by Neil Clair
What if you were born with an unknown power growing inside of you?
|(UPDATE: I changed the name of the book)
The Birth of Magic- Chapter One
I was born on October 31, 1926 at 11:59p.m. This was the day that The Great Houdini had died and it was also the day another Great was brought into the world.
Growing up in Portugal, I was never special but my parents treated me like I was the only person who mattered. They named me Harley Houdine Hope. My name was created as the feminine version of Harry Houdini. Because of this, I was always teased at school. Kids made fun of me and some forced me to do magic tricks, but if only they'd known I never did liked or was amused by magic. I believed that it was a waste of time and time was of the essence.
The day before my thirteenth birthday, my mother had contracted a serious illness. It wasn't very rare but there was no known cure for the cruel and ruthless Cholera. No one knew what caused my mother to fall ill. We hired the most skilled professions in medical assistance but the source was unclear. Some suspected that the cause was by an unfortunate decision. Other said that she was poisoned by God's because she had done horrible things in the past. My father and I didn't care about the rumors. We just hoped for the best. The next day, on 11:59p.m. she passed away. I felt like my existence was a curse.
Just one minute before she passed, she pulled me closer and whispered, "Harley, you are a special little girl. You have something powerful growing inside of you and one day I hope you put it to good use."
"What are you talking about?" I questioned as my eyes slowly filled up with tears.
"Magic, Harley. You were born with..." she paused. The EKG beside her started beeping rapidly and my mother was gasping for air. Only a couple seconds later, the machine gave out a long, loud beep! I burst out into tears and my father held me tight. Soon the nurses escorted me out of the room and I was severely devastated. I couldn't help but think about what my mother was about to say. "Magic?" I thought. I cried for days and weeks. I could barely even think about school so I didn't attend for almost a month.
My mother's final words stuck with me for the rest of my growing life and I couldn't figure out what she meant. I didn't bother to ask my dad about it because he was already going through a lot. On top of that, three months after the funeral, my dad and I had a falling out. It all started when I came home late after school. My dad accused me of being with a boy and he forbade me to come home after four again. He told me to go to my room for two days and think about how much pain I had caused for him. The truth is that I was actually planning a surprise for his upcoming birthday. Of course, I didn't mention it; I just followed his orders.
I laid on top of my lonely bed and stared into the voyage of the ceiling. I had a problem with my emotions. I knew that if I had stared onto something for too long with silence, the silence would be broken with a yelp of tears. Yet I still violated my personal rules and ended up sobbing away into a pillow. My face was eventually indulged in saliva and mucus when I heard faint laughter coming from outside.
I sat up straight and listened for a couple seconds until I heard it again. I rushed towards my bedroom window and looked out. I saw the latest 1940 Chrysler Imperial parked outside our lawn. My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. I was also confused when I saw an elegantly dressed woman entering our doors. I only got a glimpse of her face because she had on a huge straw hat that complemented her amazing sense of style. I immediately wiped my face, unlocked my door and ran down the stairs to get a better look. I stopped at the top of the staircase and we both locked eyes. Her face was well-contoured and her smiling lips were illuminated by a bright pink, matte-tinted lipstick. She had on a dark red richly-furred princess coat that matched her dark red heels. The woman peeled her eyes away from mine and placed her coat and hat on our coat hanger. Her blonde hair fell down over a red and black, knee-high dress. The dress had two pockets, one on each side, and from one of them hanged a silver stopwatch with a golden chain. My father stood next to her with a huge smile until he finally introduced her. "Oh! Harley, this is Madame Mayfield. Nancy...Mayfield. She just came in from England for shelter from the war to our small island chain, Azores. She will be staying with us for a while and she has a sore throat so if you would be so kind and whip up some ginger tea for her. I hope you can make her feel at home."
"What!" I thought. This was the first time I had seen my father so happy since my mother passed away. It was only three months since the funeral and he had already moved on. This was when I realized that my father was a scum.
"Thank you, Miguel, for letting me into your home. It is a pleasure to be here." Nancy commented very softly in order not to strain her voice.
"Yes, thank you for coming. Now, get out!" I screamed in my head. I stood like a statue on the stairs, despising my father and his new "roommate." I was completely speechless.
My father disguised his anger and mouthed, "Say something."
I slowly made my way closer to Nancy and smirked sarcastically, "Mmm. How long will you be staying?"
"Oh. Only a couple days," she hoarsely replied.
"Great! That means you can sleep on the couch. Let me help you with your luggage. Is that all?"
"Uh.. umm...yes..but," Nancy stuttered.
"Go ahead and help yourself with some leftover Mac n' Cheese. The kettle might hot so please, for my sake, burn yourself. Just put it on the stove for two minutes. That's if you know how to even use a stove. Pans are in the cupboards. By the way, I would choke you for your coat. Literally. I hate it. Does that lipstick rub off? Is that a wig? It's way too bright for your skin. I'm gonna put your stuff away now. They stink. Have fun...doing..stuff..with my dad," I jabbered.
"Harley! Enough! I'm so sorry, Nancy. Harley, may I remind you that you are still punished? Forget about the tea. Go back to your room." I father shouted in a stern voice.
Once again, I followed my father's orders. On my way up, I could have heard my father apologizing to Nancy. I looked down from the staircase and noticed something quite peculiar. It was a police officer's hat. It wasn't from the PPD (Portugal Police Department), though. It was from the NYPD and it looked very modern. I made eye contact with the despicable woman once more before I rolled my eyes and slammed my room door. I was angry but I didn't cry or steam up. I just sat on my bed and thought about what I was going to do about my new predicament. I had so many bottled up feelings and I didn't know what to do about it. I looked over to my bookshelf, hoping to find something interesting to read. I had read almost every book on the shelf. I spotted a never-before-seen book and picked it up. It read, "The Ancient Book of Incantations and Procedures of Enchantment, by James C. Cauldron." I was not impressed; as usual, but I had nothing else to do. So, I opened it, laid back and began reading. Little did I know, I would soon experience something that would change my entire life.