Black Magic - Chapter 6 (Revised)
 

Chapter 6

“Why are you asking me about that?” Blaine asked me in Advanced Bio.  I had just asked him about the Caleb is gay controversy.  “That happened months ago.”

            “So what?” I asked.  “There are obviously still some hard feelings about it.”

            “Why do you say that?” he asked.  He wasn’t really fooling me with the trying to act like this was no big deal.  His reaction to my asking the question said otherwise.  He was horrified I had brought it up.

            “Come on.” I said.  “It was one of the first things Angel told me after the first day of lab.”

            “Oh you mean the day you mysteriously almost burnt off your eyebrows.”

            I wasn’t sure if it was a good thing that he had just reminded me that I actually had used the magic before Monday night.  I was still confused about everything Debra had told me, especially the last thing that she had told me.  The fact that I had almost caused serious damage to my pretty good facial features didn’t really help matters.

            “Don’t try and change the subject,” I snapped at him.  It was a little harsh, but I wanted to get the point across that he wasn’t going to get out of answering my question.

            “Okay,” he sighed.  “What do you want to know?”

            That was a little too easy.  I expected him to put up a little more of a fight considering what I had just witnessed. 

            “A couple of things,” I said.  I might as well ask for it all.  “Did you actually do it, and if you did, why?”

            He didn’t answer right away, and I was content to just let him wait as long as he wanted.  I still wasn’t really sure why I wanted to know this information.  None of it had anything to do with what was going on in my life right at that moment, but I was just curious.  There was something about it that bothered me, and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.  

            “Well it didn’t happen exactly the way it was said,” he started and then stopped waiting for what appeared to be a reaction from me.  When he didn’t get one, he continued.  “Actually, it was one of my friends who had actually said it.  She liked Caleb, and she had the ridiculous idea that the only reason why he didn’t like her was because he was gay.  She thought Angel was just a front to try and snow people.”

            “It actually wouldn’t be that ridiculous.  It’s not like it hasn’t been done before.”

            “Please.  Do you actually think that is true of those two?”

            “No. I don’t.  I’ve seen enough of their antics.”

            “Believe me.  It was no different back then. They might have been worse.  Anyway, my friend and I got into a little small argument about it in study hall.  In no way did I ever say Caleb was gay.  Even though, I kind of wished he was.  I did have a crush on him.”

            “You don’t have a crush on him anymore.”

            “Girl, I got over that.  Besides, I don’t think he would have took it too well if he had found out I did.  I think he only tolerated me because of Angel.  Angel and I had always got along really well before. For some reason, when this started, I knew she would be more upset than Caleb.  Plus, Bret would keep Caleb from doing anything really stupid, and keep Caleb calm.  So I really wasn’t surprised that Angel was actually more upset than Caleb was.”

            “You mean Bret doesn’t have the same effect on Angel?” 

“I’m sure you know the answer to that question is no.”  He was right.  I even had a hard time keeping Angel calm when she was dealing with some of the more outrageous customers at work.  “Bret was one that didn’t really like fighting over petty things that didn’t really matter, and that honestly is one of the reasons people like him so much, besides him being hot.  Even though he usually was able to get Caleb to listen to reason, he could never get Angel to listen.”

“And this didn’t matter?”

“Not at all,” he answered.  “I wasn’t even sure how this got out.  All I knew a couple of days later, Angel was basically ripping my head off.  The funny part was while no one believed it was true, she was real quick to believe I had said it.  She never asked me if I had actually said it.  Caleb had never said anything about it; at least he didn’t to me.”

This whole thing was some ridiculous stuff and had the makings of the plot of a bad teen movie.  This just didn’t happen in real life, and I wasn’t even sure this made any more sense now then it did before.  The one question I didn’t ask Blaine was how he ended up being the fall guy for something he didn’t even say.   However, after thinking about it, I was able to figure out a possible solution.  It didn’t take much for a little bit of the truth to be distorted when being spread around.  There was also a little bit of inconsistency between what Bret and Blaine had told me.  Blaine had said Bret had kept Caleb calm, however Bret had said Caleb was surprisingly calm about it and the fact Caleb was so calm was a little surprising to Bret.  At the least it implied Bret did nothing to keep Caleb calm.

