When opposites clash, things can go completely bizarre
|When Two Worlds Clashed
J'son Kinley took another sip from the glass and licked his lips for the third time. He breathed in and out a few times, looked all over the interrogation room, twice turned to see over his shoulder at the door which had remained closed for the better part of the day. When his eyes caught mine, he let out a foolish smile. Pulling at his collar he tried to let some air into his stuffing shirt.
“Pretty hot, isn’t it?”
I just smiled. The air-conditioning was working overtime to keep the inside temperature at twenty. But not his fault. He didn’t see my fingers working under the table that separated me from him. Not that it would’ve made any difference to him. He was what people call, a tech-savvy, a worshiper of technology. He wouldn’t know spells even it occurred in front of his eyes. But I was more aware of the Council of Magic than him. They could pose a problem for me if they found out what I was doing. They were everywhere.
“Why do you think the officer hadn’t returned yet?” He asked.
“Don’t know,” I shrugged.
We were both arrested for the same thing. We had hit each other's car head-on and then wrestled to put the blame on another causing a nasty traffic jam. The officer on duty witnessed it all and in no time we’re cuffed and dragged halfway across the city to the police station.
Now we were waiting to hear our statement, whatever it would be.
When we were made to sit in this room, the officer asked us to deposit all our belongings.
J'son gave up two phones, an iPad, an iPod, a Bluetooth earpiece, three pen drives, and one two-inches thick laptop. He had just fifty creds in cash and credit cards from five different companies. From me they gathered only a hundred creds, my id stating me as Darlene O'Barle and a ten inch long wooden stick, heavily engraved, which turned out to be a pen for them, which it obviously wasn’t. But they wouldn’t know. I didn’t let them.
The moment they had closed the door of this room, I got to work. Thanks to J'son, I was going to miss my show at Sha'zan's Theatre. On other occasions, I wouldn’t have bothered to stay or do anything about it. But this time it was personal. Oscar, my fiancé, would be waiting for me there and it was our last night out before he left for Marrigon Pasture, our magic land on Moon, for three years. His ship departs at midnight. Though he could snap himself from one place to another, a talent I lacked, hence the car, he needed a regular ship to travel to Moon. Yes, though we could do a lot, we couldn’t possibly pull off interplanetary travel.
I connected with Oscar the moment I had stepped into the police car. He wanted to help but I denied. No point. It would just mess with his schedule.
I couldn’t make it to the theatre on time but I would make sure this J'son would have a hard time here.
I didn’t have my wand; they have taken it away assuming it to be a pen. But that didn’t matter. In fact, it was better. They couldn’t see me performing. I rubbed my hands together under the table and pointed at the door. For my eyes only it slowly disappeared. Two officers sat at the table having coffee and gossiping. I pointed my finger at one of them, Herald, and held a thought in my mind.
Laughing at his friend’s sickening joke, he casually picked up one of J'son's cards.
“Whatcha doin'?” the other one, Buzz, asked.
“Just curious,” Herald replied.
J'son blew out some breath and looked back at the door, which was solid for him.
“What’s taking them so long?”
I shook my head.
“Look, lady,” he said. “I am sorry. I was in a hurry and I guess so were you. Why don’t we settle it among ourselves and…”
Herald had been punching buttons on his computer all the time J’son was speaking and now he was frowning.
“… You know,” I heard J’son speak. “Mutual settlement.”
Herald picked up the phone and spoke into it.
“Sorry. Too late,” I said and snapped under the table.
“What?” J’son asked. It was the same question Herald was asking over the phone only with more furious intensity. He checked the card in his hand and then spoke into the phone.
I pointed at his head and built up another thought. Herald dropped the card and opened the laptop. I disabled the password with a flick of my finger and let Herald in. Inside seconds he was yelling and screaming his head off, calling for men all about the office.
I giggled in spite of myself.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing. You know some good lawyers? Book 'em.”
“What the hell are you…?”
The door burst open and three men stormed in. Two men stood behind J’son with their guns drawn. Herald came round the table and put a credit card on the table and the laptop.
Quietly I vacated the chair and withdrew into the darker part of the room. For some time to come, they wouldn’t remember me. At least I hoped so. Memory management was one branch I scored lowest in school.
