know that it is pretty boring to say that it was pretty day around these parts,
but it actually was. Nothing beats
Downtown San Diego in late May, even though Bret would probably say
otherwise. He was a fan of the beach, or
anything that allowed him to show off for that matter, but he was not a fan of
the crowds at the beach on Memorial Day Weekend. That made it easy to convince him to come Downtown
with me at my mother’s request. She had wanted us to keep a client company,
and apparently this client knew me and requested my presence. Now I
wasn’t one to complain about much but, I didn’t have any clue as to what was
going on. Besides, who would want to
see me anyway? I would have thought Bret
would have been the one to command all of the attention. That was usually the norm. However, this particular time it was me that
was being sought out. Of course, my
mother didn’t spare any details. It was
her usual go here and do this type commands.
I value my life too much, so I didn’t dare argue.
It was on the Saturday into the weekend that I
found myself walking down Fifth
Ave heading down to a popular coffee shop chain
that was near Market Street. Bret, Angel, and her boyfriend Ryan had
decided to tag along, and the conversation was as it normally was. Angel was being loud and obnoxious, but
unlike with her previous boyfriend, they were not arguing and driving everyone
crazy. That was probably because as much
as Angel was a drama queen, Ryan was the opposite. Ryan also had the ability to be able to tame
Angel’s famous temper, an ability that had seemed to elude me and Bret, and
Bret had been her good friend for years.
I guess that was probably a good thing, and Bret was happy that he no
longer had to keep her out of trouble all of the time.
We ended up at being right on time,
which was surprising considering that we were with Ms. Never on Time for
Anything. Walking through the door the
first person I saw was Debra, a person with which I had a pretty strange
history. She instantly smiled when she
saw me, and from the looks of things, it looked like she had been expecting
“What?” I asked quite shocked. “You’re my mom’s client?”
“You make it sound like the
possibility is inconceivable.”
“To me it is. I didn’t know that you could afford over
three-hundred dollars an hour.”
“Hey,” Bret said while gently
covering his mouth with his hand. I
responded by gently elbowing him in the stomach. I shouldn’t have bothered. He didn’t feel it, unlike the other times I
had hit him. I was sure that he
appreciated that. “Be nice.”
“Well, at least one of you has
manners,” Debra said. “How are you,
“I’m well, thanks,” Bret said
turning on the charm that he was so famous for.
He was even using correct grammar, which was something he wasn’t
supposed to be good at, the evidence being his results on the punctuation tests
from the English class we both shared.
“I see the gang’s all here,” Debra
said finally taking notice of Angel and Ryan.
“And on time too, that’s quite a feat.”
since I had to drag Angel out of her house,” Ryan agreed. “If I hadn’t done it, it would be another
hour before we got here.”
“I see that is a frequent
occurrence.” Debra said.
“How does she know that?” Angel
asked looking at me suspiciously.
“Don’t ask.” I said. I found it pretty funny that Debra didn’t
even bother to ask for Ryan and Angel’s names.
The reason why came to me just as quickly as the initial thought. She was the only person who I knew who could
read minds, and she wasn’t one to ask questions when she knew the answers. It was something that she got mad at me for doing
when we first met.
“Well let’s sit outside.” Debra
No one argued, and sitting outside
it became clear that we were at a coffee shop that was different than any I had
ever been to in my entire life. Since
when did this palce have servers? It
must have been something that was new.
Of course, it would seem that one of the four of us would know the actual
server, a common occurrence when the four of went anywhere together. In this case it was Angel who knew her.
She was pretty girl about all of our
ages, even though she was a little short.
She had reddish color hair and bright green eyes that had certain mysterious
twinkle in them. However, that wasn’t
the thing about her that the most noticeable to me.
“Well, Angel,” the girl said. “I didn’t think I would see you Downtown.”
“I could easily say the same about
you.” Angel answered. She quickly
introduced the three of us because this girl apparently already knew Ryan. “I didn’t know you worked here, Jamey.”
“Yeah, they closed the store where I
was working.” Jamey replied. “You know
the economy and all that. Instead of
being laid off, I was transferred here.
The commute is awful.”
“I bet,” Ryan agreed. “You sure are a lucky one though.”
“Yeah, I still have a job.”
Debra, Bret, and I didn’t say a word
until she forced us to by asking us for our orders. Debra was nice enough and decided to
pay. After we all ordered, Jamey quickly
After she was out of earshot, Bret
asked me, “Did you feel that?” I knew
exactly what he was talking about. Bret
was extremely sensitive to the magical vibes or energy given off by others,
even though he doesn’t have any magical abilities of his own.
