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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2278285
What happens when a hack magician runs into real magic?
Written for WdC's "What A Character" Contest

Write a story about a "fake" magician
encountering some kind of "real" magic for the first time.
word count 1099

Magic is real

         I was an orphan. My mother died in childbirth and my father died in an accident when I was fourteen. The last thing my father gave me before he left that day was a magic kit. It had some cryptic message on it about bringing me closer to my mother.

         I hated the orphanage. They made me cut my blonde locks to where they curled tight against my head. It made my green eyes bulge from my face like a bug. At least that's what the other kids teased me about. I got away as quickly as I could.

         I was homeless. I used my magic kit to entertain people on the streets. They would throw me their pocket change in an old hat. I did well enough that I ate occasionally. No one bothered me if I kept to myself. As I got older, I got better at slight of hand and was able to purchase more tricks and a costume. I made friends with a restaurant owner who let me entertain his patrons. Soon other places let me perform at their establishments.

         When I turned sixteen, a guy named Dante' took me in and started teaching me stage magic. We worked together for three years before his career took off and he no longer had time for me. At nineteen, though, I was old enough to work at the magic venues and Dante' had left me a few of his bigger tricks.

         I was doing good for myself when I turned twenty. I had an apartment and regular gigs that kept me going. That was when the mysterious invitation came to come to Adams Enclave for a special performance that would change my life.

         The trip to the island on the ferry was strange. We were in almost constant fog and mist. At times it was like we were going in circles or even in reverse. I was the only passenger on the ferry. The only other was the captain who remained on his bridge.

         When we neared the island, I went to get in my car. Two burly men I had not seen before strongarmed me and deposited me on the shore. When I opened my mouth to protest, they threw my bags at me. The ferry disappeared again into the fog with my car and most of my larger tricks still on it.

         I smoothed my jacket and vest and put on my tam. I was skinny, the suit hung on me as if it was still on a hanger. I straightened my bowtie and picked up my bags.

         There wasn't much to the beach, just a half moon section at the edge of a forest. I looked around and the dock had disappeared. I scratched my head for a second. There was a small path into the forest. I didn't have much choice but to follow it.

         The trees seemed to close in behind me as I walked, cutting me off from the beach. The path before me slimmed and my bags started brushing against the lower branches. The canopy above thickened blocking out the light.

         I set my bags down and took off my tam, using my ascot to wipe my brow. My blonde curls were plastered to my forehead. A gust of wind caught my tam and sent it swirling high out of sight. The twigs and brush closed in on me, snagging my clothes. I slipped out of my jacket, and they still ripped at my sleeves. I abandoned my bags and ran aimlessly through what was now a jungle. I watched my footing, so I didn't trip over roots and vines.

         I saw someone running through the jungle off to my left. She was wearing a seafoam dress and her blonde hair flew out behind her. She was covered in flowers that trailed through the air behind her and sprouted beneath her feet.

         Off to my right was another running girl. This one had dark hair and a light blue dress. She had flowers over her as well.

         They laughed to each other, and the laughter was a mixture of bird songs and tinkling bells.

         I felt a small tap on my shoulders. "Play me, play tag," they called.

         I tried to follow them, but they seemed to be going in all directions at once. I gave up and ran in one direction, hoping to find the trail or a way out of the jungle.

         There was a harder tap on my shoulders that sent me sprawling in the dirt.

         Their laughter was louder. "Play me! Play tag!" They were off and running again.

         I pounded my fists on the ground. "What kind of place I this?!"

         A wispy voice floated through the air, "A place that exists in your dreams."

         I rubbed my eyes, streaking my face with dirt. Getting up, I brushed off what was left of my suit, ripping off the shredded arms of my shirt.

         There was a trail. I could see an opening in the jungle ahead. The canopy above was letting light come in.

         I came out of the jungle into a quaint small town with shops and a fountain at the center. There were all sorts of creatures wandering about. The kinds only heard of in fairy tales and fantasy stories.

         One of them noticed me; a strong centaur with long black hair going down to his smooth brown back. He reared up on his hind legs and turned my way. All the others followed him. As they surrounded me, I moved toward the fountain.

         "Jack, Jack, Jack," they all chanted.

         I was moving backwards, almost climbing the fountain. "How do you know my name?"

         The fountain started to glisten and the beautiful lady in the center came to life.

         The creatures chanted in harmony, "Gaia, Gaia, Gaia."

         "We have always known you, Jack. You were brought home."

         "I don't understand. I'm nobody."

         "You're special, Jack, you can do real magic if you would only believe."

         "Magic is real? No, it can't be."

         "Yes, Jack. Your mother was from this Enclave. You belong here."

         "No, no, it's a dream." I fell to my knees and covered my face. "I can't."

         When I opened my eyes I was on the dock. My shirt sleeves were back, and my jacket and hat hung from a fence post. My bags were in my car on the ferry.

         I gave a glance back at where the trail had been.

         "When you are ready you will return. Magic is yours to wield when you believe."

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