June, otter

Not Feeling the computer today

 See you guys tomorrow.

Edit/Update: This was all done yesterday, but I thought you might like to see it. 

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Okay, so this is only about 700 words, but I did write more yesterday. I know I've been saying this for a while, but I'm finally going to make the commitment for tomorrow and spend most of the day typing after I get my daily assignments done. See you then. 

EDIT: another story for you guys

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June, otter

Revised from yesterday

 So, I think this is another false start, and I might give it another go before I actually keep writing the story. Also, the fairies might not be there any more. We'll see. 

The move the Evergreen Falls came as a perfect storm.

First Dad inherited a house with about one hundred acres of land, and whatever money his aged uncle had in the bank (which turned out to be a generous sum).

“Should we go?” Mom asked.

“We’ll have to see about jobs first,” said Dad. “And selling the house.”

They called Evergreen Falls about jobs, Dad to the nearby power plant and Mom to the largest bank they had. They talked and talked, then emailed resumes to their respective places. Soon enough, the house went up on the market, and soon enough it was sold. After that, they started selling off their furniture.

“We can buy newer things when we get there,” said Mom.

Then both of them gathered Tempest and her twin, Alethea in the living room, telling them it was time to pack.

Tempest did not know what to think of the move. Alethea was excited to live in a beach front town, surrounded by mountains and the possibility of new, cute boys. Tempest felt like something would happen, but she could not tell if it was good or bad. As she packed all of her books and art supplies, she tried not to think about it.

When they finished packing, they loaded everything onto a truck, and began an almost week long drive to the coast.

“Now girls,” said Mom. “Your father and I have talked about it, and we think you girls are old enough to decorate your own rooms now. So, we’re giving you an allowance from what your old things sold for, and a little bit more to buy paint and new room sets. But, we’re only giving you a week to decorate, all right? After that we want you out of the house and doing some things around the town. Try and find a job if you can. You girls are almost sixteen after all.”

“What about a car?” Alethea asked.

“If we feel that you’ve earned it, we’ll help chip in for a used one,” said Mom. “But you have to earn it, Alethea.”

Alethea rarely earned anything. She had almost always been beautiful, with stylish auburn hair, the greenest eyes anyone had ever seen, fair, flawless skin, and the right curves had grown on her overnight. She was born with the most charming part of her parents. Tempest did not consider herself ugly, but she knew that compared to her twin she must have seemed that way. Wild black hair, which only seemed to calm down when grown out, covered her head, she felt constantly covered in acne or uneven tans and burns and her body held no one shape, but merely retained itself as dumpy. Her eyes were the worst though—a sort of blue grey that looked like polluted ocean.

She looked like neither of her parents, to the point where she had had to ignore the words “paternity test,” more than once when her parents spoke of it.

After nearly a week of driving, they arrived. They slept in sleeping bags and called out for pizza.

The next day both girls were given their allowances and set free in town to do with it what they would. Alethea went straight for the furniture store, but Tempest took her time browsing around the hardware place, picking out a large galleon of paint, with several smaller cans she would use to paint the wall with. Then she asked about lumber, buying several lengths of dark wood to build shelves out of.

“I hope you do not intend to do that in the house,” Dad said when he came by to get her and the lumber.

“There’s a shed out back that Uncle Eberhard used as a work shop,” Tempest mentioned. “Could I have that as my studio?” Dad agreed, if only to keep the sound of sawing, and eventually, the smell of oil paint, out of the house.

So Tempest painted the walls a sea blue, and accented them with spirals and waves of midnight blue and grey weaving in and out. She fastened silver fixtures to the walls and then put up the dark shelves to hold her books when they arrived with the moving truck. It took her two days, but it looked beautiful.

“You still don’t have a place to sleep,” Alethea told her.

Tempest began to walk the town, which seemed to have a constant set of garage and yard sales now that they had come into summer. The first thing to come was a rug. She haggled, and bought it for about thirty dollars, when it would cover most of the hard wood floor in her room. Next she found a desk, which she placed near the window, so she would have natural light. Then, she founda trunk with extending compartments for her art supplies. Side tables of dark mahogany made their way into the room. Hanging lamps came after that, ones with orange glass around them, which she replaced the central light fixture with. At last came a bed, of the same mahogany wood as her desk and shelves that filled up perhaps a fifth of her room.

“I think you forgot something,” said Dad as she assembled it near a corner of the room.

“What?” she asked, giving the screwdriver a final twist.

“The mattress,” he replied. “Come on, we’ll drive into town and get you one.”

Tempest detested getting anything new, but with a mattress, she supposed she could make an exception. While they were there, she asked to get a new door handle to match her room (one which could lock, to keep Alethea out), which her father consented to. He also made her pick out two sets of sheets and different blankets for her bed, and then curtains. “I know you can sew,” he said. “But it’s easier this way honey, and look, they match your room.” Tempest grumbled,

“All right.”

But as they drove back, they happened to pass a yard sale, and Tempest called, “Dad stop!” He obeyed, stopping abruptly as she jumped out of the car and made for the sale. He followed her to an old arm chair still in good condition, with midnight blue upholstery flowing over the silver arms and legs.

“Like it?” asked the man presiding over the sale. “I’ll give it to you for fifty.”

“Thirty five,” she replied.

“Done!” he said. “I’ll get you a receipt.”

“Wait,” she called moving over to a table which had odd sticks of wood folded up together. “How much to do you want for this?”

“Ten?” he asked. “I’m not even sure what that is.”

“I’ll take it. Both of them.” She pulled out forty-five dollars from her pocket and handed it over, before she helped her dad load the chair into the back of his truck, propping the mattress up against it, and strapping them both down. Dad looked at the wooden contraption with a frown, but did not ask, so Tempest did not answer.

She placed the chair by the window, and when the truck arrived with all of the things they had not sold, she stacked her books on the shelves, lined her clothes in the closet and split her art supplies between her new trunk and studio.

After unpacking, she wandered into the kitchen for a glass of lemonade and a snack, and when she wandered back, she found a host of people gawking at her door.

