St. Paul Grimoire is an urban fantasy serial that updates weekly. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! Let me know what you think!
“Phin?” Pete’s dad called out as they entered the house.
Pete was following behind, so she didn’t notice at first the strangeness. All the lights on, Phin’s homework on the table, Leal’s swing chair– but no Phin, and no Leal.
“Phin?” Adolfo called again, this time sharper. His footsteps picked up and took the stairs to the bedrooms quickly.
Everything’s fine, Pete thought, forcing down a weird feeling. She dropped her bags and as she did, spotted a necklace. It had a heavy black metal chain and a huge square-cut red stone surrounded by spikes.
Such an intense piece of jewelry definitely wasn’t hers or Phin’s, but that wasn’t what made the weird feeling in her stomach spread to her limbs. The necklace glowed with fey glamour, and when she focused on it, it no longer looked chintzy and fake. It looked ancient, expensive, and loaded with magic.
Something vibrated. She grabbed the necklace and shoved it into her winter coat. At the kitchen table, she saw Phin’s phone vibrating. Her dad was calling him. She snatched up the phone as well.
“Pete?” her dad said as he came back down the stairs. “Did you see Phin? Or Leal?”
“I just texted him,” she lied. “But actually, I think he said earlier that he was going to work at Dakotah’s shop.”
Adolfo frowned. “With Leal? He didn’t ask me for permission.”
“I bet he checked in with Mom.”
“Maybe…why’s all his stuff here though?”
“Want me to run over to the shop and check?”
Adolfo considered. “It’s freezing. I’ll drive you.”
“No, no, that’s fine!” she insisted. “I’ll run right over and text you when I get there. I mean, where else would he be?”
She was already moving toward the back door.
“Fine,” Adolfo said. “I’m calling your mom just in case. Text me right away!”
“I will!” she shouted over her shoulder.
Her house and Dakotah’s were back-to-back, the yards in the middle landscaped into a rolling garden meant to show off her mom’s landscaping business. Pete ran through, leaving the windy little path and stepping on the dead, snow-covered flowerbeds in order to run in a straight line. A quick sweep of the duplex showed no lights on in Dakotah’s part of the house. She’d expected that and kept running, barrelling through St. Paul streets until she arrived at the House.
Only once she crossed the gate did she feel the weird feeling ease a bit. This didn’t have to be a disaster. Phin probably <was in there, sitting with Leal and talking incessantly about college applications.
Her face fell as she reached Dakotah and Val at the back of the shop. Another man was with them–but no Phin. She clapped her hands over her ears, so cold they burned.
“What’s wrong?” all three people asked at once.
“Have you seen Phin?” she asked. Her voice came out a little unsteadily from her sprint.
“He didn’t come today. He wanted to work,” answered Dakotah.
“Shit,” said Pete, the weird feeling flooding her whole body. She recognized it now– panic.
“He wasn’t at home, all his stuff’s there, Leal’s gone, too–” Val gasped. “–and I found this.”
She tossed the necklace onto the table.
Dakotah picked it up. It glowed, and they saw its two forms with double vision, until the glamour fell away completely and the ruby caught the light.
“This looks familiar,” Dakotah said, half to himself. “Where’d you find it?”
“On the floor.”
He turned it over in his hands.
“Well, what do we do?” Pete snapped.
“Let’s use magic,” suggested Valene. “I bet something in this shop can find him.”
Dakotah stood. “I’ll get the inventory.”
“What do I tell my dad?” Pete asked, following behind him. Thank god someone else is in charge. I don’t know what to do.
Dakotah spoke over his shoulder. “Just say they’re here. This is fey business, we don’t want them to call the cops or something.”
“I’ll leave you to it,” Inkar said as the three humans made for the front of the shop. “I hope you find your friend.”
“Thanks,” Pete said distractedly, already busy trying to sound as normal as possible in her text to her dad.
Watching Dakotah sift through inventory was the longest half hour of Pete’s life. Every time he found an entry that looked promising, it always ended up being too specific. Val kept saying she was sure everything was going to be fine, but none of that helped Pete relax.
“Got it,” Dakotah finally, finally said. “Potion. We drip it on something of Phin’s and that thing will lead us too him. Its glamour is a purple perfume bottle…”
He dropped the inventory and walked into row of shelves.
The shop wasn’t what you’d call organized. Small things were stacked on shelves and big things placed against the walls. The Victorian-style house had small rooms, but with the magic imbuing the place, the rooms seemed to go on forever.
Dakotah, however, knew just where to go. Within minutes he was picking up the bottle.
“I need something of Phin’s.”
Pete produced his cell phone. When Dakotah had spritzed the phone, it started to glow in Pete’s hand. A slight pull moved her hand toward the door like a magnet.
“Lemme see that necklace, too,” Dakotah said, raising the perfume bottle again.
Phin opened his eyes. Leal’s wailing had pulled him out of unconsciousness.
Through the dim lighting, he made out the dimensions of a strange room. The stone floor, walls, and ceiling made him feel like he was inside of a castle. There were even tapestries on the walls.
He was cold. Not outside-in-a-Minnesota-winter cold, but cold enough to tell there wasn’t any heat. The only light came from an old camping lantern set on the ground. It gave off a pale light.
Just beyond, he saw Señora Eyerusalem. She smiled, looking as she had right after he’d said “Yeah, come on in.”
The moment her foot had crossed the threshold her glamour had dropped. Without it she was gaunt, her jaw more pronounced. She wore all-black, except for a necklace of black spikes around a ruby pendant. Her eyes bulged in her face.
He’d ripped off the necklace when he’d thrown his hands up to defend himself. That was about the only thing he’d been able to do, since she moved faster than anything he’d ever seen before. Now they were–where? Did St. Paul have any castles? His head spun at the thought that he and Leal had been taken across the Lake to Everywhere, and now they were in Europe or somewhere else his family would never find him.
“You’re awake,” she said in Spanish.
“Fuck you,” he said in English. He had no idea where that bravery had come from.
She laughed. “Un héroe,” she said. “I noticed the moment you walked into class.”
Her Spanish wasn’t like the Spanish she’d spoken in class, he noticed. It sounded old, stilted and formal.
Never had the title “Hero” sounded more ridiculous to him than it did then, kidnapped in a castle. Leal started wailing again. He reached out automatically and picked up the baby.
“What are you?” he asked, though he had a guess.
She bared her teeth. “An ancient creature. I must drink the blood of innocents to stay young forever.” She inclined her head toward Leal. “Unfortunately, they cannot invite me inside.”
Phin gathered Leal closer. “You’re not gonna hurt us. I’m friends with the Guardian.”
Eyerusalem laughed. “Alas, my young friend, you are far from Sanctuary.”
My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out NOW! Buy it here!