The tall man peered over the bed of the truck, and with the subtlest of gestures, Hattie pinched the light around the brandy cases. She wasn’t as close to the cases as she’d like to be. Every inch of distance between her and her illusions meant more effort. Which meant more sickness once it was over. It was too late to close in now. Any motion toward those bottles could be construed as ill intent, and might even draw a gun from the G-men’s holsters.
The man’s eyes swept along the bed of the truck. She could feel his gaze on her illusion, rolling like a ball up and down the fabric of the pinched light. Just as the nausea began to swell inside her belly, the tall man scribbled something on his pad and turned away.
“Looks in order,” he declared as he took a step back.
Hattie released a breath and waited for the right moment to drop the illusion.
“Hang on,” the double-chin blurted. “What kind of oil?”
The tall man shook his head a couple times, then turned with a lifted brow.
“Olive oil. You know. For cooking?” Hattie told him.
Short and ruddy took a step toward the truck, reaching for the crates. Hattie redoubled her light pinch, hoping he didn’t pull the bottle fully out of the crate.
Her stomach twisted into a fiery knot as she put the full weight of her powers onto the illusion, now manifesting it into two dimensions…sight and touch.
The short man held the bottle up to the sunlight. His gaze pressed hard into her illusion, sending shocks of pain into her chest. But she maintained focus, ensuring the man saw green glass with golden oil, not an amber bottle of embarrassingly young brandy.
He lifted the bottle to his face, giving it a sniff.
Hattie whimpered as the illusion flooded the man’s nostrils with the aroma of olive oil.
Don’t taste it. Don’t taste it. That fourth dimension would be too much for her to handle at this distance. She’d pass out. And probably wake up in the hoosegow.
The man drew in a second sniff, then a third.
Hattie’s heartbeat pounded in her neck, all the way down to her feet. Her guts lurched in waves as he breathed in the illusion, then breathed it back out. The ground softened, and she gripped the side of the truck to keep from falling over.
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