Messing Up Magic Sneak Peek!
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
Messing up Magic
By Winnie Winkle
A green-tinged glow illuminated the far side of the rock-strewn hill. Zayn moved towards it, catlike, curious, but careful. Flying was an option, but tracking was second nature and Zayn liked hunting. The act of stalking, while wrapped in darkness, placing his paws with silence and purpose, fed his nature in a way that quick and easy never would.
Kids camping in the desert were Zayn’s favorites. The rush of their fear and the shrieks of the women were a feast. Zayn liked terror. He loved discomfort. Scaring the piss out of humans made his whole night.
Close, he paused, belly fur touching the dust, sniffing the air. Scents filtered and sorted in his mind. He knew everyone in Magic, New Mexico. Zayn’s ear flicked at the familiar wolf scent, tinged with a new smell. He prepared to pounce. Crouched, Zayn skirted a pile of rocks, edging towards the glow.
Pain sliced through his head, blinding him, the green fading to black.
“What have you done?” hissed Moku. “Interaction is forbidden.”
“It crept up,” replied Andok. “The weapon is on stun, not kill. We’ll finish our observation mission and depart before it awakens. The energies in this place differ from other places on this planet, Moku. It will please Slodoon to learn this. Our last observation found a minimal trace of the Smoke Ones. The Solids were the vast majority of the population on the planet’s surface.”
“Transitions happen,” Moku said, turning from the inert body of the mountain lion. “This planet is young. Let’s finish and lift off. It will be light soon. We will transmit and receive new orders from Slodoon.”
“He’s out cold!” Jonah’s brown eyes twinkled from his furry face as he touched the big cat. His twin brother, Joseph poked Zayn with a paw, then settled on his haunches. The boys were werevamp cubs from nearby Magic, New Mexico, an unusual haven for those gifted with unexpected abilities. Everyone from Magic was special, many powerful, but to the boys, they were just neighbors. While playing with the moon tonight, the boys tempted fate by tracking Zayn, a powerful Djinn not known for his social skills. A chance to irritate Zayn was a good trade on the times he was a jerk. The Djinn had zero use for nine-year-old boys.
“Who do you think zapped him?” Joseph asked.
“I dunno, but alien for sure. Frost might know. He’s an alien.”
“Duh, bro. He and I ended up stuck on the ice planet for months! Frost and Aunt Lacey won’t be home from the Glacian homeworld for a week. Should we move Zayn?”
“Let’s go grab the bike and put him in the magic egg basket. We can carry his big furry butt back to his house in that.”
Joseph loped south, with Jonah nipping at his heels. The young werewolves tumbled, squealing and rolling together in a mess of toothy grins and tails before leaping back to resume the chase, their howls filling the night.
From the air, nothing assembled into a woman, who squatted next to Zayn’s limp body. Knowledgeable hands ran across his ribs, and fingertips examined the gash and knot on his head. A sigh left her lips, and she raised the big cat into the air as Zayn’s head rolled and his eyes slit open. A soft growl cut to silence. She and the cat became smoke, then nothing at all.
“B-b-b-but Theo! We swear Zayn was right here. He headed towards the green glow. We could see the two aliens on the other side of this big rock pile.” Jonah’s discomfort was clear.
“It’s true,” Joseph picked up the story. “Zayn stalked them as a mountain lion, one of them zapped his head, and he dropped!”
Jonah and Joseph squirmed under Theo’s gaze. Theo was the law in Magic. He had an alien ancestor, but it was so far back he didn’t know the story; Theo was also half dragon which proved useful in keeping the peace. When anything unusual happened in their town, Theo handled it. In Magic, lots of unusual things happened, but Theo handled the non-normal unusual. He was mid-thirties, 6’4”, with huge shoulders and a broad chest, ice-blue eyes that hearkened to that outer world ancestor, and fire-red hair he kept cut close to discourage its wiry wild curl. His skin was a rich Café au lait. Theo looked, every inch, like an intimidating person in a town that didn’t intimidate. At all.
Jonah and Joseph traded looks. Under the moon last night they’d played, perhaps a little longer than they should have. By the time they’d come back, found Zayn missing and sounded the alarm, the sun was rising, and they were boys once more, their typical daytime appearance.
