Art and the philosophy of life

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The Magical Apothecary…20

“Hi, Taylor.  Any new ghosts in town?” asked Joey, putting new books on the front table.

“A few,” she said.

“Before you go in the back,” he said, “do you think that if Cormick goes into the past that he can stop wars and diseases from manifesting during our time?”

“I doubt it,” she said.  “I think things will play out pretty much the same way.”

“Why?”

“Because people are people and they aren’t intelligent enough to see what’s right in front of them.”

Joey thought about it.  “I guess you’re right.”

“I am.”

“Did Diana tell you about my father?”

“A little.”

“I still want to find my mother.”

“Did you ask Sparrow for help?”

He shook his head.  “No.”

“She’ll help you.  Not because of your Fairy Oath, but because she loves you.  Hmm, maybe I should say that she’s in love with you.”

“We just friends forever,” he said.

“It’s more than that for her.”

“It is?”

“You’re so smart in so many other areas, aren’t you?” she sighed, patting him on the shoulder. “I’ll be in the Lab.”

A gorgeous woman walked in.  Joey recognized her immediately.

“Sparrow.”

“Hi, Jo Jo.  Did you see your father?”

“I did. Thank you.”

“He said he was going to stop by.”

“He doesn’t really want to have anything to do with me.”

She nodded.  “He just found out about you.  Maybe he’ll change his mind.”

“I seriously doubt it.”

“I’ve been trying to find your mom.”

“Really?”

“Yes, but I haven’t found anything yet.”

“Thank you for looking,” he said.  “Would you like some tea and cookies?”

“Yes, please.  That would be lovely.”

They sat at the kitchen table, and fell into an easy and comfortable togetherness.

“I’ve missed you,” she said.  “I always hoped you would come back.”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t know who I was.  I still don’t.  Not really.”

“Someone wiped your memory.”

“Why?” he asked.  “Who would do something like that?”

“Maybe you saw something you shouldn’t have.  I don’t know,” she said.

“My father said that I wouldn’t be welcome in Fairy.”

She nodded. “Your father is very powerful, but he’s right.”

“You accept me.”

“I love you.  That makes a difference.”

He smiled.  “I love you too.”

“I’m going to keep looking for your mother,” she said, standing up.  “I’ll let you know if I find anything.”

“Thank you.  I hardly ever leave here, so you know where I’ll be.”

“Your eyes are just like your father’s.”

“That’s what he said. A fractured genetic anomaly, or something like that.”

She laughed and nodded.  “Yes, that’s what it is.  Look, I have to go,” she muttered, pressing his hand to her cheek.  “I’ll see you soon.”

The shop was busy all day.  Deliveries were made and boxes piled up behind the counter.  People came in to pick up potions and spells.  Questions were asked about the coffee station and everyone voted for chocolate chip cookies, except for Mr. Clark, who requested Ginger Snaps.

Cormick barged in at closing time and his hyper energy immediately filled the shop.  Midnight did a perfect version of Halloween Cat, his back arched, as he pranced sideways, and Chester hid behind a chair.

“KNOCK IT OFF!” said Diana.  You just ruined a potion I’ve been working on for forty-five minutes.”

“Oh, sorry,” he said, looking as if he meant it.

“Now,” said Diana.  “What do you want?”

“You mean besides you?” he asked

 

 

Starting over…20

“Look,” said Jerry.  “I don’t know what to tell you.  I don’t know if we’ll have any warning, or if it will be a surprise attack.  I’m guessing it will be the latter.  Suddenly the sky will be filled with waring ships and the battle will have begun.”

“Then how am I supposed to gather the troops?” asked James.

“It just happens.  I don’t know what triggers it, but you’ll light up and those on our side will appear.”

“So basically, the universe is using me to do it’s bidding and I have no say in it at all.”

“The universe is USING all of us to do its bidding, James.  Each and everyone of us.  We’re just pawns in whatever game it’s playing.”

“That sucks,” said Lilly.  “Basically we’re toys.”

“And not well loved toys at that,” agreed Jerry.  “You’re disposable, that’s why you die.  You become boring and the universe keeps hoping the next batch will be more fun.”

“Can we attack the universe?” she asked.

“I don’t see how,” sighed Jerry.  “Think about it, Lilly.  No one even knows what the universe IS.”

“That’s not fair,” she said.

Nothing is fair,” said Jerry.  “None of us have any choices, or control, over anything.  That’s simply an illusion, my girl.  Nothing is real.”

“So what, exactly, are we fighting FOR?” she asked.

“Ah,” said Jerry, “Indeed.  What ARE we fighting for?”

“Just so the universe can have fun playing with us?”

“Perhaps,” sighed Jerry.  “I wouldn’t doubt it.”

“What if we refuse to play its game?”

