The Mimic - Chapter 3

Chapter 3


We ended up in North Park later that afternoon, and there was none of the drama that seemed to be common place whenever Angel, Bret, and I were together.  We had driven down in Angel’s new car, and the drive down was delayed by the fact that we had to stop at Bret’s place to get him dry clothes.   I had gotten him pretty good earlier and he still hadn’t dried completely.  The drive down was uneventful, and Angel seemed to behave behind the wheel, at least for a while.  That didn’t actually convince me that her father’s apparent concern about her getting angry while behind the wheel of a car was misplaced.  I figured it was only a matter of time before she got involved in some kind of altercation. 

We arrived in North Park around mid-afternoon, and the neighborhood was quite busy, even for the second day of a three day weekend.  The amount of people waking the streets were more than I had ever seen when there wasn’t some kind of event going on, and the parking situation was worse than it normally was.  It took a good fifteen minutes to find a place to park.  Angel ended up parking a good three streets over from our destination forcing us to have to walk up University Ave passing all of the coffee shops and various other stores that that lined the street.  It would have been a great time to hang out if we weren’t already preoccupied.

Debra had a psychic reading business located on 30th about halfway between University and Upas.  The house was a modest one story place with a small lawn, and it was pretty easy to miss by most normal people if they were looking for it.  For us, it was more than noticeable due to the amount of arcane energy swirling around the place.  The house was painted white with black trim with a simple black and white sign advertising her business.  It looked the same as it did when I first found my way here back in September, after I had first discovered the magic.  Then I was scared to death because I had killed a person the night before.  Of course, I had left that first meeting with Debra even more confused than I was when I had arrived.  Needless to say that Debra, at first, didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, but she later in her own unique way became instrumental in me understanding the magic. 

We didn’t knock before walking inside, but a bell had announced our presence.  She came out from the back shortly afterwards.  As usual, Debra was quite beautiful.  This was even true while wearing just black sweatpants and a white shirt.  Like my mother, she looked a lot younger than her silver colored hair would initially suggest.  Even while wearing no makeup, her skin was flawless and quite tan.  However, the tan didn’t look like she had spent too much time in a tanning bed as did some of the politicians I had seen on TV as of late.  It was a totally natural.

“It’s about time,” she said.  “I thought you were going to keep me waiting all day.”  I should have known better than to think she would start with a polite hello.

“It’s all her fault,” Bret said pointing at me.  I just loved how my boyfriend threw me under the bus, but I couldn’t argue with him.  Debra probably knew the truth anyway, and I had learned very quickly not to try to keep anything from her.    

“Why is that not surprising?” Debra asked.  She didn’t wait for an answer.  “Come on back.”

She led us to the kitchen, which, like the living room, was immaculate.  It was also a lot more modern then I would have expected, considering how old the house was.  All the appliances looked to be brand new.  We all sat down at a square table that was in the center of the kitchen, each one of us sitting at one of the four sides. 

“I still can’t believe that you are a psychic,” Angel said when we were all situated.

“Why is that?” Debra asked. 

             “Well,” Angel said tentatively.  “For starters, don’t all psychics have crystal balls?  And this place is way too normal.  I expected it to be dark, foreboding, and smelling like incense.”  This, of course got a bad reaction from the rest of us.  Bret just shook his head, Jamey visibly rolled her eyes in disgust, and I shot Angel and evil glance.  On the other hand, Debra just sat there smiling in amusement.  It probably was not the first, or the last, time someone had said something like that to her.

              “You watch too many cartoons,” Debra said.  “Besides, I’m sure Bret wouldn’t agree.”

            The moment she said his name, Bret looked up, and man, he was having a tough time.  He looked sick.  The color had totally left his face, and he looked as is he was having trouble breathing.  It was weird because he was perfectly fine before we had gotten here.   It was probably the worst I had ever seen him. 

            “You okay?” I asked him, but all he did was nod in response.

            “He will be fine,” Debra said.  “He’s not use to being around this much arcane energy.  If you remember, his reaction is similar to your own the first time you used the magic.”  I remembered that very well, and I didn’t think it was a feeling I was ever going to forget. 

            “Who cares?” Angel asked annoyed.  “I want proof that she can read minds.”

            “Wow,” Jamey said.  “Jealous much?  You’re just mad you don’t have that sixth sense the rest of us have.”

            “Why?  So I can end up looking like that?” Angel said pointing at my other half.  “I think I’m doing just fine with only five senses like normal people.”

