I know the August Chapter is coming much later than expected. When I went to look it over, I realized that there were things that simply didn’t work with later chapters and had to edit it. I think I might have rewritten this chapter about eight times. I had an idea that I loved and wanted to keep, but that just didn’t work here. I tried everything to keep it in but finally had to admit taking it out was for the best. I am pretty sure i can use the scene later though. Just not here.
Anyway this is the August Chapter of Tasy Moves in, the first book in the Oak Hill Series. I hope you enjoy it.
After Chris left, Tansy wasn’t certain what to make of the situation. ‘Well I know what to make of it,’ she corrected, but not what to do about it.’
She knew that Chris Weathersby tried to get her to give him permission to enter her home. She figured it would allow him to bypass the protections Eunice put on the Oak Hill house. ‘Or at least he thinks it will,’ she added. She wasn’t actually sure if it would or not, but she suspected he thought so. ‘Or someone things so.’
Tansy was also certain it was either Roderick or Margaret on the other end of the phone call he just made from the hallway.
‘My money is on Roderick,’ Tansy decided thinking of his I am the captain of this ship pose he took when trying to break into the house.
‘And now they know I suspect something,’ She concluded. For lack of anything better to do, Tansy resumed packing. While she still had a few weeks left on her lease, Tansy was beginning to think relocating to Oak Hill sooner might be a better option.
‘I could ferry everything over and then clean the apartment and just turn my keys in early.’ She wasn’t looking forward to running into Margaret and Roderick, but figured as she was commuting most of the time it wouldn’t be an issue. ‘And if they do get bad at the grocery store I could easily just pick up groceries before I leave the city.’
Tansy sighed as she folded clothing she knew she wouldn’t be wearing in the next few weeks and added it to the suit case. She really wished she had someone to talk to about all this. ‘Whatever this happens to be.’
The person she really wanted to talk to was Eunice, but that wasn’t really possible. She could talk to Petra and maybe some of the others about the attempted break ins and her suspicions about Eunice’s death, but she wasn’t certain about mentioning her aunt’s search for the rings. ‘Eunice made certain to keep all of her searching out of the public locations in the house and didn’t even mention it directly in her journals.’
Tansy decided that for now she would keep the ring search to herself, but if she got a chance she would ask why people were so intent on breaking in. While she was certain that the two were connected, she figured she might be able to play dumb.
‘Which isn’t a far stretch,’ she told herself. She had never felt so stupidly out of her depth in her life. “Of course, everyone is keeping their distance until I’ve made my decision.”
Tansy stopped, a wool scarf hanging from her hands as a thought occurred to her. “All of those involved in the hidden parts of Oak Hill are supposed to keep their distance until I make my decision.” She thought of the green fire Roderick tried to throw at the house. “I’m betting he is part of the community that is supposed to keep their distance.” As Tansy began folding the scarf she wondered if there was someone she could report him to. “Magic police,” she told herself. “Or whoever makes sure the books don’t open until a decision is made.”
She thought of the other books hidden away in Eunice’s work room and wondered if there was anything in there that would help drive away the Weathersby family. “It would be worth committing just for that.”
At the moment the words on the page were still a blur so she couldn’t say the words of agreement even if she wanted to. “I suppose I’ll just have to work on control then.”
Tansy decided she was finished packing for the moment and shunted her suitcase off to the side. She realized her clothes were finished in the washing machine and ready for the dryer. She also decided she didn’t feel like cooking. Tansy ordered a pizza and sat down on the couch. She turned on the television and let it play. On her coffee table was a magazine. She picked it up and flipped through the pages as she waited for her dinner to be delivered.
As she flipped, Tansy came to a page featuring a goat in the center of the page. It was a full page ad that advertised goat cheese. Tansy looked at the goat. He remained stationary. ‘Part of control is getting things that are moving when I don’t want them to stop moving. I wonder if the other part is making them move even if they don’t want to.’
Tansy stared at the goat. The goat stared back at her. “Move,” she told it. The goat remained stationary. “You don’t have to step out of the ad,” she told it, cajolingly. “Just take one step to the right.” Nothing happened. Tansy frowned.
“Right, total concentration, not talking it into moving.”
A knock sounded on the door signaling the arrival of pizza. Tansy left the goat and walked to the door. She signed for and received her pizza. She took it inside, closed and locked her door and walked it over to the coffee table. She set it down and looked over at the goat.
