NaNoWriMo Day 17, Soup’s Off

soup's off cover

First, I just want to thank you all for the boost you’ve given me in the past few days. This is ans absolutely incredible community, and I thank you very much!

Observation: Yesterday I couldn’t even write a book review on a book I loved so I thought maybe I should leave the writing alone rather than dwell in self-pity and bad ideas. Today I wrote two book reviews, but haven’t found that nifty little writerly place. I’ve written anyway for better or worse because I don’t want to not get my 50,000 words, even if they aren’t stellar.

I have wondered if this is worth it.  I come away feeling as if it might be a test, though, of perseverance and discipline, because those are two traits that a novelist needs. So onwards!

Disclaimer: Worse than draft; proceed with caution! 😉

Total word count: 27,849

I’m behind but still here…3824 words if you want the dreaded details.

You can read previous sections here.


 

Chapter Eleven

Mom takes one look at my face and hustles me inside the house, her arms grasping my elbow and directing me into the family room where the fireplace is lit, the heat pouring out welcome.

“You look like death warmed over,” she says.

Immediately Gran appears with a mug, smelling of warmed bourbon, cinnamon and peaches, her healing brew. It occurs to me that maybe she has foresight, how else could she have known that I would be coming here tonight?

I sit on the burgundy suede sofa and Moira jumps up next to me and puts her chin on my leg. I look faintly amazed at this dog who has practically wanted nothing to do with me. I rub her head with my palm.

“We went to Smokey Dave’s and that guy who we thought was Yuri is actually some Swedish dude named Anton,” I say, and stop to take a sip of the bourbon brew, yum. I nod. “He knew I was a witch. He tried to make me believe that he was on my side, but when I tried to get out of the bar, he tried to pressure me back to his hotel.”

I intercept the exchanged glance between Mom and Gran. Mom’s lips tighten into a thin line. “And then what happened?” she asks.

I take another sip of the drink. I could really grow used to that. It’s lovely, especially the warmth that tracks down inside, dispelling the chill of the night and the fear I’ve felt since Smokey Dave’s parking lot.

“Focus,” Moira says.

“He tried to strong-arm me and when he went to grab me, I whooshed my arm and he went flying. It was me. I made him fly across the parking lot. He was unconscious and then we came here,” I say.

“You what?” Mom says, shaking her head as if she didn’t quite understand me.

“I flung my arm outward to stop him from grabbing me and then he went flying. I never touched him.”

Mom sits down next to me. She grabs my hands into hers and bounces them together, while her smile is tight-lipped and almost not a smile.

“Let me get this straight. You think you tossed him across the parking lot?”

“I know I tossed him across the parking lot. Yes. He’s big. There was no one else there. When I flung my hand, he went flying.”

“Crap on a cannoli.”

Gran sits next to Mom, leans in, her eyes fearful. “Who is he?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. He knew I was a witch. Said it was because of the soup. That he kept hearing that it was magical. I mean, how is that possible? It’s not like my soups get reviews on the internet or anything…do they? He also said he was knew because of the stuff that happened when Isla made things go funny, but he doesn’t know it was Isla. He thinks it was me. He thinks I’m some powerful witch.”

Mom throws back her head and laughs. “You are, honey. You threw his big old body across a parking lot.”

When her laughter fades, we sit in silence for a few minutes, the four of us looking at the flames dancing across the logs in the gas fireplace. There’s nothing to be jubilant about. The guy, this Anton person, is a threat.

Moira moves and sets herself on the soft blue carpet in front of me and lays her head on my foot. This dog who has been so arrogant has moved to me. I am more touched than I could admit.

Immediately Gran and Mom start brainstorming. “We have to find out who this man is,” Gran says. “I really doubt that he’s alone in this. What would a single man hope to gain by kidnapping a witch?”

Mom sighs, settles back against the couch. She laces her fingers together and stares up at the ceiling. “He could be a witch slayer. They’re still out there, but usually they look for witches who are doing evil.”

“Witch slayer?” I ask incredulously. “Like a vampire slayer? For real?”

Mom nods. “Yep. Funny you should mention vampire slayer, because the witch slayers do tend to have power and strength handed down through generations, although not just when one dies. That was one thing I could never figure out about Buffy, the whole bringing up a new slayer when one dies. Why didn’t they just have a steady stream of slayers to get rid of the vampires?”

I grin at Mom’s geekiness. “Don’t know, Mom.”

The fire spits and crackles and I’m momentarily mesmerized by how the flames lick the air, while my brain wants me to ask a question that rose as soon as she mentioned witch slayers, but I’m afraid of the answer.

“Do witch slayers have powers?”

“Yup. Some do. Not all. Some have inherited powers, kind of like witches, while there are others who are trained very well, but have no powers.”

“Like what kind of powers?”

Mom shrugs, her fingers worrying a loose thread on the throw pillow. “It varies. There was rumor about one who could throw fireballs.”

“I presume you’re no talking about the cinnamon candies.”

She smiles ruefully. “No. He could throw a ball of fire, or so it was rumored. I don’t think there’s ever been any verification of that, has there, Mom?”

“I think scorch marks and a dead Penelope were a pretty good verification,” Gran says dryly. She stands and smooths her shirt over her pants. “Should I call the other girls, Cat?”

Mom nods. “Thanks.”

Mom grabs my hand, squeezes it, and then searches my face. “Are you okay now that you’ve thrown a mountain of a man with a powerful fling?”

“That part’s okay, except that there’s no guarantee I can do it again. I’m just worried about who he is and what his intentions are. I’m worried that he might go after Isla.”

Gran returns and then she and Mom discuss protection spells, evidently there’s already one around this house. They are going to make sure that all of our homes are protected. While they talk, I think about how strange this all is. A few weeks ago, I made magical soup, and then I made crazy magical soup, and now I’m a witch. What would have happened if I’d know it all along? I suspect things would be very different. My sisters and I probably would have been far more careful if we suspected that there were people out there who might want to hurt us.

6 am arrives far too early for me, even Moira grumps as we get ready to go into Soup’s On. Mom and Gran are in the kitchen and I wonder if they even went to sleep last night.

Mom slides an omelet in front of me with toast and my necessary big mug of caffeine, and a bowl of something in front of Moira, which she inhales, her tail wagging.

“You should learn to cook like your mother,” Moira mutters. And here we go again.

“We’ve put a protection spell on Soup’s On so you girls should be safe. We’ve also got people looking into who this guy is who attacked you.”

“So early?” I ask. “Who’s awake at this time of morning?”

“Europe,” Mom says, grinning.

My mind is reeling by the time I pull my car into its parking space behind Soup’s On. A part of me feels anger towards Mom and Gran that me and my sisters are so ill-prepared to take on whatever it is we’ve been handed. I’m 26. You would have thought they would have mentioned the fact that we were witches sooner rather than letting it get to the mess it currently is.

As usual, the first scent that hits me is of baking bread, but Rose isn’t in the kitchen. Moira trots to the dining area where Rose is standing, arms folded looking out the glass window at Anton who is sitting on the bench on the opposite side of the street. Her green eyes are steely and her brow is furrowed. When he sees me next to Rose, he raises his hand. Bloody man.

“I can’t believe the audacity of him just sitting there like that,” Rose says.

“How long has he been there?”

“I came out here fifteen minutes ago. He was there then.”

“You’ve been watching him for fifteen minutes?”

She laughs. “Of course not. I just came in here to see if I had any witchy powers that could chase him away.”

“From the fact that he’s still sitting there, I take it the answer is ‘no.’”

“You’d be right.”


end of Day 17

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