George and Simcoe
“So I’m in a dark hallway. I’m walking through it towards the faintest glimmer of blue light. I see a huge round door and then it opens and floods with water. I see a huge whale. A blue whale. Nothing like an orca or anything like that. It’s swimming in the air, the sky rippling like water with stars floating in it. The whale drifts close to me and carries me towards the moon. It’s weird because it’s the one thing that doesn’t seem to be in the water.”
“We get very close to the moon, and as we do it starts to sort of, fade away. I can’t really explain it. The moon is like a gate, and I’m about to go through it. Suddenly the atmosphere is broken by a wave of fire…”
“And then you wake up” Beth said quickly, cutting him off.
“Yes.” Alistair murmured, “So what do you think?”
“That you’re on drugs.” Beth quipped.
“No, seriously Beth. I think it may mean something about…” Alistair paused as someone passed by, “my magick.”
Beth had always suggested that talking about magick at school wasn’t a good idea, but lately Alistair had been pushing the issue and bringing it up anyway.
“Dude, we talked about this. Not at school, and especially not in the hallway.” Beth said angrily.
It was in the second floor hallway. The floor is polished hardwood and the walls are painted white. There are lockers lining either side of this long stretch of the school. There are also wood doors to classrooms scattered on either side of the hall, which is now busy with students participating in various clubs.
“It’s lunch time, most people are out of the school or are in the caf. It’s fine.” Alistair retorted.
“Why have you been pushing this so bad? You have been getting more obsessed with magick since last year.” Beth asked.
“I turn 16 tomorrow, Beth. How can I still not use any magick? You told me that you and I had magickal powers when we were 7, and you got yours when you were 12. I’m just getting frustrated waiting.” Alistair sighed heavily.
The bell rang and within seconds all the doors opened and the hall was filled with students. Beth collected her things and stood up.
“I have driver’s ed after school, so I won’t see you till tomorrow, but I’ll be online though, so… Just… Try not to focus on it. It’ll happen.” Beth said, just before she spun around and headed towards the west end of the school.
Alistair didn’t move as quickly. Luckily, the two of them had been enjoying lunch in front of his third period English class. He packed up, and went in. The hardwood floor continued into the classroom. The walls were a pale green colour and the ceiling was plaster with crown moulding around the perimeter.
Alistair’s desk was second from the front in the farthest row on the right. This class was a silent study period to work on each person’s essay, and was mostly spent reading. Alistair was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but his mind was somewhere other than Dracula’s castle today.
He couldn’t stop thinking about magick. Alistair knew practically nothing about it, apart from what television and some books on paganism that he’d read. Mostly the little knowledge he did have came from Beth.
The first time they had ever met was at Alistair’s seventh birthday party. It was the year that the arcade C4 opened downtown and Alistair invited a bunch of kids from school, some of them, like Beth, he didn’t know too well. They entered the laser tag room, Through the Looking Glass, on opposing teams.
Through the Looking Glass was a room filled with black shapes, some looked like trees, some like mushrooms. There were a number of portholes and mirrors scattered around the arena. The game play was simple; players get a vest with sensors on both shoulders, the chest and back and a gun.They shoot each other to get points. The team with the highest score wins and the highest scoring players are the champions of their team.
The mirrors were an added obstacle because they could rebound the guns’ laser to hit other players or cause players to shoot themselves. There were also two towers in the area that had large targets in each. One of the targets belonged to each team and any opposition who managed to shoot into it would get extra points.
The doors opened and Alistair’s party flooded into the arena. The assorted techno and electronic music began to pound away and the strobe lights flashed making the environment exciting and disorienting. Within a few minutes of the first round, Alistair had cornered Beth who had pulled him in close.
“You and I are magick. Find me later, and I’ll tell you more.” Beth whispered into his ear, before she shot him and ran off. The game continued, and the opposing team had won the first round, but Alistair was the champion of his team. During the break, he found Beth playing Ready or Dot, which was probably the most boring arcade game they had at C4.
Beth was wearing a blue, short sleeve dress with white pockets on the front and blue ballet shoes. Her hair was done with a blue bow just above her left ear. It strangely matched Alistair’s blue vest and dress pants with white detail on the pockets.
“What are you talking about?” Alistair said to her as he approached. He was never very tactful as a young kid.
“You’re magick.” Beth started, “You and I have magickal powers.”