“Whose room is this?” asked one of them.

“Mine,” Tempest replied, before Alethea could make something up. “Excuse me please.” The crowd parted and let her in, still gawking before Alethea called them all into her room.

When the decorating week came to an end, Tempest arose early. A plan had begun to culminate in her head when she bought the wood contraption, really a fold up easel. She dressed for a hike, packed a bag with her supplies, and brought a carrying case for her canvas as well. After a quick breakfast, she set off for a trail just behind her house, and began to walk up the path.

The path was half carved of earth and half made of broke, moss covered steps that you could slip on if you were careful. Tempest climbed carefully though. She climbed and climbed until she found something worth painting. After about an hour she stopped on a plateau where she saw something worth her while. There was a tree twice as thick as the others around it, its roots coming up out of the ground, creating something like a hollow. Tempest found a spot where she could see most of the tree and set up her easel took out her paints, brushes and pallet, as well as her oil and mineral spirits and began to paint.

Tempest painted until the sun was much higher in the sky. She began to sweat, but she would not leave the painting unfinished. She kept going, until it began to feel finished. She nodded at it, and decided to come back later to see if there was anything still left to add. She wrapped it carefully, and put it back in its case so the painting would not smear, and after packing up the rest of her supplies, she began to walk back toward the house.

Another hour passed, and when she arrived she set the painting out to dry in her work shop and washed out all of her brushes, which had been left to rest in the mineral spirits to keep the paint from sticking. She checked the time and found she still had an hour and a half before her normal lunch time, and so set off to explore the neighborhood.

Soon, she found a park, with a trail wrapping around it, and decided that another walk wouldn’t kill her. As she walked around though, she noticed there were signs that told when you should stop and do some other exercises. Well, she thought running her hands over the dumpy parts of her body, it couldn’t hurt. She lay down on the ground where she had seen others do so, and began a series of sit ups, or at least she tried. Tempest heard laughter over her, and sat up properly to see a boy standing over her.

“You aren’t doing that right,” he told her. “Here, let me help.” He knelt down in front of her, and held her feet. “Now bring yourself up until your chest touches your knees.” She did. “Now again.” He started counting, and her abdomen began to hurt. When he reached twenty, he had her stop and lay down himself. “Hold my feet for me, please?” he asked.

“Sure,” she agreed.

“I’m Carlos by the way,” he said.


“Wait you mean like, ‘we are the stuff that dreams are made of, rounded with a little sleep?’ That Tempest?”

“Yeah,” she replied, a smile forming on her face. “How did you know that?”

“I like Shakespeare,” Carlos said. “Am I close to twenty?”

“Does it feel like you’re close?” Tempest asked, because she had lost track.

“Close enough,” he replied. Carlos got to his feet, and said, “I’ll race you to the next drop point.” And before Tempest could protest, he took off, making her run after him. They raced and talked, and Carlos corrected her exercises with instruction she never really had from her gym teachers. “You’ll need it,” he said. “There’s a mandatory fitness test at the beginning and end of each year. And then you have to take a gym class every semester. But there are different ones. When did you guys get in, by the way?”

“Just last week,” she replied. “I’ve been working on my room since then. Painting it, building my shelves and getting all the furniture and stuff.”

“Took a whole week?” he asked.

“Well, not really. I painted it and built the shelves in just about a day,” she said. “The next day I went out looking for furniture and just brought it back in heats.”

“And what did you do for the rest of the week?” Carlos asked.

“Well, I went hiking, I drew landscapes. Went to the book shop.”
June, otter

The Next Great Magician

Chapter Thirteen: Conversations in the Morning

Tabitha worked through most of the night, but come some time around four in the morning, she put her typewriter away and lay down to catch a few more hours of sleep. She woke, not an hour later, with Weisz standing over her. Tabitha gasped and jumped up in bed, not calming until she recognized him.
"I would be quite surprised to see me too, seeings as I have not heard from you in two days, but you appear to be everywhere lately," Weisz said. "You know, the immortality seekers know where and who you are, but it still was not at all wise to plaster yourself on the internet."
"You can work the internet?" she asked, drawing the sleep away from her eyes. "At one hundred and thirty-seven?"
"I can do a lot of things at one hundred and thirty-seven," Weisz replied. "First and foremost, however, is worrying about my pupil who seems to undertake advanced rituals when she is out of my sight." He held up one of her stones.
"Put that back! I had it there for a reason!" Tabitha retorted.
"Yes, I can see that: protection, privacy, saftey and concealment," Weisz replied. "It is good work. But you must have exhausted yourself. How long did you sleep?"
"Something like fifteen hours," she replied. "Then I got up, ate and went right back to bed. I would have come to see you too, but Brian was the one who brought me food and he knew I wasn't feeling very well, so it would have been strange for me to go out when I wasn't."
"All right then, speak to me now." Tabitha nodded, but then looked around her and noticed they were still in her bedroom, and she was still in her pajamas.
"Weisz, you have to leave," she whispered.
"Why are you whispering?" he asked.
"Because you, a man who looks to be middle aged, are in my bedroom at five in the morning, and you might wake up my parents!" she hissed. "Not to mention I'm underdressed!"
"Your parents won't wake up," he said. "At least not to anything you do in here. Your privacy ward took care of that very well. Though, there is not much unfortunately I can say about your state of dress. If I step out into the hall your family might discover me for sure." Then there came a knock at Tabitha's door.
"Tabby?" Mikey called. "Tabby are you awake?" Weisz did not need to be told; he slipped into Tabitha's closet just as Mikey slipped in the room.
"I'm awake, Mikey, did you have a bad dream?" she asked.
"Uh huh, and I wet the bed," he said. "I took my sheets off and changed jammies, but could I stay here with you until it's time to get up?"
"Sure." Tabitha held up her covers and let him in, though she saw Weisz glare at her from the closet. She mouthed to him, "Later."
"When?" he asked.
"Eight o' clock," she replied, laying down with Mikey in her arms. Weisz scowled, but disappeared. "Try and fall back asleep so you're not tired at school," she told her little brother, rubbing his back.
"M'kay..." he muttered. "Tabby?"
"Yes, buddy?"
"If you were in trouble, would you ask for help?" he asked.
"If I could find someone who I thought would help me, yes I would," she said. "Why do you ask?"
"Because in my dream, you were fighting bad men, but not like karate fighting, you were doing something with your hands that made them fly back, and there was a lot of fire too, and I thought you looked scared. And I kept wondering why you were there alone, and there was no one there to help you." He looked right up at her with doleful brown eyes. "Will you ask for help before you go and fight the men, Tabby?"
"I will if I can," she said.
"No, you need to promise," he insisted. "I think you will need all the help you can get, so you need to ask."
"All right," she replied. "I promise I will go ask for help before I go and fight the men from your dream. Now lay down and try to go back asleep, all right?"
"Okay," Mikey agreed.
"Well," Tabitha thought. "First, I find out I have magical powers and now Mikey's having visions of the future. I suppose anything is possible after all."