The lawman dropped to a knee, looking at the dirt near the rocky base of the hill. The sand held the impression of the big cat’s body. The question was where was the cat? Theo picked out the wolf prints of the twins and a few small human ones. Those were half the size of Zayn’s big feet. Since Zayn was a Djinn, he could have come to, shape-shifted and flown away, but that didn’t explain the extra prints. As improbable as it looked, someone had been here and moved Zayn with no trail. That meant magic. Magic wasn’t anything new to Theo, but this magic didn’t look much like his Magic folks, which might create problems.
“Green glow?” Theo asked, rising and gazing at the boys.
“We saw them leave, as soon as one of them blasted Zayn,” Jonah said, his white hat shining in the morning sun. “Tall and thin, each had a scanner or machine that was making the glow, and one knocked out Zayn by shooting a gun at him.”
“They took off from yonder,” Joseph added, pointing north. “We checked on Zayn after they left.”
Theo nodded, walking around the big rock pile to the other side, looking for disturbed fauna or rocks. Imprints a few hundred yards away showed him where they’d landed.
“Boys,” he said, fixing them in an icy stare. “Head home. Let folks know to keep an eye out for unusual visitors or happenings.”
Relieved they weren’t in trouble, Jonah and Joseph jumped on their bike and pedaled, their feet a blur of motion, into the air.
“Where the hell are you, Zayn?” Theo muttered. “Wonder what outer world visited last night?”
Haseya tended her fire, stirring the steeping herbs. The steam rose, and she sniffed.
“Almost ready,” she murmured, glancing at the big cat sprawled comatose in the corner of her hut who was stirring.
Haseya stepped into a twirl, transforming from a woman, to smoke, then into another big cat. She sat across the fire from her visitor, solid black eyes watchful as the fire popped, sending sparks to feed the night.
The fire warmed Zayn’s feet, his body returning to this side of alert.
“Holy crap!” he snarled, realizing there was a big cat staring at him. “What the?” He blinked at his own paws. “I’m a cat? Wait a minute, this isn’t right! I can’t remember why, though. Ow, my head. Who am I?”
“Something hurt you. I am prepared to heal you,” the other cat said. Stunned, Zayn realized he could understand the strange string of growls, purrs, and ear and tail movements that made up this language.
“Heal me how?” Zayn’s tail snapped, confused.
“You will need to drink the broth I prepared.”
“Who are you?”
“I am Haseya, the Healer.”
Her dark eyes flicked to him and then away, a sign of respect, and Zayn found this relaxing.
Haseya lifted the handle of the pot with her teeth and rose, her walk silent as she came around the fire to place the pot next to him. She turned, and he realized she was beautiful, fluid, sinewy, and elegant.
“Drink that,” she said, resuming her place by the fire and curling her tail over her front paws.
Zayn lapped up the broth, its scent filling him for the moment. Its effect on him was immediate. The pounding in his head ceased and his eyes cleared, filling with her beauty. Her scent covered him and his blood flowed quick and intentional. He wanted her. When her heat came, he would have her.
“Report!” Slodoon’s voice barked from the console.
“I transmitted our readings,“ Moku replied. “There is evidence of a grouping of the energies you seek in the area.”
“Were you seen or contacted?”
Moku and Andok exchanged a quick glance.
“We believe not, but encountered an animal, predatory type, which Andok stunned as a matter of precaution,“ Moku replied.
“Did the animal register any of the desired energy signatures?”
“I… I did not scan it, High Scientist.”
“You did not scan it. Remind me, please, Andok, why in the Universe did I hire you?”
Andok stared at the cockpit floor.
“Go back to the area. Secure your craft in an alternate spot and begin a new mission. You are to grid-cover and scan the entire area. I transmitted your mission and coordinates to cover. Remain cloaked. You have seven of this planet’s days to do this.”
“Yes, High Scientist.”
“And Andok, If you don’t want to go back to cleaning laboratories, I would suggest you scan everything.”
“Yes, High Scientist.”
Slodoon disconnected the transition and turned back to the group of Morducks on his main screen. “The planet has potential,“ the Morduck leader said. “If the exploration is fruitful, our race can either enslave or weaponize the smoke energies. We will control this sector.”
Haseya was so close to him Zayn could sense her blood moving. Pleased with the progress of his healing, her soft purr rumbled, ricocheting into his chest. Instincts taking over, he rose, following her flicking tail while sniffing. In a quick motion, he mounted, wrapping his big paws around her neck and chest. Zayn was on fire, engorged, ready, then tumbling, losing his balance and landing nose first in the dirt, flat on the ground. Haseya had disappeared.
