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A Short Story

Jodie Rose

First printing May 2018

Copyright © Jodie Rose All rights reserved.

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Woman: Carol Oliver on Unsplash

Book Image: Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

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The book as well as the characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements & Dedications

Chapter One: New Orleans

Chapter Two: The Agreement

Chapter Three: Bodies

Chapter Four: Shenanigans

Chapter Five: Unexpected

Chapter Six: Up to No Good

Chapter Seven: No Tricks

Chapter Eight: Mistakes Made

Chapter Nine: Suspicion

Chapter Ten: Home

Chapter Eleven: A Plan

Chapter Twelve: Cages

Chapter Thirteen: Missing

Chapter Fourteen: Karma

Chapter Fifteen: The Book

About the Author

Other books

Connect with Jodie Rose

Acknowledgements & Dedications

Dedicated to those who helped inspire the characters and those who have supported us from the beginning of this journey. The continued support from our friends, family, and readers is more appreciated than you will ever know. These books are for you!

Special dedicate to the real-life German Shepherd, Draco who inspired Cordelia’s companion in this story. Rest in peace, handsome boy.

Chapter One: New Orleans

Cordelia Delacroix was sprawled out on her bed while she sketched. Her eyes were focused on the paper before her as various songs shuffled on a mixed playlist, filling her earbuds. She was drawing a church. Specifically, the Episcopal Cathedral on Charles Ave.

The place was burned into her memory, the beautiful Gothic-style construction, the large bright stained-glass windows...right down to the light-colored oak the pews were made of. She had gone a few times, had even spoken to the priest once or twice. The church was fascinating.

Cordelia was absently chewing on the eraser of her pencil when her trip down memory lane was disrupted. The song she was listening too was cut off and the classic jingle of her ringtone blared in her ears. Cordelia couldn't help the eye roll when the name Evan Crane flashed across her screen.

Immediately, she reached out and poked the red decline button. There was nothing he couldn't say to her voicemail. Cordelia went back to her sketch, only to be disrupted once more, less than a minute after the first call. Again, it was Evan. What could be so fucking important? This time, she answered.

“What Evan?” There was a bit of harshness in her voice. She just barely tolerated the man that had, at one time, been the love of her life...until he went and slept with her best friend.

“Want to meet up for coffee?”

“Not a chance.”

“Please? I want to apologize. There are things I need to say.”

Cordelia took a deep breath, summoning all her self-control as she mulled over Evan’s words for a few seconds.

“Are you still there?” Came his voice, unsure. Had he ever sounded weak to her? It was a nice change.

“Fine, meet me at Avenue Cafe in twenty minutes.”

Cordelia pulled herself up into a sitting position, her pencil and sketch abandoned. Before he could reply, she hit the end call button. She bit her lip, a look of frustration crossing her features. What the hell was she thinking?

Cordelia groaned and slapped her palm against her forehead. “Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” The sound of the slap had disrupted the sleeping shepherd next to her. Draco raised his head and tilted it. No doubt, the dog was judging the shit out of her. “Keep your opinions to yourself, Mr.”

Phone still in her hand, she immediately started to make phone calls. Her first two were to Zariah’s cell phone. No response. She shot her a quick ‘Call me!! Where are you?!’ text before trying Zariah’s house phone. Her cousin resided in Miami Beach and it wasn’t uncommon for the woman to be out and about, too busy to be bothered with the calls of her baby cousin.

Cordelia let out a sigh and slid off her bed, scouring her room for the pair of black lace up combat boots she usually wore. It wasn’t hard to find them, they were stuffed under the desk by the window with a bunch of other stuff. She quickly shoved each foot into the correct boot and laced them up, snatching her wallet and keys off the desk before heading toward the door.

“Draco, come!” The black Shepherd lifted his head from his paws and stood, trotting lazily to her side as she made her way down the hallway. She opened the door to her brother’s room and poked her head in.

“I’m goin’ out with Draco. I’ll be home later, tell mom I won’t be home for dinner.” Once again, before the other party could respond, Cordelia had already moved on. Despite being older than eighteen, she still felt the need to let people know when she was leaving.

She stomped her way down the stairs and out the front door, locking it behind her as she left. ‘On my way. See you shortly.’ She sent Evan a quick text, letting him know she was actually coming.

The Shepherd at her side nudged her hand and she absently stroked the top of his head. Draco was her world. Her parents had let her pick the pup three years prior when a friend of theirs had a litter ready. Draco had been the only solid black one and the choice had been an easy one.