“How would we do that?  Let the others just kill everyone?”

“What if we white flag them?  What if we want to parlay and get them agree to stop the fighting?  What if we show the other side how we are all being used to kill each other for the fun of something we can’t even see?”

“Lilly,” said James.  “That’s a great idea.”

“Why should we fight and die because someone, or some THING, is bored?”

“You make a good point,” said Jerry.  “I just don’t know if the others will agree to a meeting.”

“It can’t hurt to try.”

“No,” said Jerry.  “I suppose it can’t.”

“What are you babbling about now,” said Kit, who simply appeared sitting on his desk.

They told her.

“Well, this is a fine mess,” she said.

“Tell us something we don’t know,” said James.

“And you,” she said, laser gazing at Jerry.  “How long do you plan on stay here, among the humans.”

“Aw, come on, Kit.  I was just having some fun.”

“That’s what he always has to say when he’s shirking his responsibilities,” she said, looking at Lilly and James.

“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

“I know that,” she said.

Jerry grimaced.

“Now, about the war,” she said.  “I’ll talk to a few people and see what I can do to set up a meeting.  I doubt they’ll go for it, bloodthirsty things that they are, but I guess it won’t hurt to try.”

“Really?” said James.  “That would be great.  Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” she smirked.  “And I can see that you and Lilly are no longer an item.  What happened?”

“They told her.”

“Seriously?” said Kit, laughing  “Heather?”

James turned beet red and nodded.

“I can see why you like it here, Jerry.  They are endlessly amusing. And you,” she said, looking a Lilly.  “That boy Tommy is trouble.”

“I know.”

Kit smiled.  “Go for it,” she said.  “Jerry was like that once, before he turned into what you see before you now.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Jerry, frowning.

“You’re not what you used to be, that’s all.  All the bad boy has run away and now your just…this.”

“That’s not fair!” said Jerry, standing up.

“Let’s not fight in front of the children, dear,” sighed Kit.

“About the war,” said James.  “Could we get back to that?”

“Of course,” said Kit.  “I’ll see what I can do.  And as for you,” she said, looking at Jerry.  “If you don’t return soon, I won’t be there when you get back.”

“Come on, Kit,” he said.  “I’m just…”

“Don’t care,” she said, turning her attention back to Lilly and James.  “I’ll let you know what I find out.”

“Thank you,” they said.

And she was gone.

“I think you’re in trouble, Jerry,” said James.

Jerry ran his hand over his face.  “Won’t be the first time.”

“It might be the last,” said Lilly.  “I get the feeling that she has someone else in her sights.”

“I better go back,” he said.  “The school will have to get someone else to finish the semester.”

“The kids won’t like that,” said Lilly, smiling.  “No more practicing on each other.”

“True,” said Jerry.  “But they’ll just have to deal with it.”

Once outside James looked at Lilly and said, “Love seems to be messy no matter where it’s happening.”

Lilly nodded.  “Tell me about it.”

“I hope she finds a way to set up a meting.”

“So do I.”

“I wonder what will happen if we all refuse to fight?” said James.

“I don’t know but I want to be there to find out,” she said smiling.  “I think it would be fantastic to stick it to the universe.”

“So do I,” he laughed.  “Let’s see if the toys can trip up the universe.”

“That’s the attitude a champion has, James.  It’s kind of scary to think that the universe might have a temper tantrum.”

“Maybe.”

“No.  It is,” she said, throwing her arm over his shoulder.  “Trust me.”

“Uh, no.  I’m never trusting you again,” he snickered.  “Not after last time.”

“I can understand that,” she said.  “Let’s get something to eat.”

“Okay.”

“We can talk about your thing for Heather.”

“No.  No we can’t.”

“Aw, come on, James.  What is it about her you love?”

“I don’t know,” he sighed.  “It’s too stupid to even talk about. Your sister is mean and horrible.”

“Is that what you like about her?”

“I just think there’s more to her than that?”

“Like what?”

“No idea.”

“Love is strange, don’t you think?”

“More like insane,” said James, smiling at her.  “Even I know that my feelings for her are crazy and that I’m walking into a den of hungry bears who are just waking up from hibernation.”

“And?”

“We’re going out next weekend, if we’re still alive.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

“It’s not that funny,” he said, laughing.

“Then you’re not paying attention,” cried Lilly.

“Just keep walking.”

 

 

Annie…Short story…20

The cats were restless.  The hen was walking back and forth, pecking at everything.  Tension was in the air and there was a feeling of impending…something…in the air.

“Are you ready?” demanded Annie.  “Tinsel wants us there on time.”

“Yes.  I’m ready,” said Clark, pulling a tee shirt over his head.  “What is your problem?  We have plenty of time.”

