More from my Amethyst Universe… Prompts used: key, paper, raw meat


Adept David Weston


I didn’t want to go further than our patch of the Forest. Not yet. Not until my hair had grown, at least. So I stayed around Dylan’s home and mine, and watched the wariness in our parents’ eyes gradually fade away. But I couldn’t hide forever, and a few days after my return Paul Grant turned up, wanting to know why Dylan hadn’t been around town. We were in the Cunninghams’ back orchard when Paul arrived, and his appalled expression when he saw me would have been funny if it hadn’t hurt so much. Regardless of Dylan’s assurances, the distrust in Paul’s eyes was painfully obvious. We’d been friends as children, not as close as Dylan and me, but good friends all the same. Now, despite my sun glasses, battered jeans and faded tee-shirt, my shaven head was enough to mark me as a potential threat as far as he was concerned. Dylan’s scowl didn’t help the situation.


“For God’s sake!” he snapped. “Dave is okay! I trust him, and I’m the one most at risk here. That should be good enough for you.”


“Sorry, but it isn’t. So he’s a PI reject–that isn’t going to stop him from running to them and shopping you!”


“I’m not going to shop anyone,” I said curtly. Luckily I had years of practise at keeping my temper, showing nothing of my true feelings. Somehow, I had to win him over. The support of Dylan’s friends could prove to be a key part of the mission First Weaver Sinclair had given me. “Least of all Dylan.”


Paul ignored me. “We knew him eleven years ago, when we were kids. They’ve had all that time to brainwash him. How come they’ve suddenly decided to chuck him out now? If he’s that much of a failure, it took them a bloody long time to find out he’s not up to their standards.”


“I’m a borderline case,” I said, squinting through the stab of pain in my temples.


“And you oh-so-conveniently can’t talk about it,” Paul sneered. “I don’t buy it, Weston.”


I didn’t hide my wince. “I’m sorry, Paul,” I said quietly, as sincerely as I could. “I wish there was something I could do or say to convince you I’m no threat to Dylan or anyone else. The Inst–” I broke off, took a deep breath and tried again. “The I-Inst-t–”


“See? That’s what I mean!” Paul pushed hard at my shoulder, rocking me back a pace. “I’m not saying you’ll do it deliberately, but they’ve messed with your mind! Why would they do that if they had nothing to hide? What if they programmed you? Planted commands you don’t know about, until they decide to activate you?”


“What?” Dylan began to laugh. “Are you serious? Are you actually listening to yourself? You sound like a raving loony spouting conspiracy theories!”


“I’m not a bloody robot, but Paul might be right,” I muttered. “Though I don’t know why they would.” A needle-sharp twinge reminded me to be careful with my choice of words. God, I wished I could contact Weaver Sinclair. She would be able to lift the block, find a way for us to turn this whole situation to our advantage. But I had been whisked out of my normal routine and isolated from everyone in the Institute, while Magister Constantine created a barrier in my mind only another Magister or senior Adept could remove. Or a Weaver. It had been imposed from without, and I could do nothing to weaken it from within. If I could, I would have done so the moment I was back in my old home. Paul’s reaction to me was no surprise, nor would he be the only suspicious one. “Whatever, I want this block gone as much as you do!”


“We’ll find a way,” Dylan said confidently. “There might be something in Great-Granddad’s books.”


“You’re never going to show him them?” Paul’s horror drove his voice up a few octaves to a squawk.


“You bet I am. Come on, they’re up in our attic.”


We followed him, of course. It was just like old times. Almost.


* * * *


The books were old, hand-written ledgers with foxed pages and frayed corners. Dylan took one off the shelf and I half-expected it to fall apart when he opened it, but the paper was in surprisingly good condition. So were the inked words: sharp and clean, with no fading at all.


Some of the ledger’s pages were devoted to smallholding accounts, but others were recipes of some kind–spells, I suddenly realised, along with the amulets, talismans and decoctions that went with them. Spells. The Institute didn’t sanction such things. They were little more than superstitions, after all, and the rest of the paraphernalia simply focus points. The recipes were another matter entirely, but would do nothing about my barriers. Disappointed, I closed the ledger and put it back.


“‘When the moon is full’,” Paul read aloud, “‘the patient is to take a piece of raw meat and go out into the garden. They should rub the meat on their wart and bury it beneath a rowan tree. Or if none are nearby, a hawthorn. When the meat has rotted away to nothing, the wart will disappear.’ This has to be a joke.”


“It’s not the meat,” I said absently, taking down another book. “Or anything else. It’s the—”


“Intent,” Dylan and I said at the same time. We looked at each other and grinned.


“Okay, okay,” Paul said, his smile growing reluctantly. “But only if you have weird eyes.”


“And haven’t had your talent shut away out of your reach,” Dylan added quietly, and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. “It must be like having a limb cut off,” he continued. I felt him shiver and his grip on my shoulder tightened. “We’ll find a way to fix you, Davy.”


“One way or another,” Paul finished, his gaze cold. “That’s a promise.”


* * * *


Would you like more Super Silver Free Flash Fiction of up to 1000 words? Then click on the links below…


Julie Hayes (m/m)

Elyzabeth M. VaLey (m/f)

West Thornhill (m/m)

Catriana Somers

Freddy MacKay (m/m)

Lily Sawyer (m/m)

Pender Mackie (m/m)

Sui Lynn (m/m)

Victoria Blisse (m/f)

Ryssa Edwards (m/m)




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