“Where you upset that she was so mad at you?” I asked him.

“Not really.” He said with confidence.  “It was kind of my fault anyway.  It was a conversation I should have never had in study hall anyway.  Too many people could overhear.”

As good as it was for him to take at least a little bit of responsibility for what happened; I didn’t think he should have had to take the whole responsibility.  Angel going over the deep end about it didn’t really surprise me either.  I actually thought the only one who handled this whole thing properly was Bret, and he wasn’t even a part of it.  Not going crazy over petty things that don’t matter?  I thought the big lug was trying to make me fall in love with him, and I had to admit it was definitely working.     

I decided to drop it.  I didn’t learn anything that was significant.  However, there was one thing I didn’t miss that was pretty interesting, and it had a lot more to do with what he didn’t say as opposed to what he said.  When Angel was all in his face, he never said at the time that he denied saying it, which he could have done.   That rang true with Angel saying that he never denied saying it.  I mean he denied it to me, but he didn’t deny it to the two people who mattered.  Oh, well, I was done with it.  The whole thing was stupid anyway. 

Blaine and I continued to work up until the end of the class.  We actually got a lot done in lab for once.  This was by far my favorite class, unlike English, which I was starting to hate more and more every week because of the increasing stress.  After class was over, Blaine quickly took off.  It was at that time that I noticed that I never saw him outside of the one class we shared with each other.  For two people who knew so much about each other, I would have thought the two of us would talk more than once a day.  Of course part of the reason was because Bret liked to spend all of his free time with me at school.  This seemed to be the case today because he stayed true to his word that he was going to be all over me the whole time, and it was a good thing that we only shared one class together.    When I left Advanced Bio I didn’t run into Angel like I usually did on our way to lunch, so I started to make my way to the cafeteria alone.  It was a welcome break from the regular routine.  I was able to think about things I hadn’t really thought about all day. 

The main thing was about everything Debra told me about the day before.  I didn’t really understand how I was more of a danger for myself than I was to anyone else.   It is very easy for me to kill anyone with this supposed innate ability of black magic.  Hell, I had done it once without knowing what I was doing.  Was she trying to say I could end up using the magic on myself if I wasn’t careful?  Considering what I had done in class last week, I thought it was a good possibility.    There was no doubt in my mind the fire from the Bunsen burner was my own doing.  An uncontrolled use of the magic, that had I been paying attention at the time and not worrying about some boy, I probably would have had a clue as to what was about to happen.  Then there was the question of why me?  Why did I have this ability and what did it mean?  What the hell was I supposed to do with it?  I wasn’t one who was really looking to go out and save the world.  Isn’t that what happened in all of the movies?  I would rather not.  Another thing that bothered me was that she said that everything that happened all had to do with my being with Bret.  Then again, she also said that it was inevitable that Bret and I would end up a couple.  She had also implied that my ability to use the magic also had to do with Bret.  However, the incident in Advanced Biology had happened before we had even gone out.  It was even before I had accepted the invitation to go out with him.  I was starting to get really confused.    Then there was her statement that Bret was the only one I could trust.  Of all the things she had said, that was the most reassuring.  At least I didn’t have to worry about the guy I liked going bad on me.  That however, didn’t say much for anyone else.  One, or likely more, of my supposed friends were trying to ruin things for me.  Still, what could they do now?  What was the whole point of it?  I killed the guy that was supposed to have been used against me.  It was funny how I could think it without cringing.  I had definitely come to accept what had happened, but I haven’t accepted the reasons for it, what ever those reasons were. 

I entered the cafeteria, got my food, and sat down in my usual spot.  Still, Angel had not showed, and I didn’t have much time to wonder where she was.  Bret showed up a few minutes later, and he was also alone.  It had since gotten a little warm outside, but he was still wearing his letter jacket.  This was by far the most he had ever looked like a stereotypical jock, but I guess that wasn’t a fair assessment since each day he seemed even less stereotypical, not to mention a lot more likeable.  Maybe Debra did know what she was talking about when it came to our relationship with each other.  Following the path Caleb had previously set, he had cut his hair.  However, unlike Caleb, he looked more like a Marine, a very good looking one.  It gave him a whole different kind of sexual appeal that’s for sure.  I thought I liked the longer hair better, and I was none to happy locks of his hair that I could run my fingers through were now gone.    However, I probably could still achieve that because even though he was working the high and tight style, he had a little too much hair on the top of his head, and it wasn’t spiked in the way that was quite common around here.  It lay flat on his head rather nicely, and the effect of the cut brought out his eyes more.  He quickly flashed that patented smile of his when he reached the table.

