Don't Hex with Texas

Page 11


“You fainted. I don’t know why. You didn’t get to that part before you passed out.” She struggled to sit up, and I pushed her back down. “Maybe you’d better take it easy for a while. Give the blood a chance to get back to your brain.” I turned to ask Sherri to go get some water, but she was nowhere to be seen. If I knew her, she was probably out having her own fainting spell on the front sidewalk where more people might notice her.
Fortunately, all the family comings and goings at the store meant someone else—someone more useful—was bound to come along at any moment, and sure enough, Molly soon showed up, dragging a whimpering four-year-old. When she saw Mom lying on the floor, she went pale and steadied herself against the counter. I hoped she didn’t faint on me, too. “What happened?” she asked.
“Mom just had a little fainting spell. She seems to be fine now, but could you go get her some water?”
“Of course.” She released her son’s hand and said, “Mommy needs to go get Gramma some water. Be a good boy and stay here with Uncle Teddy and Aunt Katie.” As soon as she was out of sight, he quit whimpering and went to work emptying all the nearby shelves he could reach. I had too many other things to worry about to bother stopping him.
Teddy, however, had less patience. “Davy!” he scolded. The kid looked at him, weighed whether or not to test him, raised a hand toward the next item on the shelf, took another look at Teddy, then backed away and put his thumb in his mouth.
Molly then returned with a glass of water, and I helped Mom sit up to drink it. “I’m fine, I’m fine,”
she insisted after she drained the glass.
“People who are ‘fine’ don’t pass out,” I said. “Now, what happened?”
“I was on my way to the beauty shop, and I passed the courthouse square. There was a man on the square wearing robes. He looked like he was doing some kind of a dance, waving his arms around.
And then the statues started moving, I swear. Not much, but more than statues are supposed to move.
But nobody else seemed to see it, and there were a lot of people on their way to work in the courthouse, so there were people there. All they did was give the guy money as they went by him.”
“It must have been an illusion, like that David Copperfield guy,” Teddy said. “You know, the one who does things like make the Statue of Liberty disappear on TV. He was probably panhandling with his magic.”
“Were you even listening to me?” Mom snapped. “I said no one even looked twice at the statues. If they didn’t notice the statues moving, then why would they give him money? It was so odd, I had to tell someone as soon as possible.”
With his mother back in the room, Davy resumed gleefully destroying the display at the front of the store. “Oh honey, don’t do that,” Molly moaned, but that didn’t slow him down.
It was a sign of just how out of it Mom was that it took her a full minute to turn and tell her grandson,
“David Chandler, you stop that this instant or you won’t be allowed in Grampa’s store anymore.”
That did the trick with Davy, and it seemed to have snapped Mom out of her daze. The color returned to her cheeks, and her eyes sparked with life.
“So, as I was saying, it was the weirdest thing. I felt like I was in the middle of a dream, where all these odd things were happening, and I was the only one who noticed—or maybe I was the weird one and everything else was normal.” I knew that feeling very well, myself. It was the way I often felt at work—at my real job as one of the few magical immunes working for a magical company. But that’s not the way it was supposed to be here. This place was supposed to be entirely normal.
“Maybe you were dreaming,” Molly suggested. “Sleepwalking, or something like that. I’ve heard of people who make meals or go driving in their sleep.”
“I was not asleep,” Mom insisted. “I saw it.”
Sherri came running in then. “I brought you some coffee,” she said. She must have gone to the Starbucks in Waco to get it, considering the time it took and the fact that there was a full coffeepot behind the front counter.
“Oh, bless your heart,” Mom said, taking it from her. “You’re such a doll to look after me that way.”
Sherri preened, then as she straightened, she swayed and placed a hand against her forehead. “I think the room is spinning. Maybe there’s something in the air. We’re all being poisoned.”
It took everything I had not to laugh at her, and I knew I didn’t dare meet my brother’s eyes. We’d lose it entirely, and then Mom would be furious with us. “Help me up, Katie,” Mom said. When Teddy moved to help on her other side, she said, “Teddy, hon, you smell like a chemical plant.