“We don’t even know each other.” Alistair began, “How do you even know this?”
“My mother told me.” Beth pulled a letter out of her dress pocket, “She writes to me and tells me things, and told me I had to find you, and tell you.”
“You’re mom has to write it? She can’t just tell you?” Alistair asked.
“My real mom sends me letters. I’m adopted, and so are you. Our real parents live someplace else. I don’t really know where it is.” Beth explained.
“How can you know it’s me? I think you should prove it. What can you do?” Alistair said, crossing his arms.
“My mom knew that you’d ask.” Beth said pulling out a stone and showing Alistair. She closed her hand and the stone disappeared. Her hand began to glow and she slammed her hand down on Ready or Dot. The instant her hand connected, a loud buzz sounded through the arcade and sparks began to shoot out of the top of the game. The buzz quickly subsided as the game shut itself down.
“I dreamed that you were in blue and white today, so I dressed like you.” Beth continued, noticing that Alistair didn’t say anything after the game broke.
Alistair lost his composure, “What the heck?”
“It’s weird, right?” Beth said looking a little shocked.
One of the employees rushed over to take a look at the machine. Alistair and Beth told him they had no idea what happened. Alistair wasn’t sure what to do. He just witnessed magick and was completely overwhelmed. He was frightened and excited. This revelation had a lot of consequences to his life; he’s adopted, he’s not from here and he’s not normal. Alistair’s brain couldn’t even decide which part to try and deal with first.
There was a million possibilities in his young mind. What could his magick do beyond destroying some lame video game? Could he move objects with his mind, or summon fireballs or talk to animals? Alistair watched a lot of television and most of which were about people with superpowers. He imagined all the powers he had seen and started to hope for some of his favourites; the ability to fly, shoot laser beams and steal other people’s powers.
He had also wondered about how a fair skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed boy had parents with dark hair and dark skin, and now he had an answer. This thought churned his stomach, not because the thought hadn’t crossed his mind, but because now he had confirmation. How long were they going to wait before telling him?
“So what do we do now?” Alistair asked, having literally no idea of what was to come.
“Wait for our magick to grow. When we both have our powers, we can go see our real parents.” Beth answered smiling.
Beth’s magick emerged when she was twelve. She got lost in Lansdowne Place, the largest mall in Peterborough. After forty-five minutes of her mother frantically searching the mall, there was a short-circuit in the power supply on the second floor of Warwick’s department store.
Security searched the second floor to find the power out except for a single lamp in the home furnishings department. Under the light, sat Beth, teary eyed and scared. It took months of practice before Beth figured out how to do anything. She and Alistair read every book they could find at their local library on psychic ability and magick to help her learn to control what she had unlocked.
She discovered that meditation was the trick to building her abilities yet she had only managed to make static and would often use it to shock Alistair when he wasn’t paying attention to her. She did however, get pretty good at summoning it whenever she wanted. She explained to Alistair that it feels like a big release when you use magick and that it almost feels good to use it.
Alistair remembered how jealous he was, and how he blamed her for using the magick stone when they met in order to get her powers first. He never really believed that, but with neither of them knowing much about magick, it is entirely possible.
The bell rang, and echoed through the classroom waking Alistair out of his train of thought. He quickly packed up his belongings and moved on to fourth period. Throughout the class, Alistair couldn’t stop thinking about his birth parents and his situation. Finally, the last bell of the day filled the classroom and the hallways.
Alistair parted from his classmates and began to walk home. He exited the back of the school. It was a large square building, made of red bricks with a green angled roof. The school had to be at least a hundred years old.
He turned left on Aylmer St, until he came to Parnell St., a small residential corner of town that ended in some unused train tracks. His house was a two storey war time home on the left side of the street with a small porch out front. He entered the front door and found the place empty.
The living room was painted a pale blue with a white couch and loveseat. The walls were covered in photos of Alistair, his older brother Kurt, and his adopted mother and father, Renee and Daryl. The living room opened onto a beige dining room with a large black table surrounded by six matching chairs.
The kitchen was a large room filled with white cupboards, a black countertop, and simple white appliances. On the far side the countertop, lined with dark brown barstools, extended into the middle of the room.
Alistair filled a glass with juice and cut himself a piece of chocolate pie from the fridge before heading upstairs to his room which was painted green with white trim and an off white carpet. His small bed was set beneath a west facing window. To the left of the bed were his desk and his dresser, to the right his closet.
