Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.
Note: The author had updated this piece and I forgot to load the updated piece. Sorry early commenters!
[hr color=”light-gray” width=”50″ border_width=”5″ ]
The witch leaned back in her white leather chair and looked at Skye. Skye leaned against the door jamb and looked out the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. She was used to her employer’s way of doing things, and knew that whatever happened next would be on the witch’s schedule.
Finally, the woman shrugged as if she’d seen what she was waiting for. Her voice was dry and controlled as she said, “A woman came by earlier, looking for you.”
The witch stood up then, her all-white outfit almost blinding in the sunlight streaming into the office. As she stepped forward Skye straightened and readied herself. The witch was no match for Skye physically and they both knew that, but her approach still felt like a threat. And despite all the times Skye’s brain had lost interest in survival, her body had slightly different ideas. It was always ready for an attack, always ready to defend itself using whatever means necessary.
But the witch had no intention of touching Skye, of course. If she wanted to cause harm, she had more subtle methods at her disposal. Instead, she stopped walking and looked Skye up and down as if searching for a clue. “She was a very interesting woman.”
Skye didn’t want to get dragged into whatever the witch was up to, so she kept still. She couldn’t control the conversation, but at least she could refuse to participate.
Of course, the witch was used to this approach and didn’t seem at all put out. “I’ve decided to meet with her again, and I’ve decided that you will be present.”
Skye supposed she could argue, but it didn’t seem worth the effort. “When?” She’d come to the office to discuss an amulet the witch wanted retrieved, but she could be flexible with her time, if the price was right.
The witch moved toward the door, close enough that Skye had to step aside to avoid blocking the way. “Now. The woman is waiting in the boardroom.”
Of course she was. The witch started walking, and Skye followed behind her. It must look strange, the coiffed and styled CEO striding down the hall with an androgynous, leather-clad hoodlum behind her, but the witch’s employees were used to strange sights. They were smart enough to keep their mouths shut. And after seven years, they must be used to seeing Skye around the place, even if none of them was exactly sure what her role was. Skye was sure that as long as the witch kept paying well and giving generous bonuses to her most useful employees, none of them would really care what Skye was up to.
They reached the conference room doors and the witch strode inside, directly to the head of the table. “Close the door behind you,” she said over her shoulder, and Skye complied.
Then she let herself really look at the visitor. Skye was a warrior; as soon as she’d stepped into the room, she’d seen the guest, scanned for weapons or other threats, and calculated possible terrain issues if a battle did occur. But that was all automatic, and surface level. Now she took the time to find the details.
The woman looked about half-way between Skye’s age and the witch’s—maybe somewhere in her late thirties. She was dressed in a dark business suit. Skye was no kind of expert on fashion, but the outfit looked expensive, without being as high-maintenance as the witch’s all-white ensembles.
And the woman wearing the clothes? The witch was right—the woman was interesting. Skye had spent a lot of time and effort on shutting down her abilities, ignoring the screaming mental messages sent by practically every outsider she met, but she wasn’t able to shut this out. As practiced as she was, she couldn’t ignore the overpowering nothingness where this woman’s presence should have been. The stranger was either a highly trained, heavily guarded telepath, or she was… something else. Something new. Either way, Skye knew why the witch had decided to have this meeting.