This story is set in early November of 2017

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      Foxx and Wolfe, Supernatural Detectives


      Rodford Edmiston

Part 8

The older, larger teenage girl absently threw pebbles washed down from the walkway on the slope above them into the stream. The smaller girl - who had white fur and several fox's tails - watched idly as the stones plunked into the water, the mark of their intrusion immediately swept away by the current. The stream lay in public woods, but the path was on the Metu's new property. Some previous owner had apparently enjoyed regular walks down by the creek.

"Jeremy is still looking for a job," sighed Jackie, tossing another pebble. "Poor boy. And poor me, 'cause we can't date much until he gets some money."

"Could your mom hire him for the daycare center?"

"Nope. This is the slow time of year, since most of the humans and human shifters are in school." Jackie yawned and stretched, then threw the last few pebbles she had gathered in together. She lay back in the grass, hands behind her head. "Todd's even looking for something to do, since he's only needed there in the afternoons, and there's not much call for electrical engineers just now. Which is why he was able to help you and your folks get moved in."

"Wasn't he supposed to help your dad with wiring in the old houses he's restoring?" Jill yawned in turn, then rolled onto her side and arched her back until her hands almost touched her tails.

This was their first time together since moving out of their shared apartment, and they were making the most of the lazy Saturday afternoon. That is, just sitting and lying around, talking.

"Most of the houses he's doing for the next few months are demolition jobs," Jackie explained. "Dad doesn't really need much help for that."

"Oh! I know!" Jill exclaimed. "My dad needs help setting up his studio in the attic! It'd probably take only a couple of days, but it's a lot of work with some carpentry and electrical stuff and heavy moving. More, even, than Mom wants to handle. And she doesn't want us using magic in the house unless it's really necessary. So we could use some help, and I'm sure Mom would be willing to pay, if only to keep Dad away from saws and hammers and the fuse box."

"Now that sounds like a workable solution," said Jackie, smiling.

"Yet another Bent-Tail quote," Jill declared. "You tell Todd and Jeremy, and I'll tell Mom and Dad."

                                                *                                  *                                  *

"Hi, Professor!" Jill called cheerfully, as she entered the basement office in response to the quiet command to do so. "I got your note!"

"Excellent," Finlay said, nodding. "Please, have a seat. I asked you here to query you about young Brian Bright."

Jill looked at the Sloughy for a moment, puzzled.

"What about him?" said Jill, feeling concerned.

"I understand that he is not attending your parents' daycare center," said Finlay.

"No; he found that too overwhelming," said Jill. "Not surprising, really, with all the werewolves and regular wolves. So my mom and Mrs. Bright have been letting him play with the bra... uh, my siblings."

"Yes, probably the closest thing to peers he has in this region." Finlay puttered a bit, obviously trying to find just the right way to say something. "You are familiar with my evaluation of him."

"Yes," said Jill, her concern solidifying. "I am. Jackie hasn't been told."

"Well, somehow, the results of my tests reached the boy's sidhe relatives. Worse, after asking some surprisingly pointed questions in regard to him, they have not contacted me again, and have not responded to my efforts to contact them."

"Oh, boy," groaned Jill. She stood. "I think I better get Jackie, and we go together to tell this to Detective Davis right away."

"My thoughts, exactly," said Finlay, nodding.

                        *                                  *                                  *

"We were already being pressured to turn the boy over to them," said Davis. "The past couple of days, though, that's increased. A lot. They won't go after him themselves while he's protected by human law and the local fey, but there's this big push from the sidhe high-ups to bring Brian Bright to them. The actual phrasing was something like 'return the boy to his people.' We explained that by law he had to stay with his mother, but they're not accepting that."

"Is this just them being stubborn, or is there a deeper reason?" pondered Wolfe.

"The latter," muttered Foxx. "This is a secret, but I got permission to tell you two."

"Go on," Davis encouraged.

"My mother has raised four kitsune and is married to another," Foxx began. "She's also been around other supernatural creatures most of her life. So she started testing him. Y'know; making a game of it."

"I've seen her do that with your sibs," Wolfe nodded.

"Well, he's got powers, and even a bit of training. So she and my dad took him to Prof... Uhm, a local Sloughy for proper testing. Turns out he's an even better example of heterosis than I am."

"Of what?" queried Davis.

"Hybrid vigor," sighed Foxx. "He's gonna be a real powerhouse, when he gets older. And is no weakling now by any measure."

"And a Sloughy is...?"

"A very unusual type of fey," said Foxx. "They like to collect and disseminate knowledge. Born teachers."

