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**Tidbit from my Novel**

By K.H. ObergfollPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 11 min read
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

“Oh no, where is it, where is it?” Royce Ashbluff muttered to himself as he frantically dug around his robe pockets and rummaged under the bed. He hadn’t been right since last Tuesday when an oversized flying contraption dropped a small package on his doorstep nearly hitting him squarely on the head.

“Serves you right,” his wife Matilda muttered, a coy smile igniting the corners of her lips. He had after all been spying on the neighbors—which, as normal and mundane as that may appear—is where our story gets its formidable start.

“Instant Karma my dear,” she continued from the other side of the kitchen. “But I suppose I should be thanking you. Usually I’m the one having a look over the fence, can’t believe you were out there doing god-knows what.” She’d rounded the corner and was now standing inches from her husbands panic-stricken face—“Ruined my freshly planted Begonias is what you’ve done. Are you proud of yourself?”

“Not really,” Royce began, “the Magistrates always got their hands in something that doesn’t concern them. Just wanted to get a look for myself, to see what Jim and Ava are up to. Never know what sort of foolishness is going on these days with all their newfangled contraptions. You wouldn't believe the things they've come up with. I’m sure the Burgess’s had something to do with that package. Could’ve killed me…”

Royce rushed around the kitchen spewing more aggravated missives—“have you seen them today? They are up to their usual trickery no doubt. Jim tossed a wave my direction and asked me how I’m doing, can you believe it, the nerve. He knows exactly how I’m doing, and then as if that wasn’t bad enough I saw that old loon—Rebecca from across the street—she’s out there waving and smiling. Wearing her house robes on the front porch—she saw me, I saw her. I can’t imagine what she’s up to this time of day, of course— not that I’d want to. Her husband has his hands ruddy full with that one…”

Matilda looked on disapprovingly—“you know you really have to get a hobby dear, retirement isn’t doing you any favors. Besides, Rebecca’s my age and you don’t call me old…”

Royce eyed his wife’s patiently waiting face, he knew better than to comment further as he gave a reassuring smile and a peck on the cheek. “Certainly not, speaking of—have you seen that blasted, dreadful package? I didn’t even get a chance to open it, I’m curious of what’s inside, what’s so important that it had to drop on my head.”

“Honestly honey,” Matilda replied, “you would think the thing knocked you out, it barely even touched you and if I’m not mistaken you were the one who brought it in, remember? Made me bring you my good tongs and the thickest oven mitts we had because you swore the box was cursed…” Matilda paused, her eyes widening to make room for a nervous grimace forming shadowed peaks on her face. “Do you really not remember? We had to burn your entire outfit that morning. A perfectly good house coat and my favorite pair of blue silk pajamas ruined. It’s a shame; I can’t buy those pajamas now. Madame Dufresne doesn’t make them anymore— says they weren’t “in demand”—which is utter rubbish. Can't believe it, I always liked the way they made your eyes pop. Besides, seeing as to how you never even brought the box into the house to begin with, what'd you do with it? You ran about the yard holding it out in front of you like a burning toaster. I truly can’t believe you don’t remember…”

Amidst all her rambling a light-bulb went off in Royce’s head—a formidable one but nonetheless her words had jogged his memory and done the trick— “of course dear, why didn’t you just say that from the beginning,” Royce cried out, dashing up from the table to give his wife a jolly wet kiss. “I knew that’s why I’d asked you. You always keep me in line…I can’t believe I forgot. It’s in the shed, on my workbench for safekeeping. Couldn’t risk bringing it inside, might be charmed.”

“Are you serious? Royce, you’ve gone and done it now. Can you open the stupid package and settle this foolishness once and for all? I’m sure it’s nothing serious, probably some old socks or something on back-order from the Magistrate that you just simply forgot about.”

“No, no, it’s never that simple my dear. You don’t just get an unmarked package in the mail, that’s the sort of thing someone from higher up in the Magistrate does, not some lowly clerk...they’re probably filming us as we speak,” and with that, Royce Ashbluff peeked out of the blinds over the kitchen sink and looked around the yard.

