Yup finally I have a working netbook to type on. I found I couldn’t work on a tablet. They are great for games and social media but not so great for typing up my next book or whatever. So This morning I sat down and banged out this bit. Not sure where it will be going but it is a start after a year off right? Let me know what you think if anyone is still reading my blogs.

This new piece is titled A Welcome Place


Magic. Something that is considered fact, phony or something tat only fools believe in. And that is how we want it.The way the world has gone those of us who pratice the magical arts know better than let the normals know we exist. We hide our talents under more normal seemings. From the alchemist who hides his potions under the guise of the local pharmacy to the illusionist who works on the Vegas Strip, we are out there among you.

I decided that it would be best to hide myself in a kitchen. Not a fancy resturant kitchen or a hotel but in a homeless shelter. Everyone deserves a good meal and the challenge of taking donated food stuffs and making them healthful was right up my alley so to speak. While I could have made more money feeding the rich, it really didn’t matter to me. Money was something easy enough to come by if you are a practioner. I had money socked away in various banks and lock boxes. Enough to keep me feed and a roof over my head at least.

It was a cold and rainy Tuesday when a man in a tattered tenchcoat walked into the little hole in the wall soap kitchen I was working at. The place wasn’t much but the word had gotten around that you could get a tasty stew and a cup of really good coffee so I had regulars coming by. I didn’t recognize this face though.

I am not a short women really. At five foot five I was pretty average. Heck all of me is pretty average. Sorta blonde brown hair worn in a sloppy bun, faded blue eyes and lightly lined skin. I knew I could pass for anywhere from thirty to sixty and I made sure no one really paid attention to me. I wanted the clientele I helped to remember the food and not the woman servingit.

This guy was tall and I mean tall. He had to duck to enter the doorway. Now that average doorway into most places was generally around seven feet up but this is an older building and the outside door was only six feet. This guy was easily a half foot or more taller than my door. He was soaked through that tattered coat and I could here his boots making squelching noises as e walked. He wore a gray hoody under the coat and had the hood pulled up. It drooped down to his eyes from the contained water in it.

Before he was halfway across the room I had a bowl of soup and a big mug of steaming coffee on the counter. I reached under the counter and grabbed some of the hot bread I kept in a napkin covered basket and slid it next to the bowl with a big spoon. “This should warm you up. Take off those wet coats and I will check to see what I have in the back.”

He stopped at the counter looking down at the steaming bowl. He slowly peeled off the coats, placing them on the stool next to him before sitting down. “Thanks.” His voice was deep, rumbling like a rock pile rolling down a mountain. He didn’t look up but I smiled anyways. For a man so wet and obviously tired he was polite. Something you don’t see at real restuarants.

Under the coats he had on a faded red flannel shirt over a very white t=shirt. His jeans were ragged but like the shirts looked very clean. Everything about him seemed to say down on his luck but not down on himself.

When I went back to see about a sweater in his size I nudged the heat up a couple of notches. The soup kitch I ran was really barely bigger than the living room in most apartments. I had four tables and the counter with about a half dozen stools set up. Not a lot of space but then I wasn’t a big church or government run place. Luckily in my backroom I had shelving set up with the various clothing that I knew would be needed by my clients. From big stacks of socks, gloves, tshirts and hats to the various shirts, sweaters and pants that I had caged from a number of discount stores and donation boxes. Nothing fancy but every bit clean and warm and necessary. Yes I even had undergarments for those kids who came in with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back.

When I came back to the front, my guest had all ready finished his bowl and bread and was sipping the coffee. Looked like he hadn’t added any of the milk or sugar I had sitting on the counter. “Here you go. Put this on. If you like I can toss your hoody in the dryer, maybe even that tranch if you like.”

He studied me fro under heavy black brows for a long moment before setting down his mug and answering. “That would be a kindness, mam.” He looked like he wanted to say more as I came around the counter but he stopped a bit startled.

See I may be one of the hidden but there is a good reason in my case. Generally those who can actually find my place have a touch of the Hidden themselves. They come in all hours of the day and night and they know they will be safe and get that warm meal they or clothing that they need. Behind the counter , no one can truly see all of what makes me different unnless I want them to.

I am not sure exactly why I decided to step out with this stranger but I did. I generally wear long sleeves and skirts to cover up what makes me different than your average woman. The sleeves cover the tattoos that are not simle pretty images that the kids wear and the skirts, ah the skirts. Once, years back I was caught by those who believe. Those who think that anyone like the hidden most be demon touched and therefore much be punished. I spent a week in the tender care of some very fundamentalist folks and when I managed to excspe I needed medical care. My left leg is a mass of old scars and pins.