"Think Lair of the White Worm, in terms of appearance," said Wolfe, with a smirk.

"Well, the good news is that so far they haven't taken physical action," Davis appended. "However, they've sent formal requests and protests to everyone from the police chief to the mayor, and threatened legal action.

"Oh! That reminds me. Hiring you two as consultants to help handle supernatural problems has been approved all the way up. That spike in incidents around Halloween convinced the last holdouts. So you need to stop by Payroll on the way out and sign some papers. You can even go get your drivers' licenses today, if you want."

                        *                                  *                                  *

"Where are you going in such a hurry?" asked Tina, of her eldest.

"Oh; Professor Finlay wants me to show Brian some direct magic," said Jill. "He thinks the boy may have at least some native ability, to go with the formulaic magic talent he has already demonstrated."

"Will he be there?" asked How.

"No, but Jackie is going. For this sort of thing she's better backup than Finlay, anyway."

"Nice rhyme," said her father, grinning.

"Where are you planning to do this?" said Tina, looking a bit concerned.

"We've got a spot picked out near the Franklins'. The Prof thinks they might be able to give the boy some tutoring in human magic, as well as the Fey stuff."

"I hope he doesn't have to put it to use," sighed Tina, "but I have this nasty feeling he's going to need all the help he can get. Magic or otherwise." 

                        *                                  *                                  *

"I'm surprised Mrs. Bright didn't want to come along," said Jackie, puzzled, as she drove. "Wasn't even curious about the details."

"Well, he has been tested before, and she was along for that. Since most of that was doing stuff which can only be detected by someone who already uses magic, she probably was bored. And thinks it's pretty dull stuff, all around."

"Magic isn't boring," said Brian, firmly.

"It certainly isn't!" said Jackie, with feeling, before Jill could answer. "The only reason I let fluffy, here, talk me into going along is in case one or both of you manage to do something which needs my kind of magic to fix!"

Jill stuck her tongue out at the werewolf.

"If I'm fluffy, what does that make you?"

"Sleek and dangerous," said Jackie, with a toothy smile.

"Anyway, you can show off in a bit, but first we need to get you someplace where doing the more noticeable stuff won't be," Jill explained to the boy.

"Won't be what?" asked Brian, puzzled.

"Noticed," giggled Jill.

Not long after that Jackie's Mustang arrived in an isolated section of woods near both the daycare center and the Franklin's home. They got out, Jackie stretching and shifting casually to her midform as they walked to a small clearing.

"Show me what you can do," said Jill, after they stopped in the middle.

"Okay," sighed Brian, reluctantly.

He stepped a bit away from the, spread his feet and raised his hands.

"Hear my cry, hear my call..."

"What are you doing?" asked Jackie.

"It's how you work magic," said Brian, more than a touch of scorn in his voice.

"He's casting a spell, a cantrip, a dweomer," said Jill. She looked back at the boy. "That may be how you work magic, but that's not how some of us do it. She's used to more direct stuff."

"Okay, how do you work magic?"

Jill smiled, and shrugged, and a brief flurry of cherry blossoms drifted down around them.

"Oh..." said Brian, wide-eyed.

"Hey, it's a kitsune thing," Jill told him. "Different people have different talents. For most complicated or powerful effects I need words and gestures, too. Now; I've shown you mine, you show me yours."

Jackie glared at Jill, who ignored her. Brian looked back and forth between them for a moment, then resumed his stance.

"Hear my cry, hear my call, magic rise and flowers fall."

Again, cherry blossoms fell, but this time it was if someone had dumped a huge basket over the whole area.

"Ack!" cried Jackie, sneezing. "Too much scent!"

"Okay, yours is bigger than mine," said Jill, laughing as she danced in the storm of petals.

She used her own magic to clear the area of blossoms, and looked over at Brian, who appeared understandably smug.

"What's that rhyming business," asked Jackie, blowing her nose.

"It's what they call a mnemonic," Jill explained. "A cantrip. An association. A way of establishing a certain mental condition. Like your dad humming 'Johnny Be Goode' before monstering out and committing world-class mayhem."

"I thought he just did that because he loves theatrics," said Jackie.

"That, too." Jill patted Brian on the shoulder. "All kidding aside, that was good. But you do know that if you depend on mnemonics you could have trouble working magic if you can't use them for some reason, right?"

"Yeah," the boy sighed, nodding.

"So, let's practice a bit with mnemonics, then try without," said Jill, brightly.

END Part 8

This document is Copyright 2005 Rodford Edmiston Smith. Anyone wishing to reproduce it must obtain permission from the author, who can be contacted at: