Chapter One – Time Will Tell
Are you excited for the next Witch In Time installment? Not going to lie, these take me a bit longer to write. I have to question everything. Did they serve gin in clear bottles in the 1960s? Was there room service in 1927? When did the Brooklyn Bridge open?
But, at the end of the day, I’m always proud by how these books turn out.
Without further ado, here’s the start of Book 3, Time Will Tell:
Most nights, I don’t dream. In fact, some nights, especially those after a particularly trying case, I do spell work before bedtime to ensure I don’t. I’d like to think fate played a role as to why my shields were down that night. In one moment, there was only darkness. The next, there was Michael and his call for help.
“Vee! I need you!” His words rang in my head. I woke with my brow creased in concentration. I lay quietly, listening in the stillness and taking stock of my darkened bedroom. It was as messy as ever, but the room was silent. The seconds ticked by, with the rustling leaves being the only reply. I wondered if I truly had heard my boyfriend’s voice. I couldn’t even remember what he had said.
Wherever the voice had come from, no one was talking to me now. I rolled around to my side and tugged the comforter with me, preparing to settle in and try to fall back asleep. It was in that quiet space where I wasn’t quite in dreamland but not fully awake when Michael’s call for help rang out again.
“Vee, help.” His voice was more of a whisper, a prayer, and not a shout.
My eyes snapped open.
Again, there was silence, but somewhere, deep inside, I could feel his plea. I knew I hadn’t imagined it, but the harder I focused on his words, the more he slipped away. I realized this wasn’t a matter for consciousness. Michael was reaching out to me on a metaphysical level, and I had to reply likewise. Easier said than done when your heart was thumping painfully in your chest.
Astral projection was something that took years to perfect. When you used astral projection, your physical body remained unconscious in one spot while you projected yourself to another. It was only since I had begun working for the Agency of Paranormal Particularities that I had fully honed my skills, and it wasn’t foolproof. The Great Big Unknown was a massive place, which was why I reserved the skill for emergencies, like when I needed to reach my Siamese cat familiar, Agatha. As my familiar, Agatha was the easiest for me to connect with, but Michael and I had also formed a bond. I could only hope that it was strong enough for me to follow.
“Magic, don’t fail me now,” I whispered before taking deep, calming breaths. I closed my eyes and tried to let go, knowing that was the only way for this to work. My magic uncoiled within me like muscle memory, bringing forth a swath of colors. Bubble gum pink and deep greens swirled on the back of my eyelids. I watched the bold scene unfold as the colors danced and more blended in. Vibrant red exploded like a firework, and lemony yellow squiggled past. A soft piano concerto played quietly in the background. It started as a single piano playing a simple tune until the music swelled and the full orchestra joined in. I allowed the music to move me. My lungs inhaled with the crescendo, and I pulled free from my body.
My spirit traveled through time and space, flying forward, searching for the blue wisps of Michael’s magic. Over the last year and a half, I had come to know Michael’s magical signature better than my own. I was always told that’s what happened when you fell in love, but this was the first time I’d ever experienced it. If you thought the strength of our bond scared the heck out of me, you’d be right. But I didn’t have time to dwell on my insecurities and what they meant for the future. Right now, I was just grateful I could trace Michael’s cry for help.
I stopped moving and found myself suspended in space.
“Where are you?” I called out into the darkness. Eerie silence replied.
The thread of Michael’s magic was a hair’s breadth. Soon the trace would disappear entirely, and I’d be left swimming in a sea of emptiness.
One by one, the colors faded.
My body grew cold.
I knew the further I floated into the ether, the harder it would be to get back to my body.
As I stood there weightlessly, searching for some sign, a clue as to where Michael was, a vision began to play before me. I didn’t know how Michael was doing it. It was magic I hadn’t seen before. The images captivated me and had my pulse quickening and power pulsing. I recognized the setting. It was evening in New York City, 1964, which was the present day for Michael. I could identify the time period the second I spotted a car on the curb and the convenience store on the corner. It was Michael’s neighborhood. He was there in the alleyway, and he wasn’t alone. I gasped as I witnessed a large man throw Michael against the brick wall. He grunted as his body hit the ground. My magic burned hot and bright. Electricity filled my fingertips, and I instinctively shot it forward, sending my power into the unknown. Nothing mattered. I was too far away. Another man kicked Michael in the stomach as he lay on his side. Michael wrapped his arms around his middle, protecting himself the best he could. I had no idea why he wasn’t fighting back with magic, why he couldn’t fight back. I needed to get to him and not through astral projection.
