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A Flick of the Tongue

An Urban Fantasy Novelette Book 1 Chapter 2

By Matthew AngeloPublished about a month ago 7 min read

I stopped short of the murder scene, out of breath. Running was far from my sport, and I knew I'd need to work out at some point. An audible popping noise reached my ears, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Next to my right stood a small figure made of twigs twisted together with a few bits of cloth for clothing. It was Braggs, my friend, and member of the Seelie Court. He glanced at me with a grin and wide-open eyes with purple irises.

When it came to the Fae, there was more to them than fairies, pixies, and the sort one would see on Disney. Braggs was different, to say the least, and one of the few people I trusted in my life. To put that much in the Fae said a lot, as they were generally unreliable on the best days.

"What are you doing here, Braggs?" I asked.

He shuffled a bit. "Just seeing what the commotion was. I sensed you were here and figured if there was a dead body with you near, then I needed to be here as well."

"I don't think they'll let me get closer, do you?" I asked.

"Definitely not. Human law enforcement is quite touchy over that sorta thing," said Braggs.

"I could use my magic, and they'd never know I was there," I said.

"It may not involve you at all, and I think its best to leave it alone," he said.

One of the benefits of having Braggs was he knew all about the Fae, which was more than I read in most magic books and stories my mother told me. On the downside, he was a bit of a coward and did whatever he could to keep me from getting into trouble.

No one saw him either. Ordinary folk couldn't see him unless he wanted them to see him, which was close to zero in the chances it would happen. Most people who saw me talking assumed I was talking to myself if they caught me, but that never bothered me, and it kept them away, which was best as I didn't get along with most people.

"I'll meet you over there," he said, taking off, scurrying through people's legs, before a final dash to the body.

Fuck. If only I could make myself invisible.

True invisibility was rare, and few wizards ever achieved it. I could turn everyone's attention away from me, and the spell would make them purposely ignore me as if I wasn't there. It worked well unless there was video or other photographic equipment around.

Magic and tech didn't always mingle well, hence my analog watch. I closed my eyes and concentrated, letting the power flow around me. I gave it my intention and pushed out toward the crowd and cops surrounding the crime scene. The lingering taste of honey and chocolate lingered in my mouth from its use.

It was always odd and made me think back to my childhood. It triggered many memories, but the moment forced my attention, and I stood, reflexively swallowing.

The spell's energy flowed and weighed like a down blanket, light and comforting. Usually, this would've been a complex spell, but years of use getting into trouble made it come to me easily. What once needed a lot of components and a ritual was now simple concentration.

I walked through the crowd without anyone giving me a look. Smiling, I couldn't help but love that it worked so well. Braggs jumped up and down next to the dead body. I dodged past a cop who gestured for the crowd to keep back.

I ducked under the tape. "Calm down, Braggs."

"We got a stiff one here, but he's a little dry though," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"Look for yourself," Braggs said.

I knelt and removed the cover. A quick glance showed everyone either looking away or talking amongst themselves. It's still working and better than I thought. No matter how many times I used my magic, there was always the lingering doubt that I'd fuck it up or it would last long.

With a glance at the corpse, I choked back a gag as the musky stench reached my nose. It smelled sweet, like decay or the waste of a paper mill. Pungent and awful, I gagged again. In the open like this, he shouldn't have smelled so bad.

He was fairly thin, wearing a dirty tank top, unlaced shoes, jeans, and scraggly brown hair. His skin was taut over his skeleton as if all the fluids inside him had been drained. He was also a dull, yellow color with puncture wounds in his chest. Two, to be exact. Now that's interesting if I say so myself.

I didn't see any blood, but after a thorough look, I didn't expect to find any. His mouth was open in a wide, soundless scream. A tear rolled down the man's right eye, and I grabbed a tissue and wiped at it.

It wasn't a tear like from someone who cried, and it was thicker, more like a runny gel, like his eye oozed. Part of the tear clung to the victim's dry, parchment-like skin.

"What the hell is this?" I asked.

"That is called none of our business. I don't think we should mess with this, Damian. Nothing good will come of this."

I gazed at it for a minute before shoving it in my pocket to analyze later in the college lab. Standing, I strolled into the crowd near the cops and waited, listening to their conversation. I needed more information.

"This is the third one this week like this. I think we have a serial killer on the loose," said the officer to a man in a white lab coat.

"It's not our call, but I agree that this seems too much of a coincidence. I need to get the body to the morgue to do an autopsy, and the captain will want answers fast," said the lab coat man.

"The detectives will make the call as long as the press doesn't get a hold of this. It's bad enough that the college isn't aware of this. Too many students" said the cop.

"I agree. They'd go into lockdown once they find out this isn't just the third victim but the third student," said the lab coat man.

Three students? What the hell was going on here? I walked away from the crime scene along the fringe of the crowd and let the spell fade away like a whisper from a lover at night. The silence inside me grew as the energy escaped my grasp and dissipated back into the world.

A ringing sound filled my ears in its absence, and I had to shake my head to clear it away. I hated that shit, but magic comes with a price. I am okay with if this was the worse, I'd pay.

"Are we ready to go, Damian?" Braggs asked.

I glanced around and saw webbing near the edge of the park by one of the dorms. It was a bit much from a standard spider and made me think back to the lecture in Biology class.

"I should've paid more attention in class," I said.

Moving closer with Braggs in tow, I saw that silk strands with semi-opaque stretched themselves over the bush near the trail. Wasps and insects hung in suspension within the strands, along with a small rabbit, withered like the man a few dozen feet away.

"I don't know of any spiders big enough to kill a rabbit in America," I said, staring at it intently. "You don't think something from beyond the Veil has crossed over?"

"It's possible, but I don't want to find out. All I know is nothing from the Fae did this. We should go get lunch instead," Braggs said.

"I'm going to follow the web and see where it goes," I said.

Braggs pulled at my pant leg. "That's not a good idea."

He sounded scared. Braggs' eyes were wide, and his mouth hung open. I could see the bubbling wheezing of his breath as if he were drowning. His bark-like skin grew pale, and his whispy hair had become a mess of tangled knots. He was sweating, and his face contorted into a look of panic.

His voice was the high squeal of a mosquito in complete panic mode. "Please, don't go in there, Damian. I feel it's nothing but bad news."

"I know it is, but students are dying," I said.

I enter the trail using the web as a guide. The webbing was sticky and clung to my hand but didn't leave a tacky feeling behind. I could feel Braggs' hand on my pant leg, but his hand became hot as I paid more attention. The temperature of his skin felt like it was baking from the inside out, burning my leg.

He wasn't built for this sort of adventure or danger. I pulled my wand out of my backpack. Whatever eight-legged monster lived here, I'd be ready for it. I hoped.


Thanks for reading chapter 2. Keep up-to-date on my latest writing by subscribing to my page and get advance news and more by joining my Substack below for stories, novellas, and podcasts relating to all things urban fantasy, dark fantasy, grimdark, and cyberpunk.

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Young AdultthrillerShort StorySeriesSci FiMysteryHorrorFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Matthew Angelo

I am a traditional and self-published author and content/copywriter. I write in many genres like fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, cyberpunk, grimdark, romance and science fiction.

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