He yowled his lust and frustration into the earth. His eye caught movement, and he saw a woman watching him with dark eyes. With Haseya’s dark eyes, he realized.
As his mind thrashed with desire and confusion, inside something shifted. Zayn gathered himself to leap on the woman, springing up, and falling short.
Haseya’s laugh filled the hut. “Well, this is unexpected. Who are you, my new friend? You are not the lion I found.”
Zayn looked down, confused, and saw human hands, feet, and one fully erect and ready penis.
“I, uh, I don’t know. I remember nothing other than being here.”
Haseya’s amused glance inspected his rock hard cock, rising to meet his gaze. “I will not give you a chance to use that,” she said, her voice gentle as she tossed him a cloth to cover himself. “But, I will help you find your memory and return you to your time and place.”
“My time and place?”
Her brevity annoyed him. I don’t like her having control. Things will be different next time.
His eyes took in Haseya’s long black hair, her big dark eyes and trim, supple body, wrapped in a dress that showed off her strong legs, toned arms and a slim waist that accented her curves. She was more than beautiful. Zayn watched her, seeing how her fearless confidence lit her from the inside out. I have to have this woman. Deep within me, I know that I’ve searched forever for my one. Beyond my control, I woke up next to her fire. I will make her need mine.
What am I doing? I heal the Mother’s creatures. That is my purpose, the one I chose so long ago when faced with the truth of who I am, and turning from that truth. I cannot take a husband, I cannot dabble in a tryst. What I am must end in me. It is the way of our people to shun the dark and embolden the healing light.
Haseya gazed at the cat who wasn’t a cat, a man who might not be a man. Dark hair fell over his forehead and flowed over his broad shoulders and tautly muscled arms, falling to his narrow waist. Eyes, so dark they looked like liquid black, looked back at her. He is an enigma, yet I sense no malice. At least, not towards me.
“I sheltered you in my place of healing. It is what humans call being within an interdimensional space. It means that we exist across a line in time from the scene of your attack. When you are well, you can return. You will not remember me when I carry you home. When you re-cross this line, this time will erase from your mind and me with it.”
This made her heart grow leaden. This man-cat, whose eyes watched her every move, was a new connection for her. She’d been alone, healing the earth, for a long time. He’s woken my blood. This is dangerous to my need to honor my people. He cannot remain.
“I will remember you,” Zayn said, his deep voice raw with the grief of her words. “You and I are more than a crossing of spirits. I cannot forget a single thing about you. Your scent, the way you move, the light that shines from within, I see all of this. You are the healing food I’ve sought forever.”
Haseya’s eyes turned to Zayn’s, he saw sorrow, and beyond that, he saw her desire for him. In a flash he reached her, pulling her curves into him and kissing her as her lips parted for him, tasting her essence flowing throughout her body. Her dress yielded to his strong hands, bent on discovering her secrets and laying claim to each one. Zayn’s mouth devoured the curve of her neck, the hollow points of her collarbones lit with his fire as his lips traced them, tongue exploring the curve of bone and muscle.
His hands ran along her ribs, exploring each curve that held her heart, sensing her quickened blood, powered by her yearning for him. He cupped her full breasts, teasing each nipple with a calloused thumb, before sliding his mouth down to claim, with small bites, their promise.
Haseya moaned as his hands slid across her belly, seeking her heat. Zayn’s fingers found an inferno, toying with her clitoris as the rush of passion engulfed her. She was his, she was re...
Once again, Zayn lay face down in the dirt of the hut’s floor with a hard-on, the taste of Haseya in his mouth and her smoke up his nostrils. On the other side of the fire, an owl sat, watching his frustrated face and throbbing cock.
“This is destiny! Why are you fighting it?”
The owl blinked.
“Dammit!” Zayn’s frustration roared through his blood, and he felt the shift upon him once more. Now there were two owls at the fire, one calm, watching with interest, the other agitated, spinning his head and flapping his wings.
“I have searched and never found a woman who called my blood, called it beyond lust, in the way of all time. I know you feel this too. Why are you fighting me?” Zayn clicked his beak, whirring and hooting in frustration.
“Because I cannot. I must forever remain alone,” Haseya clicked in return, her heart heavy with a sadness beyond any she’d ever experienced, even that of choosing self-banishment.
“I am sorry,” she said, placing on taloned foot in front of the other and beginning her twirl.