“Finally, we get to eat lunch together alone,” he said.  “Let’s go out to the courtyard, it’s a lot warmer out there.”

I picked up my food and followed him while saying, “What’s with you and liking to be outside while eating?”

            He shrugged, “I’m an outdoorsy type person.  Here, I thought you were also.”

            “And I thought you were supposed to be an expert on us sistahs.  We don’t like getting dirty or having flies on our food.”

            He ignored me and led me outside.  He quickly saw a spot that he liked.  It was under a tree that was in the corner of the yard.  It was actually a good spot, if not a little cool under the tree. 

            After we sat down, I said, “What’s with the hair?”  Then I proceeded to rub the back of his head.  For some reason, I loved the feeling of stubble.

            “Don’t touch the hair,” he said while grabbing my hand a little too hard.  I responded by punching him square in the arm.  “Damn, why do you have to hit so hard?”

            “Please, you sound worse than my brother, and he’s use to me beating the crap out of him,” I said, laughing at him while he rubbed his arm.  “Sorry, grow up around a bunch of boys you very quickly learn how to defend yourself.”

            He quickly wrapped his arm around me and pulled me close to him.  “Ah, so you were a tomboy as a girl?  Why am I not surprised?”

            “Well until about twelve.  Then I started to get very noticeable girl body parts and the boys started looking at me differently.”

            “I like your girl body parts.” That earned him another punch in the arm, and he quickly said. “Sorry.”  He looked at me sheepishly.  “I guess that explains how you’re such a fast runner.  You must have spent too much time racing boys.  I bet you use to clean their clocks.”

            I laughed at his choice of words.  He seemed impressed and it was great.  “Pretty much.   It’s why I had to fight so much as a kid.  Boys don’t like girls who run faster than they do.  I use to get into so many fights my mom had to me put in a Track Club just to keep me out of trouble.  You know, I might have run track even without having joined a track club, but because of it, I had started to get serious about it.  I really enjoy it.  Of course it’s a lot of hard work, and very little reward.  Track Runners don’t usually become big studs like you baseball players do.”

            He shrugged.  “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”  He then turned the conversation back to me, effectively dodging my pathetic attempt to make the conversation about him.  “Do you think you could ever run in the Olympics?”

            I thought about this for a second and said.  “I had always dreamed of winning Olympic Gold while setting a world record.  Watching the US sprinters get their butts handed to them by the Jamaicans this past summer was a little unsettling.”

            “You should have seen Brianne,” he said laughing.  “She was throwing things at the TV when both relay teams dropped the batons.”   

            It was funny because I thought Bret’s interest in track was all just a ruse to use as an excuse to try to get to know me.  It seems that he was really a big sports fan, and not just a baseball fanatic.  I was sure he had a working knowledge of just about every professional sport, including golf.  I was probably like the dream girl to him.  A girl who actually had an interest in things athletic was usually a turn on to most guys.  At least, that was what every magazine I had read said.  Now, if Bret had played hockey I would have really been impressed.  I’ve always like hockey.  I think it was just because of the fights.

            “As far as actually going after that dream,” I said.  “If I had the opportunity, I would definitely go for it.  My main goal is to be a doctor.”

            “Ah want to follow in daddy’s foot steps, huh?”

            “What’s wrong with that? “

            “Nothing,” he said.  “My dad would love for me to follow in his foot steps, but I have other ideas.”

            “Oh so Mr. Spencer doesn’t like lawyers?”

            “No, he doesn’t, not that it matters.  The law is just something for me to fall back on anyway.”

            Was he really trying to get drafted professionally?  I was just kidding when I had asked him about that yesterday.  However, before I could ask him to clarify the bell had rung ending lunch.  Bret quickly got up and put his backpack on both shoulders, and then he picked up both of our trays, bent over and kissed me, and then said.  “I’ve got to walk to the other side of the school.  I’ll call you tonight.  God knows I’ll need your help studying those Shostak words.”

