The Impossible Wizard: Chapter 8

If you ended up here before reading the earlier chapters, you can return to Chapter 1 here

 

Lady Raven switched off the tv and considered blasting it to pieces. No, that wouldn’t do any good. Besides, the company that owned her apartment building didn’t know she was a wizard and she wanted to keep it that way. She hopped off the couch, tossed the remote behind her, and started pacing.

They’d actually broken into regular programing to show the news conference live. That demonstrated just how big a deal Conryu Koda’s existence was. She’d realized it as soon as the main testing unit at the Department confirmed his results. Lady Raven would see to it that his death became every bit as big a deal.

Not that her zealot had helped much. What had the world come to when you couldn’t trust a grown fanatic to kill a teenager? On the other hand, considering how easily this particular teenager handled a man with a knife, maybe she hadn’t chosen the best method to eliminate him. Lucky for her she had plenty of other options.

She went to the back wall of her casting chamber and muttered a spell. The wall shimmered and she reached through it to remove a sealed coffer. The moment it was clear the wall solidified. Lady Raven ran her finger over the smooth ebony and whispered another spell. 

The lid popped open, revealing the flat black gem inside. It looked like a black diamond the size of her thumb knuckle, but in reality it was a magical construct that, under the appropriate circumstances, would open a gate to the netherworld. For someone as skilled in dark magic as Lady Raven it was a simple matter to alter the requirements of the spell.

Simple, but not quick. When she’d finished prepping the spell night had fallen. That actually worked to her advantage. What she needed done was best completed after sunset and by others. The zealots would have nothing to do with her new plan, but her personal enforcers could handle it easily enough.

Lady Raven closed the box and slipped it into the folds of her black robe. The Skulls lived on the far side of town, well away from anything and anyone that might potentially lead back to her.

She left the casting chamber and crossed the living room to the sliding glass door that led to her balcony. The apartment was on the thirtieth floor so the odds of anyone even noticing her were minimal, but she cast an invisibility spell before she stepped outside just to be safe. The breeze whipped her robe around her.

Perfect. The wind spirits were active tonight. That would make the flying spell easier to cast. A minute later Lady Raven was flying across the brightly lit city like her namesake bird. Instead of flying straight to the Skull’s hideout she swung out wide toward the floating island.

Even without a spell to perceive magical auras, the power radiating off the mass of earth and stone overwhelmed her. The islands had fascinated wizards forever, but no one, not even the founder of the Le Fay Society herself, the great Morgana, had ever penetrated the wards protecting the islands from trespassers. What secrets did the islands hold? Lady Raven doubted anyone would ever know.

Enough wasting time. She had work to do. At her mental command the wind carried her west over the city towards the dull, ragged edge where the dregs went to kill each other or fry their brains with the drug of the month.

She landed in front of a particularly dismal example of local housing, a rotting, almost ready to collapse two-story shack. Lady Raven sent the wind away before an errant gust flattened the place and killed her thugs before she’d finished with them.

The invisibility spell faded away as she walked up the cracked, weed-filled path to the front door. She rapped on it and waited. A few seconds later a belligerent, leather-clad man opened the door. The grip of a pistol jutted out from his belt and a red bandana covered his face. Whether to disguise his appearance or to ward off the smell of urine and worse that wafted out of the open door Lady Raven couldn’t guess.

“Good evening, Bloody. Where’s your master?”

“Mistress Raven. Iron Skull’s in the kitchen with the guys. Numb shot a bunch of rats and we’re frying them up. There’s plenty if you want some.”

Lady Raven swallowed the gorge that rose in the back of her throat. “I have already dined. Take me to him. I have a job.”

“Yes, Mistress.”

Bloody led her through the filth and past bare studs to what served as their kitchen. A barrel with a fire burning in it covered with a grate served as the stove. A cast iron pot filled with oil snapped and bubbled. She didn’t move close enough to see the contents.

Iron Skull leapt to his feet when he spotted her, prompting the others to follow suit or make their leader look bad. His black mohawk stood straight up and stiff today. It looked like he’d used some sort of automotive grease on it. His broad-shouldered chest strained his leather jacket to its limits.