True to her word, after seeing Mikey and Missy off to school, Carol dropped Tabitha off at the library where Weisz appeared to be waiting for her. Tabitha went to the second floor where the computer lab sat off to one corner to research alternative education schools, especially the one Brian had told her about, and Weisz followed her from a distance, sitting down at the computer next to her.
"So, riddle me this, Great Magician," he said, in a quiet tone. "What were you thinking Monday morning?"
"I was...angry," she replied. "The school accused me of cheating, and I am not a cheat. Niether is Brian, so I just got angry and started making threats. We posted everything on the internet to follow through with some of the things that got said in the office."
"Mmm, and what exactly panicked you so much that you felt the need to cast privacy and protection wards on your room?" Weisz inquired.
"That would be what I planned on telling you about, yesterday," Tabitha said. "There was a man who met me in the park. I'm almost certain he was a magician, and an immortality seeker." Weisz did not speak, but leaned in, prompting her on. Tabitha explained about the cigar, the suite, what the man looked like and what he wore.
"I know him," Weisz replied nodded. "Kale Temple. He's a bit older than me, was more on par with Elba. He was actually one of the biggest supporters of The Great War Treaty and it's renewal, which surprised both sides."
"What Treaty?" she asked. Weisz smiled and leaned back.
"Perhaps we should right more things down, if only our history. After the sinking of the Titanic, most of us realized war was on the horizon. In those years it almost didn't matter about immortality or stopping those who wanted it because so many would be blown to smithereens otherwise. And many of us had to participate in the war in some way, else give up our annominity and reveal ourselves as aged Magicians."
"Do people do that?" she asked.
"Some," Weisz replied. "There are other types of magic users out there as well, and many governments can guess that we exist. The older you get, the harder it is to hide. Mostly from taxes. In any case with the Great War just around the bend the two sides met to call something of an armstice between us. But Elba suggested an actual paper treaty that both sides would decide upon. Kale supported her decision, and his voice carried on their side of things. So, the treaty was drawn up. It almost expired just after Hitler came to power, but we all agreed to extend it because we could all smell war on the horizon yet again. Elba...Elba was the first one to die in nearly a hundred years over an immortality hunt. I guess they feel they've waited long enough, and that war is no longer an excuse for peace between us. Tell me, what did he say to you?"
"He said something like he understood what I was going through, that he knew what it was like to run away from somethinger, that he had done it a lot," she said. "He kept trying to empathize with me. Then, he made a comment about my coat..." Tabitha bit her lip for a minute before she said. "I think he knew I was keeping the book in here."
"You aren't keeping it there now, are you?" Weisz asked.
"Weisz, I might be a new Magician, but I'm not stupid," Tabitha said. "I left it somewhere else, all right? Don't worry, I've got a plan for it."
"Don't tell me until you need to," he advised.
"Wasn't planning on it. Anyway, after I left him there, I started feeling like I was being watched again, so I went home and did the ritual and collapsed from exhaustian."
"That's fairly normal. What you did was a very powerful ritual and it should through them off for a while, but keep at changing plans for the book. If they get a hold of it, there's no telling what the lot of them could do," Weisz said. "I don't know what exactly is in that book, but I imagine that it could be very dangerous for all of us if they were suddenly unable to be hurt or gained the secret to live for a long time."
"Barring the former, which I am fairly sure I have no ritual for," Tabitha said, "why can't we just hunt anyone down who does try and suceed at a ritual?"
"Well, we can, and that is part of your job as the Great Magician," Weisz told her. "But Magicians, especially those who seek immortality do live for quite some time and are very good at hiding. And while they are in hiding they can amass power like you would not believe. It has happened once before in history; check the book, it might tell you. And are you sure there's no ritual to make one's self invunerable? Many things from myths carry over, so I always thought there might be something like the River Styx in the book."
"Well, considering that--" Tabitha almost told him when the book started and that it only got newere from there, but bit her tongue. "I don't think I should tell you."
"That's a no, then," Weisz replied. "We must work on your poker face, my dear. In the mean time, we must also work on magic lessons. You mentioned you might have a lot of free time on your hands?"
"I did mention that I do believe," she replied.
"Good, then perhaps we ought to begin increasing your magical training," Weisz said. "Don't you think?"
"Well, yes, that was one of the things I was thinking of, though, Weisz?"
"Yes, Tabitha?"
"You mentioned that you probably wouldn't be my only teacher."
"Are you certain you've never done magic before? Because I am quite certain you are reading my mind," Weisz told her, making Tabitha laugh.
"That sounded like the worst pick up line in history."
"We can't all be good at everything. I'll leave you to your research. What time can I expect you tomorrow?"
"Expect every time," she told him. "I can't garuntee you one, but it will probably be after Carol takes Mikey and Missy to school and leaves for work. Then I pretty much have free reign of my day."
"Then I shall expect you then." He turned to leave the computer lab, but turned back and said, "And Tabitha?"
"Yes?" she asked.
"Expect the unexpected, just for future reference," he told her before he strode out of the computer lab. Tabitha smiled, but shook her head. At least, it seemed things were looking up. Then Brian strode into the computer lab just as Weisz was leaving and walked over to her, a bemused look on his face.
"Do you know that guy?" he asked.
"Oh, he was a guest speaker I met once. We, you know, recognized each other, and he saw me from the video and we started talking. you know. What are you doing here."
"Well, I went to your house, but you weren't there. So I thought to myself, if I were Tabitha and not at school or at home, where would I be? And then it came to me: the library." He grinned at her. "So, here I am."
"And just in time. I'm researching schools if you would like to join me."
"I'd love to," he said, taking a seat next to her. He smiled at her, and Tabitha smiled back. Yeah, things were definately looking up.
June, otter

