Teddy’s Boys is my new project for Kindle Vella, a serial reading platform coming to Amazon this summer.
I thought it might be fun to introduce some of the characters. Last week was Gabe. This week is Darwin:
Because I’m my class’s sole Earth-witch, I’m in two upper-level classes, out of step with the rest of the first years. I have them both on Fridays. I’m scrolling through the assigned reading for the first of these, Necromancy with Madame Serpa, walking between the theater and a dorm on my way back to Phoenix House, when my playlist switches over from DJ Wraethru’s remix of “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco and, in the moment of silence, I hear the very familiar smack of flesh against flesh.
That’s a sound that belongs at the gym, or in the back alleys of Moss Side, not out here.
I tug my earbuds out and shove them in my pocket. Pulling out my keys, I slip the kitty cat, self-defense keyring over the first two knuckles of my left hand and run towards the noise.
Charlie wasn’t kidding about this place being more of a maze than Hogwarts. The noise leads me into a dead-end behind the theater that’s shadowed even on the sunny afternoon. I make out three guys with their backs to me, ringing in a fourth who is hunched over, blood dripping from his nose. He’s a water mage, I’m pretty sure, because they bleed if you breathe on them too hard. At least one of the guys with their backs to me is a fire mage. I can taste the sparkly shit in the air. And one of them’s fae. Pressure in my ears tells me he’s working a glamor. As the boy they’re circling straightens, wiping his nose, I see it’s the guy from the Dean’s Tea who hid in his hoodie and didn’t say a word.
I sink into the Earth and step back out between the three attackers and their victim, dodging a fist that was meant for the bleeder behind me. I pop back a right cross into Mr. Fist’s eye and follow it with a straight knee to his gut that sends him stumbling back. All three attackers draw up at my unexpected appearance. I keep my guard high as I face them.
“Fuck, where did she come from!” Mr. Fist curses and cups his eye. I dismiss him as a threat. He’s a big, muscular guy and I bet he’s the one who made the water mage bleed, but he’s sloppy as fuck and doesn’t even keep his guard up now that he’s got someone who will fight back in front of him.
The guy in the middle steps forward half-a-step. He is a threat. I can see it in the intensity in his eyes. The tick of his jaw. He’s also the fae and the pressure in my ears increases until I’m pretty sure they’re bleeding. He’s beautiful, in the way all the fae are. Ashy-blond hair with dark roots, burning, silvery eyes, and features so finely sculpted they should have been carved by fucking Michelangelo. A beautiful nightmare, this one.
“Walk away,” he says in that sibilant hiss the fae make when they’re exerting a shit-ton of their will. “This doesn’t concern you.”
(c) 2021 E J Frost
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