“Total concentration,” she repeated.
Tansy left the pizza where it was and again picked up the magazine. She focused everything on the image. “One step to the right,” she ordered. “Move.” She put everything she had into the command, feeling it in her belly as though the word were a solid thing, traveling from her stomach and up her throat, finally emerging into the air. The world to every side fell away. The scent of the hot pizza even faded. Instead she smelled mapper and ink as though the magazine page had just come off of the printer, the ink still warm and slightly wet. She took a deep breath and locked eyes with the goat.
“Move,” she repeated, the word again rumbling weighted from her lips. This time when she drew in breath there was something under the ink and paper. Grass sun and an unmistakable whiff of goat.
She felt the air tremble. On the page the goat took one single step to the right and then stopped moving. Its head tilted upward slightly as though asking if that was all she wanted. Tansy let out a shaky breath and dropped the magazine. She inhaled deeply and the scent of warm sauce and melty cheese filled her senses. The magazine was just a magazine and the only scent coming from it was a perfume sample.
Tansy saw that when she dropped the magazine, the pages closed, hiding the goat from view. She leaned forward and a wave of dizziness hit her. She felt her stomach try to claw its way up her throat. She leaned back against the couch and took slow deep breaths. She felt hollowed out, empty. She took a deep breath through her nose and her stomach rumbled in response. She was slightly hungry when she ordered it, but now, Tansy felt ravenous. She cautiously sat up and reached for the box.
Opening the box lid brought an intensification of the scent and Tansy felt as though she hadn’t eaten in about a week. She scooped up the first slice and brought it to her mouth. It disappeared in a few bites. Even as she chewed the last of it, Tansy reached for the second slice.
She tried to eat it a little slower, but it too soon disappeared. The third slice she ate in a more normal fashion. She chewed slower and found she was able to focus on more things around her. The stale scent of the air as the central heating kicked on. The television playing some sort of cartoon she didn’t recognize.
As she chewed her third slice of pizza, Tansy wondered if she could do anything with the cartoons if she focused. They were images after all.
“Of course, they are already moving,” she said around her mouthful of pizza. “Maybe if I paused it.”
She took another bite and thought about the difference between a cartoon and a magazine ad. ‘Probably about the same amount of difference as there is between an oil painting and the magazine.’
She thought it over, but decided to wait to try it out another time. At the moment her stomach was slowly filling, but she had developed a slight headache. ‘Maybe if I eat before I try to practice my control then I won’t get a headache.’
The book hadn’t said anything about headaches. ‘It also said the image had to be created by someone with magic,’ she recalled. ‘I think.’ She tried to remember the exact wording. She remembered something about pulling a veil over it so that she knew it could move but that it wouldn’t because she told it not to. ‘But maybe that is just because images created by those with magic want to move on their own and other images don’t.’
Tansy couldn’t remember if that was mentioned. She didn’t think that many details were given. The lesson had been rather perfunctory. ‘Maybe if you are learning control you are supposed to focus on not getting things to move and not worrying about getting stationary things to move. ‘Maybe that’s something you worry about after you decide you want to learn magic and make the commitment.’
She decided she would check and see if there were more details she missed when she went back to the house on Friday. For now, she just ate her pizza and let her cavernous belly fill as she watched the cartoons go about their business in the way the animators designed.
Once she had her fill and the extra pizza was tucked away in the fridge, Tansy realized she was having a hard time keeping her eyes open. Despite it being earlier than her normal bedtime, she figured an early night wasn’t a bad idea.
“All the potential break ins wore me out,” she decided. Tansy changed into her pajamas and laid out her clothes for the next day. She made certain that her bumblebee necklace was next to the outfit. She wasn’t certain if it had any special lucky properties or if it was just circumstantial, but since she put it on there had been no mishaps at work.
“And if nothing else I need to stay in good graces with Ms. Abbot so that I can move and commute more easily. Eunice may have left her bank accounts filled with cash but there seemed to be some sort of balance between them. She wasn’t sure what money she could move around without having the whole financial tower coming crashing down on her. It was much better to keep paying her bills out of the money she earned at her job rather than risking anything.
“Once I move I’ll figure out what I can use to pay the bills at the house,” she promised herself. Certain that all was ready for the following morning, Tansy crawled into bed and was asleep immediately.