Update on some stuff

So my key board is a little waterlogged, therefore I'm having a bit of trouble typing up m hand written work. If my keyboard isn't rise by Saturday, I plan on going to the library to ups everything up and get the journal updated. Ps: written from my iPod touch.


It worried Tabitha a bit too, but instead she said,

“Don’t worry, it’s probably fine.”

“You don’t really think that,” Brian muttered. Before she could ask him just how he knew what she was thinking, the principal’s secretary came out into the hall and said,

“Good morning, everyone, Dr. Byers is ready for you now, if you will just follow me.” Tabitha’s parents filed into the school management offices first, and Mr. DiAmbrosio waved Tabitha and Brian in before he brought up the rear.

The principal’s office had only four chairs—obviously they had not expected both of her parents to come—but the secretary soon found another and they were all about to be seated when Mr. White, another assistant principal, and a teacher Tabitha did not know entered the office, slipping past Mr. DiAmbrosio to stand beside Dr. Byers. The adults shook hands, but Brian went a little white and grabbed her hand.

“Well I won’t keep you all in suspense. Earlier this week, Mr. Keith came to Mr. Grossman,” she indicated the teacher and the assistant principal respectively, “about what he felt was an attempt at plagiarism.” Dr. Byers slid on a pair of bifocals and picked up a paper which had Brian’s name at the top and slid it forward to let the parents see.

“Wait, if this is Brian’s paper, what has it got to do with Tabitha?” Carol asked.

“I overheard Brian say he had help from Tabitha on his paper,” Mr. Keith replied.

“So, she helped him,” her dad said. “Tabby’s lost more than a few friends for not letting them cheat off of her.”

“And I don’t see how you think Brian plagiarized this paper,” Mr. DiAmbrosio said. “I saw his original draft and his notes on revision. I agree there’s a marked improvement, but all Tabitha did was tell him what to fix. We talked about it when he got back from the library.”

“And what exactly could Tabitha have said to make such a great improvement?” Mr. Keith asked. “Mr. DiAmbrosio I’m sorry, but the best paper I’ve seen your son turn in was worth a C and that was after revision. This paper is probably worth an A in the honors class. I’m not sure even with the help of another student, he could have achieved this.”

“Are you people crazy?” Carol asked. “Do you have any idea how much this girl studies? How much she was to get into a good college? Tabitha would not write a paper for a boy—not even if she liked him. But she would help him if he asked for it.”

“Regardless of how intelligent Ms. Walls is, it is the official feeling of the school that Mr. DiAmbrosio could not have achieved such an increase in effort, or at least the amount necessary to produce a paper of this quality, in such a short period of time. We are not saying that Tabitha wrote the paper for him, but it arouses some suspicions about her own work—”

“You people are crazy!” Mitch declared. “Do you have any idea how hard my daughter works for her grades?”

“Well, Mr. Walls, how much of her studying do you see?” Dr. Byers asked.

“I watched her do every single sheet of homework up until she went to high school, and the only reason I didn’t see anything after that was because she did a lot of it when she was volunteering at the library. And I’m willing to bet each and every one of the librarian she works with would be willing to testify that she does her own work.”

“Your faith in your daughter is endearing, Mr. Walls, but this is not an open discussion,” Mr. White said.

“Mr. White is quite correct,” Dr. Byers said. “Unfortunately, we cannot accept your testimonial statement as you are their parents and you will say anything to protect your children. At minimum we are considering a month’s suspension.”

“All three parents began to object about loss of grades, when Tabitha snorted.

“Yes, Ms. Walls?” asked Dr. Byers. “Is there something you would like to add?”

“Yeah, just how stupid are you?” Tabitha asked. All eyes turned to her immediately. Her parent’s faces were especially conflicted between berating her and congratulating her on standing up for herself.

“Excuse me?” Dr. Byers asked. Tabitha had not meant to say it, but something in her—maybe even just the knowledge that she could do magic or that she was right—drove her on to repeat herself,

“Just how stupid are you?” she inquired. “Or better yet, how stupid do you think we are?”

“Ms. Walls I’m not sure what you mean but—” Dr. Byers’ face began to turn red when Tabitha cut her off,

“Then let me explain it to you,” she said. “Brian and I are part of a five to seven percent population of the school. It doesn’t seem like a lot when you look at it—unless you look at the report cards since we’re the kids who constantly bring home straight A’s. It looks even more different when you look at in spring after they grad the standardized tests, when we consistently get you the test scores that get the school finding which immediately goes to the failing sports program.” Tabitha paused for breath before she continued,

“If you suspend me or expel me, I can guarantee you one thing—I will not come back. I’ll bet you Mr. DiAmbrosio is mad enough that he won’t let Brian come back either, and once word gets around I’m willing to bet that certain others are not going to come back either.”

“You really think you can get the whole school to walk out over your petty suspension?” Mr. White asked.

“Not the whole school,” Tabitha returned. “Just five to seven percent. Maybe a little more once word gets around.” The adults sat in silence and Brian held up his cell phone,

“And you know with social networking nowadays, it’ll be through the school in an hour. Sure, maybe we’ll lose a semester, but we can all keep studying. There’s actually an early colleges program that I’m sure would love to have Tabitha as its poster child and I sure wouldn’t mind some free college credit.

“And you know something, with just a few of those kids, or maybe even just Brian and I, we might just be able to do something about the bullying problem the administration here seems so fond of overlooking,” Tabitha suggested.

