Publication Date—May 19, 2015
John Charming. Ex knight. Current monster hunter.
While trying to deal with a monster he can’t bring himself to kill, John Charming soon runs into another problem: Magic and technology don’t mix…so how is a phone sex operation enchanting men through their cell phones?
This is a short story from contemporary fantasy author, Elliott James, within his Pax Arcana world. The first of his novels, Charming and Daring, are available now.
Word count: ~13,000
Once Upon a Time, I was attending a support group for survivors with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We were in the basement of a Methodist church in Verde Vista, West Virginia, sitting on folding aluminum chairs eating sticky pastries and drinking herbal tea out of plain white ceramic cups. Justin, the soft middle aged therapist with a gentle voice and a gray sweater, said that he wasn’t in favor of caffeine at these sorts of things. He probably wasn’t in favor of people shaking him violently and screaming “GIVE ME COFFEE RIGHT NOW MIND FUCKER!” either, so I just sipped the damn tea quietly.
Cassidy was talking at the moment, a brown haired thirty something who had been severely beaten by her ex-husband, Steve, right before he disappeared. “I didn’t see the bills until after he left. Then I couldn’t stop seeing them. We were still legally married, and the credit card companies knew they weren’t going to get any money out of him. He lost his job for calling some kind of sex hotline on his company’s phone if you can believe that. He was thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, a lot of it from calling that number. It was crazy. He was crazy.”
Justin leaned forward, his watery blue eyes intent behind his small square glasses. “So what I hear you saying is, you felt betrayed on multiple levels.” Justin was a bit of a tool, but his good intentions were palpable.
“If it had been drugs, I could have maybe understood it,” Cassidy said. “But he was paying these women…or this woman…just to talk. He had the real thing at home.” She indicated herself. She was quite pretty in a worn, tired, dark-eyed, dehydrated kind of way. “I would have loved to have had more sex!”
“It’s never a good idea to generalize about—“ Justin started, but Cassidy wasn’t finished.