Short Story: What Are The Odds Of That?

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Where we rely on that reaction, we find that incredibly useful. Cars move, electricity is generated, and our lives are enriched. The same is true when we can’t see the immediate result of our actions. If we didn’t read, we wouldn’t accumulate the knowledge to deal with situations or work out the solutions to the challenges before us.

We also spend a lot of energy trying to deflect or offset those reactions: like exercising and dieting if our activity levels don’t offset the calories we consume and we aren’t prepared to put up with weight gain and health issues.

The same holds true when it comes to more esoteric pursuits. When you try to impose your will, beliefs, or obsessions on the universe make no mistake it will push back. Don’t believe me? When you will the traffic lights to change, fervently praying they will stay in your favour, have you not noticed how the traffic is suddenly unexpectedly heavier than usual?

That’s why I was not at all surprised to find that some arsehole had removed the planks I’d carefully laid across the gap between the terraced houses just as I needed to make a quick escape.

With a hellhound literally snapping at my heels, there was no time for finesse, merely an adrenaline and fairydust- boosted leap over the edge, away from venom-flecked fangs. Fairydust has a price too, and I don’t just mean the price of a Disney holiday. Every time I have to use it, I get a bit more mundane, and the magic gets harder.

On the plus side it did give me quite a shove, and therefore a much better headstart on my pursuer who had to stop and make a concerted run-up to clear the same gap. Then the push-back on the leap hit me, and the roof tiles beneath my feet began to slide loose.

Now the real trick with all this is that the karmic push and pull of magic can occasionally be loopholed, and bad things twisted to have good outcomes. The hellhound was still in its arc across the gap between the houses and was headed for a spot just next to me.

I scrabbled to my feet, looked those fierce hate-filled eyes head on, and stamped my foot on the already unstable roof. A whole cascade of roof tiles began to avalanche away, pulling me with it and exposing the broken beam end I’d just splintered into a makeshift stake.

I know stakes are meant to be used against vampires, but believe me: a three hundred pound canine-ish lump of muscle impales itself pretty effectively when it’s in flight. Physics: not just a good mortal idea, it’s the law. Well, mostly.

I landed on the roof of a car parked conveniently below, bounced off and kept running before the inhabitants could get their doors open. The Seelie Courts needed to know what I’d just seen.