We drove to the airport and waited on Jasmine to arrive.
“Zoe! Drake!” She yelled as her feet carried her quickly towards us. She hugged me tight before giving Drake the same hello.
“This is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to show you what I’ve learned!”
We got back to the house and Drake led Jazz to the room she’ll be staying in. After she’d finished unpacking, she joined us in the den. “So what do you guys want to do first? Oo I know! I can show you what I’ve been working on! Here, watch this,” she pulled out a keychain troll and placed it on the table.
“I’ve been practicing duplication spells. I’ve made tons of these and handed them out at the circus as free gifts. They disappear after a while, but it’s fun to do.”
She leaned over the table:
“Keychain troll, garden gnome,
filled with life, decorations of home
two of you, I conjure true
until my voice, the spell undo.”
The little toy created a copy of itself and Jazz handed it to Drake to examine. “Pretty neat huh?” she said grinning.
“Have you been working on your trance states also?” I asked.
“Yes. I love it so much, Zoe. I have talks with my mom almost every night. It’s as if I never lost her. Thank you so much!”
“You’re very welcome!” I smiled. I started wondering how much different my life would be if I could talk to my parents at her age. “Are you hungry?”
“Starving! They gave us a slice of cold, raw beef or something on the plane. It’s some sort of weird delicacy I guess, but I didn’t enjoy it one bit!”
“We didn’t actually have a chance to shop, so if you want, we can go to a restaurant and bring something home or just eat out?”
“Hmm, let’s go out!”
We drove to a local grill and got a corner booth. Before I had the chance to sit down, I felt Zavier. “I’ll be right back,” I excused myself to a stall in the ladies room before going to meet him.
“Who’s the girl?”
“Just a friend. What did you want?”
“Zoe, I asked you a question. I don’t want some watered down answer. Now tell me what I want to know. Who’s the girl?”
I sighed. “Her name is Jasmine; she’s a friend of mine I met her at the circus.”
He stepped closer to me, I could feel his goatee on my shoulder, “You aren’t itching for another round in the chamber are you? What is she doing here? Last I checked the circus was not in town.”
“She came for a visit. Her Mom died and I’ve been helping her through it.”
He turned his back and walked towards the wall lined with graffiti. “So what did you want, Zavier?”
“Invisibility. There’s a little business I need to take care of, unseen,” he smiled seductively.
“I’ll need some of your blood,” I said. He offered me his wrist. “I can’t.”
His eyes flashed anger briefly hearing those words. “I need a few supplies, Zavier, calm down.”
“What can I do to get this spell underway?” he offered in polite tones.
“A cauldron, a few herbs, I’ll make you a list; candles, multiple colors and chalk. If you’re going to be calling me with random demands, you should create a supply room at least.”
He smiled. “I’ll do that for you. What specifically does this spell require?”
“Two green candles, rosemary and a cauldron. I’m going to have dinner with my friend. When you get everything, call me.”
“I have to say Zoe, your cooperative attitude is pleasing. I’ll invite you back when I’m ready, you may go now.”
I rejoined Drake and Jasmine at the table. “So you still have to use the restroom as a ‘v’?” Jazz asked.
“It’s complicated,” I offered. “Have you placed an order?”
“Yes, it’s coming.”
“She says ‘it’ like she ordered one thing,” Drake smiled. What did Zavier want?
A spell of invisibility. He’s grabbing supplies for me now.
I wonder what he’s up to. I shrugged.
The waiter came to deliver Jasmine’s dinner. She started her plate of onion rings and burger after a nachos appetizer. “See what I mean? She has a pretty healthy appetite,” Drake remarked.
She smiled. “I told you my Dad’s a terrible cook.”
“We’ll swing by the store on the way home and shop for some supplies.”
We pulled up to Mike’s and Jasmine loaded the cart with items she was missing as “home cooked” meals and small snacks for in between meals.
Heading home, Zavier pulled me back to him. “I’m ready. I have what you need, get to work.”
“Your blood please?” I cut his hand over the cauldron, the water instantly became a bright red. I placed the herbs and mixed them before lighting the candles to begin the spell:
“Covered in darkness, shadows of night,
Remove Zavier Kayne from visible sight.
A witch’s eye to see what’s true
Invisibility I seek, hidden from view.”
The fire beneath the cauldron shot up really tall before diffusing. I dipped a little of the solution into a bottle and handed it to Zavier. “Just a sip, anymore than that and you may not come back.”
