July 6th, 2011

June, otter

The Next Great Magician part 6

But, gradually, Tabitha began to set down all that had happened to her over the past day.

“It makes me wonder,” she wrote, “what my life will be life from now on. If I will be constantly scared or anxious or if I will be ready to face these immortality seekers when they come for me. Because the way Klaus and Weisz make it sound these people will come for me.”  Tabitha leaned back in the chair and stared at her words, more wonderings coming to her head.

“Can I trust them?” she thought. “What if I am completely on the wrong side of things? What if these people that they say I need to fight are not so bad after all? What if I can’t be the Great Magician?”

“Tabitha!” Weisz called. Tabitha took her journal from the typewriter, and converted it back into a little brick, because she pushed both back into the pockets of her coat.

“Yes!” she called back, stepping out into the hall. Weisz appeared at the end of the hall, waving at her.

“Come, Inoue is here, and she’s going to take you and I back to your home.” Tabitha followed him down the hall, adjusting her coat as she went to make the typewriter shift against her chest. Weisz let her down into a receiving hall where a Japanese woman stood waiting with Klaus. “Tabitha, this is Inoue Hotaru. She’s the best transporter in the world. Inoue, this is Walls Tabitha, the Great Magician.” Hotaru Inoue bowed to her and Tabitha replied with the same motion, making Inoue give a slight smile.

The woman offered out her hand which Tabitha took, while Weisz accepted her other one.

“Close your eyes and picture your home,” Inoue instructed. Tabitha breathed in and closed her eyes, picturing her home in the suburbs, on the only hill there. She pictured walking up the small slope and arriving at the front door. The drooping red gutters came to mind, that happened during the last hail storm, as well as the white primer around the edges of the garage door because her father had fired the painters doing the job, because he did not like their service, and did not repaint them himself, like he said he would. There were three cars, one each for her father, step-mother, and older step brother. Her step-sister had a scooter, and her younger brother always leaned his bike up against the house instead of putting it in the garage.

A breeze blew across her face, and when Tabitha opened her eyes, she stood in front of her house, the sky still dark.

Chapter Five: At Home and at School

“You did very well,” Inoue said, bowing to her again.

“Thank you,” Tabitha replied bowing back. Inoue smiled and turned back to Weisz saying,
“I must go, but you know how to reach me.”
“Of course, thank you,” Weisz said. Inoue disappeared, though not through a puff of smoke or some other trick, which Tabitha had been expecting. She simply was not there one moment, when she had been the moment before. “Do you want me to go in with you?” Weisz asked.
“That’ll go over well,” Tabitha remarked, turning to look at her house.
“You have so little faith in your family,” Weisz said.
“They don’t have much faith in me either, or a lot of understanding for that matter.”
“Magical children are never very well understood,” Weisz said. “But that is not say many parents have not tried.”
“What did you parents say when they found out that you were a magician?” Tabitha asked. Weisz flushed. “They never knew did they?”
“They were Orthodox Jews,” Weisz said. “I wasn’t sure how to explain to them that I would far out live them and make magic happen. Is your family particularly religious?”
“They’re orthodox something,” Tabitha replied. “I’m just not sure it relates to religion. I’d better go. It’s already…” Tabitha flicked open her watch pendant. “It’s five in the morning. My dad’ll be getting up soon.”
“I won’t keep you then, but I will be in contact soon,” Weisz promised. “We will need to work out times for you to study with me and of course, I will be watching over you.” Tabitha waved to him as she walked up the steps of her drive to her front door, quietly punching in the code on the lock, unlocking the door to enter the house. She quietly pushed the door into its frame, releasing the handle only then for a quiet click.
The house was the one she had grown up in, and it had been around since the thirties or forties, or maybe earlier. After her mother died her father renovated it as a grieving process; by the time he was finished with it a year later, it had all new insulation, a central heating and cooling system, modern appliances, and everything else he could think of to make it better. The grieving had evidently worked so well, that by the end of that same year; he also had a new girlfriend, Carol, who would eventually become her step mother.
Tabitha had hoped and prayed that Carol and her father would not last as a couple, and then her father won nearly half a million dollars playing the lottery. It was not as much as he could have won, but combined with a great house that had a ton of bedrooms, her father’s steady job, and the money left over from her mother’s life insurance policy, her dad had probably seemed worth any problems they might have had in their relationship. They got married soon after the lotto draw.
Her younger sister, Hope, had actually been too young to remember much of their mother, but Tabitha did. For some reason, Carol never made that great of an impression on Tabitha as a mother. She felt more like an aunt over staying her welcome, but Tabitha listened to, respected and obeyed her as much as she could. Carol was helpful in some cases, sometimes a bridge between her and her father. But Carol sensed their tense relationship and out of her own two kids, Hope, and Mikey who came shortly after the marriage, Tabitha tended to come last in Carol’s books.
Tabitha went to the kitchen, first thing. Despite all the water Klaus had made her drink, Tabitha still felt a little parched and dehydrated. While she was drinking her water, her father appeared on the stairs, slowly descending, leaning on the railing as he did.
The very first thing he did, which was the first thing he did every morning, was walk to the sliding glass door that led out to a patio and smoked a cigarette. Normally, he went all the way out as so he would not get smoke on the dining room walls, which had been repainted a few times already. But today, he leaned against the sliding glass door and looked at her as she drank down a second glass of water. Tabitha looked back, wondering what he might just say. When she went to get her third glass of water, he asked,
“Where were you, last night?” Tabitha set the glass on the counter and leveled a look at her father.