The next morning she managed to wake a few minutes before her alarm and she felt rested. “The restorative powers of Pizza,” she told herself as she got up and began her day. Freshly showered and dressed for the day, Tansy tucked her bumblebee necklace under her shirt for safe keeping, filled her travel mug with the last of her coffee, made certain the coffee pot was turned off and unplugged, and headed off for the office.
She was unsurprised to find Chris lurking in the hall just as she was getting ready to leave. “Morning,” she said.
“Good morning,” he replied. He fell into step beside her.
“I see you found your keys,” Tansy said. He had the car keys clutched in his hand.
“Um, yeah,” he replied. “They were right on the counter where I left them.”
“Good.” He opened his mouth to say something and Tansy wondered if he was going to try to find another way to get her to grant her permission into her home or at least into revealing that she knew what he was up to. She didn’t give him the chance. “Looks like rain,” Tansy said. She looked up.
Sure enough whatever Chris was going to say faded as he looked up at the clouds. They were a steely gray that promised fain and possibly high winds, especially at this time of year.
“Yeah, I guess it does,” he replied.
“Best hurry before it starts,” Tansy added. She hurried her steps, leaving Chris to hustle as he tried to keep up. She reached her car, waved at him and slipped behind the driver’s seat. As she closed the door, Tansy realized the car door was once again unlocked.
“And I know I locked it,” she told herself. Due to a life time of horror movies, Tansy glanced in the back seat to make certain no one was crouched behind her seat, waiting to attack. There was no one there. The empty back seat looked just as empty as it had the day before.
Tansy turned back to the steering wheel and started the engine. She suspected that after Chris reported there was nothing in the apartment and his parents told him they couldn’t get in the house, her car was searched one more time.
‘They have to be looking for the same rings that Aunt Eunice was looking for,’ Tansy surmised as she pulled out of the parking lot and turned onto the street. As she drove, she thought about it. Clearly the rings were something special. There was the possibility that they were made by an important designer or because of their age they had special monetary value. Now that she knew about magic, and the fact that these rings were connected to the original seven families, Tansy suspected their value had little to do with money.
‘And Eunice did say that the founding families all had the magical genetic quirk,’ Tansy recalled. ‘I just wish I knew what the rings were supposed to do.’
Trying to come up with possibilities kept her from thinking too much about anything else and by the time Tansy parked in the lot behind her office building, she realized wondering what the rings did kept her from worrying about the bill boards and potentially moving advertisements. If any of the images moved as she drove past, Tansy hadn’t seen it.
“Which might be the key to control in that area,” she told herself as she locked her car and went into the office.
Ms. Abbot greeted her with a smile that seemed slightly warmer than usual. Tansy suspected it had more to do with the fact that she wasn’t causing as many accidents any more than finding out about Eunice’s investments. Tansy was certain she ought to ask about her continued employment, but wasn’t sure the time was right. “Maybe once I deal with the move. Things will be more official then.”
Tansy moved to her cubicle and settled herself for the day. By the time she was ready to start work, Ms. Abbot brought over a cart full of files.
“Ready for a new set?” Ms. Abbot asked.
“I am,” Tansy replied.
“Good, it really is quite helpful to get these into the system so that we no longer have to keep the physical copies on site.”
Tansy thought it was Ms. Abbots way of saying that her efforts weren’t wasted even though this appeared to be the only thing she could do without causing damage to the office. She smiled. “So will they be destroyed afterwards?” She asked.
“Oh no,” Ms. Abbot said. “They’ll be transferred to our long term storage facility.”
She looked almost affronted by the thought of possibly destroying files.
“I see,” Tansy said.
Ms. Abbot left her to start work and Tansy booted up the computer and pulled the first stack of files into position next to her keyboard. Wanting to see what she was working with, Tansy opened the first file and read through the top page. It was a basic summation of the file within. It seemed that a woman was suing her sister over a land deed.
‘I wonder why they are resorting to court instead of talking it out between them?’ Tansy mused as she read over the summary.
‘Because she slept with my husband.’
Tansy blinked and looked around for whoever spoke. There was no one near her. She could hear movement in the other cubicles but no one was paying attention to her.
Tansy looked back to the file and realized that she didn’t actually hear the words out loud. She heard them in her head.
‘Did that file just speak to me?’