You know, it figures that my psychiatrist’s office was the furthest from my apartment. I had some errands to do closer to home after my appointment, and it was quite a walk to the nearest bus line that got me there. While I love the whole going green thing, it sucks that the lines never are as concise as they could be. I was lamenting this as I walked, checking google maps every few minutes and reading the comments on the speedysnap picture I’d posted the day before.
I’d had the sound muted on my phone when I checked it again and saw I’d missed a turn. I really didn’t want to retrace my steps, so I followed the map’s directions down an alley that was supposed to let out close to my next turn. I had turned the sound back on to a minimal level and was deeply engrossed in replying to a comment when I heard a muffled voice and a click.
“Drop it,” a male voice said. I looked up to see that there was a pistol pointed at my face not four feet away, and that the man holding it was wearing a ski mask and a dark clothing. Farther away was another man holding a woman in a hijab hostage. I clicked the power button on my phone several times and dropped it, putting my hands in the air.
He grabbed me and pushed me towards the other guy. “Do as we say and you won’t get hurt.”
Oh that’s utter bullshit, I thought as I was shoved against the wall.
“What do you want from me?” I asked and got slapped in the face for it.
I gave him a withering glare as he went for my purse. I kneed his face as he bent down for it.
“That cost you,” The other man said and pointed his gun at me, pulling the trigger.
In the milliseconds before the bullet was to hit, I remember thinking both Oh shit… and I guess I won’t be seeing you on this side, Nana.
Suddenly, I wasn’t in that alleyway anymore. I was on a beach, facing the ocean at night. The moon was hanging low over the lapping waves and the world was shades of purple.
“Amethyst…” I heard a voice say.
Confused, I looked around. No one was there but me.
“Amethyst…” It called again.
When I looked to my left, there was a bluff jutting out into the ocean that wasn’t there before. A figure, ink black against the palette of violet night, stood at the end.
I moved to it, hoping to get some answers.
It called to me again.
When I got within five feet of the figure, I cleared my throat. “Excuse me, but where am I? Just five minutes ago I was standing in an alleyway.”
“It is not your time, Amethyst,” the figure spoke in a gentle man’s voice. “You have much to do.”
“Wh-wh-what do you mean? Am I dead?!” I took a step back.
“Not yet,” He turned to face me. The moonlight upon him revealed an older man in the traditional garb of my tribe. “But if you don’t protect yourself, you soon will be. That spirit you have allied yourself with can only hold up her oath when she is there.”
“This has gotta be a hallucination…”
“It is not. You are simply out of phase with the material. It is the only way I could help.”
I guess I looked stumped, because he gave me a pitying smile.
“You are a daughter of this land and theirs,” He said, turning back around. “Let your fear go and embrace that, for your sake, and my wife’s. Do not let her sacred duty die with you. Now, go.”
I was going to ask how in the hell he knew my full first name and what he meant, but a loud bang sounded and I was back in the alley again. The men were covering their eyes, as if a flash grenade had gone off.
Whatever that was, it had apparently bought me some time to escape. I lunged for my phone, then saw the hijabi woman frozen in fear.
“Come on!” I said and grabbed her wrist, dragging her with me down the alley. As we cleared a corner, I heard a gunshot ring out and heard the brick behind us shatter.
We kept going through the twisting and turning alleyway. On one of the turns we had to double back because we ran straight into a fence. That’s when I saw the men were chasing us. I mentally cursed and took the turn I had ignored before.
We were almost to the street when I heard one of them yell and turned my head to see his pistol pointed right at me. Damn, these guys were persistent for muggers!
Suddenly, I saw a blur of a figure in my peripheral vision racing towards the muggers. As soon as I blinked, Binara was there, having interjected herself between us and the muggers.
“Winka’ana sho hiugh!” She yelled as she raised her arm. The shots that followed hit the air in front of her hand like it was made of thick ballistic glass.
