Web – Chapter Two Excerpt
an audience this time, Teag? I didn’t know our lessons were so entertaining.”
Mrs. Teller gave me a big smile and hugged me tight. I got a hug from Niella,
her daughter, as well. Mrs. Teller led us into a room she had repurposed as her
studio and motioned for Teag and me to have a seat. Niella came in a few
minutes later with a tray that held a pitcher of sweet tea and four glasses,
and she put it on a side table.
to see what this boy’s been up to, or are you thinking to learn some weaving
yourself, huh?” Mrs. Teller fixed me with a gaze that seemed to see right down
to my bones. She was in her late sixties, with short hair sprinkled with gray,
mahogany skin that showed no signs of aging, and piercing black eyes. Niella
took after her, in her looks, her lilting accent, and her talents.
got enough with my touch magic,” I replied. “I’m leaving the Weaving to you.”
Niella are some of the best sweetgrass basket makers in Charleston. They have a
regular spot down at the Charleston City Market, and their baskets fetch high
prices—for good reason. Not only are they true artists with a difficult craft,
but Mrs. Teller’s Weaver magic gives a “little something extra” to all of her
creations. Oh, and she’s also a damn fine Hoodoo worker, a Root woman of high
laughed, a rich, throaty sound. “Let me know if you change your mind.”
Niella and thought she looked more tired than usual. “Have things been busier
than usual?” I left it up to interpretation whether “things” meant the market
or the Hoodoo.
that’s a tale in itself,” Mrs. Teller said. Out of habit, she picked up an
unfinished sweetgrass braid, and her fingers flew while she talked. Teag took
down a half-woven basket of his own from a shelf and returned to sit next to
me. Where Mrs. Teller’s muscle memory was born from more than a half-century of
practice, enabling her to bend and twist the sharp dried grass without slicing
up her fingers, Teag moved with careful caution. He’d learned the hard way, and
I’d seen him come into the shop with fingers covered in bandages more than
begged. Sharing information was essential for those of us in the supernatural
community in Charleston, and Mrs. Teller ran in some circles that Teag and I
usually weren’t part of.
brewing,” Mrs. Teller said, and Niella settled into a chair beside her, picking
up her own half-done basket to work while we talked. “People can feel it
coming, like a storm over the ocean.” The sweet, earthy smell of the seagrass
filled the air.
trouble?” I asked. Teag’s focus was on his basket, and I knew he juggled both
the complexity of working the stubborn grass, as well as the magic he channeled
through the weaving. He might be listening, but he had too much going on to
that’s the truth of it,” she replied. Her Lowcountry accent rounded her vowels
and softened her consonants, and added a musical quality that I found
mesmerizing. “But it’s big. I feel that in my bones, and my bones don’t lie.”
how she wove the sweetgrass, but her fingers practically blurred with the speed
of experience. Even without handling the baskets, I knew they projected a calm,
protective resonance that probably attracted buyers as much as the beauty of
her craftwork. The baskets of hers that I owned were some of my favorite
decorations because they always made me feel better being around them.
or have you seen something?” I pressed.
is people making a beeline to my door, asking me for gris-gris bags and goofer
dust,” she said. “Folks be saying that they can’t sleep, or that they hear
noises but nothing’s there, or they catch a glimpse of shadows out of the
corner of their eye.” She shook her head. “Uh, uh,” she tutted. “That’s not
good. Not good at all. So I fix them up best I can, show them how to put down
the dust or put a dime in their shoe or fix their mojo bag and send them on
their way, and the next day, I got twice as many people waiting for me, because
they all told their friends.”
was good for business, I knew that whatever had people unnerved sounded like
the kind of problem that landed in my lap, sooner or later. Sorren is part of
the Alliance, a secret organization of mortals and immortals that take care of
supernatural threats. He founded Trifles and Folly with my ancestor nearly
three-hundred-and-fifty years ago, and our store is one of dozens Sorren has
all over the world. The stores serve as outposts to get dangerous magical or
haunted items out of circulation and shut down things that go bump in the night.
bad dreams?” I asked, although I couldn’t resist a glance in Teag’s direction,
but he never looked up from his work. “Is there a common thread?”
shrugged. “There’re all nightmares, for sure. Most people won’t speak of their dreams
because they think saying it out loud gives the dreams power. Maybe so, maybe
not. But the ones who would say told me they were being chased, in the dark,
but they couldn’t see what was behind them. Except for red eyes.”
anything, but he swallowed hard, and his fingers paused for a few seconds.
hard, too. “Yikes,” I managed. “Any idea what might cause that?”
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