Traces

From the Story Arc: Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Previous Story in the Arc: About last night.... by Victoria Victrix (Monday, June 06, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Secrets by Victoria Victrix (Saturday, June 18, 2005)

(posted Wednesday, June 08, 2005)

Tiny magics….old magics….

The healing auras had done their work; Vickie sensed that they were “hitting,” but were not, for the moment, needed.

She took a break and listened to the comm. chatter. Bella calling out the results of the “trace” so far. She was exhausted; Vickie could hear it in her voice. Well, when this was over, Vickie was going to crash too. Everyone was nearing the limits of endurance.

She got on the comm.. “Guys,” she said in open broadcast. “She’s still alive, and she’s healed up. Hang onto that thought.”

She put the comm. down and closed her eyes. This computer hacker was good. The stations in Thea’s path were coming closer to real-time….

Tiny magics….

She felt as if someone had jolted her awake.

She could do the same as this Captain Hackatron---magically. People left a kind of bread-crumb trail behind themselves, bits of dandruff, hairs, shreds of clothing. The magical shields keeping Vickie from finding Thea---

Would not be there when Thea moved on.

Bingo.

She snatched up the comm. again. “Bell! I had a brain-storm! Initiating magical trace!”

“Vic? What the hell are you talking about?” Bella asked, but Vickie ignored her. She needed a map, the map of the city, a bit one. And a planchette, the kind for automatic writing, with a pencil in it. No---wait.

Computer. And mouse. She was a techno-shaman. And this would be better.

She moved both into her workroom, grunting with the effort of hauling in the heavy CPU. There was a lot of memory in that baby, and probably too many hard-drives….

She reset her circle to include the computer.

Now. Start at Silver Lake, last known place where she was sure something of Thea would have been left. She went into trance-state, where nothing mattered but the magic she could read and the map in front of her.

Yesssss…..

Blood in the water.

She rewound time in her mind to the point where that blood had been left, and then let time slowly move forward again.

Damn. She stopped long enough to tell the thing to autosave after each mouse-click. Be a bitch to get through this only to lose it to a power-surge.

Hit. Atlas park. Mouse-click.

Hit. The Hollows. Underground somewhere. Click.

Hit. Click. Hit. Click.

Her hand moved; her mind stayed empty, her eyes gazing vacantly at the screen.

And then, just as she heard Bell shout triumphantly, “End of trace! Founder’s Falls!” she hit the end of her own line.

She came out of herself. Her hand was one huge, fiery ache from being frozen in position for so long. Her eyes burned, she felt weak and dizzy, and she was shaking with fatigue, but she couldn’t keep the triumph out of her own voice as she thumbed on the comm. with her left hand and said, “End of magical trace. Founder’s Falls. I have coordinates. Sending now---“

And she pushed the “send” toggle, with her end-of-trace showing up as a big, red, pulsing dot, then---

---the rug looked so comfortable---

---and that was her last thought.