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Aberrant: Children of Heaven - An Unusual Shopping Trip [Complete]

Moira Fitzgerald

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Date: August 12th, 2007

Time: 1:47 p.m.

The bookstore was in an older part of Portland, in a historical district that had experienced a resurgence as a bit of an local arts center for the area. There were lots of little individual shops owned by local small business owners, a miscellaneous smattering of ethnic restaurants and local dives, and a few art galleries. It wasn't terribly far from the main hub of the city, but it was far enough away to not be overridden with the loud noises of traffic or sirens, and you could usually hear the sounds of a street musician, or perhaps a local band playing at one of the random bars in the area.

Sebastian had found the place in the phone book. It was a smallish-looking building on the outside, with a brick facade and a big glass display window that looked into the store. It had the name of the shop written in an elaborate but archaic font on the window that read - or maybe promised - "Ancient Knowledge". Underneath that, in smaller letters, was written the words "Pagan Supplies and Books". There was an elegant but simple display in the window of different types of statuary, with varying gods and religious images from across the world, and there were a handful of books on display that all seemed to have something to do with myths or legends of some sort.

The door itself was dark and heavy, and matched the time frame the building was probably built in. There was a single advertisement posted on the glass that announced a time and date for tarot card readings, a drastic difference from some of the other local shops that had pieces of paper covering their doors, with every possible event in the next four months advertised.

As Sebastian opened the door, some little chimes jingled softly from string over the door. The inside was a lot bigger than it looked, because it was deep, and it wasn't nearly as dark as he had expected from the outside, for the display window let in a fair amount of natural light, and the owner of the shop seemed to have done a good job with the place. There was no harsh, fluorescent lighting in here, everything was lit with warm tones, and the walls were painted a soft, pale sand color. The walls were lined with elegant, built-in bookshelves made of dark mahogany wood and mostly filled with books, though there were occasional spots where pagan-inspired bookends were displayed for sale. There was a small sitting area near the books, with four soft, dark leather chairs and a low coffee table between them. In the middle of the shop, there were simple wooden shelves, made to blend into the background, that were artfully stocked with dozens more statues, and other ornamentation and ritual tools. There were bells, and wands, and incense burners. On another rack, lining the walls closer to the counter and the windows, were simpler shelves, colored light to blend in with the walls. The housed bins and bins of different colored candles of all different shapes and sizes.. hanging on the wall above them were all sorts of different types of incense, and little bags of herbs. There were old fashioned medieval-looking tapestries hanging on the walls, and in the glass cabinet near the front, where the cash register was, were lined up dozens of daggers, from the very simple to the incredibly ornate.

On the wall behind the counter, there were two open doorways, both with heavy pieces of damask fabric hanging over them, although the fabric for both of them was currently pulled back and hooked on a heavy iron tieback that held it off to the side, so someone could step through. One of these two doorways was almost directly behind the counter, and it was from one of these doorways that Sebastian heard sounds of life. The voice that called out to him was female, and young sounding, with a distinct Irish lilt to it. It also sounded a bit distracted, with a touch of rushed thrown in for good measure.

"Welcome ta' Ancient Knowledge! Feel free ta' look aroun', I'll be out in a sec!"

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Sebastian entered the store nervously, he still had half a mind to just jet outta there, it smelled...odd. He was dressed simply, yet stylish in a pair of Tommy Jeans, sheer white button-up over a red Fort Vancouver t-shirt. He had managed to ditch Laura for awhile at the boutique used clothing store across the street. She wasn't happy about separating on their first trip alone, but a Grant had convinced her to let him go do something 'manly'.

He started slowly walking the perimeter of the store, his hands in his pants pockets as he browsed book titles, waiting for something to jump out at him and solve all his problems.

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Suddenly the tapestry behind the counter was pushed aside a little further, and a red-haired woman stepped out from behind it. She was dressed in a long, flowing skirt in tie-dyed shades of brown and green that reminded him of a forest. She was wearing a solid lace-up green cotton bodice as well, over a tan-colored blouse with full sleeves. The only jewelry she wore was an antique-looking round disc made out of hammered silver that hung from a black cord around her throat, and some simple silver teardrop earrings. On anyone else the outfit might have looked like a weak attempt at a Renaissance costume, but on this woman, and in this store, it seemed almost appropriate.

