Lot gets a helping in hand in her mental library.


‘Manifesting a version of your unconscious mind to slap you across the face?’ She grinned. ‘That’s the sound of mind doctors salivating.’

God, those bloody dimples made me look annoyingly adorable.

She grabbed my waistcoat and hauled me to my feet. ‘No time for laying about.’

I stumbled on a scattering of books and papers. Pain ricocheted through my head and I fell to my knees in leaf mulch. The forest was painted in moonlight and the air heavy with pine but nothing was in focus. There were voices but I couldn’t make out words.

‘Get up, Maguire.’ My unconscious slapped me again.

The forest flickered and I was in the reading area of my library. The lights were dim, candles burning down, fires at embers, and the bookcases around the reading area were in a different order to the one I’d left them in when I woke up that morning. Around us the bookcases were thudding rapidly as if my mental library had been drinking Josef’s coffee.

I rubbed my jaw. At least when I was conscious I could only shout at myself. ‘What’s happening?’ I asked, my brain seemed to be running slow, which was odd given that I was standing in it.

‘Well, I’m only the unconscious part of your mind, therefore the smart bit, I’d guess some kind of magical overload.’

I rubbed my temples before I realised that was pointless. ‘This didn’t happen last time.’

‘Something’s changed,’ she said, looking about. ‘Think fast.’

A wave of pain swept through me and I was back in the snowy clearing surrounded by the shapes of bodies listening to the crying on the other side of the curtain of snow. There was a crunch and a gurgle and the crying stopped. I touched the blood on the snow and it became the library rug.

I could just lie down on the rug and take a nap. Naps could be good for headaches.

The pattern of the rug changed and I was kneeling on the floor in Josef’s bedroom at his house in London. We were tangled on the bed, kissing and laughing.

‘Sex thoughts, now?’ I said.

‘They always perk me up.’

‘True, I suppose.’ I grabbed the edge of the bed and hauled myself to my feet. I could go and find the door to Bran’s mind but what good would that do?

‘Sealed shut by the way, smart move,’ she said.

‘I didn’t do that.’

She cleared her throat. ‘If you want to be technical, I did. Can’t have a magical meltdown leaking over to him.’

I nodded. I almost said I hadn’t thought of that, except I had because I’d done it.

I staggered to the door opened it and stepped through into the same room on another day. We were on the bed; me dozing with my head on Josef’s chest and my hand over his heart, Josef with his arm around me and his hand over mine.

‘Oh, for the love of God,’ I said, a little too loudly.

‘It’s not my fault I have Sef on my mind, given the circumstances.’ She shrugged. ‘Agape, the house, everything. This is the part of your brain that figures everything out, remember?’

‘What’re you think about?’ Past Me murmured without opening her eyes.

‘There’s too many mes here,’ I said.

I opened the door opposite and stepped back into the library.

‘Hark at you, getting it all under control,’ my unconscious said.

The room shut, flickered, and the door thudded in its hinges.

‘Or not.’

‘What’s the likelihood my brain’s going to blow?’ I asked.

‘I’d rather not contemplate,’ she said. ‘But I am, obviously. Thanks for that.’

‘Technically you thought of it first,’ I muttered

She inclined her head. ‘True.’

I leaned against a bookcase. ‘First step is to get the magic under control.’

‘Freyja said, when you lose control, safe space, calming thoughts.’ She gestured at the bed. ‘The fellas are always… distracting.’

I looked at her.

‘I’ve only ever had sex thoughts about these two, give me a break.’

I sighed.

Pain flared in my head. I grabbed a footboard, frowned. It disappeared and I fell on my face on a stone floor. The world was blurred torchlight and distorted sound. I raised my head. There were shapes of people but I couldn’t make out the words. I wanted to put my head down and curl up but I’d only slap myself again. My unconscious seemed to have wandered off.

The scenery flickered between places too fast for me to catch and pain made me curl up.

‘First, magic under control,’ I mumbled. ‘Second, get everything back where it goes. Third… Make sure there’s a third.’ I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

Think safe calm thoughts.

Safe. Calm.

Think… Thinking was getting difficult.

Pain really made thinking hard.


I raised my head. I was still on the blurry stone floor. No children in sight.

‘Muma!’ It was barely more than a whisper in the distance.

I pressed my hands to the floor and pushed myself up, bones cracking and head screaming.


The room flickered. Energy pulsed through me.

I wasn’t going to stay down.

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Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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