He tipped the bottle to his lips and slowly his body began to fade.
Zavier started sneaking up behind me; I turned and looked at him. “I can see you Zavier. You’re hidden from everyone else except me. I cast the spell.”
He laughed. “Then perhaps I should test it elsewhere.”
I was back in the front yard. I hate being summoned. As I walked to the front door, I noticed the neighbors’ garden gnomes seemed closer to the property line, almost as if they were marking their territory. Odd.
I found Drake and Jazz in the garage, he was sculpting her. “Oh how wonderful! I love when you work!” I watched as she modeled for him and he created a masterpiece in ice.
“It looks great! Too bad it’ll melt soon,” she said admiring his work.
“Hello?” I heard Sarah’s voice from upstairs. Jasmine and I went up and found her standing in the living room feeding Vanessa. Jazz stood across from her.
“There is still so much to learn about vampires. I can’t believe you can have babies too! Can I hold her?”
Sarah gave her a look of caution. “I don’t know, she’s really particular.”
“Please? I’m great with kids!”
Sarah glanced over at me, I shrugged and she handed Vanessa over to Jasmine.
Jasmine played with Vanessa. The baby took well to her, giggling and bouncing with joy as she was tickled.
“She really likes you,” Sarah remarked watching her daughter interact with someone other than one of us.
Vanessa’s hands started grabbing for Jazz’s hair and I warned her about her love of hair pulling, a little late.
“Ow, ow, ow!”
Sarah rushed over to grab her. “Sorry Jasmine.”
“It’s ok Sarah,” she stretched. “I think I’m going to head to bed now. See you in the morning Zoe.”
She headed upstairs and Sarah sat with me.
“I met someone at the park the other day. It was completely by accident, but we got to talking and he invited me out.”
“That’s great, Sarah!” I smiled. What’s his name?”
“Brad. Bradley Anderson. He played with Vanessa, she took to him too!”
Sarah and I sat talking a little while longer before she headed back home.
I turned off the lights and was heading to my room when I heard voices in the den. I assumed Jazz left the television on and entered the room prepared to turn it off.
The room was pitch black except a small beam of moonlight peaking through the window. “Must have been my imagination.”
“What was?” Drake asked walking up behind me.
“I thought I heard something. It was nothing. Are you coming to bed with me?”
“If you want,” he said taking my hand in his and leading me upstairs.
“I’ve been meaning to ask Drake, do you think we could buy me a car?”
“A car? What’s wrong with the convertible?”
“There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just, not mine.”
“We’ll see,” he smiled.
“That was a close one!”
“Let’s get what we came for.”
The two small figures made their way to Jasmine’s room.
The next morning, Jazz seemed a little sluggish as she made her way downstairs.
“Did you not sleep well?”
“I think it’s being in a new place. I always have to adjust. I’m fine though, what’s for breakfast? Did Drake cook?” she sniffed the air and scurried into the kitchen.
“Breakfast is served Ladies,” Drake announced placing a plate of crepes in front of Jasmine and handing me a fruit; he had a pack.
We enjoyed a nice quiet breakfast together.
“So do you want to see the city or anything, Jazz?” Drake asked as she stood to clear her plate.
“That sounds fun. I never really got to venture far when I came with the circus. I hear there’s a building downtown that has a view of the entire city!”
“That’s actually a club, Plasma 501. It’s not someplace we can take you.” Fortunately. I smiled at Drake remembering the cover up story he’d first told me about being a bouncer in this nightclub.
“Why don’t you go get changed and we’ll figure it out? There are tons of places to go here so I’m sure we can find something to hold your interest,” I said.
“Sounds cool,” Jasmine went bouncing up the stairs to change and I followed shortly.
“What do you think she’ll want to do?” Drake asked looking through his bureau. “There really isn’t much here that a child would find interesting. This city is mostly known for its nightlife.” He pulled on a black shirt and jeans.
“Yeah I’m not sure. I was thinking on it. We could take her to a movie, an arcade, or the aquarium. I’d like to check out the museum again and see if they have any new works in. But to be honest I have no idea where to take a teenage girl for fun. I was never typical so the places I’d think would be fun may not have the same influence on Jasmine.”
“That’s good for me I guess since it means the Solarium is out. That was the one place I hated following you to, I could never stand as close as I needed if anything were to happen. And of course, you’d stand in direct beams of sunlight for hours basking in the warmth.”