“Yeah,” I said. “I felt it clear as day.”
“Felt what?” Angel asked confused.
“The vibe of arcane energy,” Debra
explained. “She uses magic.”
“You felt that?” Ryan asked
Bret. Ryan found out about my ability to
use the magic the same way Bret had found out.
Angel had told him, but I didn’t get upset about it like I did when she
told Bret, instead of letting me do it, a few months back.
“How come he can feel it and I
can’t?” Angel asked Debra. It was funny
how Angel just knew off hand to ask Debra.
I hadn’t told Angel anything about Debra when Angel had found out that I
could use the magic months ago, and Debra didn’t really give the impression
someone who would be into the whole supernatural thing.
“People with closed-minds don’t
usually see things that are well hidden.”
Angel’s reaction to that rather
cryptic response was rather predictable.
“What? Are you trying to say that
I’m not opened minded?”
“Come on, Angel.” Bret said. “Don’t get all bent out of shape over
it. That wasn’t what she meant anyway.”
How the hell did he know? Debra didn’t really go out of her way to
explain her meaning, and I had the suspicion that he really didn’t know what
she meant. He was probably trying to
keep Angel from flying off the handle, something that she was prone to do
“How do you know her?” I asked
“She’s my next door neighbor. She has been for years.”
“She is?” That surprised Bret. “How come I had never seen her before?”
“She doesn’t go to our school. She goes to St. Matthew’s. Besides, it’s not like you spend a lot of
time hanging out at my house.”
“Well that explains a lot,” Ryan
said. “It says a lot about her.”
I almost laughed at the nerve that
it took for Ryan to say that. St.
Matthew’s was a private school that was in the area. A lot of the kids around our age who lived in
Spring Hill and Rancho Ruiz went to Spring Hill High, but the even more
entitled ones went to St. Matthew’s. The
people who went to St. Matthew’s were known to be rather snobbish. It was an interesting analysis coming from
Spring Hill students, because I wouldn’t exactly categorize Spring Hill as a
place where its residents were in touch with the middle class.
“Actually, I wouldn’t say that Jamey
would really fit right in with the crowd there.
She’s actually quite weird.”
Angel said. “We talk some, and
I’ve never seen her hang out with any of the people that she went to school
with, so I think that she is kind of a loner.”
“I wonder what her abilities
are.” I hadn’t meant to say that out in
“Why don’t you ask her yourself?”
Debra asked me.
“Wouldn’t that be kind of rude? I would think that would be like asking
someone their sexual orientation.”
“I could ask her.” Angel
“No.” Bret, Ryan, and I all had the same reaction
to that. There was no way in hell that
we were going to let Angel ask her anything of the sort. There was no telling what Angel would have
asked her, and she can easily be offensive.
Our collective reactions made Debra chuckle, and she didn’t need an
explanation of why we reacted that way.
“Why don’t you just tell us?” I
asked Debra. “Or is this one of those
things that we have to figure out on our own?”
“How would she know?” Angel asked
confused. “She said hardly two words to
Jamey when she was here.”
“Haven’t you figured it out?” Bret
said to her. “She’s a mind reader.”
“Among other things,” I finished for
“That explains how she had Angel
pegged before she even said anything,” Ryan joked. Debra flashed an evil smile.
“So are you going to tell us what
her abilities are or not?” I asked her.
“No,” she said. Before any of us could respond, she
continued. “And it isn’t because it is
some mystical secret. If you guys want
to know what her abilities are, then ask her yourself. She should be the one to decide whether you
need to know, and not me.”
“That sounds reasonable,” I said
shooting Angel a glance. Angel running
her mouth about my use of magic without my knowledge caused a bunch of problems
months ago, and since no else could give a convincing argument in disagreement,
the matter was dropped.
Debra turned her attention to Bret
and me. “So I see the two of you are
becoming quite the media whores as of late.”
It figured that she would use the
fact that during the spring sports season Bret and I were all over the
newspapers because of our accomplishments in our respective sports as a reason
to make fun of us. As far as I was
concerned, that was no surprise. Being
able to use magic was not my only talent, and it was my performance at last
year’s state track meet that had caught Bret’s attention in the first
place. I was use to it. Bret, on the other hand, was not. He was always constantly downplaying his
baseball skills. It was weird actually
because it was the only thing that he downplayed when we had first met. It was something that I never really
understood, and still didn’t. I wouldn’t
say that Bret was one who did not like the spotlight. As a matter of fact, he quite enjoyed it, but
he actually didn’t like it when it came to baseball. He was actually ranked as one of the top ten
best ballplayers in the country, and he had been interviewed by every sports
journalist from here to Miami.
