After sufficiently recovering from my . . . uhm . . . small problem of the day before (https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/a-small-problem/), I decided I had neglected my Young Adult Fantasy series for far too long. But before I could return to my book manuscripts, I had to work on this week’s blog.
I went to my office, intent on getting my blog outlined and written. Evidently, my brain had other ideas. This is a frequent occurrence. A very frequent occurrence. To quote a famous sports figure, it was déjà vu all over again.
I stared at the blank computer screen and tried to wrestle some ideas into submission. My fingernails tapped out a staccato beat on my desk, and I grumbled under my breath. Why did I ever start this blog? No one ever told me how difficult it would be to come up with fresh, new ideas every single week!
I just about jumped out of my skin. If an idea had been about to cooperate and take shape, it was lost now. I spun my chair around, ready to bite someone’s head off. I found myself looking up into the soulful, cornflower-blue eyes of my Cleric, and bit back my impending outburst.
“What can I do for you?”
“I just wanted to make certain you were feeling better after your ordeal yesterday. I was so glad I was able to help.”
Cleric’s warm smile was infectious, and I returned it in kind. “I greatly appreciate your help. I assure you, I’m fully recovered, and now it’s back to work for me.” I glanced pointedly at the computer, my smile fading to a scowl.
“I shall take my leave, then, Mistress, so you can continue with your work uninterrupted.” She turned and skipped off down the hallway, leaving me and the blank screen to stare at each other again.
I sighed. I removed my glasses, cleaned them on my shirttail, and put them back on. I squirmed around in my chair. I looked out the window and stared at the huge Pileated Woodpecker on the underside of the suet log. Hmmm…maybe… My fingers moved toward the keyboard.
I jumped again, another idea flying out of my brain, probably never to return. For a second time, I swiveled my chair around, ready to give someone a severe tongue-lashing. This time, it was my Young Hero and my Gypsy sticking their heads in the door. I groaned.
“What is it?”
“It is almost noon. We thought you might want some lunch.” My Gypsy had obviously started without me, as he spoke around a mouthful of food.
My Young Hero placed a small platter on my desk. “There were plenty of leftovers from last night’s dinner.”
“Yes, I had thought to have them for this night’s dinner.” I attempted to frown, but the food did smell good, and my stomach was growling. As usual, I had lost track of time while working on my blog.
After a quick bite to eat and some chit-chat with the lads, I thanked them and handed them the empty platter. They headed upstairs, and I turned back to my computer once more.
Twenty minutes later, my screen was still blank. I rubbed my head, which was starting to pound. Suddenly, I blinked several times rapidly and leaned in toward the computer. Oh, this is a great idea! My readers will love this! My hands were poised over the keyboard, ready to start typing.
I jerked, and my fingers tripped all over themselves, the letters on the monitor jumbling into an incoherent mess.
“What?” I whirled my chair around, ready to take no prisoners. My Arrogant One stood just inside my office door.
My eyes narrowed, and I slowly rose from my chair. “Out. Now.” I pointed to the door.
“Now!” I advanced on the annoying elf, the perpetrator of my small misadventure of the preceding day.
He stammered. “B…b…but the Old Dwarf said…”
“If you aren’t out of here in the next 10 seconds, what I do to you will be a hundred times worse than anything my Old Dwarf could ever dream of doing!”
I took another step toward him, and my Arrogant One turned and fled down the hallway and up the stairs. I heard the back-door slam, so presumably the elf was going to take refuge in the shed.
One more time. I sighed as I returned to my seat. The great idea I had conceived just moments before would not revisit my brain. I spent the next half-hour staring at the blank screen, half-formed ideas chasing each other around my mind. Suddenly, my head jerked up and I smiled. Eureka! I started to type again.
I twisted around in my chair to see the latest intruder. Sorceress stood there, her brow furrowed.
I narrowed my eyes and crossed my arms. “What is it?”
Sorceress hesitated in the face of my obvious annoyance. “I am sorry. Am I disturbing you?”
“No, I always give a murderous look to every fifth person who interrupts my train of thought while I’m writing.” I glared at her.
“Mayhap I should return later.” She started backing out of the room.
“You’re here now. Why don’t you just tell me what you want?”
“Well…” She hesitated again, chewing on her lower lip.
“Mistress, do you remember the two sheriff’s deputies who were here earlier this year?”
I felt the blood drain from my face. Remember them? How could I forget them?
Deputy Melody Whitewash was a rather non-descript, but extremely efficient, law-enforcement officer. Her partner, Deputy Dustin Dawg, was a barrel-chested hulk who perpetually wore sunglasses, outdoors or in. They had first come to our door in February of this year, investigating a complaint lodged by our neighborhood nosey-bodies, Mace and Gloria, who claimed we were keeping horses on our residential property. I thought the deputies were going to shoot my Old Dwarf, who had held them at bay with his axe when he thought they might disturb my husband and me. (https://margecutter.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/more-visitors/)
I shuddered at the memory. “I remember them. What do those two want now?”