“That’s it, this is ridiculous,” Matilda shrieked. She’d had enough. She hiked up her nightgown and marched out into the wet grass in her fluffy house-shoes. “I’m going to get to the bottom of this if it’s the last thing I do, even if it kills me, you just sit back and watch…”

Royce wasn’t sure of what to do next; he’d never in all their twenty years of marriage seen his wife so flustered. “Honey, Dear, Sugar-bunches, there’s no need for you to get involved, no need whatsoever…” but it was too late, Matilda had already fastened a pair of swimming goggles on her face.

“Considering we don’t go to the neighborhood pool due to your irrational ‘fear’ of non-buoyant charms being used with the Chlorine…” She quoted in an aggravated tone, “I might as well get some good use out of these. I can’t even believe you think someone has the time or the patience to try and kill you with such an amateur thing as pool water…it’s stupid really…I mean do you even stop to think that something that large of a scale would surely injure non-magical people too?”

Matilda was clearly irritated by this point but Royce knew she was on to something. “You’re right about that part…didn’t make much sense did it…”

“Of course I’m right…but it’s not going to be that easy, there will be no sweet talking your way out of this one…”

Matilda paused, closing her eyes to mutter what Royce assumed to be a protection curse. The package itself had no seals or wax-embossed stamps. No funny hand-writing or magic binding curses of any sort to be found. In fact, it looked rather plain, rather boring, rather unassuming—that’s what worried her. She took a pair of old scissors off a magnet strip on the wall and began cutting away at the brown paper wrapped around the box. Royce stepped back a good distance as Matilda pulled gently on a twine ribbon as the four sides of the box fell open.

A sigh of relief fell over the two—“see, how hard was that Royce? I guess I have to do everything for you, absolutely everything…” The words had barely left her lips when a dusty explosion of green powder filled the room, and like that, Royce and Matilda Ashbluff disappeared into a flash of light and into the familiar pull of a portaling orb.

Matilda’s sharp screeches could be heard over the rushing sounds as Royce felt his own stomach take a flipping tumble. A short while later they landed with a thud onto the cold hard floor of what appeared to be an auditorium-sized classroom.

“Bout time Royce. See you brought Matilda…”

“Hi Matilda, hope you’re doing alright..."

Matilda's muffled grunt could be heard from over near the chalkboard.

Royce had barely enough time to see who was talking; he knew instantly who it was. “Jim…Jim Burgess…is that you. What in the world is going on…I swear once I get my bearings I’m going to...”

The repugnant, lurching sounds of Royce’s breakfast interrupted an otherwise contemptible introduction.

“Ah, I see now isn’t the time for formalities…don’t strain too much, portaling orbs are no joke,” Jim Burgess mused, sounding as though he knew from firsthand experience. “It’s no matter, once I give you a spot of drafting potion you will be right side up but first I just want to say—what took so long to open the damn package Royce. Not real dependable are we…” Jim Burgess added, shaking his head as more flashes of light popped into view.

“Artemis, Ursula, Inspectors, great…We are all here,” Jim Burgess said, whipping his hands into the air as a brilliant, bubbling cauldron appeared with several short glasses of amber colored tonic.

“Shall we get down to business?” Jim nodded in the direction of a rather portly man in an even larger suit who was still dusting himself off.

“Yes but first, where's Linda...Linda?"

A loud screeching series of violent pops exploded like a live-wire as an older woman with a severely hunched back and several large balls of yarn stepped off a clouded orb.

“Linda, we’ve really got to work on your portaling orbs, seems you're getting rather rusty in your old age. Might have to consider revoking your privileges…” Artemis cautioned.

“Put a sock in it Arty…” the woman replied in a fiery tone, her beady eyes twitching defiantly as her hands clenched tightly to the cold metal needles with their tattered bits of yarn.

