Here is one more story about Monette, the paper mage and owner of the magic agency Small Magics. She operates in the alternative Vancouver, Canada. You can find Monette’s previous magic adventures here:
Jun challenge – Urban Nightmare
This story is my entry for the WEP October 2020 challenge.
“What can Small Magics do for you, Mr. Galanis?” Monette asked her visitor.
The man sat in the client chair on the other side of her desk, his dark eyes watchful. “My problem is … unusual,” he said. “I seem to have misplaced my grandfather’s … corpse.” He grimaced apologetically.
Monette’s eyebrows shot up. “Corpse?” she said faintly.
“Yes, well. My ancestors came to Canada from Greece a hundred years ago, when the Turks started killing Greeks there.”
Monette nodded in encouragement.
“My great-grandfather was a jeweler, but he couldn’t take much with him during their escape. He buried most of his gold and gems and made a map of the location. He took that map with him, together with the ownership documents. He hoped to return to Greece later to retrieve his property, but it never happened. The documents passed on to his son, my grandfather. They should’ve come to my father afterwards. My father and I decided that I should go to Greece next summer and try to find the family treasure. Meanwhile, two weeks ago, my grandfather died. He was almost ninety. My grandma is the same age and …” He signed. “She dressed her husband for the burial in his best suit and put the documents in his inner breast pocket. We didn’t know. We went on with the funeral.”
“Oh, dear,” Monette murmured. “I’m sorry. Couldn’t you, I don’t know … ask some authorities to exhume the body?”
He snorted. “We have, as soon as we found out. But the problem is – it wasn’t his body inside the coffin. Something went wrong at the funeral house. There were eight funerals that day, all of them in similar coffins, but buried at three different cemeteries. Someone made a mistake. We don’t know where my grandfather is. And we can’t ask to exhume all seven other bodies. Maybe one, if we know for sure, but not all.”
“Of course, not,” Monette said. “But I don’t know what I can do. I’m a paper mage. Maybe someone from a bigger agency would be of more help.”
“I contacted two of the largest magic agencies in Vancouver before I called you,” Galanis said. “They both asked for thirty percent of the cost of recovered jewels on top of their hourly fees. Your website promises flat fees. We are willing to pay a bonus, if we are able to find the jewelry, but thirty percent is too much. Besides, as you say, you’re a paper mage. The documents and the map are paper.”
Monette stared at him. “I need to think,” she said at last.
“Of course. Phone me.” Galanis shook her hand, and the office door closed behind him.
Monette rushed upstairs to her apartment and went straight to her talking grimoire Spellingra, a huge book of spells she had inherited from her witch great aunt. The book lay open on its stand, absorbing the moist, diffused sunlight from the window.
“Hello, Spellingra.” Monette tapped a finger on the book in greeting and outlined her problem.
“Searching for a Greek corpse.” Spellingra chortled. A bunch of its pages rose up defiantly and flopped against each other, as if applauding.
“Searching for a map and a document,” Monette shot back. “And he is willing to pay a bonus. I need a search spell.”
“Thirsty,” said Spellingra. One of its empty pages snapped up suddenly, its sharp edge slicing a shallow cut on Monette’s palm before she could react.
“You sneak!” Monette squeaked and snatched her injured hand away. “You should’ve asked.” Grumbling about the impudence of bloodthirsty spell books, she smeared the blood from the cut on the waiting page.
The page made a slurping sound, and the blood disappeared. “More fun this way,” said Spellingra. Its pages riffed rapidly, as if a strong wind browsed them, until everything stilled.
Monette read the spells on the open pages. When she came to the last one, she grinned.
“Yes! Thank you, Spellingra. Just what I needed.”
She called the client the next morning to meet in the afternoon. Then she went to the nearest dollar store and bought a paper kite and a set of colored paper ribbons. After slavishly copying the complex diagram of the search spell from Spellingra onto the kite, she glued on two ribbons, blue and red, as the kite’s double tails.
When Galanis came through the door, even before they signed the contract, she grilled him on the most important issue.
“You saw the documents and the map, I assume?”
“Of course. Many times.”
“I need words included in either. As many exact words as you can remember. I have to write them down in my search spell.”
“It’s all in Greek.”