He toiled away for a few hours on his English paper and his math homework before Renee, Daryl and Kurt got home. Kurt, his older brother, was enrolled at the local university in an environmental studies program. He was only slightly taller than Alistair and had jet black hair and brown eyes. Renee worked for the provincial government and Daryl was a carpenter. Both Renee and Daryl had black hair and brown eyes.
After dinner the family lounged in the living room for the rest of the evening. Renee and Daryl were seated on the couch with Kurt on the end. Alistair sat alone in the chair, watching the tv. Kurt was texting periodically and after The Pimpsons, he got up and went upstairs to his room.
“I’m going out.” Kurt said, coming down the stairs, “Kyle invited me over to study with some other people from school.”
“It’s almost ten… Don’t you have class early tomorrow?” Renee asked.
“I don’t have class until noon. Besides, this is studying.” Kurt answered.
“Well alright then. Have fun.” Daryl said simply.
“I will. See ya tomorrow little man.” Kurt said smiling.
“Yeah, later nerd. Who goes to a study party anyway?” Alistair mocked.
“When I have a PHD and a high paying job, we’ll see who’s laughing then.” Kurt exclaimed jokingly.
“God, how are we related?” Alistair chided.
Alistair’s joke struck a cord with the family. The conversation of adoption hadn’t come up yet. Alistair knew, and they knew he knew, but still no one wanted to discuss it. One day, Alistair resolved to just get it over with. What was the big deal anyway if everyone knew?
“Haven’t the foggiest idea, Al.” Kurt said, trying to roll with the joke.
Kurt left and Alistair was left with Daryl and Renee in silence. Alistair figured he would try to give them an opening to talk to him about his heritage.
“What’s the matter you two? It was only a joke.” Alistair baited them.
“N-Nothing’s the matter, Al.” Renee dismissed.
“Oh, Okay,” Alistair said defeated. Another opportunity to have an open conversation has passed.
Alistair eventually went to bed thinking, and partially dreading that tomorrow he would be sixteen. Yet another year has passed, and here he still was, waiting for his magickal birthright.
* * *
Alistair awoke to the sound of knocking on his door.
“Alistair. Wake up,” said Renee, entering the room, “Happy Birthday, my special boy.”
Alistair groaned in response and rolled over to face her.
“Morning, Mom. Thanks.” His throat was very dry and made his voice crack.
“Breakfast is going to be ready soon. Your favorite. Chocolate chip pancakes.” Renee closed the door and went back downstairs.
Alistair rose and dressed. He decided on a long-sleeve white shirt covered by a short-sleeve black button up shirt. He pulled on a pair of worn jeans and a pair of mismatched socks. He styled his hair and stood looking in the mirror for a few minutes. He did this sometimes, noting how he has been putting on weight. It didn’t necessarily bother him all the time, just when he was feeling depressed. He also rubbed his chin and cheeks to feel his growing beard.
After brushing his teeth, he wandered downstairs to the dining room. Daryl was waiting at the kitchen door. He walked over and hugged Alistair.
“Happy birthday, kid.” he said, pulling Alistair close to him.
“Thanks Dad.” Alistair said, without hugging him back.
The two sat down and waited while Renee finished the pancakes. Daryl poured himself a cup of coffee.
“Feel any older yet?” Daryl asked.
“Not really.” Alistair responded shortly.
“You doing ok? You seem really off. I know you usually get depressed around your birthday, but you seem a little more down than usual.” Daryl gently pressed.
“Just another year Dad. It’s not a big deal.” Alistair said, pouring himself a glass of juice.
“Please tell me you aren’t just waiting for something. That’s no way to live your life. You need to find something in the now that makes you happy. You can try and try to live in the future, but then you miss the present.” Daryl mused, staring at Alistair, almost begging him to understand.
“Dad, I know that. I’m not just waiting. It’s just, it’s hard to explain.” Alistair struggled. He wanted to tell Daryl everything. Another person might help make sense of it all, but how would Daryl respond to him wanting to leave? He and Beth had made the decision to not tell anyone, no matter how much either one wanted to open up.
“If you say so, I’ll believe you Al.” Daryl said before taking a sip of coffee, “I’m always here for you, and your mother is too. Just… know you aren’t alone.”