Annie thought for a minute, then said.  “You’re right.  It must be more of that 18th birthday thing and happy birthday, by the way.”

“You too,” he said, handing her a small box.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“Seriously?”

“I didn’t know we were exchanging gifts.  I can’t accept this.”

“You better accept it,” he said, shoving the box at her.  “You can get me the book I’ve been wanting.  We can go to the bookstore tomorrow.  Okay?”

“Okay,” said Annie, tearing at the paper.  “Uh, it’s beautiful.”

“You like it?”

“I love it,” she whispered.  I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten a real present before, not like this, I mean.”

“It has your initial on it and there’s a cat on the inside.”

Annie slipped the ring onto her finger and then threw herself into Clarks arms.  He started laughing.  “Now I know you like it,” he snickered.

“You can choose two books tomorrow.”

“Thank you.  I know exactly which ones I want.”

“Ready?” asked Lucifer.

“Yes,” they said, at the same time.

Tinsel’s shop was in a rundown neighborhood.  There was litter everywhere and people were sleeping in doorways and sprawled out on the sidewalks.  Some of the street lights were out, broken, or they just had their bulbs stolen, but the lights in Tinsel’s windows lit up everything around it.  A fairy bell rang as they opened the door.

“Perfect,” she said, looking at the clock.  “It’s exactly seven minutes to seven.  Annie you first, get in the chair.”  A black and gray cat came out from behind a curtain and jumped into Annie’s lap.  He purred, kneaded her legs, then curled up for a nap.

“That’s Henry.  He runs the shop with me.”

“He’s wonderful,” said Annie, petting his ears.

“Sit still and be brave,” said Tinsel.

“What?  Brave?  Why?”

“I’m kidding. Just sit still.”

An hour later Tinsel was putting a plastic wrap around Annie’s arm.  Keep slathering it with this stuff,” she said handing her a blue jar.  You can take a shower with it unwrapped in twenty-four hours.  The ink has been mixed with magical elements and DNA from you and Clark.  That way, you’ll never be out of touch when there’s danger.”

“It’s beautiful,” said Annie, looking at her forearm.  “I feel…I feel…different.”

“You are different.  It’s the magic.”

“Clark!  Why aren’t you in this chair?” snapped Tinsel.

Clark jumped up and threw himself into the chair.  “Sorry.”

An hour later, he was looking at his arm in the mirror.  “It’s fantastic.  Thank you Tinsel.”

“Yes,” said Annie, hugging her,  “thank you.”

“Okay, now listen up,” said Tinsel.  “You won’t be able to eavesdrop on each other.  Got it?  When you are fearful, or stressed by a real threat, that will trigger the magic and you will immediately know where the other person is.  Got it?”

“Got it,” said Annie.

“Me too,” said Clark.

“You can’t get an infection but put the stuff on it for a week just to keep your the tattoo moist until it’s completely healed.  The cat and the dragon are powerful magic in and of themselves, so you should be doubly protected.”

Annie reached into her bag and pulled out a chocolate cake.  “For you.”

Tinsel’s eyes lit up.  “Wow, thank you.”

Lucifer took an envelope out of his pocket and placed it on a side table.  “Thank you.”

Tinsel stared at him.  They looked into each other’s eyes for two or three minutes then they both nodded and said goodbye.

Once home and back in the kitchen, the hen settled down and so did the cats.  They were all eating cake and admiring Tinsel’s incredible artwork when Matthew fell against the back door and slid out of sight.  Lucifer opened the door and dragged the angel inside.  He was covered with blood and barely conscious.  “They’re coming for you L.  Take the kids and run.”

“Help me,” said Lucifer.  “Annie, get the bed ready.  Clark, grab his feet.”

They got the angel into bed and Annie started to clean him up.

“What are we going to do?” asked Clark, picking up a wet rag and starting to help Annie.

“We don’t run from white wings. They run from us.”

“I think this is going to need stitches,” said Annie, looking at a gash in the angels thigh.

“Just tape it closed.  It will heal by itself.  Are you two ready for battle?”

“Of course,” said Clark.

“I’m ready,” said Annie.  “I’ll call the cats.”  She closed her eyes and sent out the cat signal.  The cats in the house ran to her side and suddenly cats were everywhere, in the apartment, in the street, on top of cars, on balconies, in the alley and on rooftops.  “They’re ready,” said Annie, knowingly, her heart beat meshed with theirs.

“This isn’t a game.  It’s to the death.  You know that don’t you?”

“We do,” said Clark.

Annie just nodded. Then she covered Matthew with a blanket, put a damp rag on his forehead, took the bowl of bloody water out of the room and closed the door.

Clark, Annie, Lucifer and hundreds of cats stood in the living room, waiting for the attack.  They didn’t have to wait long.

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