“He’s actually a lot better than he
lets on,” I told Debra. “He can do it
all, and, even more surprisingly, he’s pretty quick. He led the league in stolen bases.”
Bret was two inches over six feet
tall and he weighed about two hundred pounds and from outward appearances didn’t
look like he would be a fast runner. Boy
did his opponents on the field pay for that one. He stole three bases in his last game, a game
his team lost.
“I’m not anywhere nearly as fast as
you,” Bret said.
“We don’t know that,” Ryan chided
him. “You won’t race her.”
“Of course not,” Bret said. “I value my manhood.”
“To hear Val tell it,” Angel
said. “She also values your
manhood. Apparently the baseball field
isn’t the only place that you handle yourself well.”
“God. Angel, shut up.” Not only was what she said incredibly vile,
it also told Bret that I had told her things that he hadn’t previously known
that I had told her. Angel had a real
problem of not being able to keep her mouth shut when told things in
confidence. Bret’s face turned a reddish color that I had
never seen before. Debra just
Thankfully, nothing else was said
about that as my mom showed up for her meeting with Debra, about only god knew
what. I wouldn’t have thought that Angel
would be stupid enough to say anything in front of my mom, but I would never
know. We quickly left so they could take
care of whatever business that they could take care of.
Of course, my thoughts were on the
fact that we had come across another person with magical abilities. According to what Debra had told me when I
had first discovered my own ability to wield magic, it was very rare to run
into people like myself. Obviously, it
wasn’t as rare as she originally lead me to believe. However, she had also implied that I would be
forced to use the magic again at some point, and probably by someone who knew a
lot more about the magic then Caleb, the last person who had forced me to use
the magic. She told me this while
scolding me on using the magic just to prove to Bret that I could actually do
it. That was an incident that probably
could have been avoided, but even Debra admitted that I had probably done the
right thing. That didn’t stop her from
giving me hell about using the magic that way.
Now my abilities did have its
limitations, but I haven’t yet been able to figure out what those limitations
were. Debra called my use of the ability
Black Magic, the ability to damage or destroy just about anything. It was an ability that I discovered
completely by accident, or at least I that was what I had originally
thought. If I had been paying attention,
I would have been able to easily see what was happening. The signs were all there, however it was a
lot easier to say that now. Hindsight
was always twenty-twenty, and I had learned that there was a lot more to the
magic then I had originally thought. I
also had magical healing abilities, something that came in handy since I was an
athlete and always ran the risk of coming down with some kind of injury. As a matter of fact, the last time I had used
the magic was healing a strained muscled Bret had suffered during the baseball
season. He was still thanking me for
that. I guess sitting around while he
was supposed to be putting on a show for professional scouts was unacceptable.
However, being able to use magic did
have its drawbacks. That would be in
addition to the obvious drawback of being seen as a bona fide freak. Debra had said that there were dangers in
letting the magic define who I was as a person, but I thought a better
explanation of what she was trying to say would be that the magic has the
ability to corrupt the user. It was kind
of like a politician getting voted into high office. The power that comes along with having such
an office can corrupt even the noblest politician.
drawback was that using the magic was extremely intoxicating. It wasn’t poisonous, but was more like
becoming psychologically addicted to it.
Being in touch with arcane energy and having such control over its use
has an effect of making the user want to use it continuously, even in
situations where it was not needed. If
the user was trying to keep her abilities a secret, using the magic
continuously would be counterproductive.
One of the major problems that I’d noticed was that the more I use the
magic, the more I wanted to keep using it.
It was kind of like what Mom had said about thieves. Once a person steals for the first time, the
psychological barrier that would keep the person from stealing has been forever
broken at that person is for ever changed.
Repeating the act becomes a lot easier, and each time that person
steals, they become less of the person they once were. It was the same way with the magic. I could feel myself change each time I used
it, and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t the same person that I was a just a
those two drawbacks were not mutually exclusive. They seemed kind of intertwined, where
succumbing to one tends to lead to the other, and letting the magic define my
existence would accelerate the process.