Fifteen minutes later, Delia arrived at the coffee shop, Evan nowhere to be found. The girl sighed, placing the dog in a ‘down-stay’ by one of the outside tables before slipping into the building to place an order. By the time she returned with the iced coffee, she had expected Evan to be there. She couldn’t say she was terribly surprised he had blown her off… or chickened out, more likely. Then again, there was always the chance he had done it intentionally to waste her time. Either way, his number was surely getting blocked now.

Cordelia picked the table available with the most shade and sat down. This time of year, New Orleans was absolutely sweltering and she would do anything to beat the heat. Just for a little while. The coconut iced coffee and wrapped onion bagel with cream cheese were placed down on the table before she started to rip pieces off it.

A piece of bagel for Draco, then for her, the dog, then her. That went on until she finished the bagel. Once done, she pulled her satchel around the front of her and dug around, finally producing a small book on crystals. She might as well read while she gave him another half an hour to show his face. If he didn’t… well, at least she was able to get out for a little while.


Things for Finn had just started to look good. Despite the heartbreak from the passing of his parents, he had inherited their old bookstore downtown. It had been a way for their memory to go on and he had done everything in his power to keep it afloat. Even with the chain bookstores up the street, he had found a way to bring people in to observe the oddities stored on the shelves.

What were those oddities? Mostly ancient torn books, everything from first print classics to even older books on magic. Finn's parents had searched the globe for old books and the adventures they contained within their pages but it had been the curiosity they passed onto their son that had changed his world as he knew it.

During one night of organizing, he had climbed the dusty ladder to reach the very top of the shelves. Reorganizing them had been a necessity but it was the book he had found that stopped him in his tracks. It was foreign to him. It had called to Finn, promises of mystery and magics he had never known. Finn cracked the book open, abandoning his original mission of cleaning the store. He had read the words and although he did not know the language written on the pages, they spoke to him within his mind.

He had been consumed by the book, pouring over each page but never actually remembering the knowledge within it. Every page had allowed the spirit trapped in that book to get closer and closer to Finn. It wasn't until he could no longer find the book and the voice remained that he knew he was in some serious trouble. At first, it was innocent, just an opinion where one was not warranted

Shortly after that, the dreams had begun. They were laced with memories of a life that was not his own. Torturous and dark, they had plagued him and destroyed any chance of a full night's sleep for what felt like years when in reality, it was only weeks. After a while, he had learned to live with what he had felt was a demon lurking below the surface. Finn had been unable to find help in anyone he sought out, not the self-proclaimed witches in the French Quarters, not from the books or online research. He felt hopeless.

Finn could feel whatever it was just beneath his skin, crawling about and angry. There was something in the air that scared him, something that made the creature more and more apparent as of late. Whether it was words Finn had not meant to utter or strength that he had not possessed, he felt himself changing, and not for the better. He needed help before it consumed him entirely. That was what brought him back to the Quarters. He was seeking out a witch, one with a bloodline strong enough to help him.

Dark brown eyes scanned the crowd as he walked, messenger bag filled with the books he had collected and purchased that day from various magic shops. But there was a shaking in his hand, a voice that yelled within his mind. It was a sinister energy that left him desperate to get home, so desperate to lock himself inside and away from others.

Finn was a tall and strong young man, certainly handsome behind those dark-rimmed glasses but after living with the demon, at least that’s what he was convinced it was, there was a darkness behind his eyes. The bags beneath them were a new addition to his exhaustion.

An exhaustion that wore him right down to the bone. He hardly noticed those around him anymore, always searching for...something.

Finn stopped outside a local coffee shop, the aromas within urging him inside. Coffee was needed before he finished his day anyhow, otherwise, he risked the slumber that would leave his body open for whatever was using his body. He had no interest in leaving it open to whatever horrors the demon decided. Not if he could prevent it.

Strolling up to the counter, he flashed the barista a charming smile and ordered himself an iced mocha latte. In the middle of summer, it was far too hot for him to want something warm. Finn exited the shop to head back home but something stopped him just outside the door, his body going rigid when his eyes fell on the book in the stranger’s hands. It was not uncommon for tourists or locals alike to read of the magics and mysteries there. Learning of the mystical beings to better introduce themselves to the colorful history of their home in New Orleans was important. Dark things lurked in the Quarters. The darkness inside him was one of those things. It pushed Finn’s body towards the female sitting outside the cafe until he awkwardly stood near her table.

