Enchanter Sneak Peek

The rail-thin, auburn-haired girl stands bare-footed on glossy, dark wood floors. The watcher observes though he has no body. He can see her, but he can feel her too. He is inside her mind, sensing all parts of her presence. Her feelings envelop him. Confidence wars with insecurity. Frustration and hatred bubble beneath her surface, but the lid is on that pot for now, and none of the simmering concoction spills over. Above all else is a desire—stronger than a yearning, more intense even than simple need. It is a compulsion to order her life. Like a dragon clawing its way up a cliff. The dragon is wounded, brittle, but power lies within. It—she—must regain control.
Through her consciousness, he watches two people ascend and descend, traversing a stairway with arms full of her things. Up and down they go, following her bidding. One, the girl with long blonde hair, wears a patient smile. “Friend” is the word for her. The young man with warm dark skin and rich brown eyes wears a constant, irked frown. His full lips turn down, and his shoulders fall a little more with each new request, though he doesn’t balk aloud. When the blonde catches his gaze, she sends a reprimanding look: a warning to take his duty in silence. Boyfriend duty.
The watcher isn’t sure he approves of the concept of boyfriend duty in general, but the auburn-haired girl’s thoughts lead here, in this strange state where sensations rule and everything tangible takes a backseat. To her, “boyfriend duty” is a mild scratch where a vicious grating is required.
She lets her gaze trail over the young man’s frame, spending ample time on the biceps that flex while he holds a box of her things. On the set of his strong jaw. On the twisted tufts of black hair that poke upward from his head. She wants to touch his hair, to explore what it feels like with her thin, white fingers. Too thin, too white, her mind tells her. She shoves that thought away. Those imperfections can be fixed later, but right now there are more pleasant things to consider, like what it would be like to have the tall, dark man be at her command, not because of boyfriend duty, but because he was hers.
He sets down the box and folds his arms, waiting for his girlfriend to return from the upper story of the loft.
The auburn-haired girl tips her head to the side, points to the sofa arrangement, and says something the watcher can’t hear—sounds are garbled in this semi-conscious state.
Creases of irritation deepen the man’s frown, but he follows her requests to move the couch, even as his shoulders slump with an unheard sigh. He moves it four times, and the last time he bumps her hand. The watcher feels a spark at the impact, but the young woman is unaware.
She doesn’t realize that anything has changed until a few moments later when she catches a glimpse of something odd. Wisps of something akin to thin trails of steam float off the man in bright but translucent pinks and greens and cyans. They remind the watcher of an Alaskan night sky he’s seen in pictures. The wisps radiate from all around the man’s head. The woman’s eyes are fixed on the brilliant colors as the bands intertwine and braid together. With naked curiosity, she reaches out to touch the strands. The ropes weave through the air and shoot into her open palm. They connect her to the man.
She fists the cluster in her hand, and a surge of power ripples through her. The watcher feels it like a jolt of adrenaline—fiery and electric—and he knows the possibilities are endless. The dragon has made its way to the top of the cliff and found an elixir of pure energy.
When she looks back at the man, something about him has changed. His brows have gone slack, and his mouth has pulled out of the irritated twist, reforming to a pleasant expression. All traces of annoyance have vanished, and he’s now all admiring gazes and open, willing hands. His gestures seem to ask what else he can do for her.
The watcher wonders what prompted the change, and then he realizes it’s this woman. She tightens her fist, watching the strings go taut, and the tall, dark man responds to her new instructions. He moves a chair to a new spot. Then the blonde girlfriend descends the stairwell.
The dark man ignores his girlfriend and looks at the woman holding the strands as though seeking reassurance. She gestures to a table, and the man obeys, dragging it into place to complete the new furniture arrangement.
The blonde’s eyes narrow as she approaches, watching the exchange between her boyfriend and her friend. Finished with his task, the man waits expectantly. All his enamored looks are directed at the new object of his attention, the auburn-haired woman. So she has him move a few more items.
Satisfied in more ways than one, this woman—the enchanter, as the watcher now thinks of her—says something to her friends that elicits a parting wave. Upon exiting the condo, the blonde glances over her shoulder but realizes her boyfriend isn’t following. She pauses and folds her arms impatiently, but he still doesn’t respond. His attention is on the enchanter who holds his strings.
Only then does the enchanter realize the depth of her newfound control. The watcher feels her awe as she opens her palm and wiggles her fingers, toying with the strands. The colored lines cling as if bonded to her.
The blonde stares at her friend like she’s watching a crazy person. The watcher realizes that only the enchanter can see the strands.
He feels the enchanter’s fascination with this thing, like a new toy. She flicks her hand in a casual wave, and the man gives a quick nod, turns, and follows his girlfriend out.
The colored strands writhe and swirl around each other as they stretch. As they pull, the enchanter feels the man’s energy grow farther and farther away—the strands have become a new sense, fingers that can stroke and touch and feel. Even after the door closes behind and they drive away, she feels the presence of the young man who was her friend’s boyfriend. Was, because he is that no longer. Now he’s connected to her.
The enchanter likes this very much.