"Well, 'ello to ya, sir. Can I 'elp ya find anythin' in particular?"

She smiled warmly at him, waiting for his response.

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Sebastian gave himself a gold star for not drooling when she walked in. She was easily the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and probably ever would. Her hair danced like flames before his eyes, her sultry body lines moving like the gentle lapping of waves on a resort's sandy beach. If he had dared to look her in the eyes, he would have drowned and been lost for good, but lacking the self-confidence, he stared at the floor, making quick glances up at her as she stood nearby.

He dared not try to introduce himself, or shake her hand, as was proper, he didn't trust his voice and his hands were sweaty messes in his pockets, not to mention they were holding down yet another embarassing possiblity.

Her voice sang like a mockingbird's call to his ears, and it took him a moment to realize that she had asked him a question.

"Uh, yeah, I mean, yes ma'am." he squeeked out, daring a look at the face that would star in his morning shower fantasies for years to come.

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She smiled at him warmly, trying to put the poor boy at ease. He looked awkward, and certainly not like someone who would normally shop at this kind of a store. Maybe he was here on a dare, or just out of curiosity. But she never mocked people who came here, for any reason. After all, the Goddess had her reasons for everything. She motioned around to the shelves, and tilted her head at him.

"Well, if yer lookin' fer somethin' in particular, I'd be the one ta' talk to.. what can I 'elp ya' find, lad?"

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Talk to! Was she crazy?

"Um, well.." Damn she's hot "I'm looking for stuff on.." Laura's gonna kill me. "...the weather."

The flush of embarrassment could be seen through his dark tan like a dirt covered strawberry.

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She seemed to think about that for a moment, her eyes flickering around the store to a couple different places before settling on him again.

"Well, I'm sure we've got somethin' fer ya, lad. Do ya' mind gettin' a bit more specific, then? We've got all kinds o' books on the seasons, if that's what yer lookin' fer.. an' I've got plenty a book on gods and goddesses, includin' weather gods and th' like. All th' old civilizations had at least one or two weather gods or goddesses runnin' aroun' that they worshipped, ya see. Tha crops were too important, an' the weather had a big impact where farmin' was concerned, so they did a lot o'prayin', ya see."

She turned, and leveled a steady look at him with jade-colored eyes.

"Whatever the reason yer askin', the more ya can tell me, the better I'll be able ta be helpin' ya."

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Talking about this long feared topic finally snapped him out of his hormone-induced funk and he finally made eye contact.

"No, none of that," he said shaking his head, "I've already been through that on the net."

How to explain it and not sound crazy?

He looked thoughtful for a moment, "I'm more looking for anything that might relate to how...weather could be... linked to a person..."

His eyes met the floor as he braced himself for the laughter he knew was coming.

This was a mistake, shouldn't have come here.

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"Hmm.. like a personal connection, then? Ya' mean, like the weather seems ta' respond to ya? Hmm.. that is an unusual request.. gimme a momen', an have a seat, if ye like."

She didn't make a single noise of disbelief, for Moira had seen too many things in her life to take anything for granted. She walked over and began to run her fingertips across the books, as if she's searching for something in particular, but she's not sure what.

"Well, I suppose it could be any number o'things.. lessee, here.. I got somethin' on weather witches.. couldn't hurt ta' take a look. Here's a book on Daoist Weather Magic an' Feng Shui. T'aint my sort o'thing, but I know a bit about it, that might be an interestin' one.. and here's one - "Stalked By a Spirit"? Ach, that soun's like rubbish ta' me, Maria musta ordered that one.."

She proceeded to page through some of the different books that were available, sliding most of the ones she wasn't interested aside, although a couple, like the Spirit one, she tossed to the side with a little huff of annoyance. Every once in awhile, she pulled one out and added it to a little stack she had forming in her arms.