            “Sure.  I guess.  I probably won’t be home until late.”

            “What?  Cheating on me already?”

            “That’s not possible,” I said.  “You don’t have a valid claim in that department.  I have things to take care of.”

             “When are you going to take care of me?” he asked then bent down and kissed me again.  He always did that when I didn’t expect it.  It was one of the things that made it so good.

            “We’ll see.”  That was all that I could come up with.  There was nothing like a guy who could leave you speechless after a kiss.

            “We’ll talk tomorrow.”  He then flashed that smile again and starting walking back towards the cafeteria, leaving me standing there a little flushed. 

****

            Later on in the day, I made the drive back down to North Park.   As much as I was anticipating going to see Debra, I had spent the drive down daydreaming about Bret.  That boy was really starting to due a number on me.  I had earlier gotten all of my homework done because I had actually taken an unscheduled day off from running.  However, I was going to have to make sure that did not become a habit.   The one thing I didn’t need was to get lazy because that would be really hard to recover from.  Besides, I had a feeling I was going to slammed with a lot of things I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle, and I didn’t want the added stress of trying to work on Calculus problems while it was going on.  The drive down from Spring Hill was rather uneventful, and since I had left earlier in the day, there wasn’t much as far as traffic was concerned.  At least that was the case going south.  Going north was a totally different story and I was glad I wasn’t heading that way anytime soon. 

            When I arrived at Debra’s place, it was still light outside.  It was maybe late afternoon early evening.  I still hadn’t figured out the difference between the two yet.  Her house look even brighter in the day light, and I could sense the energy emitting off of the building.  Actually there seemed to be more of it this time, or else my sensitivity to it actually was a little stronger.  It wasn’t overwhelming, and it felt just as natural as it had before.  I parked my car and quickly went inside.  She was waiting for me, but it wasn’t because of any kind of magic on her part.  I had actually called ahead and told her I was coming. 

            She stood up as soon as I entered and said to me.  “We’re going to be taking a field trip.”

            “Oh good, I haven’t been on a field trip in years,” I answered sarcastically.  “Well as long as you’re driving, I don’t care where we go.”

            “You certainly have this issue with not driving when you are with other people.”

            “Well I’m a teenager,” I said.  “I’m don’t own my own business like you, so paying for gas hits my wallet a little more than yours.”

            “Excuses,” Debra said.  “Is that the same reason you gave to Bret for why he was driving the other night?”

            “Of course not,” I said.  “He asked me out so he should have had to drive.”

            “You don’t really expect me to believe that do you?” she asked as she lead me through the back.  I guess she had parked behind her place, which is pretty common around here.  Even more common was having to park under apartment complexes.

            We ended up getting into a Mercedes.  That had to mean that she was running a really successful business.  I would have never had thought a palm reader could make enough money to afford a Mercedes, especially here in California where everything was expensive.  We ended up going back north on the freeway, a direction I had just came from.  We didn’t say anything for the first couple of miles that she had drove, but after another ten minutes of silence, I had to say something.

            “I have a question.  What did you mean when you said I was more of a danger to myself than to anyone else?”
            She smiled.  “I was wondering how long it was going to take for you to ask that.”  She changed lanes and soon changed unto the 52 Freeway.  She must have been going towards La Jolla.  “Bear with me and I’ll answer that question in a moment.

            “Let’s me start by explaining magic.  I’m sure you felt the arcane energy, and I also explained to you that some humans have sensitivity to that energy in that they can sense it on others who perform magic through innate abilities.”

            “Are you saying that not all users can use magic innately?” I asked

            “Of course,” she said annoyed.  “We’ve already discussed that.”

            “Sorry,” I said.  “I’ve had a long week.”

            “Some users have to use a focus to cast spells, and basically anyone can learn to manipulate energy through a focus.  Arcane energy is natural, and the ability to use magic goes back as far as human creation.  However, users with innate abilities are very rare.  I think it maybe about one in every five million people have that ability.  You were born with the ability to use black magic.  It isn’t something you just pick up.  It is very much a part of you.”

