Friday, November 15, 2013

Chapter 1
“Xandra, do not move,” Kallen whispers in my ear.  “There is a Tasmanian devil on our bed.”
“Will you tell the whacka to shut up?  It is bad enough that he is hogging all the covers.  How is a fella supposed to sleep around here?” an annoyed voice says from the end of the bed.
A shift in the covers makes me grip them closer to me so I don’t lose them.  “I know and he wants me to tell you to shut up and to stop pulling the covers off of him,” I say through a yawn.  “Can we go back to sleep now?”  It is the middle of the night after all.
Kallen’s body stiffens next to me.  “What do you mean ‘he wants me to shut up’?”  I sigh.  I guess I’m not going back to sleep yet.
“Is he dense?  Does he not understand simple words?  Because I may have to bite his face off if he does not shut his trap.” 
I stretch my leg out and push the annoying devil off the bed.  “No face biting,” I say sleepily.
“Xandra, what are you talking about?”
“He wants to bite your face off.”
“Who?” Kallen asks.
“Is there someone else in the room that may want to bite his face off?” the still annoying devil says.  He leaps back onto the bed.
“Shut up,” I mumble, “or I’ll push you off the bed again.”
“I will not shut up,” Kallen says indignantly.
“Not you,” I huff.  Sleep is apparently out of the question.
“Then who?  And do you realize how dangerous these creatures are.  You cannot just kick them and expect them to go away.  They are dangerous.”
I peek over the covers at the Tasmanian devil who is now circling around and using his long nails to fluff up the comforter before lying down again.  Once he has a nice little nest, he pulls the covers from Kallen’s feet with his teeth and wraps himself up in them.  “You’re right, he’s not going away.  He’s going to sleep.  Can we worry about this in the morning?” I ask.  Yes, there is definite snark in my voice.
“You expect me to sleep with a Tasmanian devil on our bed?” Kallen asks with even more snarkiness.
I peek at the creature again and I think he’s already sleeping.  Looking at Kallen, I say, “Yup.”  He shakes his head and pulls magic.  I guess he’s taking matters into his own hands.  Good, I can go back to sleep then.  I’m not sure why I’m not bothered by the creature, but I’m not.  So, he can deal with it.
Pushing his magic out, I feel it stop just short of the Tasmanian devil.  Huh.  I guess he doesn’t want to get rid of him that badly.  “What the hell?” Kallen mutters under his breath.  He pulls even more magic which also stops short of the little devil.  “I am not able to make him move,” he says a little louder.
“Because he’s a whacka,” the little devil says.  I kick him off the bed again.
“Xandra, stop doing that.  He is going to attack us,” Kallen scolds.  I hate it when he uses that tone of voice.
“Obviously not,” I counter since all the creature does is crawl back onto the bed.  The light of the sun just hitting the horizon must be playing tricks on my eyes because it looks like the black, furry creature is smiling.  Smugly.
Whipping the covers off, Kallen stands up.  “Hey!” the now buried devil says.  Kallen scoops him up, covers and all and holds him like a sack of potatoes.  A wriggly and snarling sack of potatoes.  Great, now I’m tired and cold. 
“What are you going to do with him?” I ask.
“I will set him free outside.”
“No he will not,” the devil says.  He has managed to bite a hole through the comforter so his voice is no longer muffled.  “I will stay right here.”
“Why do you want to stay here?” I ask the angry little creature.
“Because I am your familiar, you twit.”
Okay, now I’m the angry one.  Sending out my own magic, I take the creature’s voice and make the comforter wrap around him so tightly, he cannot use any of his four legs and claws to try to get loose.  Then I put a muzzle on him so he can’t bite. 
Kallen is looking at me like I’ve gone mad.  “Suddenly you are concerned about him attacking us?”
“No,” I say sitting up.  “He called me a twit.”
The way Kallen’s eyes are focused on me, I swear he’s estimating the size of the straight jacket I will need.  “How could he call you a twit?  These animals do not have the capability of speech.  Nor reason,” he says carefully.
I’m a little slow on the uptake since it’s just barely dawn, but I get it now.  “You can’t hear him talk?” 
“And you can?” Kallen asks.  I believe he has moved on to deciding how big of a padded cell I will need.
I nod my head anyway.  “Yes.  He says he’s my familiar.”  Wait, I have a familiar?!  I am definitely awake now.  Why didn’t anyone mention that I would get a familiar?  I wonder what I can have him do.
Kallen sets the Tasmanian devil and comforter burrito on the floor now that he’s sure the stupid little thing can’t attack.  “A familiar?”
There’s an awful lot of doubt in his voice.  “Yes, a familiar.”
“As in an animal meant to assist you in performing magic and to do your bidding?”
“Yeah, that’s what a familiar does.”  I don’t really know what a familiar does, but I’m not going to tell him that.
“Xandra, Witches having familiars is folklore.”
My eyes travel down to the devil burrito on the floor and then back up to Kallen’s face.  “Then how do you explain him?” I ask, pointing to the bundle.
“He is simply a wild animal that has wandered into the house,” he says, precisely enunciating each word as if I may not understand it. 
“Really?  And he just happened to go up a flight of stairs and choose our room and then randomly decided to call himself my familiar so he could stay?”  I guess I could have just dreamed that last part.  I was at least half asleep.
“Are you well?” he asks. 
“Yes,” I snap, tempted to let the devil free.
“Yet you believe this creature,” he points to the floor, “speaks to you?”
“I don’t believe it, he does!”  Okay, that came out wrong.  Which is apparent by the smirk that has found its way to Kallen’s face.
He sobers quickly though.  “Maybe we should wake Tabitha, have her check you over.”
“Kallen, stop implying that I’m crazy!  The stupid thing talks to me!”
Kallen puts his hands up, palms forward.  “Okay, okay, calm down, angel.  You can put that magic away anytime now.”
I always feel so stupid when I draw magic without meaning to.  Shouldn’t I have better control by now?  Probably.  But that’s a subject for another time.  Standing up, I say, “Why can’t you just believe me?  Weird things happen to me every day.  You know what, fine, let’s go wake the whole house up because you don’t believe that I have a familiar.”  I’m going to feel even stupider if it turns out Kallen’s right and I was just imagining the animal talking to me.
I stalk towards the door until Kallen stands in my path.  He puts his hands on my shoulders and I glare up at him.  “I am just worried,” he says softly.  “I did not intend to make you angry, but there is something going on here that is not right.”
Considering that he’s about a thousand times smarter than me when it comes to magical things, I know he’s probably right.  But that Tasmanian devil did talk to me.  I know it did.  So if waking the house up is the only way to prove it, then that’s what we’ll do.  With a tight smile, I sidestep out of his grip and walk to the door.  Time to see what new craziness has just dropped into our lives.