“What the…?” I heard one of the muggers say and fire another shot off, which bounced harmlessly off whatever Binara was projecting.
The hijabi woman and I stopped in our tracks, stunned. I couldn’t recognize part of what she said, but I could understand “a djinn? Here?” just fine.
Binara looked back to us. “Are you alright? One of your guardians chided me for doing a sending to make the record clear.”
“Yeah,” I said and let go of the hijabi woman’s wrist. “At least physically.” I looked to the hijabi woman. “What about you?”
My question seemed to knock her out of her thoughts. She nodded.
“Then both of you, contact the local town watch while I hold the line. Given by how they haven’t run off yet, either they are leaden in mind or not petty thieves at all.”
I stared at her, trying to figure out what old timey thing she had said. The muggers took another few potshots at the projection, which was starting to crack.
…Fuck, she meant the police, didn’t she? I thought and started down the alleyway towards the street again. The hijabi woman ran past me and towards a gas station. I looked down to my phone to see that the E911 broadcast had been initiated. I felt a bit of relief that my advisor had taught me that trick in case I got into another altercation with my mother again.
When I reached where alley met sidewalk, I turned back to see the cracks in the air were widening.
“I already got that covered, they should be here any second now.”
Binara nodded and turned her attention back to the muggers. I ducked behind one of the buildings that made the alleyway, feeling that I had to stay close so the cops tracking my phone would know where the trouble was. She dropped her hand while there was a pause in the shots, stuck her silver bangled hand into a wall, and withdrew an ornate sapphire blue staff.
“Aquiaa shie hassah!” She said and started to advance towards them. “Relent your assault, and answer for it!”
“Like hell!” I heard one of them yell.
Binara fluttered her wings and said something I couldn’t make out, before swinging the staff. She was nowhere near in range to hit them with it!
“Aquiaa taika’ha hishe! Geyser, Water Staff!” She called and one of the guys’ shots went wild as he was slammed into the building behind him with a wet pillar that shouldn’t exist. She closed the gap and went to reach for his hand, but pulled away.
Wait, where’s the other guy? I thought and then looked around. Damn it, he had just rounded the corner and had his gun pointed at me.
Just then, I heard the unmistakable sirens of a police cruiser. The man’s eyes widened and he ran. The cruiser pulled up next to me and a cop got out.
“The guy–he’s running!” I pointed. The cop nodded and called for dispatch to get another cruiser to chase him.
“Were there any others?” She asked.
I nodded. “One down that alley. They’re both armed! I ran into them as they were doing something with a woman in a hijab. She ran towards the Chevron.”
The cop nodded and went down the alley with her gun drawn. Binara still had the guy pinned, but he was struggling to break free.
“Chapel Hill PD! Drop your weapons!”
“If I do, he will fire at both of us. I will not harm you, but you need to disarm him before I can.”
The scent of garbage and sweat wafted down the alley as the cop weighed her options.
“Alright, but drop the staff after I do.” She came up to the very hosed man and took the gun out of his hand. Binara said something and the gush of water stopped, allowing the man to slide down the wall. She dropped the staff, and it disappeared into thin air. The cop had the man handcuffed and was standing him up by the time I walked back down the alley.
“I do not attack those who are the town watch unless I must defend myself,” Binara said and crossed her arms.
“You are lucky that I’ve worked with supers before I transferred here, Miss Tinkerbell,” the cop said. “Most rookies fresh out of training wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you.”
Binara seemed annoyed. “Tinkerbell is an insult among my people. If you must use my form’s name, at least call me Lady Sylph. It is not my name, though.”
After that, the cop placed the guy in the cruiser, took my statement, and then Binara flew me home, which was a ride in itself, considering I’d never flew in a glider, much less being held by a faerie. Once we got into my apartment, she went translucent and passed out on the couch.
I can’t say I disagreed with that idea myself, as so much crazy had happened that day that I ate something and went to have some mental health time with my pillow.