            “Is it genetic?”

            “No.”

            “Then how did I end up being chosen to be born with it?”

            “I really don’t know.  I never had been able to figure out the why.  Scientific research hasn’t been done on the subject.  However, the common trait of innate users seems to be they are strong in body and mind.”

            “That doesn’t make any sense.”  I wasn’t too happy she didn’t have an answer to my last question.  “Oh, well, at least you didn’t say I was chosen to go save the world.”

            “What do you think this is some real life Final Fantasy game?” she asked.

            “Well, I’m running around using black magic.  What else was I suppose to think?  And don’t make fun of Final Fantasy.  That is one of my favorite video games.”

            “Role playing games?  Really?  I would have never thought you were that much of a dork.  How did you ever end up having the most popular guy in school liking you?”  She then continued on.  “Now most people go on and live normal lives while even having these abilities.

            “You said most.  What happens to the others who are not so lucky to live normal lives?”

            “The first thing you need to understand is even though magic is natural; it is not a living thing.  It’s something you have total control over.  Now having said that, you should think of magic kind of like a legal drug, like alcohol.  It is very possible that you can become addicted to it.  Constant use of the magic in a way you were not intended to use it makes the chance of that happening go from possible to almost inevitable.”

            I had to consider what she said.  It seemed to fit right along with what had happened on Monday night.  The feeling of being on top of the world, and the subsequent feeling of coming down off the high.  I was starting to wonder if I would always have that feeling when ever I used the magic, if I ever used it again.  However, there was a more pressing question.

            “How could I use the magic in a way it wasn’t intended?”  I asked.  “It’s black magic.  It is supposed to be used to damage and destroy things.  If it is used for that purpose than how can I use it how it wasn’t intended?”

            “You’re kind of missing the point.  It’s not how magic is intended to be used but how you, personally, are intended to use it.  Before you ask, I said you usually consider violence to resolve conflicts.  You don’t usually use said violence. You usually decide against it.  Sometimes because it is the way you were brought up.  Other times it was for other reasons.  Even though you’ve been involved in more than your fair share of fights as a young girl, they were always for defense purposes.  This type of magic is supposed to be used for defense purposes.”  I wasn’t sure what she meant by this type of magic.  What other type of magic could she be talking about?  She, however, continued on.  “When you first used the magic it was because you were defending yourself, so it kind of fits that requirement.  Using it for any other reason would be using it how you were not intended to. 

            “Doing it one time is not going to be a really big deal, by it self.  However, once you do, the easier it will be to do it again.  That is usually how it goes because the magic would start to define you as a person mostly because you would let it happen.   You would fall into the trap of using the magic constantly to the point you will become dependent on it.  There would be nothing you could do without using the magic or that is what you would think.  The dependency on the magic is pure a psychological addiction and not physical.  You wouldn’t be able to live without using it.  However, it’s not the magic that changes you, but it’s you dependency on the use of the magic that changes you.  The change is not usually for the better, and as far as I know, it is irreversible.  You just have to be responsible with it just as you would when drinking alcohol.  Oh, wait, you’re a teenager, I would hope you don’t drink.”

            It’s funny because I actually understood what she was talking about.  However, the feeling I had after seemed to be withdrawal, which happens after a physical addiction.  I asked her about that.

            “That was more of you reaction of the result of you using the magic and the effect that your use of the magic caused in that moment, but not the magic itself,” she responded.

            “You know,” I started.  “None of this makes any sense.  Look at what you’re telling me.  There is this arcane energy that has been around from the beginning of time and there is no rhyme or reason for it.  There is no way of knowing how or who is going to be able to manipulate energy.  It appears to show up at random, and there basically is no purpose for it.  It just is.  There is no logic to any of that.”

            “I forgot for a minute who I was dealing with,” she sighed.  “Has logic and reasoning been able to answer everything that has happened in your life?”

            “Well, no,” I answered her.  “But it works a vast majority of the time.”

            “Not all the time.  Maybe you should just accept that in life things are not always going to make logical sense.  If everything in this world worked out the way it logically should, the world would not need religion.”

            I couldn’t argue that point.  It was one of those things that the more I argued about it the more I ended up looking like a moron. 