“Perhaps a lawsuit,” said Mr. DiAmbrosio. “I know a few good lawyers who owe me a few favors.”

“On what charges?” Mr. White scoffed.

“Battery, assault, harassment,” Brian ticked off on his fingers. “Just to name a few.”

Dr. Byers stared Tabitha down so hard, that she almost relented and took it all back. But Brian gripped her hand tightly, and Carol and her father took the other in theirs. Tabitha hardened her faze and stared back.

“You’re suspended. Two months,” Dr. Byers retorted. “For threatening school faculty and for plagiarism.” Tabitha snorted again, grabbed her bad and stood.

“Challenge accepted,” she remarked as she walked out, her parents and the DiAmbrosio behind her.

When they reached the court yard her father let out a large whoop.

“That was amazing, Tabby—just promise me you never play us like that!”

“I promise,” Tabitha replied. “But can we go to the university to tell the dean about this? I don’t want him taking the school’s side.”

“Sure, baby, we just have to wait for Carol to get Reiss.” He held out his hand to Mr. DiAmbrosio and shook it tightly. “Thank you for supporting my daughter in there.”

“It was a pleasure,” DiAmbrosio replied with a smile. “Tabitha, if I may, when you finished with College apply for as many government positions as you can. We need people like you.” He blinked and turned to Brian. “What are you doing son?”

“Tweeting,” Brian said. “Then Facebook messaging. Then I might put something up on YouTube. Tabs, you have to be in that one with me.” He looked up at them. “What/ If we don’t do it like we said we would they won’t trust us to follow through all the way. It’s basic child psychology.” DiAmbrosio patted him on the back.

“That’s my boy.” Brian grinned and linked arms with Tabitha.

“My dear, you just became my best friend and my personal hero,” Tabitha grinned and flushed.

Chapter Eleven: In a Bad Place

The video started shakily, but aimed itself at a girl with dark brown hair, wearing a grey coat.

“Is it on?” she asked.

“Yeah, there’s the light,” said a deeper voice from off screen.

“Hi!” the girl chirped. “My name is Tabitha and over here is Brian—he’s your regular video maker.” The camera turned to an Italian boy who smiled and waved. “And the reason I’m talking is because I kind of started this whole thing. The whole thing being, as of about fifteen minutes ago, we got suspended for the rest of the semester.”

“Yay!” came a chorus of voices.

“A voice like gravel came out of the darkness only illuminated by the computer screen,

“She is very bold,” it said.

“It’s likely she knows we are watching her already,” said a robust voice. “She has no real reason to hide herself.”

“Does she suspect White?”

“Difficult to say, sir. She appeared uncomfortable around him before, but this appears told be a more general act of rebellion, than one specifically to get away from White. It still suites our plans well enough. In fact, it gives us more time as we have been met with some resistance.”


“We believe it will be taken care of before the solstice, though. It’s more a matter of time than actual resistance.”

“And what do we immortal men care for time?” asked the gravel voice.

“Exactly my thoughts sir.”

“And what of White.”

“Dealt with.”


“No sir, I thought you would want to do the honors.” The gavel voice smiled over the sound of the children rambling on.

“Excellent. Let him suffer wondering for one more night, then bring him to me in the morning.”

“And the girl? What is our next move with her?”

“Plant more seeds to grow in her. I have a feeling this one will be easy to use toward our purposes. But first and foremost, look for the book. That is our prime objective.”

“Yes, Ambrosious, your will be done.”

Chapter Twelve: Wandering and Magicing in the Park

Tabitha wondered if a chemical high could make her feel as good as she did now. Brian’s social networking had paid off and they would even be interviewed for the news tomorrow. Plenty of kids were planning on pulling out of school and their parents were discussing the possibilities with Mr. DiAmbrosio and Carol. The dean had been very understanding and upon looking at Brian’s original paper and revision notes with the new one declared he could see no plagiarism and congratulated her on her bravery.

Unfortunately with no secondary school backing her, he had to put her on academic suspension. “But you are welcome back just as soon as you are able.”

Barbara told her to spend the night with her family and rest up for the days ahead as well as gave her a list of alternate schools.

The two families came together over the best Chinese food in town and a cake which read, “Congratulations on your suspension.”
June, otter

The Next Great Magician

She read through the paper again, and marked some punctuation turning to Brian to explain why she did what she did, and then gave it back to him to try and cut out adjectives and adverbs.

"And why do I need to do that?" he asked.

"It makes the paper sound weak," she explained. "Because if you use a word like 'very', for instance, and if you use it a lot even more so, you seem to be adding padding to the paper, instead of just stating and proving your argument."

"So, it's fluff?" he asked.

"Yeah. And if you feel like you can't eliminate something, don't worry about it for now, just try and eliminate most of them. Especially if you can say the sentence, and it sounds just fine without it." Brian nodded the affirmative and asked,

"So then I just add to my agrument and add quotes from the book?"

"You got it," Tabitha said.

"How is this so easy for you?" he asked.

"I've done it a million okay well, maybe like, ten or fifteen times," she said. "The school offered me an advanced writing course when I started talking college courses so I could write a descent college paper. So I guess I have a little upper hand knowledge of what to write."

"Well and you did take the writing AP English last year, right?"

"How did you know that?"

"People talk," Brian replied with a shrug. "Like I said, they all know how you want to get out of here. How did you get into AP English anyway? Math and science are one thing, you have quatifiable results."

"Okay so I may have studied essay writing before I got to high school, and just maybe I wrote at a higher level than anyone else. When we turned our summer essays in, my teacher asked if I would mind writing another one. Then he had one of the sophomore honors teachers look at it and they said I could probably skip right into the junior AP."

"Wow...Can I ask you something? And I don't mean to be rude, but how much studying do you do?"