“Thanks Dad.” Alistair said sadly as he looked down into his juice, “You’re awfully philosophical this morning.”
“Eh, just trying to help you out buddy.” Daryl said, taking a sip of coffee.
Renee came from the kitchen carrying a stack of plates and a large dish of pancakes. The smell filled the room instantly, and as sullen as Alistair felt, that smell did manage to cheer him up. She even bought real maple syrup and not just the ordinary table syrup they usually have. Guilt rose up into his mind, she went ahead and did something nice for him, and all he could do is sit and wallow in his misery. He quickly ate and headed out for school.
“See you tonight, dear.” Renee called out as Alistair approached the front door.
“Later Mom. Later Dad.” Alistair called out as he closed the door behind him.
Why did this always happen to him? His longing to be magickal cost him some otherwise quality family time. He recognized his faults, but somehow repeated the mistakes over and over again. He tried to lose these thoughts on his walk to work, but they clouded his mind like heavy morning fog.
The rest of the morning was ordinary. A few “Happy Birthdays” from kids in his class, but nothing that really made the day feel special. He headed up from the basement of the school to his locker, where Beth would no doubt be waiting for him.
“Happy Birthday!” Beth said, a little too enthusiastically for Alistair’s taste.
“Ya, thanks, Beth.” He responded, opening his locker.
“I know you’re depressed or whatever, so I got you a present.” She said reaching into her bag and pulling out a gift wrapped in very rough brown paper, not unlike the kind used to dry your hands in a public washroom.
He took it and smiled. Alistair wasn’t terribly surprised, but it still cheered him up. She always did know what to get him.
“I wonder what it could be…” He said, pretending to sound surprised.
Out of the paper came a vest. A tailored vest that was black with a silver pinstripe covering the front. The buttons were round and silver with a ring of green in the center. The back of the vest was solid black and had an image of a red bird carved out by intricate red lines. It seemed almost tribal in its design, but all in all it looked pretty cool.
“Cheery, as always.” Alistair joked.
“What? You can’t tell me you don’t love it.” Beth said defensively.
“No, no, it’s actually pretty cool.” Alistair said admiring the garment. He actually wasn’t lying. It was definitely his style. She did always know just what he liked.
“Where on earth did you find it?” Alistair asked after a minute.
“Oh, it just came in the mail.” Beth said taking the vest from him, “Put it on. It’ll look great with your shirt… shirts.”
He didn’t waste any time before throwing it on. Alistair buttoned it up and posed a few times for Beth.
“What do you think?” Alistair asked, striking a pose like a magazine model.
“Fantastic! How does it feel?” Beth asked, scratching her chin.
“Like a glove. Wherever you got this from sure knows how to make this stuff. I swear, it’s like it was made for me.” Alistair mused, as he rubbed the front to feel the material against his palms.
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous. It does fit nicely though.” Beth smiled as she spoke, “So, lunch then?”
The two of them wandered off school grounds and headed downtown. They often stopped at a small diner called Paul’s. They were reasonably priced and had arcade games in the dining room. She ordered spicy fries while he ordered the poutine, a delicious combination of cheese, gravy and fries, as well as a burger.
“Hungry?” Beth asked mockingly.
“Yep. A build like mine doesn’t just happen, you know.” Alistair responded, padding his stomach.
“Oh ho.” Beth agreed.
They decided to play the arcade games while waiting for the food to be ready. Their favorite was called Area 52 and was a first person shooter game with two plastic guns as controllers.
First they would each take a gun and play as a team. As soon as the first order was up, which was usually Beth’s, Alistair would take both controllers and continue using both guns until she had brought her order to their table.
She would return and then it would be his turn to collect his food, while she continued to play for both of them. It got a fair amount of attention from Paul’s patrons but Alistair and Beth never really noticed, and cared even less.
After Area 52 had consumed all their quarters, they sat down to eat. Five minutes later, they were done and walking back to school. They’d have to hurry to avoid being late.
“So how are you holding up? I know birthdays are pretty much the worse day of the year for you.” Beth said, as they walked down George St, the main downtown street.
“Meh, I’m alright. Although I think it sucks that everyone knows this day sucks. I can’t tell if it’s worse to just feel depressed today or feel depressed and have everyone comment on it.” Alistair said, sullenly.
“Probably the latter. But honestly, I mean, come on. You turn sixteen today. Shouldn’t you at least be celebrating that you’ve survived this long?” Beth teased.
