The Book Addict(8)

By: Annette Mori

She was in a quandary. This wasn’t the first time things had gone horribly wrong. She didn’t want to admit that to her mother yet, but how would she keep it from her? Well that didn’t matter as much as redirecting the magic, just a smidgeon.

Thank goodness, the magic had left a small trail of energy she was easily able to visualize. Tanya, that was her name, lived only a short distance away. Elle sensed the trail of energy wasn’t quite at Tanya’s condo. Maybe she was at the lake. Elle would find her; all she had to do was follow the trail. She might as well bite the bullet and call her mother. She wasn’t looking forward to the, I-told-you-so conversation. Elle’s idea of the perfect solution was unconventional at best.

She picked up her phone and, on cue, it started ringing. Years ago, they had abandoned the old methods of summoning one another. Cell phones, even the basic models, like the ones she and her mother possessed, were such a marvel; they worked a whole lot better. Less static.

“Hello, Mother. Before you go into a long and involved lecture, can you please just get here as soon as possible to mind the store? I promise I'll take care of it.”

“I warned you.”

“Can we hold off on the mother-knows-best conversation?”

“I’ll be there in ten. You know you interrupted a very nice bubble bath.”

“Sorry. See you soon. Thanks, Mother.”

Elle laid down the cell phone and ran her hands along the books. Touching the paperbacks always seemed to calm her nerves. Even the regular books created that peaceful feeling. When she’d found the first magic book hidden in the back office of her mother’s book store, she’d felt the instant charge when she touched it.

Her mother had run back into the office and in a tight voice said, “Please do not touch the special books.”

“Special books?” five-year-old Elle asked.

“Yes, my little darling. Your magic is not strong yet, but even your touch will undo the book’s magic.”

Elle hadn’t understood at the time, but eventually her mother had taught her the craft. There weren’t many left who specialized in book magic, so her mother did not want to undo any of the books she’d blessed. Paperbacks were becoming almost obsolete, yet a recent resurgence gave them hope.

Elle had never forgotten that first surge of energy, nor had she ever failed to delight in the outcome for those successful recipients of her magic. Lives changed and love blossomed when everything went as planned, but her mother was always there for her when the path didn’t run as effortlessly as she hoped. She wished a smooth path for Tanya.

There was something about the diminutive woman that reached inside Elle and brought out a warm feeling. The special chant she used to find the chosen had pulled her with such force to this tiny town she’d barely had time to sell the previous store.

She remembered the cross look from her mother when, as a teen, she had asked why they used a chant to find the chosen. “The Goddess Themis never had to rely on chants, she just knew who was worthy.” The words came out of Elle’s mouth before she realized they would reveal how she had eavesdropped on her mother and aunt.

“How do you know of the Goddess Themis?” her mother snapped.

Elle quickly thought up a lie. “In school and I did some research on my own.”

Her mother narrowed her eyes. “There is nothing in Greek mythology that speaks of the chosen. You must never talk of this again. The special chant is the only way we find the chosen, and it has always been the method used by book magicians.”


Her mother looked around in a panic and whispered, “Enough. We will never speak of this again.”

Elle had felt the twinge of a whole different kind of magic after performing the chant to find this chosen one, and that tug was a brand-new experience for her. That’s why she had watched Tanya for weeks before giving her the book. Elle didn’t understand the depth of Tanya’s brilliance, but she had seen the faces of those who interacted with the young woman. They were clearly in awe of her humility regarding her ability to solve the most complicated computer programming problems.

Elle had watched Tanya demolish her competition in a chess tournament and overheard one of the high school seniors whisper that she was as good as the famous champion, Judit Polgar. The student gushed when Tanya volunteered to help with the high school chess club. Someone tried to encourage her to enter the World Chess Championship, but Tanya waved her hand and laughed. “Oh I could never do that. I wouldn’t even make it into any competitive chess tournament.”