"I don't know, enough until I feel prepaired," she said. "I mean I heard in elementary school that middle school math was going to get harder, so I started figuring out pre-algebra and then algebra, and I mean, along the way you pick up lower math things like probability and everything I would have been taught. Then I knew so much, I could pass most of algebra 1 and the school didn't see the point in putting me in a class where I would wait until the very end to learn something. Someone there had heard about how smart kids will turn into trouble makers if you don't give them a challenge. I got lucky, 'cause that was the first year they did the special geometry class to help the eigth graders get ahead."

"So what did you do for seventh and eigth grade?" he asked.

"The high school was too far away, which meant they weren't going to let me walk, so I had a study period then and studied higher maths--algebra two and then pre-calc and trigonometry."

"so you went right into calc?" he asked. "Damn. Okay what about the English? And science? You didn't study ahead for those too, did you?"

"I was scared, okay?"

"Scared of what? It's just high school," Brian said laughing a little.

"Scared of failing I guess. I just wanted to be prepared."

"So you let your fear rule you," Brian said. "I bet you could not fail something if you tried."

"You would probably win that bet if I were fool enough to take it," she replied, looking back down at her paper.

"By the way, what do you do for language classes?" he asked.

"I took a class on spanish last year," she replied.

"You know most universities require you to take at least--"

"Two years of language, some three and others four," she retorted. "Yes, I know. I'm taking beginning language courses at the university next semester."

"You tested out of Spanish?" he asked.

"They have language tutorial programs at the library," she said. "I just used them."

"Do you ever take a moment and just breathe?" Brian asked. "I mean do you ever do things just for fun?"

"I write in my journal," she said.

"Is that it? I mean it seems like you're always just studying. What are you going to do when you get out of college?"

"Get a job?" she asked. "I don't know."

"Why do you do all of this then? It can't just be because you want to get ahead in school and you're afraid of failing."

"Didn't we talk about this the other day and you already had the answers to my snobbery?"

"You aren't a snob, I was just saying that to bait you," Brian told her. "But do you really want to get out of here that bad?"

"Well, when I started all of this it wasn't so much here as my family. I know it makes me kind of terrible person, but after my mom died I was so used to just staying in the house, because it wasn't safe for Melissa and I to go outside without either Mom or Dad. Dad worked a lot of long hours then, and Mom, well, Mom was laid up in bed. Missy was kind of little then, so she didn't mind staying in and playing with her toys or watching TV, but Mom looks so lonely in bed that I would go in and talk to her, and then we started reading together. I think I was seven then, and I actually had a hard time reading, so Mom would just have me read through all of my school books, no matter what they were, and she would have me check out books from the school library. When she died a year later...I just I didn't really know what to do about it.

"So I kept reading, whatever I could get my hands on while Dad renovated the house. And then he started dating Carol, and then they got married, and for a while it was okay. I mean, it was almost like having Mom back. But since they won the lotto, and she got pregnant with Mikey right after, they were both home a lot more, and they couldn't help but wonder why I wanted to stay inside and do my homework and read crazy books, like the ones Mom left behind, technical books on science, mathematics, a few on languages, and some on English--grammer, writing, stuff like that. And I remember Carol saying one night, 'She's not normal, Mitch.' Reiss and Chelsea picked it up from her, and I just couldn't explain to anyone that doing that stuff reminded me of my mom." Tabitha paused and licked her lips. "You...you're the first person I think I've ever told that."
Brian leaned across the table and took her hand.
"Well, thank you for telling me." Tabitha squeezed his hand.
"Thank you for listening."

chapter Ten: A Discussion of Ethics in the Pricipal's Office

Her new life began to go smoothly. Aside from the fact that she fell asleep soundly at eight on Saturday and slept almost to noon, she was still able to sneak away to see Weisz. She still went to school, worked at the library, came home and then studied for school and magic all night long. She did decide to start getting a few hours of sleep before she got up for school, so that she did not collapse every three days and sleep for sixteen hours, but other than that life went well. Until the following Wednesday.
She was at home this time, on Wednesday night, when they called her to come to the principal's office. Well, more specifically, they called her father, and he stopped her as she was on the way out to her astronomy class. 
"I'll drive you," he offered. Tabitha felt almost certain she was in trouble. Though the house had always been his, and he had renovated it, her father felt like it was mostly Carol's, as she took charge of painting and decorating. But his truck was the one place Mitch Walls refused to comprimise ownership. After he and Carol had married, if he ever needed to talk to any of them about anything (especially anything bad) they went for a ride in the truck. "The school called when you were at work. They want me to come down first thing tomorrow morning with you and go to the principal's office. Do you know why that might be?"
"No," she said. "Did they say why?"
"Not a word. Tabby, if you did something, just be honest with me. Does it have to do with the magic?" Tabitha took a deep breath, and told herself to keep breathing as they drove along.
"Dad, magic is not a code for drugs or a gang, or something equally terrible."
"Than what is it?"
"Magic. But I didn't do anything, I swear. You know how I am. I wouldn't pick a fight with anyone to save my life. I always turn in my work on time or before it's due. I honestly cannot think of anything I did that would make the principal call me to her office. Except for maybe get an award, and before you ask, no, I don't know if I got one." He looked between her and the road for a few choking minutes before he finally said,

