Dinner was over. I was on my way to my office to pick up where I had left off after lunch, trying to come up with ideas for my weekly blog. Hopefully, this time there would be no unexpected interruptions.
I was walking down the stairs and was on the landing by the front door when the doorbell rang several times in quick succession, followed by someone banging urgently on the storm door. Quickly opening the door, I was surprised to see Talia, one-half of the duo that owned and managed the Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store and the person who was instructing our young neighbor, Marisol, in the control of her mysterious power. In the cool evening air that wafted through the open door, I could feel the heat of anger radiating from Talia. Her face was red, her nostrils were flaring, her eyebrows were drawn down in a severe frown, and her hands were balled into fists. She pushed her way past me into the house without even a hello or a by your leave.
“Where is she?” Talia crossed her arms over her chest and tapped a foot impatiently.
I frowned. “Hello, Talia. Wow! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s so nice to see you again. I’m fine; thanks for asking. How have you been?” I hoped my sarcasm would take some of the wind out of the angry woman’s sails.
“What? Never mind. Where is she?” The furious scowl told me I had done nothing to deter Talia.
I sighed and raised an eyebrow. “Where is who, Talia?”
The woman glared at me with so much venom in her expression, I thought if looks could kill, I’d be six feet under!
“Where is Dray?” Talia’s mouth twisted as if the name left a sour taste in her mouth.
“I am here.” Talia and I turned around and looked up toward the voice coming from the top of the stairs. However, instead of the delicate and exotic maiden, Dray, there loomed Dragon, Dray’s true self. There was a menacing look on her reptilian face, and she flexed her clawed hands threateningly.
Before Talia could open her mouth, Dragon stormed down the stairs. “How dare you push your way into this house? How dare you speak to the Mistress that way?” Acrid smoke poured from Dragon’s nostrils, and she bared her teeth at Talia.
“How dare you undermine the work I have been doing all these months with Marisol?” If Talia was intimidated by a snarling, smoke-breathing, ten-foot-tall dragon, she was certainly hiding it well.
Dragon scoffed. “Undermine? How have I undermined anything?” The huge beast waved away Talia’s reply. “It does not matter. You still have no right to barge into this house and . . .”
“I have every right. Marisol’s training has been substantially set back by that incredibly brainless, idiotic, shortsighted stunt of yours at her birthday party. Why in the name of all that’s magic would you deliberately allow the child to see your true nature after I provided you a spell powerful enough to prevent that? And why would you purposely allow her to see the illusory horses after I gave you a spell of concealment strong enough to keep them hidden from her? I won’t even ask what you were thinking when you allowed Marisol to ride an illusory Pegasus!” Talia’s voice had risen in pitch and volume with each word, until she sounded much like my Arrogant One throwing a fit.
“I saw no harm in any of those actions.” Dragon, still fuming, spoke in a dangerously low voice, close to a growl.
Talia threw her hands in the air. “That’s the problem. You saw no harm. That’s because you don’t understand what we are dealing with. You don’t know what Marisol is, or what the child must do to control her power.” Talia was standing almost toe-to-toe with Dragon now, glowering up at the snarling beast looming over her, and the woman showed no signs of backing down.
We all whirled around to see my husband, Miles, standing at the top of the stairs.
“What is it, sweetheart?” I figured he was going to complain about the noisy altercation.
As he spoke to me, Miles kept a wary eye on Dragon and Talia, but they were not the cause of the concern in his voice. “Uh, our neighbor, Bastina, is on the phone. Is her daughter here?”
“Marisol?” I shook my head. “No, she’s not here now. She was with us earlier, in the backyard. It was just a little after lunchtime, and she didn’t stay long. She said she was going home.”
Miles furrowed his brow and rubbed the back of his neck. “You’re sure she said she was going home? Bastina says she hasn’t seen her daughter since lunch, and she sounds frantic.”
Dragon replied. “Marisol left here with the rabbit. She was going to walk with him back to her yard.”
“Rabbit? What rabbit?” Talia’s eyes widened, and she licked her lips nervously.
Dragon looked down her nose at the woman and snarled again. “Not that it is any of your business, but we had a visitor today, a rabbit. Marisol followed him here from her backyard. They left here together, to return to her yard.”
Talia paled. “Are you talking about a normal rabbit, maybe someone’s pet or a backyard variety of wild rabbit?”
“No, as a matter of fact, he was a six-foot-tall, talking rabbit.” I frowned. “Why? Is he a friend of yours?”
Miles cleared his throat. “Ah, honey? I hate to interrupt, but what should I tell Bastina?”
Before I could answer, Talia grabbed Dragon by the arm. “We have to go. Now.”
Dragon blinked, then responded to the alarm in Talia’s voice. The beast lost no time shapeshifting into her familiar alter ego, Dray, and Talia immediately dragged her toward the door.
As the two figures left the house, Talia called back over her shoulder. “Tell Bastina that Dray and I will find Marisol. And don’t mention the rabbit!”
Where is Marisol? Will Talia and Dray be able to find her? Why did Talia become so nervous at the mention of a rabbit? For these answers and more, be sure to come back again next week. We’ll leave the porch light on for you.