Mari stepped into the alleyway, gripping her wand tightly. Her companion, Terry, had taken to the rooftops, her keen eyes keeping a watch on the shadows around the magician. Up ahead, the bins rattled, their metallic clang echoing throughout the darkness. Mari could feel the knot in her chest tightening as she moved towards the source of the noise.
Terry let out a bloodcurdling meow, as a bin tumbled to the ground and rolled towards Mari. Mari’s arms seized. Her mouth went dry, and her toes curled as her body locked. She felt the cold grip her neck first. Its long fingers wrapped around her, her hair standing on end as her breath began to show in front of her.
“Lovely night, isn’t it? A bit late for a lady such as yourself to be out alone though. Although I fink alone would be incorrect. This is yours, am I correct?” Stepping out of the shadows, Mari could see a figure holding Terry by the scruff of the neck. She saw a viscous fluid dripping from the stranger’s fingers.
Blood? His or Terry’s?
Mari’s eyes hovered upwards to meet the gaze of the unknown man in the alley. His hair was long and unkempt, his face covered in stubble, and eyebrows bushy and wild. Terry hissed lowly as she felt the man’s grip tighten on her fur.
“I suppose you’re here because of that fool, Alun. Tut, tut. Always getting other people to do ‘is dirty work.”
Mari saw the glean from the man’s free hand.
A knife? Or a wand?
“I’m sure you an’ I can come to an arrangement. I don’t want to get my clothes any more bloody than they already are.” A grin plastered itself on the man’s face, revealing a harrowing mess of rotting and missing teeth.
Swallowing hard, Mari fought against the dryness in her mouth. “I-I don’t make deals with criminals.”
“Me? A criminal?” Letting out a small laugh, the man’s grin quickly vanished as his expression hardened. “That fucking scum has been bad mouffing me? I’ll have you know he stole from me first.” His expression shifted back to neutrality, and his eyes landed on Mari’s wand, “Where did you learn magic, girl?”
Mari remained silent, as her fingers slowly rolled on the base of her wand.
“I asked you a question. Don’t disrespect me.” Lifting his free hand, he placed the weapon on Terry’s temple.
Fuck, a wand.
“You see, I went to Caerfyrddin Magic School. Was there for 15 years, was a tenured professor even. I bet Alun didn’t tell you that, did he?”
Mari’s heart was ready to leap out of her chest as Terry meowed in anguish.
“I worked in the same lab as Alun for 5 of those 15 years. I was his superior. He stole my research on astral resin, passed it off as his own and got me stricken off the magic record for good measure.” The man’s features softened. “15 years of my life, gone. Forced to practice my art in the shadows as an unlicenced mage. When I took that fucking manuscript from him, I was just taking what he owed me. He’s lucky I didn’t take more than just that fucking manuscript an’ all.”
“That may be the case but-”
“But what? I had my life ruined by that arsehole, and I try and clear my name and what do I fucking get? Hunted down by his lap dogs.” A flash of white lightning streamed out of the wand and into the cat’s body.
“Terry!” Mari reached out in vain at her companion, who vanished in the man’s hands into nothingness.
“Fought so. A conjured familiar. She was well formed, girl. You could do better than work for that scum. I could teach you more in one week than he ever taught you in, what, 5 years?”
Mari lifted her wand and adopted a duelling pose. She flicked her wrist and a blast of force shot out of the wand’s tip at the man. Mari blinked, her wand flying out of her hand and landing several feet away.
“I told you. I was his superior. Everyfing that you know, I know. You won’t win.”
Mari’s head whipped around to try and locate her wand, she leapt down towards it and his fingers wound around its slender form. The man grabbed her wrist and wrestled the wand from her grip.
“I won’t fight you anymore, girl. Come on, let’s just have a chat.”
This Week's Prompt: Cat
A challenging one this week, having to stick to the strict 750 word limit. Hope everyone enjoys my attempt!
If you'd like to participate too, the contest can be found here: @theinkwell/the-ink-well-prompt-15-cats-750-words