Once the crack between worlds has been opened, all kinds can come in. This Jaclyn knew well.
And when the fabric separating nomdish from rune begins to fray, light spills through from every world: all it takes then is one stray wish to call forth magic from the other side.
The ones from the old world were expected. After Davion came Zuri, a dwarf-wood nymph, who brought news of others to follow. Kindred from home had always been part of the plan.
But there was now another–an unexpected one–pulled by wishing rune.
“Where’s your new boyfriend?” Jaclyn asked Cathy at J.P. and Floyd’s wedding.
“Oh! I forgot to invite him,” Cathy confessed.
It’s one thing to wish someone into being, but it’s quite another to proceed to ignore the responsibility that the presence of this wished-for being entails.
Something has to be done:
we can’t have netherworld rune
move untethered through this green world
passing themselves as nomdish
to every unsuspecting one.
That was a sure way to mischief
that could never be undone!
Jaclyn’s dreams were interrupted by flashes of light. Vast green landscapes blazed white, and when she woke, the back of her eyes hurt.
She blinked into green, blue, brown–and the white desert faded. It wasn’t too late, but she would need vigilance and action.
Brennan Stuckey had no recollection of the bright world from where he came. But anyone who has ever been where there are no shadows can tell you that there lies a realm of Lucifer: not King of Darkness, but Despot of Light.
It takes shadow to bring relief, to provide a spot to rest, a moment to reflect.
With only light, the eyes crack and the sudden blindness spreads inside. That was the trick.
Brennan didn’t realize any of this, of course. As far as he knew, there was nothing in existence more insidious than the tediousness of Saturday morning cartoons.
They lured you in with bright colors and catchy tunes. They made you laugh. And then, they left you craving sugar-coated cereal.
The cereal, as brightly colored as the cartoon show, smelled sweet as strawberries, cherries, and marshmallows…
only to taste like soggy cardboard.
Brennan, in his backstory memory, knew everything about this world in which he found himself, and he believed in the veracity of all he knew.
But when it came to the knowledge one gains from experience, he was as naive as if he’d manifested in smoke two weeks ago from a wishing well. Which, of course, he had.
Imagine the joy of eating an ice cream cone for the very first time. Chocolate–that flavor tickles the insides of the mouth and makes the tongue soft with rich sweetness. Add something purple on top–like berry topping to pizzazz the tongue–and the experience, especially for an ice cream virgin, was enough to rain down bliss.
This newness filled Brennan’s days with excitement. There was so much to do!
One afternoon, he spied a bored young woman walking down the street.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “It’s sunny! The birds are singing! Why so glum?”
“Eh,” said the woman, “I’ve seen it all before.”
He invited her in for an ice cream cone.
“I bet you haven’t had chocolate with passion fruit topping before,” he said.
“Prob’ly tastes like mango, only sweeter, right?” she asked.
They chatted, and when she learned his name, she said, “Oh! You’re Brennan! I’m Cathy’s friend Paisley. I heard you two were dating. How is she?”
“Oh, yeah,” said Brennan. “Last time I saw her, she was doing pretty good.”
“And when was that?”
Brennan did a quick calculation. “Oh, about two weeks ago.”
“Two weeks? And you’re her boyfriend? Why, I just saw her yesterday. You should really call if you two are dating.”
“Yeah,” Brennan agreed. “That’s probably a good idea.”
Cathy Tea invited him over as soon as he called.
“Did ya miss me?” he asked.
“Not really,” she admitted. “But you know what? Now that you’re here, I’m really glad to see you!”