Stuck on Repeat.

I woke again from the nightmare. This time it was a golden man that had killed me, not even two hours into my journey. A man I had never seen before.

This was such bullshit. Time was mine. Mine in a deal sealed by blood, an Old One, and the death of the World I was trying save. Mine in a Deal that I made forever ago and six months from now. It could, would not, be used against me like this. Whoever this bastard was, he going to fucking pay. Because you really need another enemy.

I got out of bed, ran to the bathroom, and emptied my stomach.

Pain that should not have been burned through my body and set every nerve afire. I screamed bloody murder. I was freezing, but my chest was burning. I hauled myself up to the bathroom sink. My chest had a new scar. A scar I had never seen before. A scar that look a lot like the fucking sword that had impaled me never ago. Oh, this is such fucking bullshit.

For all the journeys I had taken through time, this was new. Time didn’t leave physical scars. It was the soul that went backwards. My soul, my magic, my foreknowledge. Never the body, never the heart. Never a goddamn scar.

The scar felt raw, like someone had rubbed my skin with sandpaper and rinsed it with alcohol, and rubbed salt on it just to be friendly.

I walked to my dresser, grabbed a pair of jeans and a Green Day tee. Then I grabbed my wand, put it in my pocket, and slid my watch on my wrist. I checked the time. 9:55 AM. I was already behind schedule. I grabbed my coat and headed downstairs.

I walked down the stairs, exited the house, and walked down the steps. I flicked my wand, and Connor made his appearance. I quickly repeated my party trick with the keys and wand.

“Jeremiah, how the hell did you do that?”

“Hello Connor,” I said.

“Where are you going? How’d you do that?”

“Meet me at Sherlock’s home in three days. I’ll explain everything.” Then I bound him.

“Portus.” I muttered, and my skin was covered with static. I opened my eyes. I was standing in a ratty apartment building. I could hear the noise of the city coming from the open balcony.

I exited the apartment, and walked down the steps, exited the building and jogged down the streets.

I hurried to the barrier between mortal and magic.


I must have been the only one crazy enough to be out in this cold of weather. I came to my destination, leaned against the brick wall and waited. Odd, that cat wasn’t here this time.

Five minutes later Madeline came through the portal.

“Hi Maddie.” she turned, looked at me.

“Jeremiah! I was just about to get lunch, want to come with?”

“Why not.” I said.

We headed out of the alleyway, encountered the bounty hunter, and I killed him. This time I sprang a minor Ward up around us. A spell of non-aggression. Hopefully it give the freak enough pause to let me run him through.

No glowing man. No blade to the heart. What the hell was going on? Had Fate grown a sense of Humor, had she decided that she liked our little game better with a half-time show thrown in?

“Josiah, you saved me.” Maddie hugged me. She smelled like soap, and jasmine. I loved that scent. I would never tire of it.

“I guess I did, huh?” I made sure to put just enough surprise in my voice to make sure it didn’t sound rehearsed.

“Well, my hero, what do you want for a reward?” Her voice was teasing.

“How about lunch and a kiss?” I asked and gave her what I thought was a roguish grin.

That was when three Hunters and two Chessman came through the boundary. Two had wands drawn and another had a blasting rod. He must have been a War Mage. NYC must have been on high alert to have a wizard that powerful on hand; usually those were stationed at the boundary line in case of a daemon incursion. Daemons. They were another thing I need to add to my to-do list, after killing their big brothers that is. I needed to talk to a certain Faerie too. Jack owed me a marker, and I knew they carried through time. I didn’t blame them of course, the War Mages were probably mobilizing everywhere, followed quickly by Chessmen. Chessman were clockwork golems, armed with gestare and other pre-defined focci and magical weapons that were meant as a type of heavy trooper. Usually these were held in reserves, or sent in when the possibility of losing someone actually alive was too great.

They were dressed in the usual Hunter uniform, black pants, a matching spelled dragon’s leather vest, and a white shirt enchanted with durability and spells that would act as impromptu bandages should their wearer be hurt.  Each also had a bandolier that held pouches and holsters that contained every from healing potions to the magical equivalent of grenades.

“What happened?” The one in the lead barked. He had a name tag that read S. Black on his vest with a silver star next to it. I also recognized him from the infrequent dinner parties my mother had for her colleagues.

“Commander Black, this man teleported in and fired upon us. I stopped and sent the bullets back at him. If you notice he’ll has a triquetra over where his heart used to be. He’s a member of the Trinity Gang. I think he was sent to kill Miss Dubois,” I said, and Commander Black turned his gaze toward me.

“Thank you Mister Owens. Tell me, why aren’t you home?” He asked.
“Christmas shopping, Sir.” I replied.

I knew his bullshit detector was going off, but he’d let it slide. Samuel Black knew when to mind his own business. The fact that my family has higher in the political food chain might have helped matters.

After going over the scene again in exhausting detail, he eventually let us leave after we gave him our rune codes for our O-Net Mirrors. I had left mine at home. Whoops.

We left the alleyway and headed to lunch.  We grabbed two sandwiches at a café. The café was mostly deserted, but it was a vampire establishment, and they didn’t come out until after mid-day, it always began in this café. It had ended here once as well, a dozen lifetimes and a war ago.

“So, why are you in the city instead of lounging a perfectly good Saturday away in bed?”

“I’ve got business to attend to.”
She laughed, it was music to my ears.

“We’re eighteen, what kind of business could you possibly have.” Baby, I haven’t been that young in a very long time.

“Midas business.”

Midas was the name of one of the biggest banks in the world. It was run by the dwarfs. Greedy, short, bastards who would get their comeuppance soon enough, but I needed them for now.

That sobered her. Her internship involved learning ward work. Learning how to make sure no bandits like yours truly got their hands on the piles of gold and the artifacts the bank protected. As if I would need any of it. I would be swimming in the stuff soon enough, but for now I had to be nice to the midgets.

“My brother left something for me, and I have to speak to one of the managers. Grimtooth, I think.”

Her lips turned into a frown. Grimtooth was the head honcho of the dwarfs, and the bank president of the New York branch. He was not one to be taken lightly, it was like saying I had an appointment with Xander Bonaparte, or Bill Gates.

“Are you sure it was Grimtooth?” She asked, and I nodded.

“Don’t you have to get back?” She pulled out her mirror and looked at it. I already knew it read 11:30 AM.

She nodded.

“Come with me?” She asked.

“Of course,” She laid down a twenty and three dollar coins, and muttered a spell, a pop of displaced air and she vanished into the ether.

I got up, incanted my own spell, closed my eyes, and turned on my heel.

So that’s the second chapter, as always, if you like it, Comment about it here, Retweet it on Twitter, Share it on Facebook and Support me on Patreon.

Happy Trails


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