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A short story by

Andrea K Höst


© 2011 Andrea K Höst. All rights reserved.

Published by Andrea K Hösth at Smashwords

All characters in this publication

are fictitious and any resemblance

to real persons, living or dead,

is purely coincidental.

Veresan of the Summer Fire, Lord of the Dawn Marches, Ban-Keeper of the Seleighe, flew cattle class with Qantas. After a day spent wedged between a garlic-scented businessman and a youth all elbows and twitches, he crept through Sydney's snarled traffic to a charmless suburban box embellished with a metal plate: "Rumiko Kent, Arrangements". Six hours before the world took up residence in a hand basket, and the witch didn't even answer her door.

After a calming breath, Veresan touched the symbol of the Ban hanging heavy around his neck, then followed a mechanical droning to the rear of the house. The need to add a new power to the Ban was too important to be jeopardised by petty games played with travel bookings, or the failings of the locals.

Finding a side gate open, Veresan rounded the corner of the house only to stop in disgust before a broad expanse of grass dominated by a central tree. A eucalypt of textured milk rose to sprawl branches dripping spear-head leaves, its trunk circled with a shimenawa, the sacred rope of purification of a Shinto shrine. Beneath it a diminutive woman wearing a sunhat was mowing a pentagram into the lawn.

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