Broommates: Frying Pan

Part 22 of the serial Broommates. Start from the beginning or read the previous episode or click the “Broommates” link at the top of the page to see the full list.

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Parker was the first to break the silence. “The spooky pooch is gone. Let’s go before it finds Grant and we get a visit from Mister Magical Nuke.”

“How do you know it’s gone?” Miranda asked. “It could be a bluff, like Anthony said.”

They stared into the darkness of the forest, unable to feel the wind that shook the branches of the trees. Clouds massed in the sky, threatening to hide the moon and make it even harder to see.

“Kitty, can you see anything?” Anthony asked. Kitty shook her head. “Beatrice?”

Beatrice cracked an eye open. “If it is here, I cannot see or sense it.”

“So we have two options,” Miranda said, ticking them off on her fingers. “One, we wait here until morning and hope it hasn’t gone to get Grant. Two, we hope it’s gone and make a run for the car.”

“I hate plans that rely on hope,” Parker muttered. “They always end badly.” The moon disappeared briefly, like a light flicked off and on.

“What’s your big idea, then?” Anthony asked. “Run out and get us all mauled to death?”

“Better than sitting here waiting to be killed!”

Miranda threw up her hands. “That’s it! I’m leaving even if you aren’t. I’m not standing here listening to you bicker all night.”

“Don’t be ridic–”

“And anyway,” she continued. “Are you really willing to risk going up against Grant on his own ground?” She pulled a metal rod out of her backpack, then knelt down and checked that the laces of her sneakers were tight. She looked up at Anthony, who frowned. “Why don’t you get your sword ready, just in case?”

He crossed his arms. “I can defend myself fine without it. And anyway, this is a bad idea.”

Beatrice had resigned herself to the situation and was limbering up. “You fear the sword,” she said. “Sensible.”

“What’s to be afraid of?” Miranda asked. He didn’t answer. “Whatever.” She picked up the candle at the center of the magic circle. “Everyone ready?”

“One sec.” Parker, who had been fumbling with his glowstick, finally managed to crack it open. Some of the goo dribbled on the ground; the rest, he poured into his cupped hands.

Miranda started to ask what he was doing, but felt the tingle of a spell being prepared and opted to keep her mouth shut instead. When he looked up at her and nodded, she held the white candle up and blew it out.

The magic circle sank into the ground and the night breeze finally hit them, chilling sweat that they hadn’t realized was soaking them until now. Seconds passed like minutes as they waited for an attack that didn’t come.

“Looks like he’s gone after all,” Miranda muttered.

“Hold up,” Parker said. Careful so as not to mar the line of salt marking the perimeter of the circle, he stepped out and tossed the glowing goop he held into the air. Instead of arcing like a liquid, it exploded out in a shower of glittering globules like luminescent snowflakes, settling on his head and shoulders so that he was visible against the darkness.

And then, so was the black dog.

It growled, low and deep like the engine of a massive truck, and tried to shake off the faint green light. “Now, that’s cheating,” it said, but Parker was already moving, and so was Miranda.

“Randy, no!” Kitty shrieked.

“Yes.” Miranda lit the candle and raised the circle again–with Parker stuck on the outside. He turned to face the dog, digging a hand into his pocket.

“You and me, cheeky bugger,” the dog huffed, tensing its hindquarters to leap.

Parker pulled a mirror out of his pocket and pointed it at the creature. “In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni!”

“Latin isn’t going to stop my teeth, you silly–what?”

Instead of one Parker, there were now seven standing in a line, each eying him smugly.

“Oh, very nice,” it said. “Can’t find the tree for the forest, hmm?” The dog started to pace and each version of Parker took a step back, then another. “Fee, fi, fo, fum…”

Anthony shouted, “Parker, you fool, he can smell the real you! Run!”

“You really are a spoilsport,” the dog said. “I was going to give him a head start.” Without another word, he jumped straight at the real Parker.

Kitty screamed. Miranda blew out the candle and raised her rod, firing off a ball of flame the size of a cantaloupe. Beatrice dug a foot into the ground, twisted it, and launched herself to intercept the dog, which swiped at Parker’s chest. Parker dodged but took a vicious gash to his left side and arm.

Miranda’s fireball barely singed the dog’s ghostly fur, and it barked, whether in laughter or in surprise she wasn’t sure. Anthony pulled in the cold left behind by Miranda’s spell and used his sweat to form a trio of vicious icicles, which he sent flying toward the creature. It managed to dodge, but for its efforts received a solid kick to the ribs from Beatrice.

Growling, it went incorporeal and misty, jumping through her like a shock of cold water only to solidify on the other side and slash open her back. Beatrice hissed in pain and went after it again, but now it was heading for Kitty, who knelt next to Parker. Miranda lobbed another fireball at it, her teeth chattering as all the heat went out of the air, but it was in its ghost form and the spell sailed through it.

Anthony got to them first. The veins in his arm blackened and in the blink of an eye, his sword appeared in his hand. The barghest leaped and Anthony swung.

The dog landed in a clumsy heap nearby, blue fire leaking from where Anthony cut it. “You can’t…” it whined, limping backward. Anthony advanced and in a flash of the same blue flame, it disappeared entirely.

“Back to the car, now!” Anthony shouted. They all obeyed without a word. Miranda watched the blackness writhe in Anthony’s arm as he grimaced and brought up the rear. Maybe she would wait to ask him about the sword after all.

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Part 23: Fire

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4 Responses to “Broommates: Frying Pan”

  1. WOW! What a fight! And now what’s going on with Anthony’s arm? OH, I can’t wait for the next installment! Gripping!

  2. Laura Eno says:

    I’m sweating now…LOL! Intense scene and I want to know about his arm too!

  3. Gracie says:

    Brilliant magic, my girl! Amazing battle scene. I don’t know how you managed to fit so much in such a small space. I bow before a master.

    Simply excellent, and I can’t wait for the next one!

  4. dad says:

    the best laid plans of mice and men

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