A Change in Management

There’s that one store. It’s tucked out of the way. Maybe it’s in a strip mall that clings to life. Maybe it’s in some back alley with an unmarked door. Maybe it’s next to everyone’s favorite local taco place, but the windows are black and the signage is uninviting and so nobody goes in. Nobody even tries the door.

Almost nobody.

But those that do are drawn by something. Cosmic forces or fate or dumb luck or a deep, hungry need. The woman behind the counter–though sometimes she’s a man, though not really a man or a woman but something else–is there to fill that need. The price is always too high, but the customers pay it. Sometimes, eagerly. Sometimes, reluctantly. But nobody who walks into the shop leaves empty handed, and everybody gets what they want, which isn’t what they need.… Read the rest “A Change in Management”

Last Wish

”Agent Pythia Sibyl, Theurgy Security Commission.” I held up my badge. “I’m here about the wish.”

John gave me a funny look. The kind of look that said he was thinking about what to say. Nobody liked a government suit knocking on their door.

I moved the badge closer for him to get a better look.

“What’s theurgy?” he asked.

“Magic,” I replied. “The Commission steps in when magic shows up.”

I put away the badge, stuck my hands in my pockets. I slouched a little. I was less threatening that way. Not that I was physically intimidating. But the badge and his guilt did most of that work.

“Let me just put you at ease. You’re not in trouble. Not yet.”

“I’m not?”

“Magic isn’t illegal,” I said.

“It’s not?”

“Not most of it,” I said. “Can I come in?”… Read the rest “Last Wish”