“Mistress Raven. What brings you here?”

“I have a task. A simple one, but it will require a bit of finesse.”

Iron Skull scratched his head and belched. “Finesse ain’t my bag. Bone, you’re up.”

Where Iron Skull was broad and thick, Bone Skull was thin, almost skeletal, thus his gang name, with slicked back black hair and only a single tattoo. Lady Raven and the slender biker shared a look of mutual distaste. Bone didn’t like her and worse, didn’t trust her. She had Iron Skull wrapped around her finger, but Bone was far too intelligent for her liking. Lady Raven preferred her tools dull.

She removed the box from her hidden pocket. Sometimes you just dealt with a less than ideal situation.

“That the same as the other ones you had us hide?” Iron Skull asked.

“Similar. I need this hidden on the grounds of the Shadow Carnival tonight.”

“Where?” Bone eyed the black box, his lip curled in distaste.

“It doesn’t matter as long as it’s out of the way.” She held out the box to him.

Bone nodded toward the only other small man in the room. “Give it to Numb. The two of us will get the job done.”

He definitely didn’t trust her. Lady Raven smiled. He also feared her, though he’d never admit such a thing.

She gave the box to a scowling Numb Skull. The moment it settled in his hands she spoke a spell. “There, now you’re the only one that can open it. Your instructions are simple. Find a hidden place, kill someone, doesn’t matter who, and drag their body into it. Inside the box you’ll find a black gem. Touch the gem to the body and the magic will activate. Leave the box next to the body and go. Nothing to it.”

Numb looked from her to Iron Skull. “What about dinner? I shot the rats. Don’t seem like I ought to miss out on eating them.”

“We’ll save you some leftovers. You two get a move on.”

Bone grabbed Numb by the shoulder and dragged him toward the door. “Come on.”

Lady Raven nodded to Iron Skull and followed the other two out. Assuming her tools did their job the boy would die tomorrow.

* * *

Bone and Numb left their bikes two blocks from the park where the carnival had set up. Despite the clear night the thin crescent moon offered little in the way of light. It was perfect for sneaking around, especially since the island blocked most of the moonlight above the carnival. The shops that lined the street had closed for the night so they had no trouble finding a spot to pull in. The roar of their choppers would alert the carnies if they drove the whole way and the bitch queen said she wanted the job done quiet.

Bone didn’t especially give a shit what she wanted, but if they fucked up Iron Skull would have a fit that might end with one or both of them dead. The leader of their club wasn’t known for his even temper and gentle disposition. Not exactly shocking for someone in their line of work, but no less dangerous for all that.

They dismounted and Numb headed for the park.

“Hold up,” Bone said.

“What? I want to get this done and get back before the guys eat all the leftovers.”

“Will you forget about the fuckin’ rats? That shithole we’re livin’ in is full of them. You can shoot some more tomorrow. Now open that box.”

Numb pulled the black box out of the satchel of tools he’d brought. “Why do you want to open it now? She said we’re supposed to leave it with the body.”

“Fuck her. Open it.”

Numb shrugged and pulled the lid open. Inside was a matte black gem that didn’t reflect the meager light. “What now?”

“Take the gem and put the box in my saddlebag.”

“That’s not what she said to do, Bone.”

Bone grabbed Numb by the front of his jacket and yanked him close so their noses almost touched. Bone might have been skinny, but he was stronger than he looked. “She ain’t here. Now do what I tell you. And make sure you wrap it in my spare bandana. Last thing I need is to get a curse off the fuckin’ thing.”

Numb’s eyes went wide, as if the idea of a curse never crossed his mind. Since he was an idiot it probably hadn’t. Numb did as Bone told him and when he finished asked, “What now?”

“Now we do the bitch’s job and split.”

They walked down the sidewalk toward the park, side by side, just like they owned the street. Nothing made people suspicious like a person sneaking around.

When they reached the edge of the parking lot Numb stopped. “What are you going to do with the box, Bone?”

“Nothing, right now. But sooner or later that witch is going to fuck us over and when she does I want some leverage. If I threaten to show the cops her box it might make her think twice.”

“Iron Skull’s not going to like that.”

