Home > To Kill A Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil #1)

To Kill A Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil #1)
Author: H.P. Mallory

ONE

There was no way in hell I was looking in the mirror.

I knew it was bad when I glanced down. My stomach, if that’s what you wanted to call it, was five times its usual size and exploded around me in a mass of jelly-like fat. To make matters worse, it was the color of overcooked peas—that certain jaundiced yellow.

“Wow, Dulce, you look like crap,” Sam said.

I tried to give her my best “don’t piss me off” look, but I wasn’t sure my face complied because I had no clue what my face looked like. If it was anything like my stomach, it had to be canned-pea green and covered with raised bumps. The bumps in question weren’t small like what you’d see on a toad—more like the size of dinner plates. Inside each bump, my skin was a darker green. And the texture…it was like running your finger across the tops of your teeth—jagged with valleys and mountains.

“Can you fix it?” I asked, my voice coming out monster-deep. I shouldn’t have been surprised—I was a good seven feet tall now. And with the substantial body mass, my voice could only be deep.

“Yeah, I think I can.” Sam’s voice didn’t waver which was a good sign.

I turned to avoid the sun’s rays as they broke through the window, the sunlight not feeling too great against my boils.

I glanced at Sam’s perfect sitting room, complete with a sofa, love seat, and two armchairs all in a soothing beige, the de facto color for inoffensive furniture. Better Homes and Gardens sat unattended on Sam’s coffee table—opened at an article about how beautiful drought resistant plants can be.

“You have nine eyes,” Sam said.

At least they focused as one. I couldn’t imagine having them all space cadetting out. Talk about a headache.

Turning my attention from her happy sitting room, I forced my nine eyes on her, hoping the extra seven would be all the more penetrating. “Can you focus please?” I snapped.

Sam held her hands up. “Okay, okay. Sheesh, I guess getting changed into a gigantic booger put you into a crappy mood.”

“Gee, you think?” My legs ached with the weight of my body. I had no idea if I had two legs or more or maybe a stump—my stomach covered them completely. I groaned and leaned against the wall, waiting for Sam to put on her glasses and figure out how to reverse the spell.

Sam was a witch and a pretty damned good one at that. I’d give her twenty minutes—then I’d be back to my old self. “Was it Fabian who boogered you?” she asked.

The mention of the little bastard set my anger ablaze. I had to count to five before the rage simmered out of me like a water balloon with a leak. I peeled myself off the wall and noticed a long spindle of green slime still stuck to the plaster; it reached out as if afraid to part with me.

“Ew!” Sam said, taking a step back from me. “You are so cleaning that wall.”

“Fine. Just get me back to normal. I’m going to murder Fabian when I see him again.”

Fabian was a warlock, a master of witchcraft. The little cretin hadn’t taken it well when I’d come to his dark arts store to observe his latest truckload delivery. I knew the little rat was importing illegal potions (love potions, revenge potions, lust potions…the list went on) and it was my job to stop it. I’m a Regulator, someone who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to ensure they’re not breaking any rules. Think law enforcement. And Fabian clearly was breaking some rule. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have turned me into a walking phlegm pile.

Sam turned and faced a sheet of chocolate chip cookie mounds. “Hold on a second, I gotta put these in the oven.”

She sashayed to the kitchen and I couldn’t help but think what an odd picture we made: Sam, looking like the quintessential housewife with her apron, paisley dress and Stepford wife smile and me, looking like an alien there to abduct her.

She slid the cookies in, shut the oven door and offered me a cheery grin. “Now, where was I? Ah yes, let me just whip something together.”

Kneeling down, she opened a cupboard door beneath the kitchen island and grabbed two clay bowls, three glass jars, and a metal whisk. One jar was filled with a pink powder, the next with a liquid that looked like molasses, and the third with a sugary-type powder.

“Sam, I don’t have time to watch you make more cookies.”

“Stop being so cranky! I’m stirring a potion to figure out how the heck I’m going to help you. I have no idea what spell that little creep put on you.”

I frowned, or thought I did.

Sam opened a jar and took a pinch of the pink powder between her fingers. She dropped it in the bowl and whisked. Then she spooned one tablespoon of the molasses-looking stuff into the bowl and whisked again. Dumping half the white powder in with the rest, she paused and then dumped in the remainder.

Then she studied me, biting her lip. It was a look I knew too well—one that wouldn’t lead to anything good.

“What?” I demanded.

“I need some part of your body. But, it doesn’t look like you have any hair. Hmm, do you have fingernails?”

I went to move my arm and four came up. But, even with four arms, I didn’t have a single fingernail—just webbed hands that looked like duck feet. I bet I was a good swimmer.

“Sorry, no fingernails.”

“Well, this might hurt then.”

She turned around and pulled a butcher knife from the knife block before approaching me like a stealthy cat. Even with my enormous body, I was up and out of her way instantly.

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