​(Hardly. This isn’t the kind of shopping you do at a mall. Northward, ho! We’re going to Woodbridge.)Gillian tried to remember Woodbridge. It was a little town like Somerset-but smaller. She’d undoubtedly driven through it at some point in her life.(We need to go shopping in Woodbridge to take care of Tanya?)(Just drive, dragonfly.)Woodbridge’s main street ended in a townsquare bordered by dozens of decorated trees. The stores were trimmed with Christmas lights. It was a postcard scene.(Okay. Park here.)Gillian followed Angel’s directions and found herself in the Woodbridge Five and Ten, an old-style variety store, complete with creaking wooden floorboards. She had the terrifying feeling that time hadgone back about fifty years. The aisles were tight and the shelves were jammed with baskets full of goods. There was a musty smell.Beyond asking questions, she stared dreamily at a jar of penny candy.(Head on to the back. All the way. Open that door and go through to the back room.)Gillian nervously opened the rickety door and peered into the room beyond. But it was just another store. It had an even stranger smell, partly delicious, partly medicinal, and it was rather dimly lit.”Uh, hello?” she said, in response to Angel’s urging. And then she noticed movement behind a counter.A girl was sitting there. She was maybe nineteen and had dark brown hair and an interesting face. It was quite ordinary in shape and structure-a country girl sort of face-but the eyes were unusually vivid and intense.”Um, do you mind if I look around?” Gillian said, again in response to Angel.”Go right ahead,” the girl said. “I’m Melusine.”She watched with a perfectly friendly and open curiosity as Gillian moseyed around the shelves, trying to look as if she knew what she was looking for. Everything she saw was strange and unfamiliar-rocks andherby-looking things and different coloredcandles.(It’s not here.) Angel’s voice was resigned.(We’re going to have to ask her.)”Excuse me,” Gillian said a moment later, approaching the girl diffidently from the other side. “But do youhave any Dragon’s Blood? The-activated kind?”The girl’s face changed. She looked at Gillian very sharply. Then she said, “I’m afraid I’ve never heard of anything like that. And I wonder what makes you ask.”Gooseflesh blossomed on Gillian’s arms. She had the sudden, distinct feeling that she was in danger.Chapter 11Angel’s voice was taut but calm. (Pick up a pen from the counter. The black one’s fine. Now-let go. Just relax and let me move it.)Gillian let go. It was a process she couldn’t have described in words if she’d tried. But she watched, with a sort of fascinated horror, as her own hand began to draw on a small white invoice slip.It drew across the lines, in some kind of pattern. Unfortunately the pen seemed to be out of ink, so all Gillian could see was afaint scribble.(Show her the carbon copy.)Gillian peeled off the first sheet of paper. Underneath, in carbon, was her design. It looked like a flower-a dahlia. It was crudely colored in, as if it were meant to be dark.(What is it, Angel?)(A sort of password. Unless you know it, she’s not going to let you buy what you need.)Melusine’s face had changed. She was looking at Gillian with startled interest.”Unity,” she said. “I wondered about you when you came in. You’ve got the look-butI’ve never seen you before. Did you just move here?”(Say “Unity.” It’s their greeting. And tell herthat you’re just passing through.)(Angel-is she a witch? Are there other witches around here? And how come I have to lie-)(She’s getting suspicious!)The girl was looking at Gillian rather oddly.Like someone trying to catch a conversation. It scared Gillian.”Unity. No, I’m just visiting,” she said hastily. “And,” she added as Angel whispered, “I need the Dragon’s Blood and, um, two wax figures. Female. And do you have any charged Selket powder?”Melusine settled back a little. “You belongto Circle Midnight.” She said it flatly.(Whaaaat? What’s Circle Midnight? And how come she doesn’t like me anymore?)(It’s a sort of witch organization. Like a club. It’s the one that does the kind of spells that you need to do right now.)(Aha. Bad spells, you mean.)(Powerful spells. In your case, necessary spells.)Melusine was scooting her chair behind the counter. For a moment Gillian wondered why she didn’t get up, and then,as Melusine reached the edge of the counter, she understood. The chair was a wheelchair and Melusine’s right leg was missing from the knee down.It didn’t seem to hinder her, though. In a moment, she was scooting back with a couple of packets and a box in her lap. She put the box on the counter and took out two dolls made of dull rose-colored wax.One of the packets held chunks of what looked like dark red chalk, the other a peacock-green powder.She didn’t look up as Gillian paid for the items. Gillian felt snubbed.”Unity,” she said formally, as she put her wallet away and gathered up her purchases. She figured if yousaid it for hello, you could say it for goodbye.Melusine’s dark eyes flashed up at her intently and almost quizzically. Then she said slowly, “Merry part .. . and merry meet again.” It almost sounded like an invitation.(Well, I’m lost.)(Just say “Merry part” and get out of here, kid.)Outside, Gillian looked at the town square with new eyes. (The Witches of Woodbridge. So, are they, like, all over here? Do they own the Creamery and the hardware store, too?)(You’re closer than you think. But we don’thave time to stand around. You’ve got some spells to cast.)


About ayanfe

LIVE!!! LOVE!!! LAUGH!!! life is just too short to be sad #wink
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