Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tuesday Teaser - Chasing Shadows

 



Chapter Five – Austin 

“SO, WHAT are you?”

Oh man, did he blurt that out? Yeah, yeah he did. He didn’t always think before he opened his mouth. The lack of a filter was embarrassing at times.

“Crap. Should I have asked that?” Austin was tempted to take his eyes off the road and look at Hudson, but he didn’t. He’d already pressed his luck enough tonight. “Was that rude? I feel like that was maybe rude. If so, I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t offend you.”

Hudson groaned softly as he tried to get comfortable. “You’re certainly not a shy little thing, are you?”

Austin darted around an asshole poking along in the fast lane on the Interstate before answering. “Aw, man. I pissed you off, didn’t I?”

“You’re fine, and no, you didn’t. It takes much more than innocent questions to do that. Generally speaking, we don’t ask other paranormals what they are. There are some who would take offense.”

Austin turned down the music since it appeared Hudson was willing to answer questions. “Then how do you guys know?”

“Again, generally speaking, paranormals have an excellent sense of smell. We all have a scent, and that helps us identify each other.” Hudson glanced out the passenger window. “For example, merpeople tend to smell like the ocean—a little salty and briny.”

“Merpeople? Like… mermaids?” 

“Yes. And mermen. Vampires have a slight metallic scent. Magic users tend to smell like the ozone.”

Whoooo boy, plot bunnies were springing up all over the place. “Magic users? Like, witches?”

“Yes.”

Austin was solely tempted to pull over, dig out his phone, and start taking notes for his next book. But he wasn’t sure how Hudson would react, so he didn’t. “What about Kage?”

“Ah, he has a vanilla-almondly scent. Reminds me of night blooming jasmine.”

“Yes! That’s it exactly! Night blooming jasmine, huh? I need to smell that. Wonder where I can find some. It’s a plant, right?”

“Yes, it is, and I imagine you can find it at any garden center.” Hudson glanced out the passenger window again. “You say you’ve noticed Kage’s scent? That’s very interesting. Humans usually don’t notice such.”

“As a kid I thought it was flowers. It always was there when he was. It was how I knew he was around, even if I couldn’t see him.”

“That is truly fascinating. Does Kage know this?”

“No. I mean, I never thought about it, honestly. Usually when Kage showed up, it was because I needed help.” 

“That makes sense.”

Austin tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. “Now that I think about it, that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes, after I went to bed, he’d be there—under the bed, I mean. We’d talk about whatever. Our conversations depended on my age, I guess.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Sometimes it was about the latest Disney movie I’d seen. Or a new toy I got. Then there were times he read me a story when I was a kid. It was sort of weird since he was under my bed, but I got used to it.’’

“I never knew that.”

“Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.” Austin passed another slow car. “I have the feeling Kage is considered a badass in your world.”

“Oh, he most definitely is that.”

“Yeah, well, he was also my friend. My best friend. I told him all about my failures and my accomplishments. But he was also my protector. He was there when I needed him. I don’t know if I can explain how important he is to me.”