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    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Wizard Part XV



    Part XV

    I picked up as many of the remains as I could and dropped them into a nice black contractor's bag. As I did, I tried to find anything I could use to identify who this poor rat bastard had been. I came up with nothing, no wallet. The Old Man was fast asleep, currled into a ball in my easy chair. He'd come back in a few minutes after he'd left the living room and acted like nothing had happened.

    I used a small dust broom and pan to get as many of the big bits up as I could. I carried the trash bag into the basement. The basement was unfinished with little more than a washer and dryer, but what it did have was an old coal furnace that I'd never removed. When I'd first bought the place, the coal chute had shuttered out a few lumps when I'd opened the door. I'd had the furnace checked out, but never used it. It was still study enough to contain a good bit of heat.

    I chucked the bag in and mumbled under my breath. The green ball of flamed formed in my hand and I shut the door behind it. The temperature was too intense to really make a smell, everything was ash before it even had a chance to give away my secrets.

    Back upstairs I got a bucket and some good wood floor soap. If I didn't get the floor clean and the moisture up, the boards would warp. I used two rolls of paper towels and knew there'd be at least one more trip to the furnace. I could already feel the radiant heat seeping from the basement.

    I wished I could wrinkle my nose and have the place flash back to spick and span, but that was only on TV. I'd never met anyone who could cast a cleaning spell. Magic had no practical domestic uses. What I could do though was knock off a bit of trickery to make all the blood splatters glow bright as phosphorous, at least that way I could make sure I got them all. It didn't just work on blood though, it was an old protein trick.

    I cracked a beer two hours later and wiped the sweat from my forehead with my shirt sleeve. I'd had to open the upstairs windows the vent the excess heat. I'd also opened every window I had that wasn't facing the street and covered with plastic. I mumbled a small alarm spell and went as sat on the sofa. The Old Man was still in dream land and purred with the small guttural consistency of tectonic plates shifting.

    This little escapade had cost me time, and an audience with Em, but I'm sure she was laughing about it. Truth be told though I'd learned a thing or two. One, Pirate Jane was a crafty old bird and number two, the Old Man was something to be reckoned with.

    I was definitely going to have to rig something to make sure this didn't happen again. That'd have to be tomorrow though, because I could feel the sandman as he went down the street putting out the lights. My house was coming up fast. Putting the beer down I bid the Old Man a good night and gave him a quick scratch between the ears. I dropped the wards across the from door and flipped a switch on the banister leading upstairs.

    As I climbed up to bed, I heard the mechanism of the house coming to life. Nothing was getting in now. This house was tighter than the gates to hell. The last cogs clicked and the water in the underground piping ran at a consistent rate, surrounding the house with moving water. It was the most beautiful white noise anyone could ask for. As I fell into bed I remembered everything that had happened over the last week and all of the pain and anger I'd endured. I remembered the promise I'd made to myself and to my Uncle.

    Just before sleep finally took me, I mumbled under my breath and watched as my Uncle appeared before me in a bright green hologram. He smiled and I smiled back. Then, just before I drifted off, I told him I loved him, and even though it shouldn't have been possible, the hologram smiled and told me it was sorry.

    I woke the next morning to a rumbling on my chest. The Old Man had shifted places during the night and had come to rest on top of me. I opened my eyes and he stared at me. He gave a soft yowl then got up and stretched. He was hungry, and he damn well sure expected me to feed him.

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