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The Catacomb's Bookshelf
The Catacomb's Bookshelf
An urban fantasy drama about a dying woman trying to tend her shop and her young charge on probation while fending off the dark forces of a dark witch mobster.
Elza del Toro has seen better days. Running a protective charm shop, named The Magick Maze, in the most dangerous area of town is the least of her worries, but she also a dark witch that has to deal with at terminal magical illness. Every time she casts a spell, a necessity for any witch, she experiences severe pain that can only be alleviated by a green amulet hanging around her neck.
One day, a boy on probation, Noah, is sent to work in her shop. Noah's about like any other punk dark witch kid she's encountered, save that the boy practices a special magical art that makes objects transform into other objects and dance to its creators' command. Harboring nostalgia for this art, Elza decides to help him. But when a powerful dark witch mobster wants control of her shop, can Elza save herself and the boy thrust in her employment?
Elza del Toro saw some nasty-looking vagrants standing near an alleyway. They were the roguish sort with multiple piercings jabbed in their ears and noses. Their skins were covered with spiral tattoos painted in their faces and arms. Elza sensed their lust and hunger before she caught a whiff of their cigarettes, thanks to her passive dark witch intuition. They were nulls, non-powered humans-pretending to be monsters-like homeless, ravenous spirits and oversized rats-but they were nulls pretending to be monsters holding knives. They thought of Elza, a woman in her fifties with graying hair, as easy prey.
One of them got in front of her and stuck a knife close to her face. “All right,” he said. “We know what you are, and we don’t give a shit. Give us your wallet.”
Elza just stared at the nullish punk in front of her. She was not impressed by the basic null power to sense the aura of either type of witch, light or dark. “You nulls are fucking idiots, you know that?” she said.
The vagrant behind him, who had needles sticking on the top of his skull, shivered as he looked into Elza’s eyes. “Hey man, she kinda sounds like she’s into this. It’s like she wants you to try.”
His partner growled at him. “Shut up, Len. The only thing she’s going to be into is my magic dick jabbing inside of her if she don’t go with what I’m saying.” He leered at Elza with a hiss. “Give me your fucking wallet, or I’ll make you see something really scary. Is that it, bitch? All you witches like scary shit? You probably do ‘cause your kind always casts it all the time.”
Elza laughed as if she was told a dry joke. The null with the knife tensed up as he was about to make a thrusting move.
Elza shouted, “Vargas tull!”
Then the thug gasped.
He turned from a tough guy to a coward at the cloudy and bestial face that hissed at him. The face glared at him with infernal green eyes. This creature was no longer the woman he and his friend planned to mug and rape. This was an animal with a phantasmagorical mane of hair and a twisted feline face belonging to a lion from hell.
The thug with the knife stumbled back and he dropped his weapon. Elza heard the knife hit the cement with a clatter ringing against the rain but she did not care as she stepped forward.
The thug shouted, “No! Get away from me!” He ran across the street and left his friend behind to face the shocking apparition Elza turned into. A car screeched to a stop in front of his friend as he fled the scene. The last null stepped back into the alley from where he emerged with his cronies.
When they were gone, Elza shifted the energy powering the monstrous “ghost” away from herself by raising her hands upward and saying “Saigas tull.” Then the apparition covering Elza’s face dissipated. She swallowed a breath of air after the Fear Tactic spell deactivated. She felt pain constricting around her body. Elza leaned against the wall for a little while and gripped at the wet mortar as she tried to ignore the fact she hurt all over. Elza wrenched her hand into her coat. She felt the hard stone hanging from a chain. It spread hot energy into her veins. The pain she felt minutes ago melted away to a mere ripple. Elza took another breath she got up, though she still felt pain. Dwelling made the constant pain worse.