Episode Four

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Episode Four

A cop, though one I'd known for a while, was still a cop. And he was asking me with all seriousness if he would really find Nola. Running into the house, the crime scene, wasn't the greatest idea. But, to avoid Sean's question I made the only escape I could. "I hope so..." More lies, compounded by the burning sensation behind my eyes that heralded fake tears. "Are they finished with the house, can I go in now?"

"Yeah." He jerked his chin upward and slipped the sunglasses back on his face. "Text me when you plan on heading down to talk."

He wasn't buying my excuses. His suspicion was evident in his long study of me, before climbing into his patrol vehicle and backing out of my driveway.

I stood there and dug bloody crescents into my palms to keep from telling him the truth of it all. And then, he was gone.

Sean's absence came with a rush of feeling, as if I'd been momentarily deprived of sensation. My muscles loosened and the desire to chase him and beg for his forgiveness dissipated.

I made my way slowly toward the front door, each step heavier than the last. There was no reason for me to feel the urge to tell Sean Carmack things he didn't need to know. And yet, so long as he was close, I was overwhelmed with guilt.

There was way more to that than what was on the surface, unless it was the aftereffects of the magic. I had used little, but enough to leave me teetering on a sensual edge. Hell, I was too emotionally drained to make sense of anything.

Yellow police tape was draped across my door like a television crime drama. Too numb to care if anyone watched, I flicked my wrist and sent it flying across the yard like a billowing party streamer from a deranged circus.

Another flick and the door swung slowly inward. Here goes nothing. I walked in and took a deep breath—waiting for the onslaught of painful emotion, the burning memories of the night before. When none came, I assessed the damage. The only difference from last night was the small chalk marks, the occasional numbered sticker, as well as a black coating of dust around the doors and walls left behind by Sean's crime scene people.

Other than some of the beauty product stock from Nola's mail order business, nothing apparent was missing. I'd take a look at the shed later but was sure Nola died keeping whoever had been here—out. The magical objects stored were worth way more than the shed's rusted appearance.

Nola was one of a kind, the Swamp Witch of Florida. Keeper of Spells. My mind clearer, I could almost guarantee Nola's murder had been a play for power. The swamp was a mecca for residual magic.

I checked out the front window one last time to make sure Sean hadn't doubled back. Sure of that, I stepped back and focused all my energy on the broken front door. There was a hum, a crackle, then a spark of feeling that sprang out from my chest. I latched onto that bright, sizzling magic and twisted it into something I could control, my lips moving to words that raced from my mind.

"What was broken, now is fixed."

Then I envisioned the door, all in one piece, with a new working lock.

"Bit by bit, every sliver and chip."

With that picture shining brightly in my mind, I released the magic, flicking it towards the door with the tips of my fingers.

The door creaked, groaned, and shimmered somewhere between whole and non-existent, between this world and another. And then, as if nothing at all had happened a repaired and fully functioning door stood proudly in place of the old one.

I inspected my handy work. I'd come into my powers late, actually still hadn't fully ascended into a few of them. My magic could be finnicky and often had a mind of its own where material objects were concerned.

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