It was at the realization when I knew I had to get back to my body that Michael gave one last primitive cry. My name ripped from his lips and sent shivers down my spine. And then he passed out.
Michael’s cry jolted me back to my body. I felt like someone had hit me with a stun gun in my chest. I woke with a start. My hands gripped the sheets. In the chaos, I’d tossed my comforter onto the floor along with my pillows. The bedding covered my discarded bell-bottomed jeans and button-up shirt from yesterday’s nineteen seventy time jump. My heart hammered. I could feel the pressure pulsing through my veins. I had to consciously remind myself that I was here in the present and not with Michael. It was a bitter reality to accept. I’d failed him, but not for long. I needed to jump back to 1964 and find him. Now.
I tried to stand, to get my bearings, but my feet had become twisted in the sheets, creating a cotton binding. It was still dark out. The new moon only added to the blackness. A dim light in the hallway filtered in from the cracked bedroom door, but it wasn’t enough light to help me break free.
I stumbled off the bed.
“Ugh!” I screamed in frustration. Finally, I loosened the sheets from my ankles and broke free. I had to go. I needed to get to Michael.
Agatha zoomed down the hallway. It was her nightly routine to wreak havoc around the farmhouse while I slept. She screeched to a halt outside my door.
Her head bopped the door open. “Wafs wong?” Her voice came out muffled. Agatha dropped the stuffed mouse out of her mouth and tried again, “What’s wrong?”
I jammed my leg in a pair of jeans. “I have to go. I have to get to Michael. He’s in trouble.” The words flew out of my mouth.
“Where? What happened? Did you get a case?” Agatha looked around the room for a new case file. The Agency of Paranormal Particularities was known to assign cases any time, day or night. Often, they would magically appear out of thin air.
“No. Michael projected to me. He’s in a fight.” I struggled to say the words. The scene replayed in my head against my will. I shook my head to make it stop. “I can’t explain it. I don’t have time. I have to get to him.” I darted across the room and yanked open my dresser for a pair of socks. “Where are my socks? Why can’t I find any socks?” I growled in frustration as my hands scattered the shirts in my drawer. Why hadn’t I turned on the light?
Agatha, showing so much composure that it was annoying, evenly replied, “In the bottom drawer where they always are.”
I wordlessly dropped to the bottom drawer.
“You need to calm down. You won’t be able to help Michael out at all, acting frazzled the way you are,” Agatha admonished me.
“I do not need a lecture right now!” My voice broke. I put my hands on my hips and took a steadying breath. I checked myself. “Sorry. You weren’t there. You didn’t see what I saw.”
Agatha didn’t miss a beat. “Regardless. If you want to help Michael, think with your head, not your heart.”
I nodded. Agatha was right, even if I wasn’t ready to admit it.
“Take a minute, change,” Agatha motioned to my outfit with one of her tan-dipped paws. “Get your head in the game, and then go.”
I looked down at my Prince T-shirt. The legendary musician was still a child in 1964. “You’re right.” I wasn’t slowing down, though. I yanked off my clothes as quickly as I had put them on, switching out the T-shirt and jeans for black pedal pushers, a floral blouse, and a light pink, soft wool coat. Forget the coordinating hat and gloves. I didn’t have time for it.
My cell phone rang on the bedside table, and I saw that it was my best friend and fellow time-traveling witch, Lexi Sanders. She no doubt felt my emotions ripple through the atmosphere. Lexi was gifted at picking up people’s emotions like that.
“Will you answer that and fill her in? Tell her I’ll call her when I can.” I was proud of how much more even my voice sounded.
“Do you want me to come with you?”
I blinked at my familiar for a moment. She never offered to go with me anymore. Ever. She preferred staying home, napping on the back of the couch, and catching mice in the barn.
I swallowed nervously. “No, I got it. Thanks.” Somehow having Agatha with me would only make things seem worse.
Want to read more? Check out the link below. TIME WILL TELL is available on all major retailers May 10, 2022.
Start the series with BETTER WITCH NEXT TIME here: books2read.com/u/mYyZno