“I just keep going back to the idea that ‘I’m sixteen. Where the hell is my magick? Where are my parents? Our parents?’ It’s just eating me up.” Alistair’s head dropped as he finished.
“At least there is plenty of you to eat… Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s probably like puberty and your first magickal chest hair will grow in when you are good and ready.” Beth said, hoping to at least make him smile at the analogy.
“Well,” Alistair scoffed, as they began to ascend the steps into the school, “I never really imagined magickal chest hair. If so, then I’m teaming with magick.”
“I’ve seen you shirtless, so, you know, no arguments or anything. I just have a feeling that your magic balls will be dropping any day now.” Beth said amused, as she walked off in the other direction.
“Wait, do you know something?” Alistair asked, sounding alarmed.
“All I know is I’ll see you at your party thing after school.” Beth shouted as she was much further away now.
The rest of the day went by fairly quickly. He didn’t even go to his locker after his last class, but instead headed straight downtown. His birthday party, which was more of a birthday dinner than a party, was going to be at a sushi restaurant called Hiroshi on Charlotte St, just on the other side of downtown.
As he traveled down George St, he started feeling like someone was following him. He turned, but saw nothing. Alistair brushed it off before continuing. A few green lights granted him swift passage through downtown, but he was stopped at the red light on the corner of George St and Simcoe St.
“You!” A voice called out from Alistair’s left. It was a man’s voice, not familiar to him. This voice also sounded very menacing.
Alistair turned to look, when he saw a man with bright red hair storming over to him. He was dressed in a baggy white shirt and flowing brown pants. He had a long red scarf double wrapped around his neck, yet it was still long enough to touch the ground. Beneath the scarf rested intricate gold necklaces with an array of gemstones glistening in the afternoon light. His belt looked to be made of solid gold as were his large thick bracelets. His sandal-like shoes had numerous straps to hold the feet into place.
Alistair tried not to stare at the man, and failed miserably. His lavish outfit made him kind of a spectacle to behold. Thinking he must be speaking to someone else, Alistair turned to ignore him, but as the man got closer, he started to realize that yes, in fact, this oddly dressed man, was talking to him.
“Hemovoron boy!” the man screamed.
“What did you call me?” Alistair said, turning to face him.
“How dare you try and take my throne!” The man yelled, balling up his fist.
“I didn’t… What throne?” Alistair asked.
The man pulled back his fist, launched it forward, and to Alistair’s surprise, and everyone else around him, a jet of fire shot forward heading directly towards Alistair.
Alistair jumped out of the way and ran into the middle of the intersection. The man ran after him and as cars tried to pass, the man called fire out of the ground to erupt over the cars. The drivers swerved out of the way, filling the air with the sound of screeching brakes.
Alistair raced towards Peterborough Square, the downtown mall. The mall had a main floor entrance and to the left of that had a staircase leading to the basement entrance. Just as Alistair reached the staircase, flames began to creep up the stairs toward him. He turned back to face his strange attacker.
“You’re not ready yet.” A voice said, as it echoed through Alistair’s head.
“What? Who are you?” Alistair shouted, definitely frazzled.
“Your magick is there, but even with the evoco and your adrenaline, you can’t survive this.” The voice continued.
“Oh great. So are you the angel of death or something, letting me know that this is the end?” Alistair said sarcastically.
“No, I’m here to help. If you let me, I can help you use your magick.” Said the voice.
“Why does he want to kill me? What’s an evoco?” Alistair asked in his mind, watching his attacker move closer.
“You ask too many questions. Evocos are clothes that can draw out magick. Now, can I help you live through this or would you rather die?” The voice asked impatiently.
The red haired man was throwing more fire towards Alistair, who dodged the flames as best he could. His heart was pounding in his ears, and he could barely focus.
“Okay! Help me!” Alistair yelled.
With that, Alistair’s shadow lifted off the ground. It was solid black, apart from a glowing silver heart beating in the middle of the dark shape. As it flew towards Alistair, long black tendrils reached out of the shadow. The tendrils touched Alistair and he felt cold filling his body. The shadow bled into him and disappeared entirely.
Alistair started panicking. His heart was racing as he realized what was happening. Alistair was being possessed. A cold tingling moved from his head, down his spine and out to his limbs. He tried to move his arms, but nothing happened. Alistair started to debate whether or not he had made the right decision accepting the shadows help. He had no idea how this works. Would he ever get his body back? He sure hoped so.