He certainly wasn’t. That’s why Bone didn’t plan on telling him. “The boss has a soft spot for her. I’m trying to save him from himself. Now shut up and focus.”

They swung out wide around the parking lot then moved in closer to the fence surrounding the carnival. In the dim light they couldn’t make out much beyond the closest stalls. They circled around until they reached a spot behind a large tent.

Numb sniffed and sighed. “Too bad we couldn’t come back during the day. I smell hotdogs.”

Bone shook his head. Fuckin’ moron. “Gimme the cutters.”

Numb pulled a pair of short-handled bolt cutters from the satchel and in less than a minute Bone had an opening big enough for them to slip through.

The carnival grounds were quiet; no one was out and about at this time of night. That should make it easy to find a place to hide the stone, but would they find someone to kill?

The bikers darted from tent to display to shed. They’d have to risk going out into the main part of the carnival if they wanted to find someone. Bone inched along the side of a food trailer.

“Hey, Bone, look at that.” Numb pointed at what looked like an artificial mini-mountain.

“Will you shut up?” Bone looked closer. There was a faint light coming from the mountain. If someone was there they could kill two birds with one stone.

He grabbed Numb’s sleeve and tugged him along across the open space separating the trailer from the mountain. They stopped beside a dart game. There was an opening in the front of the mountain, that’s where the light was coming from.

Numb started to move closer, but Bone stopped him. If there was a light someone had to be inside. The hunters had to stay patient. 

Soon enough a shadow moved in the feeble light and a moment later a pudgy woman in a polka dot dress emerged from the cave. She had a clipboard and no visible weapon.

She would do nicely.

“Go get her,” Bone said.

“Thanks, Bone.” Numb drew his knife and jogged toward the woman.

She never knew what hit her. Numb came up behind her, clamped a hand across her mouth and swung around, driving his blade into her chest. She twitched a couple times and went still. He might be an idiot, but Numb was a fine killer.

Bone took a quick look around to make sure no one had noticed the ambush. It looked clear. He ran over to Numb. “Let’s move her out of sight. There must be a place in there we can hide her body.”

Numb grabbed her under the armpits and Bone got her ankles. They lugged her back toward the cave. Too bad they couldn’t have found someone skinnier. The bitch weighed a ton.

Once they moved inside, out of sight, Bone dropped her legs and sighed. “No sense lugging her around until we have somewhere to take her. Let’s check this dump out.”

They walked deeper into the mountain, following a set of narrow train tracks. The mountain was a ride. Pretty elaborate for a piddling operation like this.

“Hey, Bone, a light.”

A thin glowing line in the wall beside the tracks drew the two bikers closer. Bone worked his fingers into the gap and yanked. A door opened revealing a small room filled with machinery.

“For maintenance, you think?” Numb asked.

“Probably. This should do nicely. We’ll dump her body here and seal it back up.”

They retraced their steps, grabbed the corpse, and hauled it to the maintenance room. Bone dropped his end in a clear area at the rear of the room.

“Fuck!”

“What?” Numb stared at him, a worried frown on his face.

“We left her clipboard outside. If anyone notices that they might come looking. I’ll grab it. You fire up the magic.”

Numb’s eyes went wide. “You want me to do it?”

“She gave you the gem. Hurry up. I want to get out of here.”

Bone left Numb to his task and retreated toward where Numb knifed the woman. He’d never admit it, but magic made Bone nervous. He supposed it made everyone nervous, but it really gave him the shakes.

After a minute of searching he found the dead woman’s clipboard. He bent to pick it up and froze. Voices were coming from the opposite way. In the night with his black jacket and jeans Bone should have been all but invisible.

The voices faded and Bone risked looking up. He caught a glimpse of movement heading into the mountain.

“Fuck.” Bone switched the clipboard to his left hand and pulled his dagger with the other. It was a wicked, eighteen-inch, double-bladed beast, with a deep blood groove running down the center. The beast would take care of any problems he ran into.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading Chapter 8. Click here to read Chapter 9

Want to read the whole thing on your favorite e-reader?

You can buy The Impossible Wizard from my Payhip Store. https://payhip.com/b/MPzH

Privacy Policy