Zayn watched, confused as she turned to smoke, then back to herself. Grabbing him, she held his wings closed and twirled again.
They were outside Magic, New Mexico. This is familiar. I’ve been here before. At least he thought so. Why can’t I remember who I am?
Haseya released him, and Zayn pushed himself to shift, becoming a man as Haseya placed a foot forward. He kissed her as she turned, a trail of smoke on his lips as she vanished, leaving his arms empty.
Zayn, the big strong Djinn, the shape-shifting badass genie Zayn, the thousands of years of women-having Zayn, the owner of the night, the day, and the time between Zayn, sat down, howled, and ugly-cried like a besotted teen. His heart blew into a million pieces, stuck in the space of time.
“Must have been one hell of a night,” Theo drawled, rummaging behind the seat of his truck, then tossing a pair of sweatpants at 6’8” Zayn, who pulled them up over his long, hard-muscled thighs with a snap. “Mind telling me how you vanished and come back buck naked?”
Theo didn’t mention the tear stains. Zayn was big and Theo didn’t need a fight, he needed answers.
“Do I know you?”
“Oh, great,” Theo muttered. Louder, he answered, “Yes, you do, and I can take you back to your place. Want a ride?”
“Yeah. Thanks. What’s your name?”
“I’m Theo. I’m the Sheriff around here. You’re Zayn, and you live in a town called Magic, New Mexico, and have for a long time. I’m sure it’ll come back.”
Zayn climbed into the truck, and Theo headed back towards town. He planned to stop at Topper’s first. She was, well, interesting. As in, powerful, sassy witch interesting. Her help would be handy in sorting out Zayn’s brain.
“This is my house?” Zayn asked, looking around at the wind chimes on the welcoming porch. The house beyond, painted in bright colors and symbols, looked like a sixties throwback.
“Nope. This here is Topper’s place. Headed here to see her when I found you. Official business. Set yourself on the porch. You’ve met Topper, maybe you’ll remember her.”
Zayn settled on the rail of the shady porch, leaning his chiseled back up against a pillar. Tapping two long fingers on the kitchen door, Theo let himself in.
“Topper, I need help. Zayn got into a mess last night, think it was alien related, and they zapped him into next week. No clue who he is, sitting there in his birthday suit, and can’t remember what happened. Zayn has information about who is snooping around in his scrambled brain. Care to lend a hand?”
Topper’s hair, bright pink today, framed an amused look. Compared to Theo and Zayn, she was trim and tiny. Somewhere in her fifties, she bounded through life with an attitude and feistiness of a far younger spirit. Topper exuded curiosity and loved with interest. Theo thought her unique in a town full of unusual.
“Found him naked? Well, I’m sorry I missed that bit of fun. Sure, let me sit a spell with him and I’ll see what he needs.”
Her hand waved towards the kitchen and a plate of cookies and a pitcher of fresh-brewed tea zoomed from their respective spots. Topper carried them outside through a door that opened itself. Theo followed with three glasses of ice that appeared, floating in front of him until he grabbed them. Zayn, staring across the desert, didn’t turn until Topper greeted him with the offer of a cookie. Belly perking up, she had his full attention.
“Do you recognize me?” Topper asked, peering at a munching Zayn.
He cocked his head, and she laughed. Topper twirled a finger, her hair turned purple, the color it was when she last saw Zayn a month before. Recognition flickered across his eyes.
“Stunned, and a recent memory wipe,” Topper turned away from Zayn, speaking to Theo in a low voice. “Djinns are tricky, but I don’t think he knows what he’s capable of while he’s in this state. I can help. I’ll have him back to being a pain in your butt in no time flat.”
Topper murmured a spell under her breath, restoring Zayn’s wiped memory, disturbing nothing recent. Zayn blinked as a light switched on in his brain.
“Zayn, I need information. Who zapped you? What are they up to? Where did you go? Did they take you with them?” Theo leaned in, ready for answers.
“Haseya!” Zayn hollered, shifting to an eagle and flapping off the porch rail, heading back towards the hill of rock.
“That was unhelpful. Typical.” Theo grabbed a few cookies. “Thanks for getting that cantankerous Djinn back to his normal cooperative self.”
“Anytime, Theo,” Topper said, arching her brow and shooting him a saucy look. “You can come play lawman on my porch whenever you’d like.”
Theo picked up his sweatpants and headed back to his truck, a grin playing with the corners of his mouth. Topper wasn’t his age, but she was still a fine-looking woman, bold, savvy, and amused with the world.