“Doesn’t matter. As long as the spelling is correct. Write them down in random order.” She pushed a sheet of paper towards him and copied over twenty words he had written onto the ribbons attached to the kite.
“Let’s go,” she said as soon as they signed the contract. “We’ll take my car.”
Outside, she blew her magic at the kite to activate the spell and sent it into the sky. “Search,” she ordered.
The kite soared and headed east. She followed in the car, her magical strings tying her to the kite stronger than any physical string could be.
The kite’s first stop was the Vancouver Public Library. “Of course,” Monette said with chuckle and sent a new pulse of magic to the kite. “Search again, darling.”
The kite’s second stop was a cemetery. It came down to rest on a temporary wooden marker atop a fresh grave.
“Your documents are here,” Monette said happily. As always, a well-executed spell filled her with elation. “I’ll write you a report when I get home. You could take it to the judge as proof.”
“A kite,” said Galanis, eyeing the kite with interest.
“Paper magic,” Monette corrected primly. “Like a magic Google. I’ll have to fix my website to include a percentage in cases like yours. For the next time.”
I do hope that Monette’s bonus is generous. Very generous.
I liked the snippet which tells us more about Spellingra too. Magic comes at a cost…
One of my favorites of yours, Olga. It always amazes me how you write these, coming up with solutions for Monette. It reminded me of an internet search so when you mentioned Google at the end I felt quite chuffed.
Very literally a ‘grave mistake’. A great read.
What a wonderful story. I like that the magic in this story is not free, and I just love Spellingra.
I sure hope for more stories on Monette, the paper witch. And I hope that she is given a nice bonus for this. 🙂
Thank you Olga. I do so enjoy your Monette stories, a treat every time. Blood sucking grimoire ! Wonderful. Let’s go and fly a kite, up into the atmosphere ….
I always enjoy your magic stories with Monette because I find them humorous. This one made me laugh again.
I never tire of these Monette stories and was so happy to see more of Spellingra too. I hope she got a good bonus. Thanks for sharing more of these magical tales.
Congratulations on your Master Serial award! So well deserved.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Get well soon.
I hope that bonus was worth the paper cut. It’s fortunate that he remembered the words in the documents though.
So well crafted and so well narrated. I am blown by the magic.
Ha! Loved this grave mistake. And I was pleased that Monette had such a resourceful “assistant.” In fact, I got a better sense of Spellingra in this episode.
Clever way to find the right grave!
That’s a really fun story. I love your character and concept. You should write a series.
I’m getting addicted to Monette’s paper spells. Looking forward to the next one 🙂
The best of your stories! I love how your imagination works! I especially enjoyed the way she found an alternative way to increase her take on future ventures. So creative the problem and the solution, and too the bloodthirsty Spellingra!
I hope you find your only magical solution! Take care.
Definitely my favourite of this entire series, Olga. This is just beyond fabulous. Really enjoyed reading. Particularly liked the details re Spellingra and the revised fee system too. Magnificent use of the prompt!
That is one heck of a mistake. This was a creative and fun story, and I hope Monette gets a generous bonus for her work. Well done!
Hi Olga – loved the way you crafted this for Monette … Spellingra had a fun day … but I hope Mr Galanis hasn’t got a twist in his tail … these are delightful to read. Take care – HIlary
An exceedingly quaint and imaginative tale, Olga. Managing to have some humorous moments as she seeks to remedy the grave mistake of her client. Well done
These stories are always so much fun. This guy was a tough customer!
~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press~
Oh that was delightful Olga! You are such a fun writer. Missing corpse, lol.
BTW: I have been reading your posts, but Word Press locked me out for the last couple months. I finally was able to reset my password and – here I am again. Sorry I have been unable to comment. I kept meaning to send you an email. Time really gets away from me lately!
Monette is such a unique wonderful character. And this story injects some humour into the prompt–a grave mistake becomes a comedy of errors. And Spellingra as a blood-thirsty smart-alec–great characterization
I do enjoy these magic stories of yours. Great stuff.
Clever, fun, and entertaining. Olga. Monette is a great character – as is the blood-inspired spell book. Wonderful episode as they all have been.
I really like your Monette stories, and the whole idea of the small magics. This one made me think she might need another spell to get an appropriate payment out of the skinflint.
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