Sorceress wrinkled her nose and tilted her head. “Well, I am not certain what they want, Mistress.”
I furrowed my brow. “Oh?”
Sorceress nodded. “Your Old Dwarf has observed them skulking about the edges of the property.”
I sighed. The blog would have to wait. I needed to find out what the intrepid deputies were up to.
I followed Sorceress up the stairs to the living room. We went over to the French doors leading to the deck and peered through the glass.
“See? There, in the next yard.” Sorceress pointed to the left.
I tried not to giggle. “I wonder if Deputy Dawg really believes that tree is wide enough to hide him.”
Sorceress arched an eyebrow and shrugged. “It does a better job concealing him than that short bush does concealing his partner.”
I smirked and shook my head. “Do you happen to know where Dragon is currently? I need to ask her about the spell of concealment she has cast on the property. I don’t want to walk over to the edge of the yard and start talking to the deputies if they can’t see me. It might be hard to explain a disembodied voice.”
“You need not worry.” Dragon had overheard the last part of the conversation as she entered the room. “The spell does not conceal anyone who is from your world, what you term the real world. It only conceals your characters and the illusions I have created, such as the barn, the paddocks, and the horses. If you walk out into the yard, the deputies will see you.”
I nodded. “Good. I think it’s time to have a conversation with the deputies. In the meantime, where are the precise boundaries of the spell? At what point would you or any of my other characters become visible to the residents of our real world?”
“Of course, you and Master Miles can see us wherever we are. Other people from your world would see us any time we leave the property.”
“You mean you are invisible until you step off the property, then poof! You’re visible?”
“That is correct.”
I frowned. “That’s no good. Can the spell be altered?”
Dragon nodded. “How do wish it altered?”
“I think from now on, if anyone wants to leave the property, they need to leave the house through the front door and be visible there, just as Miles and I are visible walking out of the house. That way, it looks natural when they walk down the sidewalk and step out onto the street. They don’t just suddenly appear and scare the heart and soul out of anyone who sees them. They should still be concealed by the spell if they are in the back yard.”
Dragon nodded again. “It shall be done.”
Sorceress sighed. “I best inform the others, so they all know to exit the property through the front door and down the driveway.”
I smiled at the two of them. “Thanks. Now I’m off to see what’s up with the deputies.”
As I crossed the yard, the two deputies saw they had been spotted. They stepped out from behind the vegetation and tried to look nonchalant.
I pasted on a grim smile as I greeted them. “Deputy Whitewash! Deputy Dawg! It’s so nice to see you again. Is there anything I can help you with?”
“No, not a thing,” Deputy Whitewash assured me. Her partner merely grunted and gawked at the tree as if watching for squirrels.
I narrowed my eyes. “You seem to be surveilling my property. Is something wrong?”
“No, not a thing,” Deputy Whitewash assured me again, and again her partner merely grunted.
I folded my arms over my chest. “Then why are you watching my property?”
Deputy Dawg drew himself up, hooking his thumbs into his belt. “We’re not at liberty to discuss any ongoing investigations. Department policy.”
“Are you saying my husband and I are under investigation?”
“Didn’t say that.”
I frowned. I wish he’d take his sunglasses off. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking when I can’t even see his eyes. “Well, then, we’re not under investigation?”
“Didn’t say that, either.”
“Well then, unless you have a warrant allowing you to trespass on my neighbor’s property and stare at my house, I think you had best leave.”
The two deputies glanced surreptitiously at a nearby tree as if looking for answers. That’s when I spied another figure hiding behind that tree. Judging from his attire, he was not a member of the sheriff’s department.
I balled my hands into fists and placed them on my hips. “Just what is going on here?”
I jumped back when a surprising number of figures, all similarly dressed in black suits, stepped into sight from behind trees, bushes, and the neighbor’s house. One man hurried over to stand in front of the deputies. “Ma’am, as Deputy Dawg indicated, we are engaged in an ongoing investigation and cannot discuss the details with civilians. If you return to your house, you will be safe.”
I scowled at the man. “So, something’s going on that makes my back yard unsafe?”
“We can neither confirm nor deny that, ma’am.”
“Then can you at least tell me who is involved in this ongoing investigation? You certainly don’t look like a sheriff’s deputy.”
Before the man could stop her, Deputy Whitewash replied, “He’s not. This is a joint taskforce between local law enforcement represented by the county sheriff’s office, and the FBI, ICE and Homeland Security.”
My jaw dropped. What had my characters done now?
Be sure to come back next week. If we’re not all in prison, we’ll be sure to leave the porch light on for you.