“Well, you’re welcome; I didn’t go there that often, though I wanted to. Mom hated for me to go anywhere for too long, yet Maggie could stay out at all hours of the night. I used to think it was so unfair the way she treated me. We fought so much sometimes. Besides, the closest thing to a Solarium here is the Butterfly Esplanade, which is actually not a bad place; plus it has tempered windows.”
I finished dressing and went down to see if Jasmine were ready.
“Jazzy, did you want to go see a movie or something today?” I asked knocking on the door before entering.
“Jazz?” she wasn’t in the room.
I made my way back down the stairs to find Drake in the kitchen cleaning up from breakfast.
“Has Jazz been this way?” I asked looking out the kitchen window to the front yard.
“No. I haven’t heard her come from upstairs yet. She wasn’t in the bathroom?”
“I didn’t check. She wasn’t in her room so I assumed she came down to wait for us.”
I went back up the stairs calling for her as I neared her door once more. “Jasmine, sweetie, we’re ready whenever you are.”
I opened the door again and still, there was nothing. I knocked on the bathroom door and waited on a response.
“Did you find her?” Drake asked joining me upstairs.
“Not yet,” I said walking to the balcony to check the back yard; still no luck. Panic started setting in as I realized Zavier did have an interest in her last night.
“Drake what if…?”
“Zavier? No, no way why would he come for her? You are already doing what he wants and in spades. There has to be another explanation.
Still, I yelled for him. If he didn’t pop in and grab her then where did she go?
“Why are you summoning me? Have you already forgotten your lesson, Zoe? Because trust me, I never tire of teaching it.”
I froze as he neared me, stroking my cheek with the metal on his finger. His face was inches from mine and the faint smell of booze and blood rolled from his tongue. “I just wanted to know if you’d been here today, that’s all.”
He grabbed my hand and held me closer, “If I were to visit you or anywhere for that matter, it would be very well known, trust me,” he sneered. “What is it that you wanted of me?”
“Nothing, Zavier, I’m sorry to bother you,” I said backing away from him.
“I’ll call on you later, Zoe. I have another task, one I’m sure you’ll find quite interesting.” He left and I went back to panicking.
“Ok if Zavier wasn’t here and didn’t take her…?”
“We’ll find her, Zoe.” Drake walked into her room and picked up her suitcase to get her scent before heading outside. He started yelling for her as he walked the length of the neighborhood.
I grabbed my cell phone and dialed her number. I felt fear settle in as I heard it ringing and vibrating on the dresser just on the other side of the wall. “No, no, no!” I rushed outside to Drake. “Her cell phone is sitting on the dresser, Drake. When have you ever seen her without that?”
I saw the worry in his eyes. “Go inside and scry for her, Zoe. I’ll keep looking out here.”
I quickly dragged the amethyst to the floor and lit a few white candles.
“Let the light show the location of Jasmine Dubrick.” I continuously chanted and waited for her location, but there was nothing.
Drake came back inside and was standing over me. “Anything?”
I shook my head. “I don’t understand where could she have gone? I’ve never come up empty when scrying for anyone!”
“Vincent said something the other day about being underground. You can’t locate someone with scrying when the target is underground.”
“Underground? Drake does that make sense to you? How and why would Jasmine be underground?”
“I don’t know Zoe but unless you have another plausible explanation as to where she’s gone…?”
I walked with him back outside. We searched the area for holes, manmade and natural; trying to find any possible area Jazz may have slipped to.
“Zoe over here!” I heard Drake call. I rushed to his side and found him standing over a large hole dug into the ground near the neighbor’s property line.
“Oh no Drake, you think she fell in there? Jasmine?” I yelled down the darkened gap.
“Hold on, I’ll grab a flashlight.” Drake ran into the house to get a few lights and I peered down the opening. I saw a glint of something and then movement. “Jazz? Jazz is that you?”
I reached my hand down the tunnel. “Ouch!” I quickly pulled back in pain. “What happened?” Drake asked rejoining me.
“Something bit me!” I wiped off the blood as my hand started to heal. It was still light out so night vision would not work in the tunnel, I took a light from Drake and watched as he lowered himself into the hole.
“Give me your legs, sweetie, I’ll catch you,” Drake said. I did as he instructed and waited until I felt his hands firmly on my waist before letting go.
