Release of Magic, The Leira Chronicles Book 2
By Martha Carr and Michael Anderle
The sign that hung on the door to the large, open room said PDF in large black letters. It stood for Paranormal Defense Force and was comprised of a small group of hand-selected magical creatures whose ancestry went back to Oriceran.
One of the requirements though, was that each hire had to have been born on Earth. Magical beings made ordinary human beings very nervous, in general. It was why they kept the small department off the books. The PDF was the ultimate black-op.
There were jokes around the department about what PDF actually stood for. On bad days it was joked the PDF stood for put down fast. A reference to the days when human beings liked to dissect anything they didn’t understand. On better days, PDF stood for presto digitalis frenzy, an incantation every magical child learned that made someone cluck like a chicken.
At least once a year, someone got fed up and made a human general, or worse, a Congressman from some small state who had just learned about their existence and insisted on a tour, flap their arms and crane their neck, gulping in air as they crowed at the fluorescent lights overhead.
The never was, never will be spell was getting a workout from PDF.
Even so, there was an unspoken agreement that once someone had let loose with a childish prank, they’d give it a minute or two before reversing the spell and erasing the memory. That way everyone got one good selfie in before the fun was over.
It helped that all the members of the PDF looked as ordinary as any other mid-level manager who worked for the government, even if they did have the ability to turn somebody into a toad.
The two women sat in front of the oversized virtual screen hanging in front of them, puzzled at the data scrolling by: green symbols in straight lines. Their eyes followed along as their concern grew.
They were sitting in a nondescript, low-slung grey brick building that was tucked in the back of an office park decked out to look like different companies that sold manufacturing equipment in Alexandria, Virginia just across the river from Washington, D.C. It was a government front for an enterprise that was known only as the G4 Project, including the PDF. The witches and wizards, and a handful of elves that worked there liked to refer to it as Area 54, but only when their human coworkers weren’t around.
That line usually got a snicker or a raised eyebrow out of any new hire. Part of the requirement, after all, was you had to have some non-human blood.
“You sure this isn’t the work of the Silver Griffins?” asked the younger woman, dressed neatly in navy blue slacks and blazer. She wrinkled her nose and squinted at the data still coming in. “I can’t remember in the five years I’ve been here ever seeing so much unregistered magic phenomena. Lois, you’ve been here longer. Does this ring a bell?”
Lois scowled at the other woman. “I’m not old in witch years you know, Patsy,” she said, pushing the thin brown frame of her glasses back up her nose.
Patsy smirked, and let out a snort. “Okay, whatever. You didn’t answer my question. Any of this look familiar? I mean, geez, that has to be a right good explosion, right? We should report this to the G4 section manager.”
“Now, hold on to your britches, there, Patsy. They’re just a bunch of government humans. The worst kind! Very literal! Long-winded! They’ll call for a study! You’ve seen what they do when they hear that one of our kind is out using their natural talents. They run amok! What if this is some naturally occurring gases, or something?”
“Ha! That’s a good one. Remember what happened back in ‘04 when those elves managed to make the fireworks hang in the air over the Super Bowl? That nice Light Elf, what was his name?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. Sang at the halftime just as the fireworks went off and hung there, glittering in the sky.”
“So pretty! Sure, I remember. Saw it live on TV and said to Earl, Earl, that sure is pretty but it’s gonna’ cause trouble. Don’t you know my phone rang just a minute later? Didn’t get to see the end of the game.”
“Thank goodness for Justin’s quick thinking and that so-called wardrobe malfunction!” Lois let out a peal of laughter, bending over in her chair.
“One little nipple and everyone forgot about the fireworks. Humans,” Patsy chortled. “See all of those swirls and triangles and the sparkling explosions next to the one that looks like a ferris wheel gone crazy?” asked Patsy, pointing at the symbols streaming in front of them, reflecting off of Lois’ glasses. “That’s an explosion in the middle of downtown Chicago.”
“Huh. I thought that was just a large use of magic like an artifact or a group of wizards performing a spell together.”
“Well, in a matter of speaking, but when it’s combined with the swirls it means a big magic kaboom. Now, seeing as how all the morning programs haven’t spit out their coffee and run as fast as they could to Chi-town I’d say someone also did a pretty neat job of covering it up. That, I’ll bet you my tenth row Aerosmith tickets, was done by the Silver Griffins. The big boom doesn’t read like them but the cover up sure does.”
“What do you think it all means?”
“Someone powerful is using magic out there,” said Patsy. “From the looks of it, not your average Oriceran. Hmmm, interesting.”
“We have to report it. That’s our entire job description,” said Lois.
“No doubt. It’s how we phrase it that will matter.”
“You mean, like we maybe don’t mention the use of an amnesia spell…”
“Good example, yes. And, maybe we dig around for a few facts first. Look in the Chicago Tribune for anything weird that happened that day.”
“That works for me. Just sounds like we were doing our best to do an even better job.”
“What now?” Patsy pushed her long blonde bangs out of her face.
“Look!” Lois held up her smart phone. “Front page of the Tribune from the same day as the explosion. Just under the fold. Two people mysteriously disappear from a college soiree. A professor and a dean. No history of mental illness it says. Total mystery. No traces found.”
Patsy looked up at the screen and pulled out her wand, a government-issued willow branch left over from the glory days of the 1970s. Totally old school and not as effective as the new ones made on 3-D printers, but it got the job done. Besides, it was the only type approved for use within the small bunker of a building. They were required to leave them in their lockers at night.
Patsy waved the wand around in short swirls and occasional sharp pokes in the direction of the screen that was part paranormal magic and part modern technology.
“Oh, that’s bad. That’s bad indeed. Two deaths for sure, and it’s the same location as the big kaboom. Well, the humans will not take this well at all.”
“Unless the two victims are not of their kind. They tend to take that a little better.”
“A lot better. Quit Googling so much. Give me a chance to think.” The green letters flittered across the screen, letting off sounds like children’s toys, with high-pitched whines, clicking and whirring.
FROM MARTHA >>> Snippet #5 from RELEASE OF MAGIC coming out AUGUST 14th! Accidentally stepped in a pile of fire ants picking up dog poo and found out must be a little allergic. Good info to have. Fire ants lost in the long run… A magic wand would have really come in handy! Slightly swollen left hand – still typing away… Enjoy the snippet – days away!
Next up will be SOUL STONE MAGE by Sarah Noffke on SEPT 6TH and FAIRHAVEN CHRONICLES by S.M. Boyce on SEPT 8TH – so much magical fun headed your way! I hear the KACY CHRONICLES by A.L. Knorr may be headed your way starting SEPT 4TH! PROTECTION OF MAGIC will be out 8/30 from The Leira Chronicles. (There’s also Flint Maxwell working on a new series about THE WORLD IN BETWEEN and if you’re already a fan, you know what that’s all about… That should be amazing!)
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