Authors: Al K. Line
Dark Magic Enforcer Book 6
Al K. Line
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Copyright © 2016, Al K. Line. All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I am alone. Kate has left, turned fully-fledged evil vampire bitch. Grandma is dead. I have nothing left in this world that could make me consider carrying on for another day. I have exacted the revenge that gnawed at me for a hundred years, the outcome giving me no satisfaction. Now there's nothing but the end, calling my name, promising peace and a chance to finally rest. Eternal emptiness.
As I wake from my nightmare yet again, the same one every damn night for five years, I sigh and relax. With a tired arm, I wipe away the night terrors then cuddle up close to Kate, feeling her warmth and only then accepting it was a dream.
At least part of it. Yes, Grandma still lives, and Kate still fights the vampire curse, but I have no peace, and I can't stand it.
Magic has been out of my life for five years and I am bored, sad, depressed, and still an addict. Every day it calls my name, whispers to me in my dark times, chipping away at my resolve. I know I can't beat it, know I am drawn to it like a lover that is cruel and vicious but worshiping her anyway. I have never been my own man in my whole life. Since a boy, I have been obsessed with magic and even when I had it inside of me it gave me nothing but trouble and pain.
Yet I love it, I crave it, I need it and I will damn well have it. I know it's only a matter of time, that every day my resolve weakens as I grow increasingly antsy and apathetic at the same time. At odds with a life that feels utterly mundane without danger, without preternatural creatures trying to wipe me from the face of the planet. Without magic.
Tossing and turning, I try to shut off my racing mind, but it's no use and I know from too much past experience that I may as well give up on my attempts at a peaceful slumber for yet another night.
Accepting it's futile, I get out of bed, careful not to disturb Kate, and pad downstairs to sit in the kitchen in the dark. It is cold in this familiar room, welcome after the heat of the rest of the house, but I don't feel it. I don't feel much of anything these days.
The person I believed myself to be is gone now, taken along with my refusal to use magic. I'm almost a Regular, but not quite, neither one thing nor the other. Lost, alone despite being loved. There's an emptiness, an ache in my heart I am old enough and wise enough to understand can only be filled by one thing.
Dawn creeps over Cardiff as I sit in my cottage, waiting silently as the creatures of the night retire, passing over the baton to the day shift. The hobs will be here soon, so I should make them some porridge, one of the few routines I still adhere to.
Everything else passes by in a haze, me staying home most days, trying to put a brave face on things for Kate, her and me both knowing it's a fallacy, a lie, and day by day I can see my moods, my refusal to admit who I am, eat her up inside just as it has me. Chipping away at our bond, taxing it to the max.
She will leave me soon, of that I am sure. Heck, I'd leave me if I had anywhere else to go, but I don't.
For five years I have remained steadfast in my refusal to use magic or get involved in the Hidden world or the life I was an integral part of for so long. Dancer is Head of the UK Hidden Council, has been for almost the entire time, our exploits in Japan legendary, my services called upon like they had never been before. Yet I refused and kept on refusing, until Hidden stopped asking me to work for them. Dancer has never asked, he understands why I have done this thing, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Goddammit! Who knew leading a normal life could be so banal, so flat? I feel like a huge chunk of me is missing as I sit here feeling sorry for myself like I have on so many other nights. I need to get my act together, I need to do something.
It was time to admit the truth and it was well past time I stopped being so bloody depressed. Problem being, I had no idea how, or what I could do to snap out of it.
Yes, that's a lie. I knew exactly what I had to do, and as if on cue my phone rang. I move over to the counter and look at the screen of my new, modern phone. It's 5AM but that doesn't matter, what does matter is that even before I answer Dancer's call I know my time as a Regular is up. It makes my heart sing and my pulse race just thinking about it. Energy swirls through my ink that has been as deflated as my will for so long, a taster of the madness waiting just around the corner.
"You took your time," moaned Dancer as I answer.
I smile, pleased to hear his voice. We've stayed in touch, but I knew this call was different. "It's a little early to expect me to answer right away."
"Don't give me that, Spark. Sorry, it's Faz now, isn't it? Anyway, I can guarantee you are sat at the kitchen table feeling sorry for yourself like you've been doing for years."
"You know me so well." It's true, he did. I'd insisted he not use my Hidden name, but I think he kept forgetting on purpose.
"I've got a job for you, and don't try to make any excuses. It's time to get back in the game. And besides, I need you."
"Yes, Boss, be right there."
Dancer was silent, clearly taken aback by my response, probably expecting an argument and then a refusal. "Um, good, that's the spirit. Well, what are you waiting for? Get dressed and get the hell over here. The dwarves have been driving me nuts, and I need you to go deal with a very peculiar problem. You're gonna love it, I promise. Oh," he added, "and the money's bloody amazing."
