…from the case files of Detective Pagasmo…
(Continues from Random Risks)
Gaia pulled an earthen shield between me and the car trying to flatten me. Tires squealed as the driver flipped his vehicle into reverse. What a surprise he’d get when he found nobody groaning on the ground. I patted the dirt wall next to my shoulder in thanks and spotted another a card. It bore a familiar seal embossed on its front:
Bracing myself, I flipped it over and read the three lines. They had been inscribed in an unsteady hand:
“Sweet was the damage,
brutal was the bighearted,
when foul was the world.”
What a strange poem. Damage was never ‘sweet’ unless it resulted in a bruised apple. But the second line threw me for a loop. ‘Brutal’ and ‘bighearted’ were antonyms.They described mutually exclusive conditions of the human heart, and it made no difference how ‘foul’ the world was. What the hell had I stumbled onto?
I shoved this bizarre missive in with the previous three and shook my head. Gaia slid a section of earth aside for me, and I ducked into a brick tube. Other then my dealings with Gaia, I steered clear of the paranormal community, and they left me alone. This thing I had with Gaia came with no other abilities. Neither could I do magic which was fine by me.
I had a few contacts in the supernatural world, but everything I’d seen so far could be explained by mundane means. So I walked along a narrow ledge next to rushing water and took the turn away from Magic Town. The moniker fit better than its actual one, so it had stuck. Until I knew for certain this problem originated on the magical side of the street, I’d stick to mundane means.
What I needed right now was an internet cafe, and I knew just where to find one. So I pictured the neon-lit glass and steel cube where banks of older pcs waited for info junkies to plug in and play. A stone arm jutted out of the water as Gaia read my need and pointed the way.
What would I do without her? She was better than GPS. I patted her stone hand in thanks and set off, trusting my guide to take me to answers.
After a good hour of hoofing it underground, a section of brick wall juddered and stepped aside revealing darkness. I stepped into that stygian cavity, and the earth under my feet heaved. Neon light bathed me as Gaia ripped open a hole above my head. She pushed me up until I could step onto the grassy median. Squatting down, I ran my fingers through the blades, and she sighed.
I straightened up, looked both ways and crossed the two-lane road. I checked again, seeking a pair of blue-white headlamps in the distance. But the road stayed empty of threats. Let it the situation continue while I consulted Google.
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More Detective Pagasmo stories: The Boxes Are Doors, Descending into Trouble, Epistemology, Novitiate, Lulled by Rhymes, News, Clues and Howitzers, Mixed Media, No Truth in Quotes, Haiku Hunt, Random Risks, Freeze Frame, The Mark of Destiny, Detective Pagasmo in Playing Dead, Detective Pagasmo.