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STONY HEART OF MAGIC, Chapter 1

Promise is an avid reader of paranormal books, and that has led him to write on it. His first book is FATED ATTRACTION, available on Libri.

strong-heart-of-magic-chapter-1

ANNIE

I wiped my blood stained knife on the grass and tucked it back into my boots where it belonged. Save for few droplets of blood on my hands, which definitely weren't mine anyways, I looked perfectly fine. I still had my hair in place and my cloth still looked straight. No one would be able to as much as guess that I'd just been able to kill five fully grown men this early morning. Well, I wouldn't take the total blame, as they attacked me first, and as I would always do, I simply fought back in self defense.

About the bodies, I had already contacted Roselyn to take care of them. Roselyn was a dwarf, and that would totally explain why she would be able to single handedly take care of the five dead bodies. Dwarves had supernatural strength. It was more like their lack of height doubled for an advantage in their strength and body build. Also, they had very thick skins and very strong muscles. They could lift loads that would be difficult for up to five average normal human beings to lift.

I walked straight into my store from the back door, and quickly washed my hands. Everything looked the same way I'd left them, showing me that there was no break in, and that for the time being, I'd been able to secure my little space. Few months ago, this wasn't the case. Buckyard was a town that had the highest number of criminals in the whole country, and everyone fought their way up the food chain, till they got to the very top, or got to a point where they weren't considered as prey. This made them terrorize young business owners with very high demands for tax and royalties. Once anyone refused to pay, they marked them as a potential target and threat, and as such, made life completely miserable for them.

When I started the Annie Food Store, I'd gotten a whole lot of thugs on my neck. I'd however been able to show them that I wasn't one to mess with and go scot free. I tracked down every single one of them, and made sure I fed their blood to any of my knives.


You might be wondering who this mysterious girl is. Well, to satisfy your curiosity, I'm Annie Charlie, a 23 year old girl who doesn't have any parents, and who is trying so hard to make ends meet, whilst staying almost anonymously, very close to the top of the Buckyard's food chain.

I quickly got to work, chopping the carrots and cabbages we would need for the day. I preferred to have them freshly prepared for every day's use, rather than stock in my refrigerator. Even though I was the owner of the store, and had my workers, I liked to chop the vegetables as it always have me a calm feeling.

The Annie Food Store opened at exactly 8.am and all my workers were expected to be at work, thirty minutes before then and it didn't take much time for them to start coming. Lydia came first and was the one to open the front door, though she left the sign at the front set to closed.

"Good morning, Annie", Lydia called, her face radiating genuine smiles, as she went into the workers den to change into her work apron. "Good morning", I called back to her, my voice matching the same cheerful tone of hers. One thing that distinguished me from the other underworld bosses was my relationship with my workers. I had a very cordial relationship with them and took them all as my friends. This singular attitude made them become really endeared to me, as they were free to act very normal around me.

The front door opened again and Matt walked in, as though he owned the place. Matt was a vampire, and my PA. He clutched his laptop under his arms as though his life depended on that singular gadget. Well, maybe his life actually depended on it because I couldn't recall any time I'd ever seen him without his laptop or tablet. Like hell, maybe he even went with them to the bathroom. Matt walked straight to where I was sitting at the kitchen table, flung his bag on the table and whipped out his laptop. In seconds, he had it powered on, and after hastily typing a few buttons, he asked for my schedule.


I turned to him an incredulous look on my face. "Not even a good morning Matt?", I asked, "You're fired!"

Instead of freaking out and begging for his damn work, Matt turned to his laptop and typed in something, then turned back to me again, as though he were waiting for more information. I strained my neck to see what he had typed, and almost fell off my chair in laughter. Matt had simply typed on his laptop:


"SCHEDULE FOR TODAY


1. Fires Matt.

2......."

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"What kind of incredulous schedule are you setting up?", I asked him, with no hint of anger in my voice.


"Since you wanted to act petty", he replied, "I believe two could play the game"


I let out an exasperated sigh, and began to give him a run down of my proposed activities for the day.

Matt was annoyingly amazing and that was why I couldn't let go of him. He carried out his duties as though he was being paid millions of dollars for it, and he was always up to date with every single happening in town. As if to prove my point, he immediately asked if I'd be going for the elites ball downtown, later in the evening. I thought about it for a while, and decided that I was going. Here in Buckyard, public appearances contribute a great deal to your stay in whatever position you have in the food chain.


