This week, or to be exact 7th October, marked the 3rd birthday of The Magician: An Andromache Jones Mystery, the short story that started my (limited) foray into the of world of self / indie publishing. Naturally, it was marked by a little tea party.
So, Wednesday morning was spent baking…Viennese whirls were this occasion’s baked goodie of choice, and for those who wanted something a little more chocolately, I knocked up a batch of cornflake cakes in rather short notice…I tried to make them as exciting as I could! 🙂
Over the next couple of days, in celebration, I will be posting a few ‘Andromache Jones’ related posts (purely because it has been so long since I have done so!):
- An update on The Fortune Teller Detective
- The Magician: An Andromache Jones Mystery storyboard
- The Magician: An Andromache Jones Mystery ‘extra’ (a quick read that ties in with the story)
Read below for chapter 1 of The Magician and don’t forget it’s FREE to download the whole short story from a number of places (see here for the list) or you can go straight to Smashwords where you can get it in a number of different formats or read online over on Wattpad (which has the most recent version). Don’t forget, if you do read it and you like it, please let me know by commenting here or rating / reviewing wherever you download it from. Thanking you in advance 😀
The Magician: An Andromache Jones Mystery
The metallic taste in her mouth and the lingering chemical odour were the first clues that indicated to Andromache Jones she had been abducted. In quick succession, other hints followed: the blindfold over her blue eyes; the bindings around her slender wrists.
She was of medium height and not very broad, but she was stronger than she looked. However, with the aid of a chemical or drug, she would have been easy to overpower.
Sitting as still as she could, Andromache strained to hear the sound of movement that would point to whether she was alone or if there was someone else in the room with her. She heard nothing; nothing except the sound of her heart pounding in her ears and the repetitive drip-drip of a leaky pipe or tap.
The air was damp and cold, and clung to her purple-streaked, light brown hair that reached her shoulders and stuck out at funny angles when it wasn’t being restrained by a blindfold.
The air also had a peculiar taste to it, or so she thought. However, her analytical mind quickly accepted that this might be the result of the combined effect of the taste in her mouth, the chemical soreness in her nose and the disorientation of her predicament.
Andromache, or Mac, as she preferred to be called as “Andromache” sounded far too formal and always led to questions about Troy, Prince Hector and The Illiad, had made a few enemies in her twenty-four years of life, and she had annoyed a few more on top of that. This was directly the consequence of two things: her forays into the world of the private detective and the gifts she had been born with.
By trade, or perhaps destiny depending on which way you looked at it, Mac was a psychic. However, her love of mysteries and puzzles had naturally pushed her towards helping out her policeman boyfriend on a few of his cases. This led to his quick advancement up the ranks and inflamed her desire to solve crimes and conundrums, with the aid of her psychic gifts, naturally.
Mac was not clairvoyant; she didn’t see the dead. She was sometimes capable of clairaudience where she could receive messages and guidance from a spirit in the form of speech, but this was quite a rare occurrence. She was however, clairsentient; she could feel the presence of the dead. Nevertheless, these abilities did not really help her in the pursuit of answers. The tarot cards, crystal ball and pendulum on the other hand, very much did.
She had played her part in the capture of murderers, drug dealers, burglars and even a bank robber. She had located lost children, stolen jewellery and once a kidnapped tenth generation pedigree dachshund. Of course, her involvement in such cases was kept very much out of the public eye; she did not seek fame and the police did not want their association to become public knowledge.
However, that did not mean that others outside of these circles were oblivious to Mac’s role in such cases, as her current dilemma seemed to prove. Mac wracked her brain, trying to think of who could have done this to her and yet it seemed somewhat of an over-reaction for most of the cases she had been involved with, especially recently. So she turned her attention away from the world of sleuthing, instead focusing on her other area of employment.
From her little cottage in the village of Bramblesgrove, Mac ran River Gardens Mystical Services, from which she dispensed herbal medicine, periodically taught yoga, offered readings, and as a member of the Coven of the Silver Star, an international coven network, cast spells. She regularly taught classes and wrote literature on metaphysical subjects, and within this circle, she was deemed quite famous, much to her embarrassment.
Yet here also enemies lurked, in the form of other witches jealous of her abilities and her success. Sure, some of them would like to see my luck change, she mused, but would any of them go to the length of kidnapping me?
Just as she was about to answer her own question, footsteps, faint at first, could be heard. Mac felt the first flurries of panic in her stomach, as she sent a silent plea up to the Goddess asking to keep her safe. Then she mustered up all her courage and forced herself to calm down. Looking weak and terrified would do her no good.
‘You’ve come round! How delightful!’ exclaimed the voice of a man, a voice she did not recognise. ‘Welcome to my lair. This is where all the fun begins, and as always, I promise all my guests lots of that.’
‘You have people over often?’ Mac said dryly. She was annoyed at the jollity in his voice; she had prepared for menacing, not merry.
‘Oh, regularly,’ he replied, clapping his hands together. ‘Not as often as I would like, because my parties take so much planning. It’s all in the detail, you understand. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we have yet to be properly introduced.
‘I obviously know who you are. Miss Andromache Jones, the “Fortune-Teller Detective” I think a newspaper once called you? What am I saying? I know that is exactly what they called you as I have the clipping on a board in my Library. I do my research, you see.
‘Now your turn; have you worked out who I am yet?’ he asked, sounding thoroughly excited to hear what she had to say.
‘To be honest, I haven’t the foggiest. The whole thing feels a little surreal to me. Perhaps if you were to take off my blindfold I might have a better chance of working out who you are?’
He laughed heartily before replying. ‘Clever, clever, but no. I must admit I am a little disappointed in you. Out of all my guests I would have put money on you working out my identity. Why not ask your spirit friends for a clue? I would love to see how that voodoo-Ouija board-magic, or whatever you call it, works.’ Mac remained silent; she wasn’t going to play his games if she could avoid it. ‘No? What a shame. I personally don’t understand any of it, this spiritual, paranormal, talking to trees nonsense, so any insights I gleam from our time spent together shall be worth their weight in gold, I have no doubt.
‘And as for my identity, I shall just have to tell you who I am, but it will have to wait for a moment. You might have a more pressing question that you want me to answer.’
‘Miss Jones, please try to play along,’ he pleaded. ‘It’s more fun with two.’
‘This might be “fun” for you but don’t expect me to enjoy myself. I am bound and blindfolded; I think I have been drugged…where is the “fun” for me in all of this?’
He quietly chuckled at her outburst. ‘And I thought you didn’t want to play?’ he said, teasingly, ‘but you did exactly what I asked of you. Your question might be better phrased as “why am I here”?’ He paused, before resuming. ‘Go on, ask me.’
‘Why am I here?’ Mac asked, as she felt the fight draining out of her.
‘For The Game, of course.’
‘The Game? What game? What are you talking about?’
‘The Game, the chase, the puzzle, call it what you will. I am about to set you a challenge, Miss Jones, one that has very real life and death consequences.’