Corrupted Magic is the second book in the Grimoire Society of Dark Acts series. Episode 35 is up on my Patreon—it’s pay-what-you-like—and it’ll go up three days later on Kindle Vella. Here’s an excerpt from this latest episode.
Phineas Fenn attacks Dark Acts’s Grimoire from the inside—and the society’s hearts are at risk.
In my Patreon post, you’ll get exclusive content, including the real handwriting that inspired Grimoire Assassins’s magic book’s handwriting.
What Corrupted Magic is about:
Grimoire Society of Dark Acts’s hard-won defeat of the brutal Harpe brothers should have been a relief… But through a forced double blood-binding, Gertrude disappears right in front of their eyes. The Ruin Rats, a vicious magical street gang, is out for Dark Acts’s blood. Knox calls on the deadly gang from his past for help, but is the physical cost too high to pay? As if that’s not enough, a new corrupt form of magic is throwing the entire magical universe off balance.
Episode 35: Uncharted Territory
Morton climbed the steps from the basement and then headed for the front door, which was blocked by one of Knox’s men.
“Where you think you’re goin’?” Sean said, his big arms folded over his chest.
I don’t have time for this… “Something happened to Mr. Bollington, and he needs medical attention. I must go for a doctor. Now.” Morton wasn’t about to explain to a non-magical why he needed to get Nigel.
“Don’t have your weapons with you,” Sean observed, unmoving.
Holding in a sigh of impatience, Morton explained, “It wouldn’t go over very well if I walked about in public with them. They aren’t small enough to keep in pockets.” He never told anyone about the enchanted pocket knife he always carried.
After considering this for a moment, Sean nodded. “I’m goin’ with ya then.” Morton opened his mouth to say he didn’t need to, but Sean cupped a hand next to one side of his mouth and shouted down the hall, “Headin’ out. Cover both ends.”
“Tá,” came back. Morton assumed it was confirmation from O’Sullivan.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to be accompanied by a man who showed what he was right out in the open. At least no one would stand in their way.
Sean opened the door and let Morton through first, probably less out of manners than that common belief of thugs like this never to turn their back on anyone. As little experience as Morton had with gang members, only seeing them very occasionally down the alleys where he lived in Boston, the newspapers had sensationalized them enough for him to know a thing or two about their types.
Bright light met them outside as the sun made its way over the horizon. While they went down the steps, Morton one by one and Sean two at a time, Morton checked his pocket watch. It was just about six o’clock in the morning.
Morton led the way out of the dead end street across grass, not bothering to stick to the sidewalks. The two men rushed as quickly as was socially allowable. Well, Morton did, Sean’s brusque pace seemed natural to him, like he wasn’t going any faster than normal.
“Where we goin’ fer the doc?” Sean asked, his eyes darting around.
“Across the Common.” Morton pointed to the enormous expanse of garden across Boylston Street. “And it won’t really be a doctor. We’re going back to Dark Acts’s…to where you first met Knox so we can get Nigel.”
“Nigel’s kind of magic is what can help Mr. Bollington recover. A doctor…the chances would be slim for him.”
Sean fell silent as they made it across Boylston Street through mostly horse-and-carriage traffic, making all sorts of deliveries early in the day, and onto the Common. Morton aimed to go around the cemetery, but Sean started plowing right through. After a pause and a quick glance around to find there weren’t many people about, he strode quickly to catch up to Sean. It did make sense to take the fastest path, and clearly Sean didn’t care anything about social graces. Why not take advantage of his brutishness as long as it wouldn’t hurt Morton’s reputation…too badly?
Morton glanced at the burly man, taking in the cheap suit that stretched across muscle—not as much as Knox, but still obvious enough—his crooked nose, and now he noticed a chunk of ear missing toward the top, right out of the cartilage. This man had been through a lot.
Sean, O’Sullivan, Patrick—they were and they weren’t at all what he’d grown to expect from gang members. Bothering to come with Morton without being told to by Knox was unexpected.
“I appreciate what you’re doing,” Morton said as they passed beautiful flower gardens and wide varieties of trees. Things he would have taken the time to deeply drink in on any other occasion. “It’s good of you to come. Because of Knox, I’m sure. Still, it’s good of you.” He left unsaid his understanding that their types only stuck with each other, nobody else, which was what made this act worth thanking him for.
Sean’s response was only a grunt. They maintained silence most of the rest of the way across the Common, which made it feel like an eternity as they strode across the grounds. At least Dark Acts’s house was right on the street that edged the east side of this extended park. No need to cross—
“Got my own mind,” Sean suddenly said after such a long period of silence—minutes, in fact—Morton almost forgot what he was responding to. “Do it ’cause I wanna.”
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© Christie Stratos 2023