At least that was what I thought that was what Debra had meant. I was doing okay so far, so I didn’t feel
that I was too off base with my comprehension of the matter.
the time I had gotten home that night I was a lot more intrigued about what
Jamey’s abilities were, and I was having all kind of outrageous ideas of what
was possible. Besides, it would be nice
to have someone else around my age that was going through the same thing,
Angel’s declaration that she was weird not withstanding. Angel thought any one was weird who did not
agree with her thought process, a normal attribute of most teenagers.
didn’t realize how tired I was until I had gotten up to my room. I quickly undressed and jumped into bed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
will be here soon,” Jamey said.
had kind of a wistful tone in her voice, as she was recalling some far off
memory. She was dressed in all black,
but she didn’t quite pull off the gothic look.
I didn’t think she was really trying to.
Her make up was modest and didn’t have the tone of making her look like
a walking corpse. The black slacks she
wore looked like something she would wear to the office, even though the blouse
she wore was a lot more casual and revealing.
She also wore a black threaded necklace that had, on the end, what
looked like a dark green jewel, a perfect match to her eye color, with a black
border. I had to admit that it was
pretty cool looking. Her red hair came
down a little past her shoulders and had brilliant shine to it. If I had any insecurity about myself, I would
have definitely been a little jealous.
will?” I asked her.
been so long,” she said ignoring me.
Actually, it was more like she didn’t hear me and kept talking. “They’ve been looking for so long, and I’m
really tired of running.” I know that
Angel had said that she was weird, but I didn’t think she was straight
nuts. She was talking like she was the
only one in room, and the wistful tone was still in her voice. It wasn’t creepy, but it sure was mystifying.
what are you talking about?” I asked.
Again she ignored me; got up out of the chair she was sitting in, and
walked over to the fireplace that was on the far side of the room. It had a raging fire going, which was a quite
interesting concept. A fire going at the
end of May in North
San Diego County
was not something that I considered to be very wise, but the heat wasn’t unbearable. As a matter of fact, the room was quite
comfortable, with the exception for the major amount of arcane energy that was
running through the place. I could feel
so much of it that I thought I would be going through sensory overload at any
didn’t do anything of any importance when she had gotten to the fireplace. Well, she wasn’t really doing anything at
all. She just stood there watching the
flames for no purpose and for what appeared to be a long time. It was so long that I started to get a little
tired of the whole thing, and started to walk up towards her. I took note of the room we were while I
walked. It was quite big with what had
looked like Victorian furniture, not the type to sit and get cozy in. There were paintings on the wall the wall
that had a kind of dark tone to it. As a
matter of fact, the whole room had kind of a dark tone to it. Maybe that was because there wasn’t a lot of
light in the room to begin with which lead to the small foreboding nature of
the room. The only light in the room had
come from a lamp that was sitting next to where Jamey had been sitting.
don’t you hear me talking to you?” I asked as I touched her shoulder from
behind. That resulted in her quickly
turning to face me as if startled. She
looked mighty pissed that I had interrupted her, which instantly irritated me a
little. She was just standing there
staring at the fire like a crazy person, and I didn’t think that warranted her
getting all bent out of shape over me interrupting her. However, as soon as she recognized that it
was me, the look of anger disappeared and was replaced with a smile that was
quite infectious. She was quite pretty,
in a little girl type of way.
it’s you, Val.” The wistful tone in her
voice was gone, and she sounded more like when I had met her earlier in the
day. It was something that I didn’t make
a note of earlier. Before, she sounded
like a totally different person, but now she sounded normal. Well, at least she remembered my name.
“Uh.” I was, of course, confused. “Who else would it be?”
what was maybe the third time, she ignored my direct question and instead
said. “Valerie Robinson, wielder of the
Dark and the Light, of magic, Black and White.”
this was starting to head back in to crazy person territory, but it wasn’t
because I didn’t know what she was talking about. She was talking about my abilities. The Dark was the black magic, and the Light
being the ability to heal. That was
obvious, but what wasn’t obvious was how in the hell did she know that. I knew that she could feel the energy on me
like I could feel it on her, but that didn’t mean that she should have been
able to guess what abilities I had.
didn’t explain any further, but instead she looked at me curiously. Then her face lit up like the imaginary light
bulb in her head had flashed on and she had come across some really great,
she said dramatically, “one other.”
was quite frustrated with her. “I have
no idea what you’re talking about, and you sound moronic.”
don’t?” she asked in disbelief.
just shook my head in response, and apparently that wasn’t enough for her
because she regarded me curiously, just looking at me for a second like I was
the one who was crazy. Why were people
always doing that?
you really don’t know.” It was not a
question, but a statement of fact. “Come
look at this.”
followed her over to the left wall, and on it was a mirror that was probably
the size of a thirty-two inch, flat screen LCD television. It had a rather thick gold frame, and was
quite nice. It was something that I
would not be surprised to see on the wall in my parent’s living room, a room my
brother and I were forbidden to enter under normal circumstances. The problem was that I could have sworn that
it wasn’t there when I had first walked the length of the room. I distinctly remember looking here as I
passed by and remember seeing nothing but paintings. They weren’t there now. Maybe it truly was me who was going nuts.
