Most people seem to think of Magic as wish fulfillment. It’s not. It’s more like …
Picture yourself leaving the house early on some quiet summer morning. The sun is just coming up, there’s just a touch of dew, and you notice there are spider webs in the bushes and at spots in the lawn. They’re everywhere. Come back a couple hours later and the spider webs will still be there, but they’ll be much harder to see. You probably won’t even notice them.
Magic is like that – little threads of energy all around us, which we scarcely even notice. You need the right conditions to see it.
You need to be able to see it.
James Scott Patton’s head was pounding when he finally turned his motorcycle into his driveway. The headache had started about the same time as the job fair, and at first he thought it was just nerves, but nerves usually go away after a while. The headache had simply gotten worse, and now it was so bad his vision was getting blurry. He was glad he’d made it home without dumping the bike, or worse.
The sound of the motorcycle and the pop of stones from the gravel driveway under the tires startled the wildlife hanging out in his yard. Squirrels raced up the walnut trees, rabbits stopped nibbling on the daffodils and tried to convince him they were statues, and he saw a fox grab its hat and duck into the bushes.
A fox wearing a hat? I’m seeing things! This headache is worse than I thought, he thought to himself as he parked the bike where the brick walk ended at the driveway. It’s a good thing I’m off the roads.
He locked up his motorcycle, took off his helmet and headed up the walk. The light was bugging his eyes, causing him to squint, but his headache receded as he moved and he was sure he’d feel better once he started chomping on a sandwich and sucking down a beer.
As he approached his kitchen door he noticed there seemed to be a lot of spiderwebs in the bushes. Were those there when I left this morning? I don’t remember them. Strange how golden they look. Must be the sun!
He closed the door behind him, set his helmet on the counter next to the door, and turned back into the room to be stopped by a spider dangling from the ceiling, right at eye level. He wasn’t freaked out by spiders, but coming on one smack dab in front of his face was a bit much. He jerked to a stop then reached out and snagged the spider’s thread. The spider dangled like a yo-yo as he stepped over to the sink and bounced it in the basin a couple of times. Then he reached for the faucet to wash it down the drain.
The spider shrieked at him.
“What are you doing to me, you great, bloody wizard?”
Patton couldn’t believe he heard that. He bent over and stared intently at the spider. That’s not a spider! What is it, an alien? It looked like a tiny man, about half an inch high.
“What are you?” he asked the homunculus. Even though he peered intently at it his eyes refused to focus, and his headache came back with a vengeance.
“What am I? I’d think that if your brain were even half the size of your wee tiny penis a big fuckin’ wizard like you would know a Sprite when you saw one! Now let go of me and I’ll be on my way!”
“What are you doing in my kitchen?”
“Your kitchen! This is my home! I’ve lived here all my life, and now it’s your kitchen? Damn wizards! Stomping all over the magical world just cause they’re bigger. I have half a mind to kill you in your sleep! I could, you know. I could climb up your nose and bite your shriveled worthless brain, and I would, too, except I’d get snot all over my wings and be stuck inside your rotting corpse!”
Surprised by this outburst, Patton let go of the spider thread. The sprite immediately took off, turning into a blur that he could barely follow as it headed toward a hard-to-dust corner over the kitchen cabinets.
I can’t believe that just happened! I must be hallucinating, or something. Patton closed his eyes and shook his head, and then cautiously opened them again. The headache was gone for the time being, but in its place he felt drained somehow. Perhaps that sandwich and beer.
He started with a beer, then dug out another one when he was done fixing his sandwich. He went out back to eat on the patio, but it was still too early in the spring to do that. He only managed to eat half of it before heading back in to the warmth of the kitchen.
As his strength returned, so did his headache. This is bad, I’d better get some Dramamine before I get too nauseous, he thought to himself. He left the remains of his dinner on the counter, grabbed a jacket and headed out to the garage, putting his motorcycle away before he hopped into his winter beater.
The old, rusted out car eventually started and left a faint trail of burned motor oil all the way from his house to the Pittsford Wegmans. It was very out of place parked in with all the Lexus and Mercedes SUVs, but that was fine with him. He was only here for the drugs.
It was probably the way they were dressed that caught Patton’s eye. Three women in gypsy costumes in an upscale suburban grocery store, where every other woman in sight was headed home from work dressed “business casual”. No one paid any attention to their unusual clothes. It was as if he was watching one of those commercials where dirty guys in Viking costumes chase a goat through Las Vegas and everyone treats them as normal. Surreal, in other words.
Maybe it was the way they moved. They seemed to be walking like everyone else, yet at the same time their steps were smooth, floating, graceful, almost as if their feet never touched the floor. He was sure he could see their feet, yet he couldn’t tell if they were wearing shoes, ballet slippers, or were barefoot.
He finally got around to noticing their features. They looked like sisters, yet there was also a sense of significant age differences, as if one were 25, one 35, and one 45, but his eyes were so messed up that he couldn’t tell the color of their hair or eyes, or even the colors of their skin or their clothes. Maybe he needed more sleep, or something. He just couldn’t focus.
The youngest one noticed him first, then all three looked at him. He realized he was staring at them, so he looked away and tried to resume his shopping, but they came over to him.
“You have the Sight,” said the youngest. “It is rare for one your age to come into it,” said the middle one. “It is lucky you encountered us when you did,” said the eldest. “We can help,” they all said together.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You have just begun the magical journey,” “and need guidance to help develop your senses” “before they drive you mad.” The youngest started the sentence, passed it to the middle sister, who passed it on to the eldest. “Let us help you start your transformation,” they said in unison. This is turning into one crazy conversation, he thought, which I guess was about par for the day.
“I don’t understand. What transformation?” Patton was getting more confused by the minute. Was the store slowly starting to spin? He really needed to find that Dramamine, but seemed to be rooted to the spot.
The two younger sisters looked at the eldest, who took charge of the conversation. “Let me introduce us. These are my sisters Yvonne and Margaret, and I am Elaine Gruff. We can tell that you have just awakened to magic, and without help it will drive you insane. Perhaps you’re already thinking that you’re going crazy. Things look different, colors are strange, and you may be feeling a little nauseous. We can help you.” A business card appeared in her hand and she pressed it into his.
Yvonne, the 25 year old, took over. “When you’re ready give us a call. But please don’t wait too long. Things will just keep getting stranger to your senses, and you need to act before the madness takes root. Once it does your journey’s path will be much more difficult.”
Margaret finished the conversation. “The Dramamine you’re looking for is two aisles over, third shelf from the top, on your left next to the post.” She smiled and they all turned and headed for the checkouts.
“Uh, thanks!” Patton always know just what to say to women. Right. He found the Dramamine right where Margaret said. It helped, but only a little. Sleep helped more.