            Debra, again, just smiled.  Obviously, she wasn’t bothered by Angel’s brand of humor.  Of course, she had dealt with me in my more annoying moments, so I was sure dealing with Angel was not much of a challenge. 

            “So, how about that proof?” Angel asked not letting up for a minute.

            “You know,” Jamey said with a hint of exasperation.  “I don’t think that is very wise.”  I had to agree with her, which was quickly becoming common place.  There wasn’t anything good that could come out of it.  I was sure of it, but Angel was her usual stubborn self, and I was perfectly willing to let the cards fall where they may.  I did not think Debra would actually accept Angel’s challenge.  Debra had warned me previously against using the magic just to prove to someone it could be done, and there wasn’t any reason to believe she would have a change of heart about it.

            “Fine,” Debra said, proving me wrong.  “This is what I’ll do.  To make things fair, I’ll do it for each of you.”  That was an interesting concept, and because of it, I had a suspicion Angel wasn’t going to like what she had to say. 

            “I’ll start with Bret.”  Debra paused to consider her words and then said.  “You have strong confidence in yourself that very frequently crosses the line into arrogance.  You might want to work on that.”

            Bret took that rather well, but not because he had thick skin, which he does.  It was more because he had heard it before.  I had a tendency to be cruel sometimes.

“Well that was enlightening,” Angel deadpanned.

However, Debra ignored her and continued on.  “But it’s funny because the one thing you do best, and love the most, is the one thing you are not arrogant about.  You don’t believe your own hype and as a result, stay grounded in reality at least as far as this is concerned.  That will turn out to be a good thing because you also are kind of a perfectionist, and you are always willing to make yourself better.  As long as you stay true to your own abilities, you will be very successful.  Don’t worry about your dad.  He will come around eventually.”

Bret was looked a little shocked at what she had said, but I would liked to have thought he was reassured in his decision to make himself available for the baseball draft.  It was a decision only I knew about, as we had talked about it a lot over the last few months.  Bret’s dad could sometimes be even more of a hard ass then my mother, so I guess Bret was happy with what Debra had just said.  I, however, raised an eyebrow at what she didn’t tell him.  She had implied to me in the past that because of him, I wouldn’t exactly have a lot of privacy later on in life.  I had never told him this, even though he had asked, but the fact that she didn’t say anything about it then was confusing.  I couldn’t really say it was because she thought I had told him.  It was clear to me that wasn’t the case.  She knew I had not done anything of the sort.  As a matter of fact, I was guessing she knew he had asked me exactly that after the two of them had met, but I never did answer him.

Debra turned to me.  “Val, I know the most about you from experience, and some of this I’ve told you before.  Your one goal will be put on hold for a while, or you will always be working towards it, but it will take a little longer to get where you really want to be.  That you already know, so I really don’t have a lot to tell you.”

That was true.  She did tell me a lot of things when I saw her during the winter.  I wasn’t really expecting her to tell me anything I hadn’t heard from her before.  However, I was sure she knew more than what she was actually telling me, but I wasn’t sure why she had decided to keep quiet.  If there was one thing I could say about Debra was she was not long winded.  Short and sweet seemed to work very well for her.

“Sometimes, the magic changes,” she continued.  “Or it might seem like it changes, but there is a better explanation.  Remember I said magic is natural and is totally depended upon the user.  That means as the user changes, the magic usually changes with it.  Of course, you have experience in this.  You learned early on all is not exactly as it appears when it comes to magic, and just today you learned something new, the ability to change the flow of time for a person.  It’s an interesting ability and one, even though I had heard of it, I had never seen.  You might have your work cut out for you, so good luck.”  At this, Angel’s eyes grew wide.  She had gotten the proof that she seemed so bad to want.

“And Angel,” Debra said moving on to the one who started all of this.  This could get really ugly.  She didn’t have contact with Angel, and I haven’t really told her much, so it would be interesting to hear what she would came up with. She continued, “You have the unfortunate ability of being a bitch and being right at the same time.”

Bret, understandably winced, while Jamey mouthed a silent, “Wow,” after that blunt statement. 

“But if I’m right then it doesn’t matter,” Angel said effectively missing the point. 

“But it does matter,” Debra countered.  “You can be right all day long, but who would listen?  People don’t usually listen to jackasses, regardless of accuracy of the substance of what is said.” 

That caused snickers from the rest of us, but Angel took it surprisingly well.  She was actually considering what Debra had said.  Maybe sometimes Bret and I did not give her as much credit as she deserved.  This was one of the few times she actually surprised us by not reacting badly to negative things that were said about her.

