The Garden of Abracadabra
Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
“Abracadabra” is a real magical spell formulated by Cabbalist magicians two thousand years ago. Originally invoked to cure mortal diseases, the spell has since been employed as the enabling word to cause the result of a magical operation. The spell can only be used to create good results, never evil (see E.A. Wallis Budge, Lewis Spence, and others) and is so powerful everyone in the world has heard of the word.
A Bast Book
Copyright 2012–2014 by Lisa Mason.
Cover art, interior art, and logo copyright 2010–2012 by Tom Robinson.
All rights reserved.
Serial 15: The Garden of Abracadabra, Vol 1 of the Abracadabra Series
Blood spurts from my thumb. I love bleeding after a job interview. I hold my hand over a rat’s-nest of Post-its, cursing Stanley. If it’s the desktop or my black silk dress, the dress comes first. I find a balled-up take-out napkin next to the answering machine and press the filthy thing to my wound, ignoring the greasy kiss of pizza sauce left by Stanley’s lips.
Obviously poor old Stanley is loony tunes. Obviously, too, he has no power. No power at all. When he seized my hand and stabbed me, I felt nothing but the safety pin plunging in. Not even a prick of power.
I don’t stand there cursing for long. I’m too happy. The job is mine! The salary mine! An apartment for me and a garage for Hi-Ho Silver. Mine, all mine! I can go to the Registrar’s Office tomorrow, sign up for the first class, and write a tuition check. Write that check without a qualm and order out for pizza.
If Stanley was unfit to fill the position of superintendent, then I, Abby Teller, will prove my fitness. Prove my fitness pronto. Tonight. Right now. Yes!
Those two checks due? In my hand tonight for delivery to the bank tomorrow. I’ll collect those checks or die trying.
I stride around the living room, blowing out candles, turning down wicks on the miners’ lanterns, unplugging nightlights, turning off the TV and most of the lamps. Maybe Stanley didn’t give a hoot about burning the place down or blowing a fuse, but I intend to stay awhile and keep my carbon footprint light.
My suitcase can stay put for now on the floor. I retrieve my handbag, seize the ring of keys Stanley so triumphantly flung down and the paper tape with Twenty-seven’s total amount due, and head out the door.
I gaze down the hall at the pools of light, the pools of darkness. There’s the archway leading to the lobby. The double doors of the library standing ajar, just as I’d left them. And as many steps farther on, the door of Number Two.
Looks like a straight shot to me, but who knows? You can take nothing for granted at the Garden of Abracadabra. I’ve learned that lesson fast.
“I belong here now,” I say to the ceiling, hoping the message patches through to the spirit of the building or whatever entity rules this place.
I set off down the hall, my high heels clattering on the hardwood floor, and arrive at Number Two without further incident. I rap my knuckles with my best I’m-in-charge-here-now knock.
In a moment the peephole darkens as someone peers through it.
“Who’s there?” says a female voice so strangely husky, I don’t recognize it.
“I need to see Esmeralda. I’m Abby Teller, your new super. Stanley told me she hasn’t turned in her rent check.”
“Poor old Stanley.”
“I need to take the checks to the bank tomorrow. I need hers now.”
“Always so grumpy. Some people are just like that, I guess.”
Ah. Esmeralda, then. I wave at the peephole. Suddenly I understand why Stanley spoke of her as if she were a case of persistent athlete’s foot.
The door swings open, and Esmeralda stands regally in the doorway with a checkbook, a Sharpie pen, and a man. Sandalwood incense wafts out, and the sounds of a romantic song from the nineteen-fifties. “The Shadow of Your Smile,” if I’m not mistaken.
She’s changed clothes. Or, rather, she’s shed clothes. She wears a red push-up bra, matching thong panties, an unbuttoned man’s shirt, and the sparkly red high heels. She arches an eyebrow at my somber dress and heels, not nearly as friendly as she was this afternoon. Her eyes hold something darker, something crueler.
“Aren’t you all dolled up for your interview. You got the job, I take it?”
“As you can see.”
“And aren’t you a busy little bee. I myself have been so busy”–she coyly strokes the man’s chest–”I quite forgot the rent’s due.”
I don’t think so, but I nod briskly and give her a cool smile. She ought to know from the start she can’t play get-the-super with me.
She props her checkbook on the man’s biceps and takes her time writing out a check.
The man is a tall, testosteronic hunk with rippling sun-bronzed muscles. Thick glossy black hair tumbles to his impressive shoulders, but his swarthy cheeks and long, narrow jaw are clean-shaven. Curly black lashes frame his big brown eyes.
Those eyes glare at me now with a strange, wild fury.
“Hi, there, I’m Abby.”
The man raises the corner of his lip, baring the yellowish gleam of his teeth.
That’s one way to smile. I can tell about the rippling muscles part because he wears nothing but a pair of acid-washed jeans slung so low on his hips, I can glimpse the furry line of black hair leading from his navel to his nether parts. He’s knotted a red cotton paisley kerchief around his neck and accessorized that with a hefty silver chain.
Esmeralda tears off the check, gives it a suspicious little shake as if it’s a soiled Kleenex, and hands it to me with a knowing smirk. Wait a minute. Did she just cast a spell?
Now that she’s done using his biceps as a desktop, the man wraps his arm around her shoulders in a proprietary way and gazes at her with worshipful adoration.
“Thanks, Esmeralda. Have a nice night.”
She plays with a dangling red kerchief tip. “Oh, we will, won’t we? Senor and me, we’re gonna party.”
I retrace my steps, heading for the archway leading to the lobby.
Am I having fun?
Is Senor a dog who shapeshifts into a man? Or a man who shapeshifts into a dog? It’s your classic chicken-and-egg kind of question but, when it comes to shapeshifters, I think the answer makes a big difference.
If Senor is a dog, then when he shapeshifts into a man, I can deal with the man by smacking him with a rolled-up newspaper, whistling, and speaking simple commands. Sit. Stay. Fetch. No doubt Esmeralda has commands of her own. Kiss. Rub. Lick. And so on.
If, on the other hand, Senor is a man, then when he shapeshifts into a dog, I can deal with the dog by rational argument and appeals to reason. You don’t want to bite me because Animal Control will quarantine you. I’ll have to get rabies shots and sue Esmeralda under the strict liability law applicable to owners of dangerous animals. And so forth.
You have to think about these things at the Garden of Abracadabra.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
The Garden of Abracadabra is also available in three affordable installments, beginning with The Garden of Abracadabra, 1: Life’s Journey.
Coming soon! The Labyrinth of Illusions, Volume 2 of the Abracadabra Series.
From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website, Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.
Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!