Herald held the card up for J’son to see.
“This belongs to a fraudulent company,” he harked in J’son’s face. “Any transaction done on this card is always returned to the payer.”
J’son stared at the officer like a fool and then shook his head.
“What? That’s impossible.”
“Shut up. And here,” Herald turned the laptop so that J’son could see. “All these detailed plans of the City Bank’s security and vaults and forged bonds, certificates and agreements. What’re these for?”
J’son grabbed his laptop as if it was about to fly out and bent double over the screen.
“These… I... I don’t. I am a straight guy, officer. Someone must have hacked…”
“Shut up,” Herald cried.
The air-conditioning was hovering over twenty. J’son’s shirt was sticking to his skin.
“And here,” Herald showed J’son his iPad. “You were running a program that was hacking into our systems. What the hell were you up to, Mr. Kinley?”
“I… I don’t know,” J’son said.
I looked at one of the two guards behind him and elbowed the air beside me.
“Oh, you do. And…” Herald was saying but stopped. His men were elbowing each other like kindergarteners. Herald harked at them and concentrated back to J’son.
“You were trying to infiltrate the…”
I pointed at J’son’s hands slowly moved my finger. It made J’son lift his hands, palms open, fingers a little bent and extend it towards Herald’s throat.
For a moment Herald stood transfixed, unable to believe what he saw. Then he shouted in warning. The two armed men made to step up.
I thrust my hand forward palm facing them. They stopped in their tracks. J’son was still getting up from his chair unable to control his movements. His eyes were wild, sweat dripped down his blunt nose and he continued to plead that he didn’t know what was happening.
Herald had frozen in his tracks. His companions were mere spectators. Time and again he threatened to shoot J’son but not once could he detect his gun on his hip.
I pointed at one of the guards and thought of Michael Jackson.
In midst of the confusion, he broke into the moonwalk and his friend started jamming on his machine gun as if he was holding a guitar.
I was laughing my head off when I detected some movement out of the corner of my eyes. Immediately I turned my finger towards it but it was too late.
“If you were not my sister,” a heavy voice said, “I’d have put you under the detainer charm for a year.”
I stepped back and put down my finger.
My brother, Victor O’Barle, appeared as a smoke figure beside me.
He was a member of the Council and my sole guardian, which meant I’d be out of trouble outside and in trouble at home.
I knew Oscar must have tipped him off. He knew my nature pretty well.
I turned to the comedy in front of me and found them frozen. Victor’s work. He had two rare gifts. One of them was stopping time for short durations.
“Undo your work,” he grumbled. He never enjoyed my harmless tricks with the people. Oscar did. But he always kept me in check, which was one big reason for Victor approving of Oscar.
“Undo it now and I won’t report you to the Council,” Victor said.
“No Vic, I won’t,” I said folding my arms and stomping my foot. “You didn’t see what that good-for-nothing J’son did. My car’s a mess and I missed my date with Oscar and…” I stopped as my throat chocked at the thought of not able to see him for three years.
“Do it,” he said. “I’ll make it up to you.”
I obeyed him. I always did. I clapped thrice and he unfroze them.
Herald and J’son looked blankly at each other. The two armed men shared the same bewilderment.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Herald asked before checking the credit card in his hand and the laptop. Obviously, the laptop didn’t have any of those plans and forged documents. I had removed my delusory spell. Things were back to just speed driving without any involvement from me. Victor’s second gift, manipulating memory. That’s what he did at the Council: Legal Manipulation of memory.
Victor made a circular motion with his finger and my card, cash, and wand appeared in my hands.
“Let’s go,” he said leaving the men to argue their case.
It was already ten at night when I walked out of the police station with Victor. Oscar's ship would be leaving in an hour. My heavy heart pulled me to the ground when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
“I forgive you this time,” Victor said tenderly. “Be quick. He has a ship to catch.”
When I looked up he nodded towards the street and then melted away.
I turned where he gestured and yelped in delight.
Leaning against the lamppost, with his hands in his pocket and a wicked smile across his face, was Oscar.
Written for: "The Science Fiction Short Story Contest"