Ritual Space

By: Viola Grace

She chuckled. “They realize it now?”

“Oh, yes. They will all be at the funeral. Neadra was a respected member of the community, even if few actually knew her.”

He put the vehicle in gear, and they were on the way to what was about to become her new home. She just wished she knew what the hell she was doing.

Chapter Three

They sat in Mr. Grant’s car for twenty minutes before the crime-scene team arrived.

Adrea got out, walked to the gate and noted that her bike was missing. She wasn’t too worried about it; she had other things to focus on.

She ran her hands along the stone until she snagged her finger again. When the blood touched the rock, she smiled slightly and the main gate swung wide.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please be welcome in my home.”

Adrea stepped into Ritual Space, and she felt surrounded by every blade of grass and each leaf on the property. They weren’t minds or thoughts; it was simply a presence, a comforting sensation of familiarity.

She hadn’t stayed over at Neadra’s home in the last ten years, but before that moment fourteen years ago, she had spent every summer in Ritual Space.

Fourteen years ago, Neadra had taken her deep into the forest and drawn blood from her pinky, letting the soil taste her for the first time. It had also been the last time. Her father had forbidden her to return after that summer. It had had to wait until she had moved out, and then, she had to work for a living. The time to spend visiting her aunt had gotten shorter as she got older.

She shook herself out of her reverie as the team descended on the house and a few officers arrived to examine the surrounding space.

Mr. Grant touched her arm. “Ms. Morrigan, I have a few things for you to sign to make this formal. Where shall we...”

“Oh, the meditation house. There are tables inside, and it is nice and quiet.”

He nodded and summoned one of the officers with a motion from his elegant grey hand. “We are adjourning to the meditation house; would you care to have someone clear it for us?”

The officer smiled slowly. “I will do it myself.”

He moved gracefully, and to Adrea’s eyes, it appeared that he didn’t actually tread on the gravel. He moved so precisely that the stones didn’t turn.

He was in plain clothes, so she guessed he was a detective, but she didn’t know what the ranking system was in the Mage Guild.

It appeared that going through life blissfully ignorant was going to bite her in the ass. There were things in this world that she needed to know.

The man who was following the signs to the meditation house was a combination of at least nine different genetic donors. Her time in retail had taught her that much. He was a blend of all that was lovely and elegant and probably magical.

Mr. Grant’s head came up, and his hooked nostrils flared. “There is blood.”

The officer pulled two batons from holsters on his thighs, and he moved forward toward the door of the meditation house. The door refused to open for him. He thumped the lock, but his batons rebounded off.

Adrea stepped forward. “I can open it.”

The officer marked an area. “Can you do it by touching here?”

She opened the tiny wound from earlier and tapped her pinky to the wood. The door shuddered and slowly opened.

She stepped back and remained on the deck alone while Mr. Grant took a look. He came out and put his hands on her shoulders. “You have found the primary crime scene. She was killed here and carried to her home.”

Adrea swallowed. “Okay. Um, if you still wanted me to sign stuff, we can use the table overlooking the gardens. I doubt that it was compromised.”

“Good, it is best that you not see this place.”

She didn’t need to see it. The bloodstains were marks of grief in the landscape. Her tenuous link to the property was already showing her things around her that she didn’t want to see.

She numbly led the gargoyle back toward the main house and around back. As they left, she heard the officer use his phone to call the techs to come in and examine their actual crime scene.

Adrea didn’t want to see it. She had known what had happened since the moment the knife struck.

As they walked away from the building, her heart lightened. She walked around the house and to the back, entering the expansive gardens to the small table with two chairs in the centre.

The peace and tranquility of the gardens belied what had happened. Everything looked perfectly fine.

Mr. Grant sat and looked around. “I have never met with my client out here. It is definitely a different look for the space.”

Adrea smiled tightly. “I only wish I could serve some tea. I think it would calm me.”

“You are doing very well. Just hold on a little bit longer.”

Adrea nodded. “Right. Well, what do I need to sign?”

The three inches of documents—some of which were even on parchment—were dropped between them. It was time to lose herself in paperwork.

Half an hour into the outlining of the banking structure for Ritual Space, a small squeaking came to her attention.

Adrea looked and grinned. “I had forgotten about them.”

Four bunnies were drawing a tiny wagon toward her. There was a tea set and warmer on the wagon.

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