A Dubious Magic story. This takes place immediately after the events of The Wizard of Waramanga… Check out the Marketplace page to order the book!
They’d made it into Barandilla not long after sunset.
You couldn’t call Barandilla a town. It didn’t even appear on a lot of maps. On a lonely stretch of the highway running through the Central Australian desert, it had a pub, two petrol pumps – one of which had an ‘Out Of Order’ sign that had hung on it so long it had almost faded to illegibility – and a stray dog.
‘Bob’s Hotel’ served as a rest stop for passing trucks and the occasional drover, and a social hub for folks from the surrounding cattle stations.
It had been a long day. Well, that was probably an understatement. The four of them had been shot at and almost consumed by a gigantic demon from some dark Other Dimension before narrowly escaping the cataclysmic cave-in of an underground military complex. No wonder Wilko, Darren and Scarlet had just wanted to have a quick meal then go crash in their respective rooms.
John B. Stewart was still too wound up to sleep, though. Since hitting his head on a Canberra poker machine he’d found he had a strange wizardly power. His wishes came true, although not necessarily in ways he anticipated. It had been his unpredictable magic that had gotten them into danger, and admittedly out of it. Bidding his friends goodnight he went to get as good a Scotch as he could find.
As well as the dining room, there were two bars in Bob’s Hotel. John B. very deliberately chose to walk into the less well-lit option.
There was only one other customer. Sitting near the end of the bar was a dusty Aboriginal wearing the checked shirt and jeans that were almost the local uniform. He looked up at John B. then quickly looked back down at his beer, considerable surprise on his face.