Another time. I have an eagle to track. One who need pants.
Haseya lay next to her fire as her spirit folded into itself.
“Am I dying? It this my time?”
In her heart, she knew this wasn’t death, but a choice. She assembled a bowl of specific leaves and added them to her fire, filling her hut with aromatic smoke. Silent, she watched the pictures in the smoke assemble, waver, and drift, replaced with new pictures.
Here was herself as a child, healing her first bird. There she was with her mother, crying because she did not understand what she’d done. She’d become a bird to heal the bird, without thinking. The stern faces, calling her to choose and lay down the path of the Skinwalker; their disapproval frightened her. Did they not understand she loved the light of being a healer? She was tiny, six-years-old, an antelope in a circle of coyote faces.
“I did not understand this was the way of the witch,” she told her fire. “Once the bird told me of its pain, I could heal it because I could be like the bird, know of the bird, and pull from my own bird body to heal it.”
The fire pictures showed her mother, kneeling, begging her to use the plants, to never call the animal itself to her, to never make the change.
“There is no light in the Skinwalker, Haseya, they are darkness and despair. We turn from the darkness as healers, we seek the light of love for our Mother, the earth, and those who dwell within her beauty.”
“I promise, Mother.”
She meant it, too. Haseya studied the ways of the plants, helping each member of the earth be well until it was their time to leave for the spirit world. She spent each sun-filled hour in study, learning at a rate the pleased to borderline astounded the elders. Haseya spoke to no one of the dreams that overtook her in the night, and the teaching she received while walking in the dreamworld.
“It was like being two different children,” she murmured. “I did not want to be a Skinwalker, but I was one from birth, taught that witches are dark, scary and hurting of the people and animals of the earth. It was impossible to be both light and dark and be Navajo.”
The fire picture shifted to the reckoning where two of the oldest and most revered women in the tribe laid their accusations out for the elders.
“Haseya,” the oldest one said, “is both light in the ability to heal, but despite that, is a Skinwalker. She leaves her body in the night in the form of an owl and flies beyond our seeing.”
“She has tried to remain in the light, and this is her true heart,” the other woman spoke up, “but we say here, to all Navajo, that she cannot stop being who she is.”
Haseya looked across at her Mother’s stoic face. She must have seen, but her love and belief for Haseya gave her the hope she could dwell in both. It was not to be. After a passionate discussion, the elders rendered her verdict.
“Haseya, whose name means She Rises, is banished from our Nation. We will not destroy you but will allow you to exist as both Skinwalker and Healer as you were born to be. But, Haseya, you are no longer Navajo. The dark cannot dwell in our Nation. If you accept this, you must live without a mate, never make a child. If you vow to heal, you may dwell in her spaces beyond and protect the earth in your way.”
“I so vow.” Expecting death, the council handed her life. Eyes cast downward, Haseya left the council, took up her medicine bag, and walked into the night. She would never return.
“I am capable of darkness,” she admitted, seeing the picture rise of the massacre of her people and her own wrath against the white and Mexican men who slaughtered the innocents, feeling once again her smoke slicing through their hearts, dropping them from horses and laying them there for the vultures. “I killed for twenty years, sweeping through the camps of men, killing any who stepped from the safety of their fire.”
It was only when they gathered her people, stuffed them into a space in New Mexico and made them stay put, victims of the white man’s bold and naïve belief that the earth had borders, that she stopped her murderous spree. Haseya sighed at these stupid humans who believed the Mother’s bounty had walls.
After her rage cooled, she entered a self-imposed exile, staying in the desert, avoiding human contact, healing the earth and the animals. At one point a call came, reaching her across the line of time, telling a story of a haven for the magical. Haseya turned the story over in her mind many times. She was a Skinwalker, welcome nowhere, feared by the Nation, a killer of men, a conundrum of purpose, alone and barren by choice.
No good can come of this call.
Decision made, the song of Magic, New Mexico slipped away unheeded.
The last picture in her fire was the cat-man, fighting to hold her as she drifted into smoke. With a sob, Haseya kicked the log, sending the picture to the sky while her traitorous heart broke.
(S.E. Smith has given permission and continues to retain all rights to Magic, New Mexico and all original and future characters created by S.E Smith within Magic, New Mexico. All characters created by Winnie Winkle remain the sole
property of Winnie Winkle.)