Rachel’s phone was a hand-me-down from her old home. She was only a year out of college, so a lot of her appliances and furnishings were second hand. This meant her phone was a bulky cordless affair with big push buttons designed for someone like her father, whose eyesight was failing…or her cat, who had to use paws to push the buttons.
Freckles called Rachel’s father first. Despite the late hour, his call was answered on the second ring. Rachel’s dad didn’t give out his number lightly, and was used to emergencies at odd hours.
Yes? he answered. His voice was still shaky. Age and frail health could do that.
I have some good news and bad news, Edward, Freckles said.
Rachel’s dad Edward sighed. Bad news first, he said.
The wards on her gifts are definitely slipping. Freckles said. And faster this time. At least one guy noticed the beauty one, and she noticed he noticed, though she doesn’t know why he was reacting the way he did. But it’s only a matter of time before it gets worse or she starts putting things together.’
Damnit, said the Edward. You’re supposed to be keeping things in check while I’m recovering.
Hey! Freckles protested. Fairy magic is serious shit. You gave yourself a heart attack trying to keep those gifts under control. I don’t know what you expect me to do: I’m just your familiar.
Rachel’s father, the old wizard, sighed. I…I know. Just do your best. The good news?
Only one person noticed anything, Freckles said. So the ward is failing slowly instead of just going: ‘pop! Gone.’ And she went out of her way to talk to him afterward, so I think we can assume her third gift is in play, too, and he’s a friend. Which means hopefully there’s a little time yet before she’s really in danger.
Edward considered this for a moment. I hope you’re right, he said darkly and hung up. He had plans to make.
Yeah, Freckles muttered. Me, too. Then he started calling Rachel’s godparents.