Debra turned and looked at Jamey, and from the look on Jamey’s face, she was preparing herself for the worse.  Considering two out of the three of us were not exactly given complimentary marks, I really could not blame her.  However, Debra cracked a genuine smile, something she did not often do. 

“Now, the reason why I called you all here in the first place was basically because of Jamey.”  Debra turned and regarded her rather intensely.  “You have some personal issues to work out.  I won’t go into details here because I’m quite sure you know what I’m referring to, and I’m not sure what everyone else knows.  It is for you to decided what you do, or don’t, want them to know.  Just remember that until you accept who you are, don’t expect anyone else to.  Now despite all this, you seem to be popular as of late.”

“Who?  Me?” Jamey asked ignoring the first part of what Debra had said.  I had a suspicion she knew what Debra meant, and except for the latter part, had expected everything Debra had said.   That being said, she wasn’t one who was use to being in the spotlight.  “How’s that?”

Debra didn’t respond right away.  She just sat there with her eyes closed for what seemed like a long time.  I could feel the shift in the arcane energy in the room, the feeling as if something had changed, and if I could feel it, then I knew Bret and Jamey could also.  Bret grabbed my arm and started to say something, but a look from me stopped him.  I didn’t want anyone to say anything to break Debra’s focus as that could cause disastrous results, especially since we did not have any clue as to what she was doing in the first place.  Whatever she was doing was, at least for her, not a normal use of the magic.  She instead was doing what I understood was outside of her capabilities.  On the ring finger of her right hand was a ring that more resemble on of those mood rings I use to wear as a young girl than an actual piece of jewelry, and even though from outward appearances nothing about the ring suggested anything out of the ordinary, I was sure it was the key to what was happening.  The ring was her focus point, something used to cast spells that she probably wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.  This went on for so long even I was starting to become impatient, but she finally opened her eyes.

“It might be easier if I showed you,” she said.

“And how do you plan on doing that?” Angel said fulfilling her role as the skeptic of the group.   

“Here I thought you were going to ask me something difficult,” Debra answered.  “Easy.  Just walk out into the living room and you will have the answer that you seek.  However, there is one condition.  There is to be no talking.  Any sound from the four of you will break the spell.”

“You mean you’re not coming with us?” Bret asked.  He had gotten over what had been bothering him about the all of the energy in the house.  The peeked look had disappeared and his heavy breathing had stopped.  He was back to his normal good looking self, even though he did look a little apprehensive.  He had always been a weary of the magic, except for when I was using it to heal his injuries.

  “Why would I do that?” Debra looked at him like he was a moron.  It was about time she was doing that to someone else besides me, and I had also thought it was the first time someone besides me had ever done it to him.  It was good for his ego.  Debra rattled on.  “I already know what it is you are about to see.  I’ll just sit here and stay comfortable.”

“What?” Angel chided him.  “Is the big crybaby scared?”

“I have no reason to be scared,” Bret said patiently.  “I’ve had more experience with the magic then you, and almost got hurt because of it.”  That was actually a true statement.  There was one incident where Bret had pissed me off enough where I did use the magic on him, in a way that could have serious done some damage to his handsome facial features.  However, I did not believed for one second he was not scared.  He actually did not like me using the magic. 

“He isn’t any more scared than you are,” Debra said.  When Angel gave her a dirty look, she continued, “What?  Are you going to try to convince me otherwise?”

Angel had started to say something, but then thought better of it.  I had guessed correctly that she had figured she was not going to win this battle, no matter how much she tried.  There was no way Angel was going to win a battle of wits with a mind reader.

Knowing very well she had gotten the best of Angel, Debra continued.  “None of you have to go if you don’t want to.  Of course that would mean I just wasted a bunch of time and energy, and nothing would piss me off more than using magic such as this for nothing.  If you’re going to go, then do it.  This spell won’t last forever.”

There was not anyway I wasn’t going to go find out what was going on.  I was quite curious as to what Debra had in store for us.  We were all quite intimidated by what we were going to experience, even if we did not have a clue as to what it was.  Knowing this, I had a feeling we would all put whatever fears we had aside and just go through with it.  The reasons for this were quite simple.  Jamey was the cause of all this so I was sure she would go just to see what the fuss was all about.  I was going just because I didn’t want this trip down here to be a total waste of time, and as long as I was willing to go through with it, Bret was going to go through with it as well.  There was no way he was going to sit around scared while I went on to do what he was scared to do.  Bret might have been secure enough in masculinity to have been able to have a gay best friend, had the circumstances been different, but he wasn’t secure enough to look like a coward in front of me.  Angel would go because there was no way she would sit here by herself. 

