MIRROR LAKE (Magic behind the mountains 2)
MAGIC CONSULANT AND SOLUTIONS…
Two boys have died at a foster home in Eastern Germany, and a third boy is missing. Since these are non-humanoid teenagers, the authorities rely on Helena Willow to find out who did this. Residing in a tiny cabin down by the lake, she won’t run out of suspects any time soon. There is the humanocentric monastery that used to run the foster home. And the missing boy belongs to the local Satanist congregation – but not everyone there agrees that Helena is the right woman for this job.
Far away from home, Helena has to prove herself worthy once more.
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*** SAMPLE ***
Ice crystals glittered on the parking cars. We had not yet had any snow this year, but the berries hanging from the branches were plenty and big. A hard winter was looming ahead of us. The clouds over our heads shimmered orange from the city lights. Not even up here on the hill was the night fully dark.
Raphael parked his car opposite the door of my house and turned the key in the ignition. Silence fell upon us. We sat next to each other while the motor cooled off, ticking quietly. The evening had been nice. We had gone to see a comedy at the cinema and taken a drink at my favorite Brazilian cocktail bar. I loved the atmosphere – the music, the brightly colored paintings adorning the walls, the friendly staff. And now I was trying to figure out whether to ask Raphael inside or not. A slim veil hung in the air over the hood of the car. The burgundy paintjob reflected the holiday lights in my neighbors’ windows. From the corner of my eye I could see at least two brightly lit evergreen trees blinking. Tis the season.
“Well… thanks for the nice evening”, Raphael said after a while. His voice was soft. I had waited too long. His hands were resting on the steering wheel. We had only been going out for three weeks, and so far I had been intent on keeping my privacy. It was only the second time I had allowed him to drive me home, and he had not been inside yet. But what was I waiting for? We were not children after all. I made up my mind and turned around to face him.
“Would… would you like to come inside for a cup of coffee?” My voice was high and breathless. I sounded like a teenager and hated it.
He smiled. I could see the dimple on his right cheek. With his short dark blond hair and his carefully ironed clothes he looked like a mash-up of banker and soldier – a mix I liked very much. My heart sped up.
“I’d love to.” He got out of the car and walked around the front to open the door for me. An old-fashioned quirk, kind of charming.
Our faces were at the same level. Something tickled behind my breast bone. Maybe it was just the cold – there was no reason to stay out here any longer.
Raphael bent closer and pushed a strand of hair from my face that had escaped from my bun. “I like your hair.” His breath was warm on my cheek. “Not meaning to offend you or anything, but… is brown your natural color?”
I pushed his hand away. “Why are you asking?”
“I don’t know.” He smiled. “I like the color.”
As if I had the nerve to waste time and money at the hairdresser every single month.
We crossed the street. I buried my hands in the pockets of my leather jacket to preserve at least a little warmth. The faster we got inside, the-
“Wait!” Raphael grabbed my arm.
I flinched. “What’s up?”
“There’s someone next to the door!”
I squinted and tried to make out shapes in the dark. The street lamp in front of my house was broken again – for the third time this month. The flowerbeds sat untouched and sad, waiting for the snow. The concrete plates between them glittered with snow. The steps lay in deep shadows, and something seemed to move in them. Had my protective circle failed?
The shape stretched. A bundle was sitting at its feet. I thought about the documents on my kitchen table I had spent the afternoon brooding over, and my stomach contracted. I’d rather be safe than sorry. Gently I extracted my arm from Raphael’s grip.