I turned on the flashlight and saw the area we were in had several other tunnels spreading off of it. “Do you know these tunnels, Drake?”
He shook his head no and we started in the same direction down the dark area. Drake periodically sniffed the air as he kept Jasmine’s scent. I heard scurrying feet behind us and quickly redirected my attention. “We’re not alone down here, Drake.”
“Stay close, Zoe.” We came upon a small underground garden. There was a fountain and a few garden gnomes featured prominently on either side.
“What in the world?” We drew closer to the water and a puff of smoke filled the area.
“Booby traps?” I looked around for the trigger and saw the gnomes behind Drake begin to giggle. “Drake look!”
He followed my gaze and was instantly hit with a barrage of garden darts. “You can’t have her! She belongs to us now!” The gnomes took off towards the other end of the tunnel and Drake and I pursued them.
One ran right, the other left and Drake gave me a look to tell me to head right. “I don’t think splitting up is wise, Drake.”
“I hate the idea, Zoe, but we have to find Jasmine fast and get out of here.”
I did as he asked and ran after the little gnome. I entered into a darker area and heard giggling all around me. “You’ll never find her,” I heard one of the ceramic idols say. I dashed for the small speck of light close to the other side and found myself in another underground garden. A vampiric gnome flew at me, grabbing and biting at my neck and face.
I pulled her off and smashed her to the ground and ran from the area.
I saw Jasmine just on the other side of a glass wall and rushed towards her but found myself surrounded by dozens of terracotta figurines.
“CHARGE!” a gnome yelled.
I jumped back as hordes of garden gnomes charged at me, biting and scratching at my ankles and climbing up my legs.
“JASMINE!” I yelled trying to get her attention. “Jasmine, can you hear me?” It was no use. The gnomes were successfully keeping her pacified.
I kicked at the clay figurines and charged forward. The deeper I entered into the room, the more seemed to jump out at me.
“You can’t have her! She’s saved us all!” I heard one of them shriek.
“Kill the witch! She’s after the Queen!”
I felt them all over my neck and back as I got closer to Jasmine’s “throne room”. I knocked frantically on the door as I watched more gnomes bowing at her feet.
I saw Drake approaching from the adjoining tunnel, also fighting off his own set of relentless garden sculptures.
“Drake, Jasmine is just on the other side of that glass!”
He threw himself towards the panel and went crashing through the window. He grabbed Jasmine into his arms and lifted her from the ropes the gnomes had her secured in. “Are you hurt?” he asked removing the tape from her mouth.
“No! What is this? How are these things alive?”
“I don’t know, but we have to get out of here. There are hundreds of them just on the other side of that wall.” Drake and Jasmine ran back towards me just as I’d crushed another figurine under my foot.
“Zoe! What’s going on?”
“It’s mystical backlash, Jasmine. This happens when you use spells for personal gain. You said you conjured up tons of these for your Dad’s circus and gave them out as free gifts. That generated publicity I’m sure and angered the mystical world. You have to undo this, Jazz. The spell can be undone only by you.”
Jasmine thought for a moment. “Do you think you can hurry this up?” Drake asked. We turned to follow his gaze; more gnomes with weapons were heading towards us.
We ran for the entrance tunnel as Jasmine recited a reversal spell.
“Erase this spell; restore what’s right
Take back their spirit, take back their life
serving only as decoration for homes
these peaceful and idle garden gnomes.”
Drake leapt to the surface in one bound and I handed him Jasmine before jumping to the top myself.
“Are they gone? Did it work?” Jasmine asked breathlessly as she looked down the tunnel.
I looked across to the neighbors’ yard and noticed her front yard seemed peaceful. “I think so,” I said gazing down the tunnel.
“We need to seal this up,” Drake said heading to the garage for a shovel. He returned and started piling dirt down the gaping hole.
“Is this why you linked to me, Zoe?”
I nodded. “Using magic carefree can cause the mystical world to get revenge. I’ve been careful not to evoke anything for the coven’s sake, but this was nothing compared to what COULD have happened. You just want to be a little more careful when casting.”
She sighed and backed away from the hole. “I’m sorry about that. I didn’t think anything was wrong with it.”
“It’s ok, Jazz, you still have a lot to learn and I’d much prefer you experiment like this with me around.”
“I know one thing’s for sure; I’ll never kick one of those things again!” Jasmine said as she walked up to her room.