The Journal - Christina Gaudet - cover

Sin’s taken over her gran’s house, but things aren’t exactly as she dreamed. Cleaning, bills and a part time job aren’t the thrilling adventures she hoped for when moving into a house full of magic.

When she discovers a map left by her gran showing where her sister’s remaining pouches of magic are hidden, Sin finally has an adventure she can sink her teeth into. Helping Lou is great and all, but meeting the dragon shown on the map is even better. Sin jumps at the chance to go back through the portal and into the world of her gran’s stories.

But Sin soon discovers Gran hasn’t told her everything regarding the strange world or about the dangers she’s about to face.

Ebook and paperback available on Amazon.

Chapter One

 

I let my shoulders relax as I take the last long breath of my meditation and slump for a minute, feeling both energized and zonked at the same time. After a minute of finding my bearings, I open my eyes and take a look at the items in front of me. A feather pen sits in the center of a semi circle along with a bottle of ink, one of Gran’s favorite ferns, and a vanilla candle.

After one last sniff, I blow the candle out, grab the pen and ink and stand up. It takes me a minute to stretch out my stiff back and legs and as I twist back and forth, I notice the obnoxiously loud clock.

Seriously? I sat there for almost an hour? No wonder I’m so sore. Though, that’s awesome. A few months ago, I could barely manage five minutes without becoming restless. The longer the meditation, the more power I can channel through the trigger objects. I’m betting this pen has some major oomph to it now.

I perch myself on Gran’s old wooden seat with one leg under me and place the ink next to the handmade leather journal I’d grabbed earlier. It’s already open to a blank page I chose after some careful consideration.

This is Gran’s last journal, after all. I have to be respectful. Lou would probably freak out if she were here to see me ‘defile’ it. She’d go on about how I’m disrespecting the dead or some bullshit. She wouldn’t understand. If anything, I’m being more respectful than if I never touched the thing again. I’m trying to continue where Gran left off. If I know anything about my grandmother, and I do, then this is exactly what she’d want.

Even so, I can’t dive in right after her last words as though nothing happened. I’m not her and I have no interest in being her. I have my own life to live. So, I’ve left two blank pages between her last note and my first.

I rub the soft tip of the feather against my bottom lip and think for a final moment before dipping the writing end into the ink and scratching out the first few words on the page.

Dear Gran,

I’m sorry I didn’t see Stewart’s betrayal until it was too late. I will never let my guard down again, and I promise to always keep Lou safe. Even though sometimes what she really deserves is a kick in the head.

I reread the last line and sigh. Sometimes I wish I could censor myself. Whatever. It’s true. No regrets.

I’ll never stop learning from you and will keep you with me always.

Your faithful student,

Sin.

It’s not the most elegant thing ever written, but it’ll do. I’ve been meaning to write something to her for months now, ever since receiving the journal from the box. But I’d put it off, at first saying I had to worry about studying, and then I didn’t want it in the house where Mom and Lou might find it. Since I graduated, now living on my own in Gran’s old house, I have no more excuses.

It’s great to have my own place, but there’s way more shit to deal with than I ever thought possible. And there’s a seriously funky smell in the entire house I can’t figure out how to get rid of.

I don’t know where it’s coming from. I’ve checked everywhere, but I can’t find the cause. No dead rodents or rotting, forgotten food anywhere I can find. Then again, maybe it has to do with Farah’s nests. The chimera attached herself to me after turning on the wizard who used to own her. She saved our lives and she hasn’t left my side since. Having her around is great, other than the occasional bit of fire breathing and the nests. There’s not a pillow or blanket she hasn’t ripped apart to force into the perfect shape for her. It’s ridiculous. I’ve gone through three comforters already, and I’m telling you, those things are not cheap. Almost all of my money from my shitty cashier job has been used to replace the crap Farah destroys. And I won’t even start about food, heat, electricity and everything else that’s come up.

Which reminds me; the electric bill is overdue. Again. They’ll probably cut it off in the next couple of days if I don’t pay, and I barely have enough to buy gas for the car to be able to keep going to my crummy job.

There’s a real chance I’ll be going to Mom on my hands and knees, begging for some cash to take me through until my next check. She’ll probably use it as another excuse to lecture me about managing my money and suggest once again how I should move home and go to the University of Shit within driving distance from her place. Not happening.

With my life being as crazy as it is, at least I managed to finish one thing from my to-do list. I take a final glance at what I’ve written to make sure it’s dried, but instead of my letter, a blurred image takes over both pages of the spread.

I wait a second to give the magical image Gran must have left for me time to form. Nothing more happens. My eyes cross as I continue to stare at the image for too long while trying to force myself to see a proper image. Think, Sin. If this is a message from Gran, and it truly is meant for me, what would she expect me to do next?

I look around the room, hoping to find a clue, when I notice the objects I’d used in my meditation. Of course. Some representation of the elements needs to be used in every spell. The ink I used for my letter probably represented water and the feather pen must have been air. All I need are the other two elements.

I dig a handful of dirt out of the plant pot, but hesitate before dropping it on the paper. If I’m wrong this is going to make a mess and it will be impossible to completely clean it up. Well, as Gran always said, nothing’s gained without some level of risk.

The dirt clings to the page in clumps for a moment and then absorbs into the paper. As the earth is sucked into the spell, the image becomes clearer and it begins to move as though alive.

The final step is the most difficult; putting paper over a flame so the two are close enough to touch, but not so close to turn the paper to ash. I’ve seen Gran ruin a spell or two at this stage, so I’m always a little worried I’m going to do the same. Yet as soon as I place the paper over the flame instinct takes over and I can feel exactly where the flame needs to be to keep the book safe.

When I’m sure the fire has done its thing, I place the book back on the desk for a better view of what I’ve revealed.

A map.

The ink has formed into the rivers while the dirt has created trees and mountains as real as the plant next to me. Clouds form and dissipate as I watch, covering parts of the land. I recognize the map easily, since it’s a satellite image of North America. What I don’t understand is why Gran gave it to me. It’s pretty and all, but the internet has all the maps I need, thanks.

At the top of the page, a bit of script darkens from nothing until I’m able to read it.

Make her whole again. – Love Gran.

Ebook and paperback available on Amazon.