Friday, December 21, 2018

Holiday Coda 50

Christmas Coda 50


This is something a little bit different. It’s not a coda because the book (first in the new Bedknobs and Broomsticks series) is not actually written yet. It’s just a little foreshadowing—but then that’s appropriate given the characters and their world. ðŸ˜‰
This is something a little bit different. It’s not a coda because the book (first in the new Bedknobs and Broomsticks series) is not actually written yet. It’s just a litt

“I don’t understand why their hats are crooked,” Andy complained.

She was lying on Cosmo’s gray velvet curved sectional watching TV. Basic Witch, to be precise. An empty martini glass sat next to the tapered metal leg of the sofa.

“No idea.” Cosmo gently twirled his glass stem and studied the slow midnight blue swirl of his drink.

“No self-respecting witch would wear a hat that looked like that. What’s it supposed to signify? She can’t fly or she can’t dress?”

Cosmo shook his head. Less blue curacao next time. More pomegranate juice. Or perhaps just scrap the whole recipe and start over using black vodka as his base?

“Maybe they’re being ironic?” Andy said doubtfully. “Is that possible?”

 “It’s probably a Harry Potter thing,” Cosmo said.

Andy groaned. Loudly. They were both plastered by then, as was their habit on the Yule Sabbat--also known as Winter Solstice. Their habit as of late. In their twenties they'd been as devout as any novices trained in the Abracadantès tradition. “Not that. I can take anything but that—”

She broke off, raising her head to meet Cosmo's gaze, as the graceful bronze and black Boulle clock on the mirror mantel of the Hollywood Regency fireplace began to chime the hour with its silvery double bell. 

They were both silent as the German clock ding-dinged twelve times.

“Shall we?” invited Andy when the clock fell silent. She nodded at the Victorian hand mirror lying face down on the coffee table and the tall white tapered candle beside it.

Cosmo grimaced. “You can if you like. I’m out of practice.”

“You’re not out of practice, Cos. Don’t tell me you’re not using magic at all.”

“I’m not.”

“If you can’t find something, if you’re running late, if you don’t want to talk to your mother—”

“All right,” Cosmo said a little irritably. “Yes, I still practice occasionally. I’m trying not to. You know that.”

“You don’t choose to practice with the coven anymore, but you’re still practicing.”

“Are you listening to me?”

They had grown up together and were as close as siblings—closer, in fact, than many with blood ties. Bickering was as natural to them as fighting each other’s battles.

“I’m listening.”

“Anyway, it doesn’t work.”

Andy laughed.

“Well?” Cosmo challenged. “We’ve been trying since college. Has it ever worked?”

“No. Well, there was the time that demon—”

“You’re not going to marry a demon.”

Andy giggled. She was not a giggling kind of girl--except when she drank. “Who said anything about marriage? It’s about finding your true love. You should know that."

"Ouch." Cosmo's mother had declined to marry Cosmo's father, lest her children be pushed farther down the line of inheritance.  No doubt there had been other reasons.

"You're just an old-fashioned boy at heart," Andy teased. While she was talking, she went around the room turning off the lights, turning off the television, closing the long velvet drapes against the festively lit San Francisco night. When the room was shrouded in near total darkness she returned to the table and knelt beside the sofa.

She said softly, “Flame jump high, flame jump low, show me what I need to know.”

Simple magic. Formal magic was, well, formal. Proper incantations required cadence, concentration…at the very least, full sentences. But simple magic worked in a pinch. The wick of the tall white taper obediently popped into yellow-red flame, illuminating Andy’s smile and Cosmo’s shining eyes.

"Well?" she said.

Cosmo sighed and left the sofa to kneel across the table. "If you actually want to meet someone you should stop hanging around here on Solstice Night."

Andy shrugged and handed him the mirror. “Feeling lucky?” 

Cosmo laughed. “You want me to go first?”

She nodded.

He snorted, but obeyed and took the mirror from her. it was a pretty thing, but very old. The beveled glass was silvered in places and peppered in others. It didn’t matter. Cosmo was not looking for his own reflection.

They had done this many times. There was probably not a witch alive who had not performed some variation of this ancient spell. Before mirrors, witches had practiced it in water. Cosmo shivered. He did not like water spells. He did not like water.

“What is it?” Andy whispered.

He shook his head and concentrated.

The clock on the mantel ticked steadily away in the silence.

Pyewacket, almost invisible on the back of the grey sofa, opened his green eyes, studied them for a moment, and closed his eyes again. 

Cosmo lowered his lashes. Well, what did he want from a true love? Not the things he had wanted when he was younger. Some of the same things, yes. Of course.

