Today’s Friday Flash Fiction prompt made me think of Matthew Stirling, one of the wizard characters in my Triad books, who also appeared in “Bound,” a short story in Not Just Another Pretty Face. There, Matthew is trying hard to get a gift for prescience under control—and is led to a handsome werewolf named Jace for the solution. Since the two got together, Matthew’s got his gift under control for the most part, but sometimes it still pops up without being asked. And he’s learned to pay attention when it does.
Where it Began
The snow was more wet than cold. Matthew raised his umbrella. It was still snow, though. It was definitely snow.
“I feel like maybe I should order beef chow mein.”
Matthew turned. Jace walked up to him holding two cups that steamed in the cold air.
“What?” He took one of the cups, grateful for the warmth and the coffee. Jet lag sucked.
“Beef chow mein? From Lee Ho Fook?” Jace wagged his eyebrows.
“I don’t know it,” Matthew said.
“Children today,” Jace said. “No ear for the classics.”
“A-ooo!” Matthew howled quietly, and poked Jace in the chest. “A werewolf in London.”
“You had me going.” Jace wrapped one arm around him. “So. Where to next?”
Matthew exhaled a small cloud into the air, a huff of frustration. “I’m not sure. It’s…” He bit his bottom lip. “This is exactly what I saw, but…”
Jace squeezed him. The big man regarded him for a few long seconds. “We should have dinner.”
“Beef chow mein?”
“Nah. Something local. Fish and chips, right? That’s a London thing.” He grinned. “And some good stout. I’ve never been out of Canada, and I know we’re not here for fun, but why not?”
Matthew nodded. “Good idea. Although I have no idea what time it is in my head.”
“I’ll go ask where the food is good,” Jace said, and with a quick kiss to Matthew’s forehead, he stepped away from the umbrella, walking back to the stall where he’d gotten their drinks.
Matthew took a sip, and stared back across at Big Ben.
Exactly as he’d been dreaming it, the snow that was almost slush. The few people. The umbrella.
Why here? He knew the Stirlings could trace itself back to London. Hell, most of the Families could. But why a vision of London? It almost never snowed here, and yet here he was, with Jace, coming all this way just for a weekend in December because his dreams—his gift—had shown him this.
Water was his element. Snow and rain. Matthew Stirling closed his eyes, gathered his thoughts, and then opened again to look.
“It started here,” Matthew said. The words were out before he even knew he was going to say anything. His gift was like that sometimes.
Now he just had to figure out what it was.
Jace waved. Matthew turned, smiled, and lowered his umbrella.
This was a long way to come just to figure out he needed to dig through history to figure out what was coming. Still. Jace had a point.
As he walked over, Matthew admired the wideness of Jace’s shoulders beneath his jacket, and the way he moved his hands when he talked to the guy in the coffee stand.
They’d fly back on Monday. After that? He could start trying to figure out what dark thing had begun here that was sneaking its way into his dreams.
And in the meanwhile, he was with a werewolf in London.
“A-ooo,” Matthew said.