Ritual Space

By: Viola Grace

When she emerged with the hospital gown in her hand, a doctor was speaking with her parents.

“Doctor, I would appreciate it if you didn’t share any of my medical information with them. They are leaving.”

The physician blinked. “Oh, I thought they had your medical power of attorney.”

She snorted. “Not likely. I am guessing that my boss called them. She is obsessed with healing the familial rift.”

Her parents vibrated with indignation, but they had to keep themselves quiet with the doctor’s ears perked to hear anything that would make them look less than credible.

“They are not on your next-of-kin list?”

“They might be, but I did not put them there. I live alone, and I plan to die that way. Now, is there any reason for me to remain in this facility?”

The doctor shook his head. “Aside from whatever magic altered your hair and eyes, you are completely normal. Better than normal, actually. Your medical results are perfect.”

“Good. I will settle up with billing and get myself home.”

She left her parents and the physician, and made her way to billing. Of course, the bill wouldn’t be ready, but she couldn’t stand another moment with her family.

Dorothea Minx was waiting for her, and she dangled Adrea’s purse from her fingers. “I have taken care of the bill, but I thought you might want your phone.”

“You didn’t have to do that, Doro.”

“You passed out in my teashop. It is the least I can do.”

Adrea smiled at her employer. “Sorry about that. There was a death in the family.”

“Apparently you felt the shock.” Doro looked her over. “It is a good look for you.”

“It comes with a bit of baggage.” She took her purse and slung the strap over her shoulder, digging for her phone. “Can you give me a ride back to the shop? I need my bike.”

A glance at her phone told her that she had lost at least three hours.

“What are you doing?” Doro took her by the arm and led her toward the entryway.

“I am calling the Mage Guild. They are going to need to send someone to find Neadra’s body.”

She punched in the number for the non-emergency line and asked to be transferred to the Guild of Redbird City. She kept her voice calm as she described what she needed.

“My Aunt Neadra, proprietor of Ritual Space, has been murdered. I would like some of your officers to go to Ritual Space and examine the scene.”

“Miss, how are you aware of this?”

“Ritual Space is a family inheritance, and I have now inherited the first wave of what is coming to me.”

The officer sounded bored. “What would that be, Miss?”

“I have inherited the magic.”

She disconnected the call. All she could do was let them know and get her own ass to her aunt’s home and business. The sooner her body was discovered, the better.

Chapter Two

She had been on the road for three hours when her phone started buzzing.

Adrea pulled to the side of the road, removed her helmet and answered her phone. “Hello?”

“Is this Adrea Morgan?”

“Morrigan. Yes.”

“This is Officer Welling of the Redbird City Mage Guild. After a tip, we sent an officer to check on your Aunt Neadra, and I am afraid I have some bad news. Can you come to Redbird City?”

She snorted. “I am twenty minutes away from Ritual Space.”

“Ah, I am still on scene. See you soon.”

Adrea hung up and tucked her phone back in her bra. She started up her bike again, settled her helmet into place and drove to her aunt’s home and the site of her demise.

Official vehicles crowded the parking lot near the expansive gates. The hole that they had hacked through the high fence told the story. No one had opened the gate, and they had not been able to enter using magical means. Sometimes, an axe was what was necessary.

She wove through the vehicles and parked next to the heavy and ancient oak and stone wall that kept the magic in and the uninvited out.

When she lifted her hands to remove her helmet, officers approached her.

“Miss, this is a crime scene. You can’t be here.”

She pulled the helmet free and shook out her hair. “I know. I called you. Adrea Morrigan of Ashfall City. I have driven for the last three and a half hours to get here. I am looking for Officer Welling.”

Five of the nearest officers stared at her, and she smiled tightly. “Which way to Welling?”

The officer looking at her pointed toward the hole in the wall. She nodded, set her helmet down on her bike and walked through the wall and into Ritual Space.

Two mage officers were on the other side of the wall and muttering softly. Adrea frowned as she passed them, but then, she realized that they were holding back the stone. It was trying to seal itself again.

This was stupid. She needed to check in with Officer Welling and make her way to the centre of the property. Once she had done what she had seen Neadra do so many times, she would be able to control the doors.

Two men came by with a gurney, concealed by a white sheet.

“Miss Morrigan?”

She stopped staring at the body of her aunt as they took it away, and she turned to face the officer who had called her name.

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