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She didn't laugh...? Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea...maybe I might get some real answers...and she's hot, that red hair is wicked!

Sebastian quickly sat down into one of the dark leather chairs, wiping his hands on his jeans as they exited his pockets. Just as he was getting comfortable his butt started vibrating, alerting him he had a text.

Sebastian reached underneath him and pulled out his Sidekick (showing farm animals can be profitable) to see the alert from 'Kitten', Where r u. Sebastian quickly typed out a response, Busy, stay close, will find u. He couldn't leave now, not while the potential for some real answers were so close.

He flipped the phone closed and put it on the small table in front of him, knowing another message would not be too far off, Laura was like that.

He looked up and watched Moira walk around, using her distraction searching for books as cover. Every occasional curve of her ass pressing against the dress sent his thoughts to the gutter.

You're evil, you have a girlfriend, stop looking!

Even the ever-present voice of his mother scolding him for his immoral behavior couldn't stop him from watching her move around the store. Had this woman been the Devil himself, he think he would have found himself walking to Hell holding hands.

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Moira turned back around, flashing a smile at the young man. She walked over to him, and held out the stack of books she had picked out - there were four of them, all on various subjects regarding the weather, or weather magic.

"This ought'ta be a good start, lad. Why don' ya look through em fer' a bit, and if ya' see anythin' that seems ta' suit what yer lookin' for. And here.. I got one other thing ta' show ya."

She walked over to the shelves filled with accessories of all sizes, from statues of angels to large, naturally shaped pieces of semi-precious gemstones that he vaguely recognized from Biology class. Her eyes scanned the figures, then she picked up a small grey colored one, and another one done in white with gold accents.

"Looks like I've got two of 'em, so I'll let you tell me what ya' think, lad."

She walked over, and held up the two statues. Neither of them were exceptionally large, she could hold each one easily in one hand. She held them both up for him to see.

Click to reveal..

"I haf'ta confess, the ancient lookin' one is more my style, but you look like the kind of lad who might like somethin' a bit more active." She grinned at him. "These two statues, they'd be Zeus, the Greek God o'Thunder an' the Sky.. an' the King o'the Gods, fer all that. So he'd be one o'those that ye'd be lookin' fer, I think. Do ya' like either of 'em, lad? I know I keep a statue of the Gods or Goddesses that I relate to aroun'.. perhaps if yer havin' problems with somethin', surroundin' yerself with it might help ya come ta grips with that aspect o'yerself."

She watched the young man patiently to see how he would respond.

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His phone started vibrating again, dancing across the table as she showed him the two statues, but he just ignored it.

Sebastian cracked the first book, hopeful to find something useful at last, "Uh, thanks, but I think Aeolus would be more appropriate if we're talking Greco-Roman." he said without looking up.

He was trying to ignore the rest of what she said, it hit too close to home, he did not want to accept that this was really an aspect of himself. He wanted to find something that said he was full of iron filings or his electrolyte balance was at the root of all this, but that road had been taken to a very, very dead end.

However, he was in a magic shop for crying out loud! There wasn't much hope of a scientific solution to be found here.

"Read this one already, different printing I guess, didn't recognize it." He said, setting the first one aside and picking up the second.

"What about you?" He said, still staring at the book, trying to keep his sweaty hands off the pages, "You know of any cases where the weather reacted to a person, either seemingly coincidentally or purposefully?"

He kept telling himself he wasn't liable to ever see this beautiful woman ever again, so if she thought he was crazy it made no difference, it also allowed him to draw upon some buried courage to have a serious conversation with a girl, a gorgeous one at that.

That windstorm a few months back also spurned his drive, there was no writing off that one as coincidence, even if it had led to some nice 'alone time' for Laura and him.

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Moira looked at the boy with a bit of a surprised expression.

"Ya 'ave done yer research, 'aven't ya, lad? Well, perhaps ye may be right, at that. I hav'ta confess, I've met a few people who claimed such a power, but nothin' they've been able ta' show me so far. I hav'ta admit, I'd be interested in seein' such a thing. An' he's not quite as popular, so if ye'd like a statue o'Aeolus, I'd need ta be findin' one and special orderin' it fer ya."