He would still prefer a man. A man of strength and character. Intelligence. Integrity. Imagination would be useful. A sense of humor was probably a necessity. Cosmo no longer had strong preference as to age—not too old, of course or too young—nor position nor looks nor education nor interests—surely those were all things that could be worked out.

Someone who smiled with his eyes.

Yes. He could almost…almost see him…   

Just for fun, he tried a bit of ancient magic from one of the very old and obscure grimoires he had collected over the years. His Latin was a bit rusty, but in magic so often it was the thought that counts.

“I nunc amit me te amare simul, me ex caritate quoque sicerit.”

Andy echoed, “I nunc amit me te amare simul, me ex caritate quoque sicerit.”

Cosmo stared steadily into the mirror and just over his shoulder he could see…something. Hopefully not Andy’s demon.

No. A man.

Cosmo peered more closely. It was like trying to see through a mist. But the figure was tall—very tall—broad shoulders and narrow hips. Was he wearing a uniform? Because Cosmo did not want a man in uniform. Uniforms spelled trouble.

“I nunc amit me te amare simul, me ex caritate quoque sicerit.” 
“I nunc amit me te amare simul, me ex caritate quoque sicerit,” whispered Andy.

He was older than Cosmo had expected. Older than he wanted. Maybe forty? But then there was something intriguing about older men. Chestnut hair, brown-gold eyes… Not handsome. Something more compelling than the pleasing alignment of eyes and nose and mouth. Something more dangerous. 

Nor was he smiling. Not with his eyes. Not with his mouth. He did not look like he ever smiled.

Wrong number? Dropped call?  Still, it was the first time he'd ever seen anything in the looking glass. He couldn't help being curious. Cosmo repeated doubtfully, “I nunc amit me te amare simul, me ex caritate quoque sicerit.”

Wait. Fuck. And a witch! Gods and Goddess. He had to be a witch! Anything else was asking for disaster.

Too late. 

“I nunc amit me te amare simul, me ex caritate quoque sicerit,” chanted Andy. “So be it ardane.”


  1. I can't barely wait for this. Your writing and magic in the same story... perfection. So excited!

  2. Ooooh. *low whistle* Yes, I want more of that, please. :-)

  3. This sounds intriguing. thanks for the glimpse.

  4. Ooooh. Witches. Intriguing. Can't wait for the story to start.

  5. Oh I can't wait for this! You are such a tease!

  6. Wonderful (shivers in anticipation of a new series)!

  7. Well, that was a hell of a teaser!

  8. NOW! I want more now!
    ...that doesn't sound too demanding, does it? What if I add "please"?
    Can't wait!

    1. :-D What was that you said? I want more MEOW?

  9. Wow wow wow!! Talk about anticipation! This is so up my alley and sounds incredible. May the writing juju stay strong with you!

  10. "So," asked Pyewacket. "Is your person also a witch that solves crimes?"
    "Botanist," answered Mr. Pinkerton.
    "Ah," said Pyewacket, knowingly. "Close enough as makes no difference."
    "Correct," answered Mr. Pinkerton.

  11. If this is a hint of what’s to come in 2019, then it’s definitely going to be an awesome year!

    1. Fingers crossed. I'm feeling really good about the upcoming year.

  12. Oh the sweet anticipation!!! Loving this. :-)

  13. Wooo! Yeah, I'm totally hooked already. Your spell has been casted and I'm ensnared! <3

  14. Not reading, not reading, not reading! haha! But I can't wait!!! xo

  15. I'm really excited for this story and can't wait to see what is in store for Cosmo & John!

  16. So looking forward to this. What an intriguing intro!

  17. This looks amazing !

  18. I am SO looking forward to this one! My feets are tippy-tappin’! :-)

    1. Trying to catch up end-of-year stuff so I can just concentrate on this!

  19. oh my ! that seems awesome ! cannot wait !

  20. Anne-Marie McRobertsJanuary 1, 2019 at 10:22 AM

    Ummm sorry to be a pedant but I can't construe that Latin...though I think auto corrupt doesn't help if it should end sic erit.

    1. I love this. It opens up wonderful possibilities for discussion of spells and oral traditions!

  21. Anne-Marie McRobertsJanuary 1, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Josh. Pedant here, I cannot construe that Latin, and it is freaking me out. Even with my trusty dictionary and Latin grammar to hand...oh dear, what does that say about me, but I had 11 years of Latin, in school and university, it is an essential tool for a mediaevalist.

    1. You may be right, but the spell is straight out of one of my now-alarmingly-extensive witch's library. The Black Arts? Lady Sheba? Bucklands? In any case, it is not the words or construction that matters in witchcraft it is intent and tone -- which is why latin and a child's rhyme can work equally well. ;-)