The room started to close in, Jim could feel the blood boiling in Linda's veins and he surely didn't need a repeat of what had happened last year. "We don't need to draw any more attention to ourselves," Jim whispered, forcing himself to smile as he quickly grabbed Linda and led her over towards a rusty chair. "Calm down, take a seat," he motioned patting her gingerly on the shoulder.

He breathed a long-winded sigh of relief as Linda began artfully crafting away at a large knitted scarf that was nearly ten feet long. He wondered who on Earth that could possibly be for. He'd have to ponder more on that later, there was more pressing things at hand.

“Looks like we're all here, let's get started. I've got some very important things we need to discuss—namely the most recent killings. I'm sure you've heard by now but a total of seven more witches and wizards were viciously killed on the mainland this weekend and we think it’s the same culprit…I don't think it needs to be said but we've got to be very, very careful out there...”

Royce, now feeling back to his old tricks had gotten enough juice in him to sit upright without fainting and began to interject—“Jim, Jim, Jim…what’s any of this got to do with Matilda and I?”

“Do you read the papers Royce,” his wife Matilda interrupted.

“I mean really, it’s been all over the papers, the killings, the two brothers, all of it. I’m not surprised…”

“No, I don’t keep up with things like that. The news always repeats the same stuff over and over and over again…it’s depressing. Besides, I’d much rather be home tinkering with…” Royce, eyes having focused on the room realized where he was.

“Are we in your office Jim? Is this what I think it is?”

Royce ran over to the floor-to-ceiling shelves where hundreds upon hundreds of various mundane items sat—hexed and cursed waiting to be used. “I helped you fix these,” he whispered, using the edge of his coat flap to pick up a moss covered rock.

“This is very dangerous…shouldn’t be so low on the shelf. Put this one up nearer the top, don’t want a student to grab hold of it…same with these,” Royce muttered, using the tip of his finger to push a couple boxes and jars from their resting place.

There were distractions everywhere. Even the stenographer Linda, Artemis’s most trusted advisor couldn’t escape Royce’s wandering eyes—“what is that beautiful contraption you have there…my word, remarkable…does it translate on its own…I’ve heard of it…what’s the name? Escapes me now…absolutely terrific though…would love to meet the creator…”

Covey cleared his throat as Ursula stepped out into the aisle between two lab tables—“I made that, quite proud of it if you must know. It's a shame that I haven’t named it yet…”

“Never you mind that, it’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful. In all my years I’ve never seen one in person…can I touch it?”

Linda practically stabbed through Royce’s hand with her monstrous sewing needle.

“That’s enough Linda,” Covey spat, his face growing redder by the minute.

“We're on official Magistrate business. I've had enough of this foolery... Jim, get on with it...Linda dear—that will be all, you can be excused...”

Linda’s portaling orb appeared out of thin air, a wild sand-spout with a mind of its own as it whipped around like a crazed bat making much more noise as errant flames sputtered, sparking across the floor before slowly dimming into a clouded oblivion. Thankfully within a few heart-wrenching seconds she was gone and the room was back to its usual deafening silence.

“I’ve really got to revoke her license,” Covey gasped, his teeth clenched and his greenish-purple jowls hanging over the sides of his freshly starched collar.

“Royce, Matilda…we’ve got new orders for you. You've been summoned to join the Magistrate with myself, and the rest of us. The job" Jim hissed, breathing another sigh of relief as the two Investigators with the Magistrate delivered their letters without further interruption. It was just in time, the ticking hands on Jim Burgess's roving watch had just passed the next hour and he was anxious but for reasons no one could have known, at least not yet. It would seem their troubles were just starting.

AdventureFantasyYoung Adult

About the Creator

K.H. Obergfoll

Author. Writer. Adventurer. World Creator. Aspiring to be Published by 2023.

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  • Kimberly Ferguson4 months ago

    So far what I’ve read is awesome can’t wait to read the rest of the book. Great imagination and story is interesting to make you keep reading.

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