            “So me being more of a danger is more of a psychological thing and not a physical thing,” I said.  “Basically you’re saying this isn’t like the book Firestarter, and I can’t set fire to myself?”

            “Not unless you tell it to,” Debra answered with a smile. “And I think you are a little too smart to do something so idiotic.”

            Well at least she didn’t think I was a moron.  I still had other questions though.

            “It seems you mentor a lot of people like, well, us.  What other kind of magic did you have to deal with?”

            She didn’t answer right, and it seemed that she wanted to carefully consider her answer.  “Well, years ago, there was a young boy.  He was ten at the time, and he lived here in San Diego.  He came from a really broken home.  His dad abused him and his mom was an alcoholic.  As you can imagine, as a ten-year-old that is kind of rough.  It turns out he had this ability which I had never seen before.  He could make a person worse irrational fears become reality.  He didn’t have to be in the room with them.  He just had to personally be acquainted with the person for him to be effective.  It usually produced disastrous results.  Most people that he used the magic on did not survive it.”

            “How?” I asked.

            “It’s pretty simple really.  Say for instance you biggest fear was being buried alive.  He could make that reality, and the person would die.  Of course, that is a simplistic way of explaining it.  Now the police had a hard time finding out what was going on, and no one wanted to believe that a ten-year-old was the cause of all this.  Of course, now I think he is about your age, and is living a pretty good life.  I don’t even think he uses the magic anymore.”

            Now, I don’t normally scare easily, but even I had to admit that was creepy stuff.  I couldn’t even imagine having a power like that.  I bet when the boy first figured out he had it, he probably thought what he was doing was fun.

            “I sure it was hard to get him to see the error of his ways,” I said.

            “Oh please,” she said dismissively.  “He knew exactly what he was doing.  He had figured it out after causing his parents death.  What was hard was getting him to stop doing it.”

            Now that was even creepier.  The boy knew what he was doing?  I guess living that kind of life would make someone a little jaded.  Debra, however, didn’t give anymore details, and for that, I was grateful.  She turned into a park, that for the life of me, I couldn’t remember the name of.  After parking the car and us getting out, she grabbed a bag out of the back of the trunk.  It seemed to hold a bunch of sodas inside.  Actually, it was a twelve pack, but it was packaged like a six pack.  She handed it to me, so I ended up being stuck carrying it all the way to where we were going.  It ended up being in a little clearing with picnic tables, but far away from anyone else.  It had taken us about a ten minute walk to get there.  Debra didn’t say much, but I had an out of no where, creepy feeling while we walked.  It wasn’t because of the story she just told me, but because I had the feeling that we were being followed.  I had no idea where it came from.  There wasn’t anyone around, and we didn’t pass anyone on the way there.  I wasn’t even sure there was anyone in the parking lot when we had arrived, so I had no idea where the feeling was coming from. 

            Debra took the bag from me, and walked over to the tables leaving me standing there watching her.   She placed three sodas on the table, all spread out, and each about a third of the way across.  When she finished, she walked over to me.

            “This is what I want you to do,” she started.  “The center can, I want you to set it one fire with out moving it from its current position.  Also, I don’t want you to set any of the remaining cans on fire.”

            I was totally at a loss.  “How am I supposed to do that?” I asked her.

            “Just think about what you want to happen.  It’s not hard.”

            So, I did what she told me to do, or at least I tried.  It wasn’t working out so well.  I thought about the where I wanted the fire to go, the fact my target couldn’t move, and not touching the other two cans.  Nothing was happening.  I didn’t feel the build up of energy I had felt before.  Actually, nothing happened at all.  The cans just sat there on top of the picnic table without a care in the world.  If it wasn’t an inanimate object, I was sure it would have laughed at me.

            “How come nothing is happening,” I asked her quite frustrated.

            “What’s wrong?”

            “What do you mean what’s wrong? I thought everything you told me to do, and nothing is happening.”

            “You’re trying too hard,” she said.  “You don’t have to put as much effort into it as you do for those Friday English tests.”

            “Oh, very funny.  Since you have other abilities besides just mind reading, why don’t you tell how I’ll do on this week’s test?”

