astral activity should have scared the pants the rest of the way off Newell.
Newell produced a large yellow measuring tape from somewhere and began earnestly measuring the cupboard cavity as though nothing was amiss.
Yep,” he said. “I been around ghosts before. Lots of times.” He turned to gaze back at Zofia over his shoulder, giving her an overly calm and confident smile. Turning he added, “My dad’s a ghost, you know.”
Really?” she said, trying hard to carry on this conversation without glancing at his gluteus cleavage above the waist band of his pants.
He killed himself, y’know? You don’t go to heaven when you take your own life, y’know?”
While Newell began to fill in the gory details of how his father had killed himself with a .22, and how the secretary had found him, Zofia watched a chair skidding noisily across the wood floor. This bit of shenanigans was followed quickly by Biddle’s high-pitched giggle. The chair levitated off the floor at eye-level, then arrowed straight for Newell’s large, round head. With a strangled gasp of fear, Zofia lunged and caught the chair before Biddle could slam it over the poor, unsuspecting Ugwump’s head.
Newell looked up to see Zofia holding the chair in mid-air. His look of confused surprise went through an amazing metamorphoses as two large kitchen knives whizzed dangerously close to Newell’s face, and stuck into the wooden cupboards, twanging, mere inches from his ears. His eyes bugged out, sliding left and right to take in the handles of the knives next to his face. If he’d have moved just a hair, the blades might have sliced one, or both ears, clean off.
BIDDLE!” Zofia cried, shocked.
Newell’s face had gone paper-white as he drew himself up off the floor. His measuring tape snapped back. He grabbed up his tool box, the tools jangling with his motions, and backed away. The look on his face was one which she had expected at the onset of Biddle’s weird antics.
Get out while you can!” Biddle’s detached and ghostly voice said.
I’m going! I’m going! Sorry, Mrs. Grandier—” Newell moved faster than she thought capable, and chugged out the back door.
As soon as the screen door slammed behind him, Zofia withered into the chair she’d kept from crashing into Newell’s head. She didn’t even remember putting it down.
Biddle!” she said. “What’s the meaning of your outburst?”
Blood was near,” Biddle said in a calm, unstrained voice. “I felt his presence.”
Blood?” she repeated and stared at the back door. “Not Newell?”
Displaced air near the refrigerator twanged and the dressing mirror appeared, making Zofia twirl around to face it. Aazel stared out at her from the mirror.
Aazel, did you detect Blood nearby too?” she asked.
I did, Mistress Zofia,” Aazel responded.
Zofia?” Dorian called to her. “I heard voices. Is everything alright?”


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