Avoiding these random appearances would paint you as weak, and automatically place a sign on you which would scream "PREY" to every other underworld boss. I had spent a whole lot of time and energy in acquiring the little respect I had in this town, and I wasn't ready to trade it for a minor negligence on my own part.

By this time, my whole staff had resumed and we were ready for today's business.


I had a seven-man crew, and everyone had their specific functions.

Matt was my Personal Assistant, and the closest person to me. He knew virtually everything about me. Well, I trusted him with my life, since he had proven to be a very indispensable ally.

Roselyn was also in charge of shredding vegetables and beef. She was also in charge of disposing dead bodies whenever the need arose. Rosy, as we all called her was the most reserved of all my workers. She rarely spoke, but I knew she loved us all so dearly, as we were the only family she had.

Lydia and Layla were in charge of serving the customers. Ben, stayed in the kitchen, but helped also in serving, when there was a larger number of customers. Elena was in charge of getting fresh supplies from the market, and taking stock of supplies as we used them. Then there was me, the boss. I was more like an overseer and supervisor, even though I and my workers shared a very strong bond.

Asides Matt, who was a vampire, and Rosy, who was a dwarf, the rest of my workers were normal humans. They didn't have the heightened senses and special abilities that they had. Even at that they were fully covered as no one would dare mess with them. If as much as a strand of hair gets missing from any of them, the whole team gets to work and makes sure that the offender is adequately punished.

I had also noticed that Matt had a thing for Lydia, and as such, was overtly protective of her.


I took the remaining few minutes before we would open for the day, to brief my workers about what had happened earlier. How I was attacked by thugs, and how I succeeded in killing them all. I further advised them all to be very careful with their movements around the town, and to always watch each other's backs.


Buckyard was a town consisting of both humans and 'special' humans. For one to be able to survive here, one must be very cautious and absolutely careful of his or her daily activities.


At exactly 8am, which was our usual opening time, we turned the sign from closed to open and almost immediately, customers started trickling in.

I sat down in a chair at the extreme part of the store, and monitored the in and outflow of customers. One could never tell where threats would come from, so I had to study every single person who came into my store.

After about two hours of sales, the morning rush began to subside, and fewer customers came into the store.

There had been no altercations since we opened, and I was beginning to think that the only problems I'd have on my hands today would be the attack I had earlier today. Here in Buckyard, one must always be prepared for emergencies. But then, I already began to feel more relaxed when it happened...


About six men barged into the store with different weapons in their hands. Very few customers were in the store, and all their belongings were collected by the thugs. Matt and Rosy quickly came to stand by my side, and funnily enough, we didn't move an inch. When the thugs finished robbing the few customers, they decided to decided that they hadn't gotten enough just as I thought, and so, marched aggressively to the counter table, to steal from the cash drawer too.


In a flash, Matt had left my side, and disarmed three of the thugs. Before the remaining ones would understanding what was going on, they had been disarmed too, and Rosy had them tied up in no time. From their appearance, it was obvious that they were new to the town, and they did not know anything about me or what I was capable of.


All the items they stole were returned to the still dazed and fear stricken customers who were yet to recover from the initial shock.

I'd have decided to deal with the thugs, but then again, I was very sure that they must have learnt their lesson.


Annie's Food Store wasn't your regular food store. The little encounter they'd had should definitely be enough to drive this down into their skull. Well, if they decided to come back a second time, we'd be ready for them.

I ordered their release, and they almost fell on themselves whilst scrambling for who would first leave the store. I smiled darkly to myself. This was the kind of reputation I wanted for myself. I wanted a fierce reputation, a situation where I wouldn't have to break a sweat in order to instill deep fear into the hearts of people.


The rest of the day went by without much events, just the normal customer service and cooking procedures. In no time, Matt pinged me, to remind me of the function I had to attend. A greater part of me simply wanted to go home and sleep, but I had to fulfill my responsibilities as an underworld boss, so I went outside with Matt through the back door, and got into my car. It was an old truck which definitely was stronger than it looked, and I didn't care about its looks because it served its purpose well enough.

I'd have loved to go without an aide but Matt wouldn't hear anything of it. He almost followed me everywhere I went. I was totally capable of protecting myself, and he knew that, but he always has some excuse to give about him being my spokesman and that his appearance with me gives me more respect. I sincerely doubted that anyone could win an argument with my assistant, and I wasn't ready to start one.


He got into the car with me, his eyes glued to his tablet, while I cranked the engine, and started driving home.



© 2022 Akunne Promise Chidiebube

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