"Wouldn't expect anything less," I said, actually laughing. It had been an age since I did that. "What with all the gold and all."
"Yes, well, that's the problem."
"Not now, I'll tell you when you arrive." He hung up.
Hi, I'm Faz Pound. They used to call me Black Spark, Dark Magic Enforcer, and guess what? I'm back in business! Um, as long as the girlfriend says it's okay.
It's About Time!
"Up early again," noted Kate as she came into the kitchen, bleary-eyed, hair disheveled, looking sexy as hell wearing just a pair of pink panties and a tight-fitting vest that left little—make that nothing—to the imagination. I must have done something extremely good in a previous life to deserve her.
It's not just that she's utterly gorgeous, in my eyes, anyway, it's the fact she puts up with me. I'd put her through it ever since we met, but the last five years had been a struggle even for the strongest of relationships, and you could never call ours exactly normal. What with her being a vampire and me being, well, me—that's enough to put a strain on the strongest of bonds.
"Sorry, did I wake you?" I asked, getting up and giving her a kiss. She smelled divine, that odd mix of sleep smell and a musky odor that has only increased the longer she is vampire.
"Nope, couldn't sleep." I gave her a look. "Okay, haha, you woke me, but it's not your fault, not this time. It's this damn heat, I can't sleep properly, keep tossing and turning."
"It's a killer, right? At least it's cool in here." It was odd, but the kitchen was always cooler than the rest of the house. I had a sneaking suspicion it was something to do with the hobs, making our home as pleasant as they could with the magic that was part of their very being, another way to keep our shared sanctuary running smoothly.
Kate busied herself making instant coffee for the both of us, but turned suddenly and said, "What's going on? The kiss, you looking happy. Something's happened, hasn't it?"
I wasn't sure how to approach it, what best to say when I was going off the wagon and back on the magical mayhem roller coaster I'd sworn off. She'd supported me through it all, weathered the ups and the many downs of my withdrawal, a pain that made the comedown from magic use seem like little more than a minor itch easily ignored. I'd been a nightmare then and even now I was often far from great company. I had been lost. Her, Grandma, and Dancer my only salvation through the dark hours.
"Dancer called," I said hesitantly.
"Bit early, isn't it? Here you go." Kate put a steaming mug on a coaster in front of me, careful not to spill any on a new to us Ercol table she'd come across online and simply "had" to buy because it would be "wrong" not to when it was such a "steal."
I'd encouraged her to get it, never saying a word about our money situation. After all, I was well past a hundred so should have amassed a fortune in that time, right? It doesn't work like that, as I was beginning to regret, and although we had some money it wasn't as much as I'd have liked—my refusal to work doing the only job I'd ever known had made a serious dent in the savings.
"Thanks." I sipped my coffee. It tasted great, like my taste buds had woken up along with my appetite for life after a long hiatus. "Dancer asked me to go deal with a problem he's having with the dwarves," I mumbled.
Damn, what was wrong with me? I was the infamous Black Spark, now acting like a kid that had to ask permission to go out to play. But it felt like I'd let her down, gone back on my word. I had broken the promise I'd made to her and myself, and I hated the pathetic lack of control. Despised myself for the buzz I felt, the eagerness to reach for the Empty and let magic consume me, make me whole again.
Kate sat down with a bump, almost spilling her coffee. "Oh, thank god. It's about time. So, you've finally come to your senses? I thought you'd never go back."
"You're happy? That I've broken my promise, that I'm an addict and can't control myself?" Damn, I figured she'd be mad, disappointed.
"Are you kidding me? Have you been living where I've been living? Faz, honey, I have supported you and put up with you, and whatever you want to do I will go along with, but haven't you realized?"
I put my coffee down. "Realized?"
"You are so stupid at times. Stubborn, too. Magic, it's who you are, what you are. It defines you as a man, as a person."
I studied Kate for a moment, saw the love and the sincerity in her eyes. The compassion, and also the frustration.
"But look what it's done to us. To me, to everyone. Look how it broke my family apart, how it—"
"Yes, yes, I know all that." Kate waved it away with a chop of the hand. "But you keep calling yourself an addict when it goes deeper than that. You don't call true Hidden addicts, do you?"
"Well, no, of course not. They're naturally magical creatures."
"Exactly. And have you even once considered that maybe that is what you are?"
I was confused. I was a man that took what wasn't his by birthright, stole it. An addict. "But I'm not, I'm a human being. A man, not true Hidden."