Melody slammed the accelerator. The Trans-Am lurched forward, nearly baptizing my music box with coffee and steamed milk from her pumpkin spice latte. “Are they still back there?” she asked.
“What do you think?”
“I think I should’ve known better than to bring you along.”
“How is this my fault? You’re the medium. You’re supposed to know how to exorcise stuff that comes Top Side!”
“Well excuse me if I was a little thrown by an 8′ tall Amazonian witch queen magically appearing in some kid’s living room! Exorcism’s not like flipping on the garbage disposal.”
“The book’s say she’s only seven foot. And half Jinn, half giant,” I huffed.
I don’t know why I argue semantics at a moment like this. It’s not like a foot in height or the difference between an Amazon and a jinn would’ve made a difference. We were both caught unprepared when Jadis, the White Queen of Narnia, turned up.
Melody’s client was an unregistered witch. Her mom called us in, thinking a “psychic counselor” might have better luck than traditional therapists had with her teen daughter, who’d recently become fascinated with the supernatural. Melody and I work together often. As a ghost, I can see things on the Flip Side a medium can’t. As a living human, she can do things I can’t. Like drive a car.
It seemed Traci the Teenaged Witch had been trying to summon Jadis for weeks. Melody brought me along to check things out, but seeing a semi-transparent ghost pop out of a music box was all the added belief Traci needed. Jadis popped through, possessed her, and promptly kicked our butts on both planes of existence.
That wasn’t our biggest problem, evidenced by the September snow that flittered around us. Conjuring Jadis invoked her curse. If we didn’t exorcise her quickly, we’d be looking at a hundred years of winter, with no Christmas.
Our more immediate problem was the van load of BSI agents tailing us. The Bureau of Supernatural Investigations, an offshoot of the FBI, kept public knowledge of the paranormal to a minimum and investigated supernatural crimes. Imagine the Men In Black, but less chatty and upbeat. Most magical folk fall into a bureaucracy of some sort: coven, council, pack, whatever. As an unaffiliated medium and a ghost tethered to a music box instead of real estate, we made the bureaucrats nervous. We’d been on their radar for years, and now they were convinced we were responsible for the snow and the sharp drop in temperature.
Which, of course, we were, albeit not that directly. If they stopped us, the odds of exorcising Jadis weren’t great. Obnoxious or not, Traci was just a kid, and a paying client. We needed to rescue her. Which meant stopping that van.
“I’ve got an idea,” I said.
“Toss me out the window.”
“Have you lost your spectral mind?”
“I screw up machinery. If the van passes through me, I’ll stall it and you can exorcise Jadis.”
“Best case, you end up in BSI custody. Worst case, they destroy the box, and then what happens to you?”
“I don’t know, but do you have any other ideas?” Her grimace said she did not.
Reluctantly, she picked up the box, flinging it out the window with a little spin, like a Frisbee. She’d swerved a bit so I’d land more in the middle of the road, as opposed to the direct path of the van’s tires. I felt a little frisson as the van passed through me, and then heard a sputter and pop as it stalled and rolled to a stop. The Trans-Am disappeared around the corner.
Two dark suits emerged and headed my way. Great. I recognized one of them, and the green glint of spectral filters on their sunglasses meant they’d definitely see and recognize me. The Bluetooth-resembling devices on their ears said they could probably hear me, too.
“Fancy meeting you here, Agent Sawyer,” I said. “Strange weather we’re having lately, isn’t it?”