“Do you want the honest to God truth, Dad?”
“Lay it on me,” he replied.
“France, and then Germany,” Tabitha replied.
“And how exactly did you get to France and then Germany, and have time to come back here?” her father asked.
“Magic,” she said. “I’m a magician, and I traveled through a magical pawn shop to France and met other magicians who told me that I’m not something called the Great Magician because the last Great Magician died the other day. I went to her wake and paid my respects. Then I passed out because I was doing magic on an empty stomach so some of the older magicians took me to the Black Forest. And then they made me breakfast.”
“That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard,” Carol said, hurrying into the kitchen in only a robe to start the coffee pot.
“Bigger than, ‘No, Mom, I don’t know how the pot got under my mattress?’” Tabitha asked.
“It was one of his friends that did that, and you know it,” Carol retorted. “Tabby, why do you have to be like this so early in the morning?”
“It’s one of the only times of day you guys will actually talk to me instead of telling me not to sass you,” Tabitha replied. Her dad grunted, but  it sounded suspiciously like a laugh. 
“So, you gonna do some magic for us, or something?” he asked.
“I can’t, I just found out about it yesterday,” Tabitha said. “The guys said that I should tell you the truth about all of it. I wasn’t going to, but something possessed me, so there it is. Speaking of which, I have to take magic lessons to protect great secrets and prevent people from making themselves immortal. So that means you’ll probably be seeing less of me, around the evenings and such.”
“You could just say that you have another class that you want to go to, or heaven forbid, you want to go out with some friends,” Carol retorted.
“But I am the friendless freak who studies too much, remember?” Carol, who had been digging in the fridge, leaned up at the same time as her father who had been bending to put out his cigarette.
“You heard that, the other night?” her dad asked.
“Even with the insulation, the walls aren’t that thick,” Tabitha replied, drinking down her water. “And you guys wonder why Reiss and I don’t get along.”
“It’s ‘cause your stuck up,” Reiss replied wandering into the kitchen. Tabitha knew he wanted to say something other than stuck up, but would not in front of their parents. “But Dad, she’s got one thing right, the walls are still kind of paper thin.”
“Ain’t anything we can really do about it. Tabby, are really serious about this magic stuff?” he asked. “’Cause if you are, I just gotta say that lying about where you were last night won’t help you. If you were out with a guy or decided to go to a rock concert or whatever, that’s fine, I can get over that. But if you are shitting me, young lady, and it comes out in the end, you are not going to like the consequences.”
“Dad I promise, I’m not shitting you,” she replied.
“Okay, sure, then we’ll need to talk about this later and new curfew rules if you’re going to be out doing magic.” Tabitha blinked. “And you want to make some breakfast for everyone, since you’ve already eaten? I’ve got to go take a shower.”
“Ah, sure,” Tabitha replied, watching him walk back upstairs.
“Where did you get those clothes?” Carol asked. “You don’t own anything like that.”
“How do you know?”
“I’ve been through your closet, young lady,” Carol retorted.
“Looking for what? Extra homework?” Tabitha asked. “I’m gonna go change, then I’ll get started on breakfast.” As she moved toward the stairs, she passed Chelsea her step sister who stopped and stared.
“Where did you get that? It’s nice.” Even still half asleep, Chelsea still made it sound like an insult that Tabitha was actually wearing something nice.
“From a magical pawn shop, and well, a dress shop in France.” Chelsea blinked awake, wondering what sort of opportunity she had missed.
When she returned downstairs to cook breakfast, Reiss was sitting on the kitchen counter eating directly out of a cereal box, while Chelsea dug into a grapefruit and Carol nursed an early morning migraine and her second cup of coffee. Tabitha only shook her head at the scene and began to fry up some breakfast for her family. When her father returned back downstairs, it was a quarter to six and she had just finished cooking his eggs over medium.