Skinned

SKINNED (Magic behind the mountains 3)

Skinned Front Cover

MAGIC CONSULTANT AND SOLUTIONS.

Arriving at her mother’s Witchyard together with Falk, Helena does not only meet old friends and people of mysterious fame, but also shy and talented Mara. Mara has left her husband to protect herself and her children, or so she claims. And she has a job offer for Helena – something that may or may not be illegal.

Travelling between the Witchyard and the Embassy of Water in Berlin, Helena realizes that all that glitters is not gold – and some crimes are more serious than others.

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*** SAMPLE ***

(…)

We fell silent once more. Then I had an idea. “Let’s sneak in through the back. I don’t want to see the others again tonight.” We crept through the herb garden, up the concrete stairs and through a narrow door. “This way we reach the pantry”, I whispered. “We should be able to make it through the kitchen without meeting anyone.” I turned the doorknob and pushed the door open, millimeter by millimeter. The door would not creak if opened slowly.

“Don’t they ever lock the doors around here?” Falk whispered behind me.

“Hush!”

We took of our mud-crusted boots in the dark and advanced on socks. The pantry smelled of onions, mud and dried herbs.

The kitchen was dark and deserted as well. It still smelled of vegetable soup. We made our way past the work surface. Everything was neat and tidy. The door leading to the hallway was ajar. A finger of light painted across the dust-free wooden floor.

The others were making music in the ceremony room. I head drums and a tambourine messing up the beat. Someone was singing with a vibrant alto voice. Must be Grete, for I knew how Aradia and Helga sounded, and Mara most likely did not feel like singing. Well, if they were busy, they might not even notice we were missing.

Getting up the stairs unnoticed was easy. Only a few years back Aradia had had the whole wooden structure replaced. No sound gave us away. Still we were holding our breaths. Only once we had reached the second floor we relaxed, hearing the sounds from the ground floor fade. I suppressed the urge to giggle like a teenager. Instead I whispered, “Let’s keep going.”

Falk let me use the bathroom first. As daughter of the house I had a tiny lilac bathroom with green towels to myself. It was barely bigger than a closet and only had a small window to let in fresh air. My toiletries stood on the shelf above the sink, untouched. The face lotion must have been ten years old. Fortunately I had brought along everything I needed. I ran a brush through my brown hair, slapped some cold water into my face and tried to see any similarities between my reflection in the mirror and my memory of Aradia. Except for the green eyes we had not much to go on. I wondered whether I looked anything like my biological father. It must be hell to look at your child and see the face you feared and hated more than anything in the world. I shook my head, sending the ugly thoughts flying, and grabbed my toothbrush.

Falk had changed into sweatpants and a green T-shirt and was leafing through an old paperback. The shirt was hugging his chest in a pleasant way. “You’re never cold, are you.”

He grinned. “The way you keep complaining about the cold, one might think you are some fancy Mediterranean princess. Done?”

I nodded and crawled under the blanket spread out on the cot. From here my room looked strange. Different. Kind of crazy.

At the door, Falk turned around again. “I don’t know whether I have told you, but I am sorry about the whole thing with Raphael.”

(…)

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