There is something about driving that is both soothing and mind-numbing at the same time. I discovered this as I headed back toward Virginia and Quantico. My name is Agatha Blackmore, and I am a Witch. I’m still a very new agent, but I’m the FBI’s first official Witch. That fact alone puts a heavy burden on me. Am I good enough for the service? I spent three years training for this job. I’d like to think during my time in the field I was able to contribute unique skills.
“Can we sing another round? I’m just starting to get the hang of this song!”
I winced. “NO! No more singing! Do not make me lock you in the bathroom again.”
“Why not? It’s such a fun song.” Fergus my mini-Unicorn and familiar burst into song again.
“99 bottles of root beer on the wall…”
I almost slammed on the brakes of the RV and carried out my threat. By the Gods, if I had to listen to that for another hundred miles? They would have to take me down from that bottle strewn wall. I love Fergus, but his singing leaves much to be desired. I’m starting to think Chuck taught him the song just to irritate me.
My partner and boss, Jack Dalton, usually drives this rig from place to place, but he arranged to take a mini- vacation at his home in Dallas. I hung out in the area for a couple of weeks and managed to find more trouble on my own, but that is a story for another time. Jack hadn’t been home for over a year. His wife has more patience than I would have. She just wanted him home for a time.
“Agatha, are you sure you can handle the rig? It’s a bit ungainly.” Jack sat in the passenger seat of the Magical Crimes truck.
“Grandmother taught me to drive with her Land Rover. I spent time learning to handle Chuck’s car. Cat was able to teach me the right way to drive, correcting all the misassumptions I was making. Chuck’s Riviera may be old, but it drives like a dream.”
“A ‘72 Riviera isn’t a class C camper. There is a huge difference between the two.” Jack said giving me the eye.
“I know that Jack. I’m not stupid. Gram’s Land Rover is a relic, but it drives very similar to this except the steering wheel is on the wrong side. The front half of this is just like a truck, right?”
“It is. This one has a Mercedes body. It was custom built especially for us and uses diesel instead of regular gas. Remember that for fill ups. It weighs around 54,000 pounds empty. With the modifications and our equipment, you really need the extra power provided by the diesel. You have to take wide turns, very wide turns with it. It’s a real beast.”
I nodded. All spring and summer I had watched as he manhandled the RV around the country. “If I practice, can I drive it?”
Jack pursed his lips and looked in my direction again. “Let’s find out. Mustang field isn’t all that far from here. The area around the runways and hangars is still paved. We can use that to practice on.”
I wasn’t allowed to drive until we got to the old airfield. A sign over the entrance read Mustang Field. All the building looked in disrepair and abandoned.
“What is this place?” I peered into one of the hangers as we drove by.
“This was a secondary supply and training field during the ‘40s for the Demon War. Pilots trained here both during and after the war. This was way before the FAA took over and regulated everything. Today only the National Guard uses it along with hobbyists. The developers keep closing in on it. Soon it will be nothing but houses.” He drove us past the hangers to the edge of the runways.
“Switch with me.” Jack hopped out of the driver seat and went around to my side. “Do you need to get out?”
I shook my head and hopped over the console and into the driver's seat. After making some minor adjustments, I was ready.
“Now. The main runway is 3500 feet long, so lots of room to drive on. There are aircraft turns every thousand feet so use those to turn with. Take it easy. This rig is a tiny bit top-heavy and will tip over with too sharp a turn.” Jack mimed turning too sharply.
“Is that where the dents up on the driver’s side roof came from?”
Jack blushed a bit. “It is. I was chasing a rogue and all I had at the time was the rig. I almost had him too. Took a corner too tight and over she went. Lesson learned.”
“I wondered. Anything else I should know about driving it?”
“You’ve driven with me and have seen me follow the break down checklist. Too many people forget about the list and rip out the cables or water or even the sewer pipe. The list is there for a reason. Always, and I do mean always, do a walk around before driving off. Before I had it installed on the roof, we used to have a portable uplink unit. I was in a hurry one night and backed right over it. Command made me pay for that one out of my own pocket. Three thousand dollars is a lot of money! So follow the list.”
He watched as I made my first turn and lined up for a second one. “You’re right. This is a beast to drive.” I could feel the entire weight of the rig as we went around the corner.
“Good, you feel it too. Now I want you to make a sudden stop Now!” I slammed on the brakes at forty-five mph, and it felt like the back wheels lifted off the ground. Unlike Gram’s little truck, this thing didn’t stop right away and actually took more than seventy-five to one-hundred extra feet to stop.
“It’s the weight. Keep a wide distance between cars especially on the highway. You cannot stop on a dime without using magic. Remember that, and you will survive this. Gradual stops are the way to go. Leave plenty of room in front. Semi-trucks are worse than this. Including the bigger Class A rigs. Ask your friend Anastasia about hers sometime.”
I looked down the runway and had an idea. “Could I use Magick to protect and stop it?”
“I don’t know. You are the expert in that. Let’s try it. If we tip, you get to right it.” Jack double checked his seat belt.
Pretending it was a chase, I floored the gas pedal, and the RV surged forward. I could see the turn coming up and focused a spell on protecting the RV and making the center-of-gravity shift and bend with motion. In theory, we should be able to keep all four tires on the ground. I released the spell just as I made the turn.
“Whoa…” It was if we were in slow motion. As I turned the wheel, I kept expecting the rig to slide or tip, but nothing happened. We slid around the curve and into the next lane at the top speed of fifty-eight miles-an-hour, which was insane and scientifically impossible. But then Magick was an impossibility too.
“Awesome! Agatha that was incredible. What about stops?” I slammed on the brakes to find out.
Suddenly stopping at the speed I was going should have sent any loose objects flying forward and us slamming into the windscreen. We stopped as Jack later said ‘on a dime.’ It was indeed awesome.