Jamey walked straight up to the mirror and
touched the bottom corner of the frame.
The glass then had a produced a single ripple that traveled the full
light of the mirror as if the glass was still water. It was quite a sight, even more so because
the ripple didn’t make a sound as it moved.
After the mirror went still, Jamey turned and looked at me expectantly
with her arms folded across her chest.
I, on the other hand, was totally freaked out.
need to touch the other end of the mirror,” she said a tad impatiently.
I asked not wanting to go anywhere near that thing.
do it,” she said rolling her eyes at me.
“You ask too many damn questions.”
It was the first time that she had shown even a hint of irritation. That was good. It meant that she could be something else
besides a nut job.
obeyed and started to walk to the other end of the mirror.
touch the glass,” Jamey warned when I reached the far end of the mirror. Considering what I had just witnessed, there
was no way my hands were going anywhere near that glass.
touched the bottom corner of the frame with little hesitation, and the result
freaked me out even more. Touching the
mirror produced a circle of ripples as if an invisible rock had been thrown
into the glassy water. The ripples
disappeared and then a visual started to unfold. I couldn’t figure out where the scene was
located, but there was Jamey and me. We
were dressed in different outfits which told me that whatever we were watching
was something that was going to take place in the not so near future, and there
wasn’t any doubt in my mind that we were watching a future event. We were talking to someone, even though from
the vision’s perspective it couldn’t be determined who it was, and there was no
sound at all. However, the vision was
clear enough that I could make out both of our facial expressions. We both watched in silence, with Jamey
standing at one end of the mirror, her arms still folded, and me at the opposite
end. The vision was quite boring at
first because we were watching ourselves have a conversation with an unknown
person with no sound. That did not exactly
add up to a stimulating visual experience.
However, that soon changed and the vision became a lot more
interesting. In the vision, Jamey made a
frantic gesture which had seemed to make my attention move somewhere off to the
left. A pipe had detached from a nearby
wall and it was heading straight for my head.
The way it was moved it was like someone had thrown it, and it moved at
a blindly fast speed. I was really
expecting to watch myself get clobbered, but that didn’t happen. I threw up my hand, probably more in defense
than anything else. It was really a
futile gesture as there was no way throwing up my hands was going to stop a
fast moving pipe. However, the pipe
stopped dead in its tracks. After it
stopped, it just stayed in the air as if it was frozen in a game of Freeze Tag. I dropped my hands and the pipe dropped
harmlessly to the floor. Then Jamie
unleashed a fire spell that looked like something that I would have and
actually had done. As a matter of fact,
it looked exactly like I had done it, if I was a five foot two white girl with
red hair. However, I didn’t get to see
the effects of the spell as her target was out of view and the vision ended,
and the mirror returned to reflective glass.
didn’t know what to think about what I had seen. I just stood there staring at the mirror
hoping that it would give me kind of explanation as to what had happened. Did
Jamey have the same abilities as me? And
what the hell did I do to that pipe? I
looked over at Jamey but she still had her arms folded across her chest and
looked at me. I didn’t think by the look
on her face that she was going to be much help.
me your magic,” she said.
I asked. It was a weird request. “You have the same ability as I do. You don’t need to see it.”
can only use mine after you show me yours,” she said.
sounded kind of dirty, and it didn’t make any sense at all, but magic itself
doesn’t make any logical sense. Using
the “that’s not logical” argument wasn’t the way to go here. So I did as she requested and released a fire
ball targeting the opposite wall. The
result was a sizable hole that was starting to let a lot of cold air in the
room. I didn’t have a lot of time to
admire my work.
Jamey said. Her voice sounded like
Debra’s in that moment. “I told you
about using the magic just show off or to prove to people that you can do
it. This is what happens.”
turned to face her about to make a really nasty remark, but it had gotten stuck
in my throat as I saw my own fire spell coming right towards me.