Chapter 4

Copyright© 2021 by Charly Young

A powerful spasm of pain tsunamied into both of Quinn’s legs. His chest constricted. Couldn’t breathe. Vision blurred. A booming—ETORRI HONA sounded in his head. The command sparked a desperate need to move — to go—NOW.

The dormant glyphs that had been spelled onto the muscle and bone of his back—flared into life. They blocked the spell but not before Quinn had lunged to his feet, took a step and slammed his head into one of the two by eight beams in the Gunny’s garage roof.

He dropped to the floor, stunned.

“Fuuukk that hurt.”

“Damn, Doc, what the hell was that,” the Gunny asked.

“Just a bad muscle spasm, I hurt my knee at work,” he improvised. He climbed to his feet, policed up his chair and sat down and rubbed the swelling bump on his forehead.

The others stared at him, concern written on their faces.

Quinn’s mind raced with the implications. He had grown up among witch-crafters. He recognized a Summoning when he felt one.

I need to get out of here now before they send something else.

“My knee is really bothering me,” he said. “I think I’ll head on home and put some ice on it. I’ll see you all next week.” He flipped the others a sketchy salute and remembered to limp as he walked to the door.

“Okay then, you take care, Doc,” the Gunny said as he dealt the next hand. “Call me if you need anything.”

“Aye aye, Gunny.”

Mary Agnes followed him to the door and pulled him into a fierce hug.

“I suspect you’re not telling us the entire story, Lachlan,” she said quietly. “I worry about you. You’ve always been remote, but you’re getting worse. As far as I can tell, all you do is work, take classes and sleep. Its not healthy.”

“I date,” he protested.

“Yes, but I notice you choose women you are in no danger of committing to. You’re too young to live like this. You’re a good man—you need to take care of yourself better.”

“I’ll try Mary Agnes,” Quinn gave her a smile. He was a long, long way from being a good man, but her caring touched him. Her hug was like cool water in the desert.

I wonder what she’d think if she knew what a monster I am.

“And don’t you disappear on us. We care about you here, so you better keep in f•©king touch— you read me, Doc?”

“I will, Mary Agnes.” He winced inside at the lie. He doubted he’d see any of them again.

Quinn pulled the door open and walked out into the rain.

A glowing nimbus surrounded the large black cat that sat grooming itself on the hood of his truck.

They’d sent a f•©king Fetch.

He should have expected something like this. The two little red-headed witches gawking at him from the VW down the block had no doubt drawn the hosting glyph.

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