The flood water’s rising in the desert and trouble’s not far behind…
While friends are helping witch Evie Jones move back to Salt Lake City from rural Utah, something’s lurking in the heavy rain. As the gas runs low, Evie’s options drop to empty. When a fear demon attacks, she must trust her friends with the magic world’s existence to save them.
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“Evie! Get your skinny ass out here,” Chet yelled and pounded on the door, making the cheap wood dance like a stripper twerking.
I rolled my eyes at the bedroom door and put the last of my wrapped crystals in their bag. “Give me a minute. I’m packing up my girly stuff.” I shook my head, muttering, “Oy vey.”
“What, like your vibrators?”
I snorted and closed the bag, looking around to make sure there were no other magic items lying around before slinging it on my back. The carpet squelched under my feet as I crossed it, leaving footprints in my wake.
The damn flood took out the rental house’s (I use this term loosely) carpets, the smattering of cheap tables, loveseat and bed I’d brought to save me from renting the who-knew-who’d-done-what-on it furniture from this small town’s Rent-A-Crap. The stuff was cheap but it was mine. And now it was in the trash.
Chet and Zach came with their truck to help me toss the stuff growing mold and pack up and schlep home the TV, kitchen stuff, and random knickknacks I’d brought to keep me company in this middle-of-nowhere, backwater town while I was stuck here for a month.
“Merow!” came from the living room. I got my tuchus out of the bedroom so fast you’d think I teleported. My giant Maine Coon Gremlin ran up, sitting next to my feet.
Zach was still mid-crouch and stared at me with big eyes. “How did you do that?”
I crossed my arms. “Don’t pull my cat’s tail.”
“I wasn’t! I was petting him and he just screamed and hissed at the door.”
“Bull, ya putz. Don’t mess with my cat.”
“Dude,” Chet cut in. “Come on, don’t mess with her cat. That’s her baby; she’ll kick your ass.”
“I didn’t do anything to the cat.” Zach stood, towering over me. “And she’s like four feet tall, what’s she gonna do to me?”
I looked at Chet and he held his hands up in the universal apology siblings everywhere give for their big-mouthed brothers.
I glared at Zach. “I’m average height, not four feet, for one. For two, I’m trained in Aikido, carrying a knife and a gun, and I moved so fast I made you freeze.” I lowered my voice and raised my eyebrows.
“I’m Kung Fu Jew, bitch.”
Zach burst out laughing and I couldn’t keep the serious anymore, laughing too.
“Okay,” I said when I caught my breath. “This is the last bag.” I grabbed Grem, cradling him in my arms like a baby. “We good?”
We piled into the truck, Zach driving so Chet could sit between us, my bag by my feet, and my Grem-baby on my lap.
“I can’t believe this rain,” I said, petting Gremlin’s bush of soft black fur. “It’s Utah, not London. It’s a desert.”
I glanced in the rearview mirror at the little house in the rain as we pulled out from under the covered driveway that passed for a garage.
A small figure with long hair stood in front of the house.
I twisted around so fast Gremlin jumped into Chet’s lap. No one there. I looked back at the mirror and she was gone. My heart raced and fear shivered down my spine.
“You okay, Evie?” Chet asked, resting a hand on the cat and the other on my knee.
I ground my teeth together as another stab of adrenaline pierced my heart. My belly jerked and I shook my head. “Fine. Just… seeing things in the rain. I’m tired. It’s been a long month.”
He stroked Gremlin but left his other hand on my knee and my attention zeroed down to it like a teenager. I’m a grown woman. I’m not getting gooey over a friend who sees me as one of the guys.
We’d met when I hired his band for a fundraiser last February. When I ran into him again at the gun range, we’d hit it off and had been friends since. He’d had a girlfriend until a month ago, and I was his buddy who happened to have boobs.
“What were you doing out here anyway?” Zach asked.
“I’m one of the Assistant General Counsels at my hospital. We’re expanding. We put a satellite hospital out here in two-hours-from-civilization-ville, and they needed someone to train the staff on patient privacy issues. Guess who pissed off the new boss?”
“It’s been hell. Small town, USA. Where the existence of a Walmart and a hospital makes it a city in the redneck populace’s minds.”
“Damn girl, tell us how you really feel,” Chet said, rubbing my knee.
I looked down and the puddle of water at my feet reflected a flash of dark hair back at me. Wait, water!
I jerked my legs up, Chet pulled his hand away like I’d slapped it, and Gremlin jumped into Zach’s lap. Zach swerved with a curse and pulled the truck back into the lane. A blink later the water was gone.
An empty chip bag, two water bottles and a smattering of papers decorated the truck floor, and that was it.
“What the fuck?” Zach said. “Did you see a spider or something?”
Chet shot me a worried look and Gremlin climbed over him back to me.
“I’m seeing things,” I said. “Sorry guys.”
“Seeing things, like you’re off your meds?” Zach asked.
“Ha ha. I’m not on meds.”
“At least you admit it.”
“I’m not crazy! Just tired. It’s fine.”
What if it’s not? What if something’s after me? I couldn’t call my dad and ask if this could be anything magical with the guys in the car. I’d wait till we stopped for gas. If I could wait that long. I looked over at the dash; the gas gauge was down to about a fourth. We’d have to stop soon anyway.
“Hey Zach, pull off at the next gas station. I’ve got to pee.”
“Already? Are you shitting me?” Zach rolled his eyes. “Girls.”