Chapter Seven | Lost Illusions

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A Hint of Magic By Claire Chilton

Chapter Seven | Lost Illusions

Dora stepped out of the elevator on the fourth floor and glanced around. The corridor was empty with only a couple of doors in it to choose from. She rushed past 4a and paused outside apartment 4b. There was no one around, so she knocked lightly on the door, listening for sounds of someone inside. The corridor remained silent.

She glanced down when the hard tile of corridor felt soft under her feet, noticing a welcome mat outside the door. It had a smiley face on it. Oh, come on. How is this person bad?

With her heart pounding, she tried the door. As expected, it was locked. She pondered her options. Breaking in wasn’t going to be easy this time. She glanced down at the welcome mat again. It can’t be this easy, she thought as she stepped off it, bent over and lifted the mat. Underneath was a shiny key. She shook her head. Who does that anymore?

She picked up the key and weighed it in her palm as she considered what she was about to do. Bad enough breaking into someone’s house, but cursing their clothes just seemed a step too far. But Jamie said I should finish the test. Maybe this is to help the lady who lives here.

Dora inhaled deeply and let it out slowly before placing the key in the lock and turning it. The door unlocked easily. She pushed it open and stepped into the apartment, closing the door behind her. “Hello?” She called out to be certain she was alone.

No one answered. She walked through the apartment, feeling dirty on the inside. It was a cozy apartment with colorful walls and several throw cushions dotted around it. The decor made it seem far more welcoming than a cheap apartment should. Just get the job done and get out.

She strode through the living area towards the doorway ahead that she suspected was a bedroom, trying not to think about what she was doing. Her eyes flicked over a small desk as she passed it, locking onto an open newspaper that resided there.

She froze and stared at the newspaper, recognizing the man in the photograph. It was Howard, the finance guy from her last trial. She frowned as she read the paper. He’d been arrested for embezzling millions from the company. He claimed he was innocent, and a hacker was responsible. It was an ongoing investigation. Maybe he was a bad guy?

She picked up the newspaper and read more. Her eyes widened as she read the last line. He claimed a hacker had framed him with some kind of device. What the hell? The hard square feeling of the hex bag instantly jumped into her mind. She’d never looked inside the bag. What if it had contained a portable hacking device?

She decided that she needed more information before she did anything else. Something was very wrong with all of this. She pulled out the velvet bag of powder and opened it. Fuck the consequences! She touched the pale powder contained within, and her fingers tingled. Narrowing her eyes, she closed the bag. Itching powder? What the hell kind of idiot uses that on someone’s clothes? She wondered as she brushed the powder off her hand and onto her combats.

She jumped when the phone rang, realizing that this was not the place to stop and think about her problems. After three rings, the answer machine picked up.

“Hi, this is a Cassie. Leave a message after the bleep.” Her target’s voice sang.

“Cassie, it’s Jerry. I need to talk to you. I think Veronica is onto us. I told her I wanted a divorce, and she went ballistic. Just, be careful sweetheart. Once the divorce is over, we can move to Maui. I love you.” A male voice said into the machine.

Veronica? Dora wondered if it was the same Veronica she had met last night. It fucking has to be! Anger settled over her. She hadn’t been doing dark trials for a coven of witches. She’d been acting out petty revenge and committing crimes for group of bitches!

She turned on her heel and stormed out of the apartment. Time to pay those bitches a visit!


Dora stormed into the magic store and headed straight for the stockroom. She kicked open the door with so much force it slammed against the wall with a loud bang.

Loanda was hunched over her laptop. This time wearing jeans and a sweater, looking less like a witch and more like a soccer mom with her hair tied back in a tight ponytail. “What the fuck, Dora?” she cried, jumping out of her seat.

There was a scuffling noise in a room behind the storeroom. Dora shot a glance in that direction, wondering who was back there. Veronica? “I might ask you the same thing,” she said, glancing back towards Loanda. “Embezzling money is your magic. That’s your great power? A fucking hacking device!” She knocked over a few candles on her way towards the lying witch.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Loanda said, straightening her shoulders and relaxing her pose.

“Really? You don’t? Well, the police will when I’ve finished telling them everything. Have a nice time in prison,” Dora replied. “Oh, and like fuck I’ll be doing any of your trials, you lying scumbag!” She turned to leave, shaking her head. I can’t believe I fell for this shit.

“You’ll be arrested too. Your parents will love that,” Loanda said.

Dora narrowed her eyes and spun around. “Leave my parents out of it. You don’t even know them.”

“The Reverend Theodore Carridine and his lovely wife Josie?” Loanda smirked. “I know them better than you think. What do you think they’ll do to you when they find out you’ve been committing crimes for the devil?”

“Oh nice try. But I haven’t, have I. I’ve been committing crimes for a skanky criminal with the demonic power of a cabbage, You don’t fucking scare me. Tell my parents what you want. It won’t stop me telling the police about you. Enjoy your time in jail, bitch!”

Loanda scowled before a spark of something dangerous lit her eyes. “Let me tell you what is going to happen. You’re going to keep your mouth shut, and you’re going to complete the final trial for me.”

“Oh, yeah? Why exactly would I do that?” Dora tilted her head and scowled at Loanda.

“Because if you don’t, my next sacrifice will be your boyfriend, Jamie.” Loanda’s eyes were glowing green.

Dora jumped as something heavy clattered on the floor in the back room. “How do you know about … I don’t have a boyfriend. Have you been spying on me?”

“His life is forfeit if you don’t do as I say,” Loanda said in a deadly tone.

Dora was torn, but she didn’t know how bad Loanda was. Would she really hurt Jamie?

Loanda thrust a piece of parchment into her hand and grabbed her by the collar. “Do this last task, and you’re free of all of this. Mess it up, and he dies,” she hissed in her ear. Then she pushed her back, out of the room before slamming the door in her face.

Dora walked out of the magic store with panic bubbling at the back of her throat. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and dialed his number. It just rang and rang with no answer. Shit!

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