He had been unaware of how close he was until it was too late to change his mind. Struggling to come up with a reason for his sudden appearance, Finn offered up a strained smile. “Fantastic book, is it a first edition?” He asked, gesturing to his book bag.

“I apologize, I'm a bit of a buff.”

Cordelia hadn’t been paying much attention to the folks that passed her and neither had Draco. She was all too consumed with the crystal book in her hand, studying a few in particular. The book was an older one, passed down through generations. There was absolutely nothing tourist-y about the worn tattered pages of the leather-bound book. She was deep in concentration, oblivious to the other humans. Movement flickered in her peripheral followed by the deep warning growl that was emitted from her companion. It caused Cordelia to lift her head to look at the person who decided to block out the sunlight.

A yellow legal pad laid on the table before her, a black pen hanging out of the corner of her mouth as she read. She was chewing on the plastic housing on the pen, a bad habit she had turned to out of stress. Cordelia supposed she could have a more destructive habit to channel her energy into.

Every so often Cordelia would reach for the coconut iced coffee and take a sip. In her humble opinion, the cafe had the best coffee in town. Even if Evan did blow her off, the coffee made the walk here worth it and it was always nice to enjoy a day in the beautiful weather despite the sweltering heat.

Cordelia’s face scrunched up in concentration. She was reading about Chalcedony stones and its effect on blocking nightmares when the man approached and hovered. It was research she was doing for a client that had come to her recently. The client, an EMT plagued by PTSD showed up knocking on her door at three A.M. begging for a solution. The best she could come up with thus far had been a charmed Chalcedony stone she planned on turning into a necklace for the young woman. Cordelia made a soft snorting noise and placed the book down on the table, rapidly flipping through the pages until she had come to another.

He was met with a glare, the book slamming shut on its own. “Only edition is more like it. It has been passed down through eleven generations, a handwritten copy that no one else needs to see.” If he knew anything about New Orleans and the history the place had... it would clue him in on the woman's supernatural bloodline.

“Can I help you?”

Her gaze shifted to the dog at her right, a gentle growl steadily rumbling from him. If Draco wasn't a good judge of character, nobody was. “Draco, ruhig.” She was speaking German. There was no arguing with that tone of voice. The dog immediately hushed at her side.

Finn’s eyes flashed to the dog for a moment as the warning sounded. He was a fan of dogs, having had many during his childhood years with his family. But the demon didn’t quite know how to respond. A pacing in his body and mind Finn could not control started to stir.

His mind was racing as to where he may have seen that book before. Overriding the demon for a moment, he racked his brain. It was old, and passed down as opposed to stolen or found. Naturally, she had to have some gift, some touch to the other side. Perhaps something that could help him. Having the demon’s doubts plaguing his mind was not something he would be able to live with any longer. At any sign of help, he would take it. Even if the demon had led him there himself.

“Eleven generations.” He repeated, eyes unable to waver from the book in her hands.

She was not the most friendly of people upon first impression. But Finn hardly was either when some stranger interrupted his reading. Still, he could not leave that table before he acted on something.

Cordelia let out an annoyed huff, the end of the pen tapping anxiously against the pad as she glanced up at him. She had gotten used to radiating the attitude of a bitch even if she wasn’t really like that. It was easier to scare folks off. Next, her foot started tapping lightly against the concrete down.

Yeeep. Eleven generations. That’s what I said.”

“I...” How the hell do you start something like that?

How do you even speak to a stranger about what was boiling inside of you, about the voices?

“Something inside me -” Not a lie, I suppose. “-brought me over. I have been seeking someone with knowledge of magic to assist me. Seeing as you are versed or at least not opposed to a small bit of that ...” Finn gestured towards the book, “Perhaps you practice yourself? Or you may help a stranger in the right direction?”

He was correct about one thing, Cordelia was less than friendly. Though she wasn’t that old, experience taught her not to trust people, especially those in town. So many of them proved to be untrustworthy and even though the man before her seemed innocent enough, she still couldn't let her guard down.

The poor guy was probably sorely regretting approaching her. Cordelia reached for the ice coffee and sipped. The ice would melt soon enough in the New Orleans heat and then her coffee would be too watered down to enjoy it.

If he was looking to pick her up, he was doing a horrible job. Cordelia's eyes narrowed, her gaze meeting his briefly before breaking away. There was him. The energy pulsing from the book next to her hand spoke of ill intent. All of the witches of her family line seeming to gather for the occasion. What were they up too? Her hand laid flat out on the book. ‘Silence you old bats.

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