"Yeah, okay. Carol wants to come too. So we'll both be taking you to school tomorrow, after we drop Mikey and Missy off."
"Yeah, okay," she said, though she knew she did not have a choice.
Tabitha love her younger siblings. Just not in the morning. Melissa, or Missy as the family called her, was four years younger than Tabitha and Mikey was a full nine (Carol claimed he was born early at the time, but as the older children grew up they realized that you didn't get to take premature babies home from the hospital right away). At nine and almost six, they were the loudest members of the family, and did not have the best table manners especially right after they had just gotten up. So, when Tabitha woke up, she made it a point to fix breakfast for everyone, eat, and then be in the shower when Carol woke Mikey and Missy up. She dressed slowly and took her time, even fiddling with her hair a bit, and making sure everything was just so in her back pack. When she had nothing else to do, Tabitha indulged herself by messing around on the computer until her father called for her. 
They took the van, and Tabitha was made to sit in the very back until Mikey and Missy were dropped off at the elementary school, which thankfully was not that far away. Then the three of them made the drive across town to the high school, where the bell was just beginning to ring. Carol and her father strode across the commons area into the main building where Tabitha led them upstairs to the principal's office. That was when she noticed Brian sitting beside a man in a business suit whom she assumed was his father.
"David d'Ambrosio," the man said, standing up and holding out a hand to her father and Carol.
"Mitch Walls, and my wife Carol." He shook hands with them and then held his hand out to Tabitha, who accepted it.
"You must be Tabitha," Mr. d'Ambrosio said. "Brian mentioned about how you helped him revise his paper. That was very kind of you."
"It wasn't a problem," Tabitha replied. He turned back to her parents, sitting a seat down and letting Tabitha have his old one, next to Brian.
"Do you know why we're here?" he asked.
"I was going to ask you the same," she replied. "How did that paper go, by the way?"
"That's the thing, I haven't gotten it back yet, but almost everyone else got theirs," Brian said. "It's worrying me."
June, otter

The Next Great Magician

“Now,” said Weisz. “What was your second question?”

“Well, in my reading, it said that to practice magic I had to believe I could do it, but even when it felt like was believing that I could do magic, it didn’t work until I thought about…other things,” she trailed off.

“You mean other things such as your failings? Misgivings? Distrust and contempt of others?” Tabitha flushed. “Oh yes, Tabitha, there are a great many things which can cloud a magician’s mind. I know it well, any experienced magician does—it’s the small buzz in the back of your head which when you resolve it can make you stronger, and should you not, it can drag you down.”

“But why?” Tabitha asked. “What does that have anything to do with magic? I could do magic just find with I transformed the gun and when I pushed Klaus away from me.”

“Because, in those moments you could think of nothing but reacting,” Weisz replied. “So, you reacted. But practicing magic cannot always be so simple. It can and does influence you. But you must let yourself lay to rest your mistakes, put aside your misgivings and learn to trust those around you. The latter is most especially useful when there is someone whom you legitimately cannot trust. Then you can tell the difference.”

“Well, what does that have to do with believing in myself?” Tabitha inquired.

“If you cannot trust others, you soon find their failings in yourself. If you constantly believe you will make mistakes then you will not believe you can do something right. When you judge a situation or someone with the worst in mind, you soon cannot think of any way for another situation to be. And though you may be betrayed as you believed, you many also, more times than you thought possible, see the good in others, and realize you were wrong yet again.”

“I guess I can understand that,” Tabitha grumbled.

“You guess?” Magic is not guess work, child,” Weisz laughed. “Come, finish your meal and then we shall see what you have learned so far.”

When the salmon and greens were done, as well as the glass of wine at Weisz’s insistence, they moved in front of the fire place, where Tabitha lit a fire. Then she moved something across the room, then demonstrated a summoning ritual she had only just begun to practice, which did not quite work. While she set up the ritual again, this time with more advice from Weisz, Tabitha asked,

“So, what’s the difference between moving something and summoning it?”

“Range, style and for a beginner, execution,” Weisz answered, monitoring her. When he did not go on, Tabitha asked,

“Elaborate, please?” Weisz raised an eyebrow at her.

“You’re a smart girl. Work through it. Start with the easy one: execution.”

“Well, with a moving spell, I’m just willing it to move across a distance. With the summoning ritual I have to draw ritual circles of very particular parameters and makes sure the item is very specifically placed, and it just goes from one point to another.”

“Directly from one point to the other. There is not intermediate space. So then, explain range,” Weisz ordered.

“Well, I suppose—”

“You only just suppose?” Weisz asked. Tabitha glared at him, but corrected herself,

“I conjecture that summoning is more long distance, where as moving would be short distance.”

“And why do you conjecture that?” Weisz asked.

“Well, to move something it helps to have your eye on it, because it helps concentration. So you have to be right there with it. But with summoning you only need to have an item connected by the ritual drawings.”

“And lastly?” Weisz inquired. “What can you tell me about style?”

“Well, I know when you move something, it crosses over all the distance you move it, so…summoning doesn’t do that?”

“Well, does it doesn’t it?” Weisz asked.

“What’s the point in being my teacher if you don’t actually teach me anything?” Tabitha retorted.

“The point is I know more than you about what you are learning,” Weisz pointed out.

“But if you never impart your knowledge that can’t really be called teaching, that’s more knowledge hording.” Weisz gave a grumble and rolled his eyes.

“Part of what I’m teaching you is patience,” he said.

“The only way to teach patience is to contantly test it, and I gtet enough of that from my family and school, Weisz. It also doesn’t make for great relationship building—if you really aren’t going to do more than make me figure out how to be a magician all on my own and check my progress, maybe I should go, because I study best on my own.” She started him down until his look softened.

“You stumbled on it before. Summoning calls an item directly from one drawing to another—there are no in between points, unlike moving which drags the item along every point between start and finish. And for future reference, through a tantrum will not always get you your way.”

“Forgive me if I’m a bit upset at my circumstances.”

“Which would be?” Weisz asked.

“I just found out I can do magic—that seems great aside from the fact that apparently inheriting this position means that there will be people who come after me for a book which has secrets that can make people immortal. And it feels like in spite of that, no one appears to be telling me things—not that book, not you—”

“Tabitha when I want you to figure something out on your own, it does not mean that I am not with holding something from you—it means I want you to know the gratification of figuring something out on your own.”

“Okay, fine, but what about cutting yourself off from me for two days? Or the fact that you see me as something I’m not!”

“I don’t—”

“YES YOU DO! You, Klaus and God knows how many others. You look at me and you see her! And I just…I just…” Tabitha sniffed and it made her realize her nose was running, and that made her realize she was crying. “I can’t be Elba Mullins. I don’t know how to be a Great Magician. And I don’t want to die.”

“You…you won’t die, Tabitha,” Weisz promised, though it sounded to be the least sure thing he had said yet.

“I’m scared,” she confessed. Weisz stood for a moment, his weight shifting from foot to foot, before he opened his arms to her and went forward. Tabitha collapsed toward him, gripping him tightly as she began to sob.

