So I hinted the other day (more like yesterday), at a new novel I’ve been toying with. A middle age academy book following Fraya’s attendance at a Middle Age Magic Academy to help her get over her divorce.
I liked the idea of putting the first chapter on my blog, and so here it is. I’ll try and post a chapter every other day. Feel free to add feedback if you wish. It’s always good to get brutal honest opinions from readers.
Book Title: Middle Age Magic Academy: Book 1 – My Skeleton’s Better Than Yours
Chapter 1 –
On extra credit assignment number one
This cannot be happening. I mean, seriously? Come on universe, give me a break. Haven’t you heaped enough shit on me already? A cheating husband, a nasty separation, and a bitter divorce, how much more are you going to make me suffer?
I’ve only just stepped out of the cab, and managed to get a ladder in my stocking.
“Look at it,” I say to no one in particular, or maybe the faint white glow on the other side of the gate. “Now what am I going to do? I didn’t pack any spares.” Sighing, I’m reminded why I never wear these blasted things in the first place. They are way too delicate for me. Fricking flimsy things.
She, the ex’s new toy, always wore them. Her favourite were the black ones with the seam on the back.
Stop thinking about those two, I rouse on myself. Toxic emotions are the last thing you need right now. I try to remind myself about the vow of positivity I’d taken before embarking on this course with the additional challenges accepted.
Focus on the positive, I hear the owl’s voice tell me mantra like. The messenger owl had been part of the deluxe study package I paid for, well, the ex paid for, and had meant to put me in the right frame of mind before I started my studies.
Sighing, I glance the hole getting bigger and bigger, as if magic was used to unravel it. Wait a minute. My eyes dart around. Is someone using magic to…I stop myself continuing with the thought. It’s not going to go anywhere useful, is it?
What’s done is done. I didn’t pack a spare pare of tights, so I’ll just have to cope.
That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life, isn’t it? Cope.
“Just cope with it,” is what the bastard ex used to say when I pointed out his coming home so late wasn’t conducive to a family life. Fucking prick. There, I’d finally done it, swore in thought at the filthy, cheating, son of a camel hunter and chook thieve.
Sighing, I stare at myself in the reflection of a small hand held mirror. The one you’re meant to carry to touch up your lip stick, check your hair’s still immaculate, and the makeup’s not smudged. Except, you don’t wear makeup, don’t have time to go to the hairdresser, and the last time you saw your lips stick was…I can’t remember.
Dark circles under my eyes are the tell tale sign of sleepless nights. Too many tears spilled over the prick, and general run down-ness. Is that even a word? Who gives a…
Focus, I remind myself, as I extend a shaking hand toward the gate of the cemetery. Glancing at the scrunched up piece of paper in my left hand, I try to recall what the instructions had said. Something along the lines of ‘walk through the gate, turn left when you see the head stone to Albert Fishbein, and wait for Glint to find you. Once the ghost sees you, she’ll escort you to the portal to get to the Academy. You will get bonus credits if you bring with you, a magical item.’
A magical item, according to the note, is worth five extra credit points. Five. Not one. Or two. But five.
Okay, I’ve got no idea what good these extra credit points will do, but, I have to admit, I want to go for them. I mean, why not? What have I got to lose?
The loud squeak the rusty metal thing makes as I shove it, has me nearly jump out of my skin.
My head snaps around, half expecting an army of ghouls to appear. When nothing of the sort happens, I look back at the minuscule opening I’ve made into the place of the dead.
Thankfully, weeks of not eating as a result of wallowing in self pity, mean I lost some of those extra pounds put on during the good old days of being married to that bastard. TB. I like it. Acronyms aren’t my thing, but if I invent it, heck, it’s got to be good.
“What’s kept you so long,” hisses a voice out of the dark, and this time I react like every woman in this situation would react.
I scream. A high pitched, typical hysterical female scream. The one that’s meant to get your husband running to your side, like a knight in shining armour, ready to rescue you from any vicious flesh eating monster. Or clear the room of any and all eight legged living creatures no matter how small the blasted spider turns out to be.
Of course, he never comes. Because, it turns out, he’s too busy fucking his secretary.
Oops. Was that me dropping the f word? Sorry. It was an accident.
“Stop it,” hisses the voice, followed by a hand reaching for me to cover my mouth.
I should have known this was a mistake. Not come here. Not even answered the advertisement to attend this place called a magic academy. Not just any magic academy. Oh no. The distinguished MAMA. Middle Age Magic Academy.
“If you promise not to scream I’ll let you go,”
Frozen with terror I don’t say anything.
“Fraya, it’s me, Allegra, your best friend.”
My eyes try to focus in the darkness, a rather difficult task if you ask me. With no moon to speak of, I’ve got to rely on my eyes adjusting to the dim light, which of course they haven’t because I never did eat enough carrots.
“Are you calm now?”
This time I nod.
“Why’d you scream?”
I roll my eyes. “Why’d you frighten me like that?”
“I didn’t know you were going to react like one of those banshee,”
“Okay, let’s not go over it shall we? I mean we’re here to get our extra credit points.”
“Talk for yourself. I’m here to check out the dead.”
“What?” I stare at her in complete disbelief. If I were the drinking type, I’d be wondering right now if I’ve consumed too much alcohol and am still suffering the after effects of this. As it is, I vowed not to succumb to the quick fix method of drinking too much at night to drown out the pain for a few hours.
It’s such a short lived solution. And then, the next morning, the pain’s worse. Not only does your heart still hurt, your head aches as well.
“Haven’t you heard? It’s known for the dead to be walking among us.”
“I think that’s only on Halloween,” I reply, rubbing my upper arms. Perhaps I should have dressed warmer.
“Oh no, I’ve seen this gorgeous skeleton…”
“Stop it,” I interrupt her, knowing my friends weakness for men. Unlike me, who’s struggling to come to terms with the fact my marriage failed, she’s on to her third separation. “We’re looking for the magical artefact only found on a cemetery,” I hiss at her, keeping my voice low just in case. I don’t want to wake the dead. At least not on my first assignment.
“What’s wrong with bringing back a good looking skeleton?”
“Because I doubt it counts as a magical item. Can you please concentrate on the task?”
Allegra pouts. “You’re no fun at all. I thought when you said we’d be going to this Academy, you’d loosen up a bit.”
I stiffen at those words.
“Alright,” grumbles Allegra after a tense pause. “Remind me again what is it we’re looking for?”
“A graveyard shovel.”
“Where do we find that?” Allegra’s eyes search our immediate surrounds. “In that shed over there?”
Shrugging, I squint, trying to remember the things I read about the significance of graveyard shovels, how to recognise one, and where to find it. A shed, I’m pretty sure had not been mentioned.
As I let my gaze sweep over the headstones, stopping here, looking there, I think I know where to go.
“This way,” I tug my friend at the arm as I make my move. It’s nothing specific, only a gut feeling. The same gut feeling I get seconds before I avoid being run over by a car.
Keen to grab the magic item, find the portal to get to the Academy, and make the welcome address of the new Rector of the place, I don’t pay attention to what’s at my feet.
The possessed ivy has wrapped around my ankles at least three times by the time I try to take my first step.
“Shit,” I grunt, as the inevitable happens. I fall flat on my face.
Note to self, when falling face first into the dirt don’t keep your mouth open. Make sure you keep it firmly shut.