            “Focus,” she yelled. “Teenagers these days I swear.”

            “Okay.”

            I tried it again.  However, instead of putting a lot of thought in what I wanted, it was more like a passing thought.  The result was a lot more pleasing.  However, it was different than Monday night.  Even though I could feel the energy like the previous time I had used the magic, I didn’t feel it rise, and I didn’t have the intoxication of energy I had the first time I had used it.  I didn’t make any body movements.  I just looked at the middle can, and it burst into flames.  It wasn’t any where near as impressive as the first time I had used the magic, but it was serviceable.  None of the other cans had been touched, and the middle can had not moved an inch.  The spectacle didn’t last long, and just as quickly as the fire appeared it was gone.  However, the damage had been done.   Even though the fire had disappeared, the can had basically melted away hot.  I didn’t even know aluminum could melt.

            I was so proud of my success; I flashed Debra the biggest smile I put on all day.  However, my elation wasn’t from the same reason as before.  I was glad I had just done it with a serviceable amount of control, as opposed to Monday when I was feeling all powerful.  Debra?  She was not impressed.

            “Don’t get cocky,” she said.  “What you did wasn’t that big of a deal.”

            “Please,” I protested.  “Not many people can do that.”

            She didn’t miss a beat in her response.  “And there are people who can do a lot better.”

            “Are you always this much of a downer?” I asked.  “You must be a blast to hang around with at parties.”

            “Cram it.”

            She then walked over to the table and replaced the soda with a new one.  She then took her place next to me.  I looked at her expectantly.

            “What?” I asked when she didn’t speak right away.  “You want me to do the same thing again?”

            “That wouldn’t serve any kind of purpose.  What I want you to do now is, in one use of the magic, set fire to all three of the sodas.”

            “You’re kidding right?” I asked incredulously.  “There is no way.  They are too far apart.”

            “Don’t try to be logical about this,” she said.  “Just do it.  It’s not that difficult.  Think about what you want to happen and it will happen.”

            I stopped arguing.  It wasn’t like it was going to get me anywhere.  Having learned my lesson from the previous go round, I again didn’t put much thought into what I wanted to do.  As with before, I could feel a change in the energy, and also like before I still didn’t get that feeling of intoxication.  I guess that was what was meant by the term tolerance.  The difference was, like I had done the other night, I had instinctively raised my right hand, and just like that night a fire ball flew out of my palm.  There was no force recoil this time, and the fire ball moved just as quickly as it had before.  Once it was less then five feet from its target, the ball grew to more than ten times its original size.  It was so big it totally engulfed all three cans without any kind of trouble.  Once the ball of fire had reached the table, it had stopped moving and all three soda cans shot outward.  At least I thought it was the soda cans.  Then the fire again disappeared.  If it wasn’t for the fact the cans were no longer there, or the table being black and emitting smoke, I would have thought I was seeing things. 

            Debra didn’t give me much time to admire my work.  She placed another can on the table in the exact spot where the middle can had been before I obliterated it.  She was back by my side in an instant and gave new instructions. 

            “This time I want you to freeze the can, make it as cold as you can.”

            “I thought I could only use fire?” I asked a little confused.

            “I never told you such a thing,” she answered.  “I said that you had the ability to use black magic.  I never said it was an exclusive type of black magic.”

            I quickly thought about that, and she was right.  She didn’t, so I did what I had done before.   As she had probably known, it worked.  I see the cold air, almost like a frost.  It was cool sight to me, since I had seen a lot of snow and ice in my life time.  Then a big block of ice appeared around the can resulting in the can exploding and shattering the ice.  Ice and bits of frozen soda flew out in all directions, and I wasn’t really surprised by the outcome.  When I was younger, I had placed a soda in the freezer and it had exploded all over the place.  I had to spend hours cleaning up the mess.  Again, Debra didn’t give me anytime to look things over and get excited.   She took two more cans of soda out of the bag and placed them pretty close together on the table. 

            “First, I want to move one can using the wind,” she said after she was back next to me and no where near the table.  It had right then at that moment I figured maybe she was standing next to me for a reason.  She probably thought I would go wild and accidentally blow her away or something.  She continued on.  “I don’t care where it goes.  The last one is easy.  All I want is for it to be struck by lighting.  Again I don’t care about how many bolts.”

