This will be one of several choices for this year’s serial story.
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The café was full. Sandra had placed her backpack on the chair next to her pretending that she was saving it for someone. She had her headphones on, she had her phone on the arm of the plush chair and she had a paperback book in her hand. She wanted to be left alone to drink her overpriced and unpronounceable coffee. Her headphones were wireless and she wasn’t listening to music.
“May I sit here?” asked the middle aged man in a sharp looking sweater vest. Sandra looked at him over her glasses and growled and he froze. His natural instincts were telling him that was a wolf’s growl, not a human girl’s. It was low menacing growl and it startled the man enough that he looked her in the eye instead of at her breasts.
It was warm outside and she was wearing a low cut t-shirt and medium length skirt. Her hair was in a high ponytail. When he didn’t move, she scowled and said, “No.” He moved away.
Less than half a page in her book later another man came up to her and just stood there. He was looking at her expectantly and she ignored him. When he stepped closer and waved his hand in front of her, she considered breaking his fingers.
When she took off her headphones, he said, “You look like you need company.”
“Oh? What part of my, leave me the hell alone to enjoy my book, attitude give you the idea I need company?”
“Dressed like that, in public reading a trashy romance, you’re obviously trying to find a man. It’s a good thing I thing I like desperate.”
A wave of disgust followed by anger flowed through Sandra and her brown hair turned bright crimson. Her olive skin turned pure white and she poured power into her words, “Go play in traffic.” She took a deep breath as the man went out of the café. Her appearance went back to normal and she put her headphones back on.
The honk of a large truck made her smile.
She managed to almost finish the chapter before someone moved her bag off the seat next to her and sat down.
The smell of iron and grease clung to the man. From the outside he was the perfect man. Well built, handsome, and easy to smile. His designers had even added smile lines to his eyes that made the nearly inhumane shade of blue look soothing.
“Sandra. Did you really think you’d get away from us that easy?” He smiled as if he’d just said something witty.
Her heart raced, she knew how dangerous he was. “I had hoped they’d given up on me. Does this mean,” She paused concentrating her power into her voice, “Leave.” The android Francis didn’t move.
“Your Faery magic doesn’t work on me.”
“It wasn’t meant for you,” she smiled as all the patrons in the shop and the barista behind the counter decided to leave the store.
“The collective has an offer for you.”
That wasn’t what she had been expecting. She was expecting, even hoping for a fight.
“We’ll release you from your contract if you do something for us.” Her human mother had sold her to the Collective before she was born, traded her for talent with a paintbrush. Sandra visited her mother’s art at the Louvre every once in a while.
“No tricks? A pure release?” Her faery nature meant she couldn’t break a contract and she had tried for almost a hundred years. She had hoped that by running away they’d forget about her. Her Faery heritage meant that she was bound to follow contracts but they had never told her not to run away. Never the less she still felt the pull of magic to return to them. It was like a leash.
“No tricks. Our facility in Moonbeam has gone dark. Find out what happened and we’ll release you.” Moonbeam was a small town in Northern Ontario, it had a large UFO statue and boasted being visited by aliens. It was a Collective front. The whole town was dedicated to research on aliens.
“I’ll do it,” she said, almost tasting freedom. She wondered what if would feel like not to have a magical leash around her neck. When he nodded, she put the book in her bag and her phone in her pocket.
Standing up, she took the headphones, put them on the robot’s head, and pressed a button. “Some of my magic works.” She released the electricity stored in the headphones and walked away. The smell of burning metal made her sneeze as she left the store.
Outside two policemen were escorting the man who’d been playing in traffic. Sandra removed the compulsion and giggled at the fact that the man was naked.