Ritual Space

By: Viola Grace



“It is fine. I knew you were there, but I didn’t know you were there. Did you stay there all night?”

“A sentry spell allows me to remain awake for days at a time.”

“Right. Well, I am on my way out for a run. I will be back in an hour or so. Time is funny here.”

“I will come with you.” He stepped forward.

“I thought you were here to guard the crime scene. I am not going near it.”

He paused. “Take your phone and call if you need help.”

She shook her head. “No. It throws me off. Just keep an eye out for the rabbits. If they come to get you, you will know I am in trouble. In the meantime, get some rest. From what I hear, those spells aren’t good for you.”

Adrea turned and started at a gentle run that took her past the house and grounds and into the ritual spaces themselves.

The air changed and cooled as she ran past the standing stones. She cut down a path and headed past the pyramids, the dry and hot air warming as she cut through the desert. From there, she passed the great forest, the haunted forest, the dark forest and the great silent lake.

Scorched ground puffed under her feet through the sterile lands, fading abruptly as she leaped into the bamboo gardens.

Adrea kept far away from the meditation house. She had the other half of Ritual Space to check, but that could wait a day. She jogged lightly back to her house, and to her disgust, she hadn’t even broken a sweat.

Being functionally, temporarily immortal was a pain. She couldn’t sweat, couldn’t feel fear and her heart rate never went up. No wonder her family lived so long, they couldn’t get wound up.

As she glanced at Detective Luning, she wondered if sex would ever be the same again. She knew it wouldn’t. How could sex be enjoyable if no one made her heart beat fast?

He blinked and stepped forward. “You have been gone for three hours.”

Adrea winced. “Damn. Well, I was doing a tour of my property.”

“Mr. Grant and the coroner phoned. They wish you to return their calls.”

“Right. I will get right on that.” She walked inside and headed to the kitchen. She guzzled three glasses of water and then checked the fridge. She reached in and grabbed an apple, sticking it in her jaws as she headed back to Neadra’s room to get some clean clothing. She consumed the apple while she picked out an outfit.

Neadra had a flare for dramatic clothing, so Adrea had a wide range of clothing to choose from. She ended up in a long skirt, button and lace boots and a shirt with a wide cowl neck that showed off most of her shoulders.

She located her phone and winced at the low battery.

“House, is there a phone-charging cord available?”

There was no answer, so she headed to the office to go through some of the tech boxes that Neadra kept around for curiosities sake. To her amusement, the charging cable she needed was already plugged in next to the computer and waiting for her phone. She plugged it in and looked at the flashing message light on the answering machine.

There were only six messages, so she picked up a pen and piece of paper before playing the messages.

The first was someone who wished to book the space for a family event in a few months. The second was an arcane club who wanted to come and try out a new spell. The third was a hang-up. The fourth was a condolence call as were the last two.

It was so weird to have the calls go from addressing Neadra, to addressing Adrea.

The booking book had columns for each of the environments, so Adrea checked and was able to confirm an available booking for the daughter of the Gangers for their wedding. There would be six hundred guests, so the great field adjoining the bright forest would be in use. She had plenty of room in the booking book, but when she cross-referenced Ganger in the repeat-customer book, it said she needed to book the entire property. Okay, she would.

The spell practice was an easy lock. They wanted the standing stones, so she could definitely fit them in.

With a deliberate manner, she reached out for the phone and called Lenora Ganger back.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Mrs. Ganger? My name is Adrea. I am the new proprietor of Ritual Space.”

There was a pause. “My condolences on the loss of Neadra. We have heard and our community mourns.”

“Thank you. Well, I don’t wish to talk business if you are unready to do so, but if you wish, I have the next full moon from tonight available for that wedding you wish to host. The entire property will be at your disposal, and by then, I should be able to open the gateways you need.”

“Thank you. We will be attending the funeral.”

“It should be announced shortly. They know what killed her; they just don’t know who.”

“That is always the one folks have problems with.”

“So I am beginning to understand, and we are the ones left behind.”

“You have a community who will be there for you, just let us be.”

“I look forward to meeting you in person. Consider February the twenty-second yours.”

“Thank you. Have a serene day.”

“Be tranquil and serene.”

Adrea hung up the phone and felt a little bit better.

The next call was all business. She explained that it would be two weeks before she could take in a client, and the caller hung up on her.

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