            “You’re kidding, right?”

            “Why would I kid?  This should be easy.”    

 “It’s easy to say how easy something is when you’re not the one actually doing it.”

            “And yet you don’t seem to be having much trouble.”

            She always seemed to have a ready response to what ever I said to her.  Truth be told, I was starting to like her.  I went on ahead and got to work, and just like using the fire on those three cans, I had instinctively waved my hand and outward came a strong lopsided tornado that didn’t even move as a tornado should.  It spiraled toward the first can, and the speed of it had to be that of hurricane force winds.  It had picked up the can in no time flat, carrying it at blinding speed, and finally the can crashed into a tree that was about thirty feet behind the picnic table.  The can was ripped to shreds on impact and soda foam flew everywhere.  The tornado had disappeared once the can had hit the tree.  Thirty seconds later, four huge bolts of lighting hit the top of the last can, and totally crushed it.  The bolts had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, leaving the crushed can with visible currents of electricity running through the aluminum.  That visual only last a few seconds also before it was gone all together. 

            “Anything else?” I asked.

            “No.  That’s enough for now.”

            “Why didn’t you just tell me I could do all of this after I had done what you wanted with those three cans?”

            “It wasn’t so you could learn how to use the different spells.  It was to give you more repetitions in controlling the magic.”  She picked up the rest of the cans.  “Let’s go.  I’m sure the city is going to be quite upset when they get a look at that table.”

            “Aren’t we going to get the last can that’s sitting there?” I asked.  “I thought all new age people were also environmentalists, you know recycling and all.”

            This got a laugh from her.  “You can pick up the can if you want.  I’m sure you won’t get shocked too bad from the electricity that probably is still running through it.”

            It was a good point, and something I hadn’t thought about.  We started walking back to her car.  On the way I asked her a question I had been curious about.  “I understand you are a mind reader, but you seem to be more than that.  Can you tell the future too?”

            She smiled.  “I was wondering when you were going to ask that question,” she responded.  “Not only can I read the mind of anyone who I come in contact with either by speaking or touching, but I can also see their past, and I can see multiple paths to their future.”

            “Its multiple paths because the future isn’t totally set in stone, right?”

            “That’s right.  Making decisions, even some of the smallest ones, can change the future.  Take for instance, your parents deciding to move up to Spring Hill made it inevitable that you would discover your ability to use the magic.”

            “And how is that?”

            “Because if you hadn’t moved, you would have never met your friend, and everything after that wouldn’t have happened.”

            “But my use of the magic that night was an accident,” I protested. 

            “No it wasn’t,” she said.  “Your using the magic at that point was your subconscious working.  Deep in that brain of yours, you knew you were going to have to use it.  You subconscious worked in kind to protect what you could not consciously understand.”

            “How is that even possible?” I asked.  Again, that wasn’t making any sense to me.

            “Let me put it this way,” she said.  “I can read minds and tell the future, because it is my ability.  Others can tell the future through their subconscious while sleeping.  However, it usually doesn’t happen exactly the same what it happens in their dream.  You have prior experience in this.”  When she saw my shocked face, she said.  “Don’t even bother trying to deny it.  You know I’m telling the truth.”

            Mind readers.  You can’t hide anything from them.  The person I had spoke of earlier who was always having dreams and then they would happen with the person claiming déjà vu was really me.  It always did drive me up the wall.  To be honest it didn’t happen much, but may be it would start happening even more so now.  However, Debra put a stop to that real quick.

            “You don’t have to worry,” she said.  “You’re not some closet fortune teller.  It happens to a lot of people rather they use magic or not.  It’s common in dreams.

            “Here are a couple of things you need to remember.  They both don’t have anything to do with the other.”  She paused to make sure I was paying attention.  “Scientific properties still apply when using the magic against certain things.  For example, casting a fire spell on someone who is wet is not really going to have the effect you might like.”

            Actually, I kind of figured that one.  Any dummy could have figured that out. 

            “The second thing is if the magic allows you to achieve one thing, you usually can do the opposite.  This one will become important to you later.”

            She never really explained that last one any further.


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ajodom
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