So I lead everyone back into the living room.  I was expecting a change in the makeup of the energy when we walked inside, but I was disappointed.  Nothing, as far as the energy was concerned, had changed.  It was the same as when Debra first cast the spell, and our walking directly into the spell didn’t change the spell in any way.  However, the living room was quite different then when we had first arrived.  The room was lit by the lamps on the end tables, and a glance out the windows made it clear it was night time.  It was clear to all of us that we had walked into a scene from the not too distant past, but as for what we were about to see, none of us hand any clue.  Angel had started to speak, but an evil glance directed at her from Jamey made Angel clamp right up.  It was no surprise to anyone that Angel would be the first to forget the directive of not talking.  We just stood by the door leading to the kitchen in total silence and waited. 

Our wait did not last long.  The front door opened causing the familiar bell tones to ring, and through it walked a male figure that none of us recognized.  He was tall, as tall as Bret, but nowhere near as built.  As a matter of fact, he was quite skinny, and after seeing him, I was tempted to run back into Debra’s kitchen to cook him a good meal.  One meal might not have been enough.  He would need about ten of those to make him look at lot less sickly.  His curly blond hair fell to down a little past his shoulders, and it was in great condition.  It looked to be in better condition than both Angel’s and Jamey’s hair and they had great hair.  His clothing was rather simple.  He just wore a pair of black jeans and a plain white button down long sleeve shirt.  There was not anything significant about that except for the fact they were both way too small for him and reinforced the appearance of him being extremely underweight.  His eyes were blue and so intense that I was taken aback buy them.  I hadn’t seen eyes like that since Caleb and all of us, except for Jamey, knew where he ended up.  The most intriguing thing about him was he was a user.  The energy about him was unmistakable, and it was a little unsettling because I would not have thought I would be able to feel the energy while watching a scene from the recent past. 

He was not doing anything I would have considered suspicious but instead quietly surveyed the room while not saying a word or touching anything.  When his eyes passed over the area where we were standing, all four of us collectively flinched.  However, he continued to survey the room as he should have without noticing the four of us. 

“Is there something I can help you with?”

Debra’s voice had broken the silence and the guy looked in our direction.  Debra appeared from the kitchen, walking directly through Jamey, to face the man who had entered her establishment.  The fact she had done it without any warning and had walked through Jamey as if she didn’t exist had caused a little bit of commotion between the four of us.   As a matter of fact, the spell would have been broken completely if Bret hadn’t put his hand over Angel mouth to stop her scream from being audible.

Debra looked almost the same as she did when we had seen her outside this vision.  However, there were two major differences.  The sweatpants she wore were blue and the t-shirt was red.  Her hair was also put up in a bun.  She looked like a school teacher, and her style actually made her look a little more around her proper age.  She just stood there with her hands on her hips and waited, looking even more like the pissed off school teacher.

“I’m looking for something,” he said.  He had a strange accent.  It sounded as if it might have been English, but there was something a little off.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  “And you’re going to help me find it.”  Talk about being rude, but if he was trying to pull off a menacing act, it was definitely working.  At least, it was on me.

Debra, however, was not impressed.  “Something?  Or is it really someone?”  I was not sure if what she did there was a wise idea.  If this English, or whatever he was, guy thought about it a little more, he would have figured out that she could read his thoughts, and I was not so sure that was information she wanted to give away at that point.

He didn’t seem to care one way or the other.  “What I’m looking for will lead me to the person I seek.”

The confused look on Debra’s face said what she thought of that.  I do not remember ever seeing someone being able to stump her like so thoroughly.  She always seemed to be on top of everything, not to mention being one step ahead of everyone else.

“Well, if you had read the sign out front, you would realize that I have business hours, and it is quite late.  I close at nine in the evening.  Come back tomorrow before then.”

“I know what time you close,” he said not making any attempt to leave.  “You will help me find what I seek.”  That was a demand and not a request.  I was sure that would go over well.  Debra was always one who loved to be told what to do. 

“And if I don’t?”

“This is what I seek.”  He talked as if she hadn’t said anything.  He pulled out what appeared to be some kind of necklace from around his neck.  It was a black threaded type of necklace with a green triangle shaped jewel at the end with a black border that matched the black thread of the actual chain.  It was quite cool looking, and I vague sense of familiarity with it.  A complete racking of my brain to try and place it proved to be unsuccessful.  The semi-English men threw the necklace over to Debra, which she caught directly in her left palm.  While Debra studied the chain, I glanced at the rest of the spectators.  Bret gave me a confused shrug, while Angel just stood there looking amused.  Jamey, on the other hand, had a look of horrified recognition that twisted her little girl facial features into something unrecognizable.  She was freaked.

