minor (canon) distractions
The 2014 collection of Forgotten Relics short stories delves into memories, histories, and characters as yet unrevealed in the series so far, adding depth and mystery to what you know about Cora, Jack, and many other characters in the primary urban fantasy novels.
Relatively spoiler-free for the newbie and 100% canon for the superfan!
+ Cora’s First Sighting
+ Jack’s New Assignment
+ The Gods’ Own Creation Myth
+ Ambrosia Makes Fools of Us All
+ Nix the Pity-Party
+ Hel’s Dying Star
+ Faerie Halfling Seeks Southern Woman
+ The First Day of the Rest of Her Life
+ Handle: 5tilt2k1n
+ A Bloody Office Romance
+ A New Tradition
+ Memo on the Holiday Conflict
excerpt from “Jack’s New Assignment”
The boy starts at the sound of my voice and whirls around to brandish his stick at me like a sword against a dragon. I indulge the metaphor, holding up my hands in mock surrender.
“You got me,” I say.
He stabs the stick at my midsection. “Who’re you?” he demands.
Now that we’re face to face, I’m able to study him properly. Remarkably dark skin, thick eyebrows, bald head, short for his age. But the most striking detail is his ice-blue eyes; I’ve never seen anything like them.
“A friend,” I say, my own eyes locked on his.
He narrows his eyes at me. “Momma said don’t talk to strangers. ‘Specially not grownups.”
“That’s good advice. Let me introduce myself, then. My name is Jack Alexander.” There’s a moment where I stumble over the syllables of my own name, so long unspoken, but he doesn’t seem to notice. I slowly lower my hands and hold one out to him. “What’s yours?” I know it from the dossier, of course, but I need him to trust me.
He squints at my hand, then peers up at me, his dark brow furrowed in concentration. I wait. There’s another crack of thunder, and he seems to come to a decision. He offers his free hand to me, and I gently fold mine around it, stooping as we shake.
“I’m Xavier,” he says with suspicion.
“Nice to meet you, Xavier.” I give him what I hope is a friendly smile. It’s not a natural expression for me. “And now we’re not strangers anymore.”
“What do you want, mister?”
A shrewd question for such a young person. My first impulse is to lie, to sugar-coat the truth or twist it. He doesn’t need to know the reality of his situation. It’ll only complicate the mission; in this job, the truth leads to panic at best or violence at worst. But this assignment is supposed to be my fresh start. A new way to work, a new perspective. I’ve undergone too much to fall back into old patterns.
And so, I opt for honesty.
I let go of his hand and straighten. “You died in a car crash, Xavier, and you got lost. I’m here to take you to Heaven so you can be with your family.”
There’s a ripple in his skeptical expression, then his blue eyes brighten. He smiles so wide I can see which baby teeth he’s lost.
“Mr. Jack, are you an angel?” he gasps.
I manage to maintain a neutral expression as I reply.
“Something like that.”