“Fear,” he began, “can be the beginning of greatness, should you confront it and not let it control you. For when you do this you gain strength beyond great measure. But if you let it lie in your heart and allow it to grow and fester, it will become a desire you always need to feed and it will become a weakness you may never remove from yourself.”

He gently drew away from her and used his thumbs to wipe the tear stains from her face. “Do you fear Death, Tabitha Walls?”

“No,” Tabitha replied almost instantly.

“Then what do you fear?” he asked.

“What happens to me before I die,” she said. “What they will do when they try and break me. If I will be broken. Wondering if I’ll have the kind of peace that I did before Elba gavwe me this book.”

“Were you at peace then?” Weisz asked. “Because it sounds to me as if you may have been in a great deal of misery.”

“I could have been at peace,” she replied.

“Don’t meditate on the past and what could have been. Focus on what is here now, Tabitha and what you can accomplish. You will be a truly wonderful magician.” Tabitha reached for him, and they gripped each other tightly in an embrace. “Though I confess, I have learned something here today.”

“What’s that?”

“My young apprentice becomes drunk very easily and highly emotional when she is.” Tabitha snorted though it something more like a laugh.

They studied for a few hours more, Weisz showing her a few new spells, and Tabitha performing them for him. As she prepared to leave she exclaimed,

“Oh, I almost forgot to ask. Is there something else you want me to study?”

“Aside from magic?” You already seem quite content to study more than most.”

“I mean other books of magic,” Tabitha clarified.

“You already have one, why should need another?” Weisz asked.

“Well the book is great if you want to perform rituals that lead to immortality but has about six spells for beginners. I was hoping for something more basic.”

“It becomes clearer and clearer to me how much you like text books,” Weisz remarked.

“It depends on the text book,” Tabitha replied.

“Typically, most magicians don’t write much down. We use more traditional means od study—such as oral communication.”

“So that’s a no.”

“A big one,” Weisz replied.

Chapter Nine: With Brian in the Library

When Tabitha exited Weisz loft, she did not quite feel like returning home so soon, so, she walked back toward the library to write her paper for English, as Ms. Grant had only approved her proposal yesterday, and she had been more contrated on the book than her homework, and problem sets than papers. But when she entered the library lobby, she was met with a very familiar,

"Hey!" Tabitha turned to see Brian striding toward her. "You're family said you were here, but the librarians said that you left earlier."

"Oh, yeah, I took a walk, then got some lunch," Tabitha replied.

"Oh, where'd you go to walk?" Brian asked.

"Around the park and in the woods area," she said. "I just needed some time to myself."

"Yeah, it's a little easy to lose track of time in there," he said. "Well, anyway. I was kind of wondering if you would help me with my English essay, cause you know, I've um put it off a bit, and as it turns out not trying with something makes you kind of bad at it, because my last one got a D for effort, and this one's kind of the same."

"Uh, sure," she said. "I have one of my own to write, so I can look yours over and while you edit, I can write. Come on." Tabitha led him to the stairwell, where they climbed all the way up to the third floor.

"Isn't this floor haunted?" Brian asked as they entered onto it. Tabitha turned and shushed him.

"Indoor voice," she told him.

"Sorry," he whispered.

"And if it is, it's haunted by the possibly nicest ghost in the united states if not the world," Tabitha said, moving off toward one of the tables. Her normal stall called to her, but she knew there was no way that she and Brian could fit and still study. Though, if rumors were to be believed, two people could do other things besides studying in there. And they did. With some frequency.

"Here," she said, setting her bag down at a table and swinging her coat on the chair, trying to blush at the thought she and Brian locked in a library stall with anything but studying on the brain. As he sat, she could not notice his hands, which were a bit larger than the frame of his body. It made her wonder if he would grow any taller...and if what they said about guys with big hands was true.

Tabitha squeezed her eyes shut and when she opened them Brian seemed normal--which meant he still gave off a somewhat creepy vibe--and not sexual at all.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

"I got some dust in my eye," she replied. "I just needed them to water."

"oh, well, I don't know how you want to do this, but here's my essay," he said, handing it over to her.

"Did you spell check?" she asked.

"No, not really," he admitted.

"All right, well, that will be the first thing you'll want to do. Next, how long does it have to be?"

"He said somewhere from five hundred to seven hundred words," Brian reported. Tabitha eyeballed the page and nodded.

"This looks about right, but you can check with word. I'll show you how when you go to type it up. Also, are you supposed to have quotes in this to back up your points?" she asked.

"I don't know?" he replied.

"What English are you in?"

"Sophomore regular," he replied.

"I would do it, with at least one or two--three if you're feeling ambitious. As for your actual argument, it seems fairly descent, you may just want to elaborate what you mean a little more. But as for the actual writing..."

"Is it that awful?" he asked.

"Brian, it's not terrible, but it's kind of...Freshman grade," she said. "There's no sentence variation, too many adverbs and adjectives. You used some contractions and you're punctuation's a little off. There are a lot of to be verbs and..." Tabitha froze, when she saw Brian's face falling. "Sorry, that was a lot. Um...First try changing where you have a form of to be, like is, was, will be, were, verbs like that, and try changing the sentences so that you can use a different verb."

"I think I can do that," Brian said.

"And you don't have to change all of them, just..." She looked down at the paper. "Try and keep only three for the whole paper." Brian nodded again, but looked blankly at the page.

This time, Tabitha looked up at him as she penned an outline for her essay, looking up various quotes from the Odyssey as she went. Brian had pulled out an extra sheet of paper because there were apparently a lot of sentences that needed rewording, and he did not double space the paper. He frowned a lot, but his tongue stuck out a little from between his lip. But he worked slowly and surely, and when Tabitha was about half way through her outline, he got her attention and handed the paper back to her.

The two sheets of paper correlated very easily, as Brian marked where he was changing a sentence with a number, and then marked it on his ruled sheet of paper. the changing of the verbs changed a lot the sentence structures too, and the paper already looked much better written.