“I know that you’ve come into contact with one exactly like it,” he said.  He held up his left hand, and the chain floated up into mid air, out of Debra’s palm.  The chain didn’t stop moving as it moved across the room to his waiting left hand.  Once it reached him, he returned the chain to his rightful place around his neck.  “You will help me find it.”

I wasn’t sure how he knew she had come into contact with a chain exactly like the one he was wearing, but if he was able to trace the one he was looking for to Debra, that meant that he should have been able to trace it to the actual location.  He should not have had to go through Debra to find it.

“I will do no such thing,” Debra said having figured out long ago that this guy was up to no good and clearly had seen enough.

The semi-Englishman just sighed in response.  “I guess I’ll just have to kill you then.”  He said like it was something that he didn’t want to do, but the twinkle in his eyes betrayed his real feelings.  It was something that he relished in.  There was only a flash of it, and then it was gone, but it was something I did not miss.

“Really,” she said. Again, Debra was not impressed.  “Do what you feel you must.”  The fact Debra was not in any way frightened by what this guy was saying, was not lost on any of us.  He was walking really dangerous ground here and from the look on his face, it didn’t seem as if he had realized it.  The sudden, but also very subtle, change in energy confirmed my suspicion that she was definitely up to something.  However, I couldn’t tell what she had done.  There was no visual evidence she had done anything out of the ordinary.  As a matter of fact, she stood there with her arms folded across her chest apparently waiting.

“It would be my pleasure,” he said.  Again, the shift in the energy was noticeable, but with the naked eye, there was no evidence of anything happening.  He just stood there not moving.  What was this, some sort of silent magic face off?  I soon would have my answer.  Out of thin air, hundreds of small wooden spikes started to appear, the tips pointing Debra’s direction.  That meant they were also pointing in our direction since we were crowded around behind her.  They had the appearance of stakes used in vampire movies.  He didn’t waste any time waiting for them all to show.  He quickly raised his arm in her direction, and the spikes started racing towards us, as fast as bullets in flight.  Now each of us knew that she was not in any danger just based on the fact that she was actually in the next room, waiting on us, but even that bit of knowledge didn’t prepare us for what we saw.

The spikes had hit an invisible barrier Debra had erected around herself, but they didn’t just fall to the floor.  They didn’t even stop moving.  Instead, all of the spikes that hit the barrier immediately turned and started to head back the direction from which they came.  The spell the guy had cast was being reflected right back at him, and every spike that hit barrier let out enough of a visual impact to be noticeable blue light.  Debra just stood there, her arms still folded across her chest, with an evil smirk on her face.  The guy looked shocked at this turn of events.  Actually, horrified would be a more accurate description of the facial expression he had while each spike reflected back towards him.  Then just as quickly, all of the spikes simultaneously fell to the carpet.  The spikes disappeared as they hit the floor, leaving no trace of their existence.  The energy in the room had returned to normal, as if nothing had even happened.  The two who were just locked in a magical battle didn’t contain their surprise, but it was the fake Englishman who recovered first.  His face changed from total shock to total recognition.

“Melissa,” he said with disdain.  He then quickly ran out of the front door, leaving Debra standing there looking perplexed.

“I think you’ve all seen enough,” said present day Debra.  As soon as she had spoken the first word the spell had broken and the living room had returned to present time.  The light in room came from the sunlight shining through the living room windows as opposed to the lamps on the end tables.   She turned to Jamey and said.  “Now do you understand why I wanted to see you?”

Jamey nodded, but it was Angel who spoke, “No.  I don’t understand any of it.  Who the hell was that creepy skinny dude?”

Debra again looked at Jamey.  “You don’t know who he is.  Is that correct?”

“I’ve never seen that guy before in my life.”

“But you do know the location of what he is looking for.”  It was statement of fact and not a question.

“Of course,” Jamey said.  “You knew that already.”

“Well, we didn’t,” Angel said.  “Where is it?”

“It’s where it always was,” Jamey answered.  She pulled from under her shirt and around her neck and exact copy of the chain that the fake Englishman was looking for.  “I’ve worn it every day since my mother had given it to me when I was twelve.”


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Novel / Novella
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This is the revised version of chapter 3.