Urban Fantasy

The Divination of Celia Connolly


This book will launch on Jul 31, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

A government agent dies while investigating a mysterious slaying in the remote woods and leaves behind one word with his last breaths:


Celia Connolly is a private investigator who uses magic to help her investigate mysteries in Southern California. When she is approached by a man about his son who is locked away for a crime he did not commit, Celia dives into the investigation. Her investigation intersects with the slaying of her former partner, and the cases may be linked to an active serial killer. The only way she can find the truth is to use a new spell she created: Divination.

As the authorities impede, and at times counter, her investigation, Celia pushes forward and takes risks to find and prove the truth. Will she risk too much, or is she as strong as those around her suggest?

Special Agent Felipe Herrera of the Bureau of Magic Use and Regulation was called to investigate a mysterious death in a remote area of Wyoming near the town of Alpine. On a warm summer evening a camp counselor at a nearby magic camp was leading her campers to a field they used to practice and perform magical spells and charms when she came across the bloody body of a female hiker in the field. When the local sheriff arrived at the scene, they determined her throat had been slashed, but no weapon could be found. The sheriff's department requested a magical investigation because there were no signs or traces of blood anywhere in the field except near the body.

When Felipe arrived at the scene he stepped out of his vehicle and stretched his arms. He drove to the area near Alpine after relocating to the BMUR field office in Cheyenne. Felipe was a mage, one of the most powerful types of magic users in the world. Mages can cast advanced spells because they were trained by Arcanists, the most capable and skillful magic users who act as the teachers for younger advanced magic users.

Felipe scanned the area and noticed the canopy above him was high and dense. Light from the sun pierced through the trees to create a picturesque scene. In the distance Felipe could see either a deer or elk grazing on the foliage. He grabbed his water bottle and shook it to find it empty. He stared at the empty bottle and cast a conjuring spell. Water instantly filled the bottle, stopping near the rim before it poured over the edge. After taking a big gulp, Felipe looked around and found the local deputy sitting in his patrol car. He approached the vehicle and waved to the deputy.

"Afternoon. Special Agent Felipe Herrera, Bureau of Magic Use and Regulation. Here to inspect your crime scene and check for any signs that magic was used in the death of the hiker you found."

"Yeah, I have been waiting. We thought you were going to be here this morning," the deputy responded as he climbed out of his patrol car and stretched his arms and legs, making sure Felipe saw him. He approached Felipe and shook his hand. The deputy then gestured to the clearing a short distance away. "This way."

"Well, it is not exactly easy to find," Felipe responded. "Pretty remote spot. Nothing but trees and mountains." He looked around and could see several birds high in the green canopy above him. He could hear the birds chirping and the running water of the Snake River nearby. Felipe slowly turned to join the deputy and walked toward the clearing.

"I thought you could all teleport?" the deputy asked, stopping to make eye contact with Felipe.

Felipe tried to hide his annoyance with the deputy. "Relocate, not teleport. Only excellent mages can, though. But we still need to know exactly where we are going to avoid disasters. Where is the crime scene, deputy?"

The deputy gestured ahead of them to a well-lit clearing. "Just up through those trees, Special Agent."

"Alright, thanks. I do not really need you up there with me, and it is better for the investigation if you hang back. I can come get you at your car or meet you at the station when I am done, whichever is easier." Felipe was tired from the long drive and did not have the patience for an on-looker who did not see much magic.

"Works for me. Take your time, I will get some lunch." The deputy turned around and returned to his vehicle and closed the door. Before driving away, he used the radio, but Felipe could only hear the muffled sounds of the call and response.

Felipe rolled his eyes as he turned and walked toward the clearing to which the deputy pointed. The foliage was thick here, but the body was found in a small clearing in the trees. Now that he was among the trees, Felipe noticed the earthy smell and took a deep breath to enjoy the clean, crisp air. When he arrived at the spot marked as where the body was found, he cast a revelation spell to detect lingering essence, which all magic leaves behind when it is used. At least, he thought he cast the spell.

I have not failed a spell cast since I was twelve, he thought. And no essence burns on my hands, so the spell did not fail. Is something blocking magic here? He took a deep breath and tried his cast again, but still nothing happened. That spell did not fail. So, what, no one's come through here for years and cast a single conjuring or illumination spell? That is impossible.

Bewildered, Felipe meandered around the clearing, looking for anything that could be an anti-magic device. After searching the clearing, he turned and walked into the woods opposite from where he had entered the clearing. Determined to test his ability to use magic, he refilled his canteen with a conjuring spell. Okay what was that about? I wonder if I can cast a revelation spell up here. He cast the spell again and the area lit up with a hazy, orange-red dust that filled the area in the woods. I knew there had to be some lingering essence here. The lingering essence was much denser in some areas, signifying that advanced spells had been cast at those locations. He walked around the area and inspected the essence he revealed. After a few moments, he noticed that it stopped in what appeared to be a circular pattern around the clearing, revealing a void of lingering essence around the body.

"What could have cleared the lingering essence? It cannot be hidden, can it?" Felipe said aloud. He walked into the clearing but could not find any clues as to what happened to the lingering essence.

Felipe backtracked into the woods and took his phone out of his jacket pocket. He recorded some notes about the scene and then scrolled through his contacts. When he looked up, he saw a small fluorescent green circle floating just a few feet in front of him. "Who's there?! I see your portal," he shouted, nervously twisting to scan the area. Magic portals were powerful magic which required more than one capable mage to channel, and Felipe was searching the area for the mages.

Felipe did not see anyone nearby and turned to face the portal. He slowly stepped toward it and leaned in to see if he could see any clues about the portal's origin. Just as he got close, a knife suddenly flew through the portal at him. Before he could react, the knife sliced his throat with extreme precision. It then slowly floated back through the portal and disappeared into the green abyss.

Felipe felt the warmth from the blood on his neck and quickly considered his options. He determined that even if he relocated to a familiar hospital, they could not stop the bleeding in time. At that moment, Felipe knew he would die, and knew he had to pass on the information about the lingering essence. This cannot be a coincidence. The absence of any lingering essence must be significant. I need to tell someone what I found.

BMUR Special Agent Felipe Herrera, with his life fading, cast one last spell before he died. At that time, no one watching him would have been able to tell that a spell had been cast. However, with his last act before he died, Felipe had cast a recordation spell just in time to capture his final thought. It contained only one word: Celia.

About the author

My name is Brian J Purcell. I have a day job as an attorney and a fanatic of sports and movies, as well as a bit of a gamer. I enjoy reading fantasy, science fiction, and mystery thrillers. It all started for me with R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books and Sherlock Holmes. view profile

Published on May 08, 2020

Published by

50000 words

Genre: Urban Fantasy

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