by Than Pence
Under a spell, Terric has to somehow find out how to escape the clutches of a soul thief!
|What do I do? he thought. That was all he could do: think while under Magrivore’s spell. He was paralyzed and, with the assistance of the dark mage, being positioned to appear dead.
Someone will see this and know I’m not dead. Magrivore won’t get away with this! But doubt ate at his buzzing mind and he couldn’t help wondering if this was the end.
It had only been hours since Terric had discovered Magrivore’s terrible secret, though it felt longer. Using amateur detective work, Terric found that Magrivore had been stealing pieces of souls from all of the neighborhood children. It had been going on for some time, but the recent behavior of the youths had become upsetting.
When a small boy was caught trying to drown an even smaller girl, someone had to do something. Terric thought he was up to the task, having recently acquired his Level Three certification in the mail. His investigation brought him too quickly into Magrivore’s company, and quicker still to his current predicament.
I should’ve remembered to cast a Block before I even knocked on his door. Idiot.
“You should’ve already had a Block up,” grumbled the wrinkled mage as he set the scene. “Don’t Level Threes knows that yet? Now I gets to call some police and tell them I thwarted a burglaring by my lonesome. Do you think that’s going to be easy to do, hmm? I’m only one hundred thirty-three, but these folks ‘round here think that’s ancient! That I look like I be half that! Ha! Foolish… fools!”
Shut up and kill me already! If only to escape your wretched voice! To Terric, Magrivore sounded like a constantly-shattering crystal. Only now did he realize that it was a side-effect of the soul stealing. I should’ve known by that alone.
“You should’ve known what was up just by this voice, son. But a’guess you haven’t been having much contact with soul thieves.”
Is he reading my mind? Are you, you snake?
But Magrivore didn’t respond. He moved into the next room and was making such a racket that Terric assumed he was upending more items to further paint the scene for whenever the police arrived. He realized that he would suffer a fate worse than death by a fellow mage. Death by mere mortals! Chilled, Terric knew he had to do something. Anything! But what?
Magrivore returned. “There’s nothing to do but wait. I’ve called up the policeboys. After they’n take you away, I need to be goin’ meself. Can’t risk other mages deciphering what’s happened here, ya know. And if you’re worriedness is for the kiddies, fret not. Their souls will grow back in time. Maybe even before one of them kills.”
I’ll kill you.
Magrivore didn’t respond, making Terric wonder if he could read his thoughts anyway. While they waited, Magrivore sat and twiddled his thumbs – an act older mages thought made them fit in – as Terric tried to mentally conjure any spell or trick that could help him.
Though thoughts raced, nothing came to mind. Before long, there was a knock and Terric knew his time had come. He heard Magrivore open the door and solemnly greet two people, a man and a woman.
With a Level Three like Terric, he knew that his own Paralysis Spell was good for a couple dozen minutes. Magrivore was more advanced and this spell was probably set to last until Terric was too malnourished to survive.
A man dressed in dark blues came and crouched beside Terric. Help me, he thought, but the stranger didn’t react. Of those present, he was least likely to hear Terric’s mind.
“D’you say something?” asked the woman. The question made Terric’s stomach flip, though not literally.
The policeman looked away, saying, “Nope. Guy’s dead, though. No pulse, but I don’t see what’s killed him. Sir, you said you struck him and he dropped?”
“Yessir, I did.”
Turning Terric’s head, the policeman quickly examined the backside. Terric could now see the policewoman and Magrivore: the latter looked worried and Terric realized he hadn’t thought everything through. Mages often didn’t leave evidence when magic was involved.
I’ll kill you when I get the chance, you bastard! At this thought, Terric saw surprise pass over the policewoman’s face: she flinched and turned towards the dark mage.
“What’d you say?!” Her body language said she was highly alert and Terric realized she must’ve been a latent telepath. Or an undercover mage.
Magrivore looked worried and Terric knew that his luck had turned. “I said nothing, madam! I simply await your results and for your removal of the body.”
“That’s the coroner’s job. He’ll be here.”
Inspiration struck. Not soon enough. I’ll kill you both if you don’t leave!
The woman stepped away from Magrivore, her gun smoothly drawn. “Sir, put your hands on your head and get down on the ground.”
“Char, what the hell?” asked the policeman, alarmed.
“This guy says he’s gonna kill us if we don’t leave! I said down on the ground! Now!” But Magrivore didn’t move and for a stretched moment, Terric could see the next few moments: Magrivore casting similar spells or worse on the policemen and then getting away. It had to end. Terric saw the dark mage muttering. Time had run out.
Shoot! Shoot! She obeyed, sending a bullet into the old man’s withered chest. Instantly, Terric’s own spell was broken and he jolted, gasping and drawing immediate attention.
Both policemen had their guns drawn toward him, now. Thankfully, neither fired.
“Sir, are you alright?” asked the policewoman.
“I am now, yes.” She looked puzzled once more. “Yes, this is the voice you just heard. In your head.”
The policeman looked baffled. “Charlotte, what’s he talking about?”
“I… I’m not sure.”
“I am,” said Terric as he stood up with a groan. “But I’ll tell you this: I’m certainly glad older guys like him don’t put stock into bulletproof vests. Thank you, madam. You saved my life.”
Word Count: 997