She sat the statues down, and put her hands on her hips, evaluating him speculatively.

"Tha's not ta say it has'n happened.. only that I 'aven't seen it jus' yet. But jus' cause I'm pagan don' mean I'm gullible, lad, or that I believe in sellin' people false hope. I'm a scientist too, and if I'd known anyone, I'd be tellin' ye about it, I would. An I've looked. Then again, some o'these types of things historically involve emotions, or instinctive reactions, so it'd be a bit difficult to pull outta' yer hat if someone were askin' ye ta demonstrate, now wouldn't it?"

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He was trying really hard not to fall into a cheap Irish accent, but the more he listened to that angelic lilt, the more he started to sound like Lucky.

"Yeah, I assume it would ma'am...and thank you for the offer, but there is no need t'go to such trouble."

Mom would fillet me and send me up as a bar-b-qued burnt offering.

He wasn't particularly amazed that he surprised her, being underestimated was part of his life. The teenage-farm-boy-jock gave him three strikes to work against in first impressions and opportunities to disprove it were rare.

She found out I had an idol, bought from Irish Aphrodite no less, I'd be flogged for sure.

The phone started vibrating again, dancing its way closer to the edge of the table.

She's gonna be so pissed.

Sebastian dropped set the second book down and glanced at the bindings of the last two. "I think I'll be takin'--" he cleared his throat as the strawberry red flared and his fake accent dropped, "I'll take these three ma'am."

He grabbed his phone as he stood up and tucked the three books under his arm. Flipping the phone open with one hand, he read the last message, so not fucking funny sebastian.

So dead.

He didn't bother to reply, nothing he said at this point was going to help him, only stoke the fires more.

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Moira nodded, noticing the consistency that the boy's cell phone was vibrating with, and stepped behind the counter, offering to ring the books up for him. He handed the books over to her, and as she checked him out, she picked up a card and tucked it into the front of the smallest one.

"Here ya go lad.. and I've put my card in this one fer ye. I'll probably be on the lookout for some good material, now that ye've piqued my interest. So if those aren' what ye're lookin' fer, or ye need any more help.. feel free ta' give me a call. The phone to the shop is on there, an' me business line too. Good luck, darlin' - and tell tha' girl tha's ringin' yer arse off ta' calm down a bit, or she's gonna scare ye off."

She winked at him. She didn't know for sure, of course, but it was as good a guess as any. Men only tended to jump when a girl was the one calling.

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"Yeah, I'll tell her that." Sebastian said, with a tone that implied, 'not bloody likely'.

He turned to go, but stopped in mid-step and turned back, "Business line? Wouldn't the shop be the business line?"

Remember those sweet lips Sebastian, you'll never see them again.

"And do you have a bag perchance?" he said walking back to the counter and setting the books down and shoving his phone back in his pocket.

He snagged another business card from the holder and picked up the 'signing pen' with the large silk fairy attached to the top to prevent it walking away. He scribbled down a line of text on the back before handing it to her. "Here's my email, just lemme know if you find anything."

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"Damn, sorry abou' that, lad. And the shop ain' my only business, I deal with historical artifacts, an' sometimes travel ta' visit archeological digs and museum auctions, that sort'o thing. So if ye can't reach me at the shop, an' ye need any information, jus' gimme a ring on the other line - it's an international cell. If I'm not in the country at the momen', I'll do what I can fer ye, and make sure you can pick it up here from Maria at th' shop."

As she spoke she took the books from him, and slipped them into a paper bag that looked as if it were made of recycled paper before holding them out to him. She took the card, and slipped it into the cash register for now. The smile she gave him was a warm one, but playful, and she motioned.

"Well go on, get goin'.. or yer really gonna be in hot water."

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"Thanks, ma'am." he threw back as he started to walk out of the store backwards, getting once last look at the hot Irish girl.

He flipped around just in time to see Laura walking by, punching furiously at her cellphone just before his started vibrating again.

So, so, dead

He dashed out the door and ran to catch up, flying by the storefront quickly.

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