She tore off towards the back roads into the hills. I was glad, for once, that it was dry. The mountains mess with our weather. I know a lot of subtle weather practitioners (many of them unknowing, some of them deliberate) who have nothing but curse words for the natural proclivities of the Rocky Mountains. I am aware of a little of the weather workings as some of it has to do with natural boundaries and ley lines and the like. I’m not into meteorological metaphysics and manifestations, but I’ve felt it, particularly in places with high levels of weird. Boulder doesn’t have as much as, say, down south in Manitou Springs, but for those deliberate weather witches who tell me that weather is a malevolent force angled against mankind, I’m glad Boulder has a bit of its own shielding with the wild mountain magic. At least, I’m glad during those times when I’m in Boulder. Not so much on the Eastern plains where the winds whip through with that seeming intent.

Yeah I bleeping read into things. You can’t be magic and not do it. That’s like a quick route to suicide.

Things get dark pretty quickly here. I was trying not to be too surprised that she moved away from the main college drive, especially since it sounded more likely a set up between someone official making a choice of roommates, but maybe it was a case of friends gone sour. Oh, boy. Another chance to sit in uncomfortable silence, as if here in the car with my ex-girlfriend wasn’t bad enough.

I’ve talked a little about college towns. We’ve got another one in the agricultural district. Greeley has its own weirdness, and I’m not just talking about the question of how anyone can breathe cow the way they do. (Not just cow scent, or the smells they leave behind… it’s like a whiff of all the things domesticated cattle has to offer, and honestly, it’s almost enough to put me off meat until the next time I crave a steak. I’m at the mercy of my desires. Ask the ex.) Places that have their own stories can influence the places where the aetherworld touches them. Like calls to like and all that. I’ve heard tell of parties that open gates to parties on another dimension…but I’d like to think I’m way too smart to attend that kind of party. Of course, there’s always Halloween.

Digressions passed the time well, and it was only a few minutes before we were sliding into a gravelly parking lot. “She got ahold of me over craigslist,” Magda explained. There’s a certain level of argument between technology and magic. Some of the tough guys just can’t do the fine work of interfacing required to link in to the modern world. I’m sure they talk “thees” and “thous” or, at the worst, Latin amongst themselves. They’re also a lot more able to tap into the primitive. Most of the witches I call friends have adapted to the internet age… but they also say there’s some cost to it. There are times I am glad I’ve got the small talent I have, because being without my e-mail for hours can make me twitchy. (And yes, I’ve known technomancers, and I will tell you they are all, without fail, unbalanced. Maybe there is something to the magic/tech argument.)

I slid out of the car with a move I’d describe as terribly smooth, if my ankle hadn’t caught a pebble at the end of it. I hopped away as I closed the car door, luckily not on my own hand. I checked the time.

Midnight is often referred to incorrectly as the witching hour. The truth is, the hour between 3am and 4am is far more sinister. I have that on high authority. Still, there is a boundary that’s passed at twelve in the morning, and I can usually feel it, especially out here in the cold, dark night.

Maggie knocked n the door. “Sylvie?” she called.

It was a moment before someone came down. The building was mostly wood, looking kind of like an old boardinghouse. I wasn’t surprised to see a number of cars in the lot that were nicer than mine. I never could figure out how students had money.

I’d gone to school, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t finish – I had to drop out when the things I saw were more important to me than the reality the schoolwork lived in… I’ve made my money on odd things since. If I had a couple more career changes, I could become a writer.

The smell hit me first as the door opened. Sex. It smelled like sex. I remembered sex.

All too well.

This was not good.