When the police had found me dragging my battered body down a dirt road in the midwest they thought I had been either in an accident or a victim of some serial killer that had been running loose then. I tried telling them about the Farm and those who I had left there. Whether they believed the version I spun them or not the place was closed down and the bodies that had been dumped in a common grave were disinterred and sent to their families. I spent two weeks in the hospital under a name not my own before I managed to sneak out with help.

The brace I use on bad days was a careful construction of metal and padding and put a lot of people off. Not sure why it did but it kept too many from bothering me when I was out on the streets and seemedto make donations better than they could be.

He cleared his throat, obviously wanting to ask me about it and I just shrugged. “Accident, things happen.”

He seemed to take it at face value and shrugged into the sweater with a deep sigh for the warmth. As I said it was damp and cold outside and he looked like he had been out in the downpours that had been going on and off for the past four days. “Is there something…”

I smiled and chuckled. It was common for the new clients to want to help out somehow. Like getting a free meal or clothing was just not right. “If you like I have a sink full of pots and pans needing a good scrub.”

He nodded and stood to follow me. “By the way stranger it helps if I have a handle to call you?”

“People generally just call me Mike.”

I could tell that wasn’t his actual name but it was something to call him. “Okay, Mike it is. Now the kitchen is to the left. I’ll pop these into the dryer while you get started.”

He went right to work and I smiled as I put the coats into the big dryer I had in the storeroom. Now generally I just toss things in without a thought but since it was just me and Mike in here I whispered a little charm and the dryer started up with just the right amount of heat to dry his stuff but not damage it.

A part of me, the part that makes me one of the hidden, knew that the man in my kitchen was more than he seemed. It was out of ordinary for a man to be as tall as he was for sure but I had met normals who would be that tall. No it was the fact that he saw throug the seeming I toss on each morning covering the brace on my leg.

You see in the neighborhood I ran mmy place out of any sign of disability will get you robbed without a thought. Wile I only left my place two or three times a week I learned early on to hide anything making me different via glamour. Now you might not know of glamour, that simple ability to cloak or even change your outward appearance. It was a trick one of the Friendly Neighbors taught me. The eldest of races that like us magic folk hide in plain sight to most.While the legends made them tricky or nasty they were quite kind to us hidden folks.

My home and business was contained within the four walls that most saw but thanks to my friends this space was much bigger on the inside than the out. Yeah kinda like that science fiction show from across the pond. No I don’t play with time. That can quickly get you splattered, no matter what the science fiction writers think. No they just gave me a bit ore space to move about. The main room, the kitchen and the backroom were all normal, seeable by the few normals who frequent my soup kitchen. But through a hidden door I had a small and comfy apartment of my own.

While Mike washed up the dishes from the breakfast meal and his light meal I slipped into my space and pulled out my bag. Like an old fashioned wise woman I had my tricks, spells and a few other things tucked away in a bag that looked a lot like a battered old leather messenger bag. One of the things I can do is pull out exactly what I need for a spell or cure without looking. Took me a long time to get that little spell working and hidden but it made my life much easier. Pulling out the holey stone that I had strung on a cord, I put my bag back on the shelf and headed back.

Now for those of you not in the know, a holey stone is a river washed stone where the water has worn a hole in the center. A bit of the river’s natural magic. The holey stone is used by those whWho know to see past glamours to see the actuall face of the being beefore you. Now in most cases this only worked to let a normal see the true face of the Friendly Neighbors but thanks to my heritage I could see more. I could see just what a man was. If I had used one all those years ago maybe I wouldh’t have ended up with the scars and pis from the Farm.

When I softly shut the door I could hear Mike humming along to the music that I had playing in the kitchen. No matter if the place was empty or filled I always had music playing in the background. I might not be a bard, like some friends of mine but the gentle magic of soft music will defuse most trouble in my place.

His voice was deep like I said before but you could hear that the man knew music. His voice slid over and around the instrumental piece that was playing. It made you want to sit back and just listen. Made me wonder if maybe I just found another bard type..I may have made it sound like I currently knew a bard but they are a rare and far between type of mage. The lastI knew to speak with was well over twenty years ago. He had gone to live deep in the northern woods, far from most humans. He couldn’t deal with the modern music that was blasted everywhere.