Suddenly, his arms began to move on their own. Shadows leapt out of the ground and slammed down on the fire now surrounding Alistair.
“Wow, your magick is really weak. Even with an evoco…” The voice echoed.
“How the hell should I know? It’s never worked for me before!”.” Alistair admitted angrily.
“Oh, well I hope this works then,” the voice said.
Alistair’s body jumped to dodge a jet of fire. His body threw both hands in the air, and a large black tendril appeared out of the attacker’s shadow, it rolled into a ball and launched itself at the red haired man who slashed the shadow ball in half with his bare hands.
“Weak. You really think you could take my throne?” The red haired man said, with a chuckle.
“He’s not involved in this, Ptolemus.” Alistair’s mouth said, but not in Alistair’s voice.
“I recognize that voice.” The red haired man said angrily, “What are you doing here?”
“You know this prick?” Alistair asked, in his mind.
“Yes. His name is Ptolemus.” The voice replied.
“Here to stop you from making a mistake, Ptolemus.” Alistair’s mouth said.
“You’re failing.” Ptolemus said boldly, as a large fireball flew out of his fists and headed towards Alistair.
“You actually need to start helping me.” The voice said angrily.
“How? Alistair asked, frustrated.
“Focus on something, try to hurt him. Your body will pick some kind of magick to use.” The voice instructed.
Alistair tried to focus on Ptolemus, which proved difficult as the strange shadow had complete control over his body. He tried to push his energy at Ptolemus, hoping something would happen.
“That’s good, keep it up.” The voice said encouragingly.
Alistair’s body lunged towards Ptolemus, black energy surrounded his fists. Soft waves of grey and black light floated around his hands. Alistair couldn’t feel the energy at all, he knew it was there, but couldn’t feel heat or cold, or anything at all for that matter. Alistair pushed again, and a large stream of this black energy slammed into Ptolemus, who flew back into the Mrs. Sub shop across the street. The wall of windows exploded and shop’s dining room was filled with a combination of the black energy and dust.
“Now run.” The voice commanded.
The numbness slowly disappeared and Alistair started to be able to feel his body again, which was almost as uncomfortable as not being able to feel his body. It was like his whole body was waking up after falling asleep and the tingling stung slightly. The shadow appeared in front of him again, the silver heart beating faster than before.
“Run? But we beat him. Didn’t we?” Alistair asked.
“Not even close. We didn’t even weaken him. Trust me, while he’s distracted with that energy cloud you need to get the hell out of here!” The voice ordered before it sank back into Alistair’s shadow. Alistair bolted, heading down George St. He turned right onto Charlotte and headed for home.
When he finally reached Monaghan St he turned left. Suddenly, a yellow Dodge Viper pulled up next to him, honking the horn. It was a two door with a black top and tinted windows. Alistair stopped and stared at the car for a second before the passenger side window rolled down.
“Get in!” Beth yelled from inside the vehicle
“Beth?” Alistair said, before opening the door and getting in. “What are you doing here?”
“My house is on fire.”
“Your house is on fire?” Alistair asked
“Yeah, I was on my way home after Driver’s Ed and there was some ass with red hair and a crazy outfit standing at my front door. He touched the door and set it on fire. I basically bolted and headed over here looking for you.” Beth explained.
“Well, what about your family? What do we do?” Alistair asked, trying to think as quickly as he could. “Where should we go?”
“There weren’t any cars in the driveway, so I don’t think they’re home. We’re going to your house. Then I don’t know.” Beth said, turning right onto Parnell St.
“No. We can’t. I got attacked by that red haired dude with a crazy outfit. If he is following me, I don’t want to lead him here and put my family at risk.” Alistair protested.
“Oh so it’s okay that my family is in danger, but yours is worth saving?” Beth snarled.
“No… I’m not saying that. I… Neither of us, had any way to predict that some ginger was going to show up and try to roast us.” Alistair defended.
Beth was silent as the car pulled up to Alistair’s home. She slowed down and turned to her friend with a sour look on her face.
“Did you use your magick?” Beth asked.
“Yeah, actually I did.” Alistair admitted.
“Well that’s convenient. So we can now go to the magickal world?” Beth said, almost as if asking.
“I think that’s a good idea, considering how the magickal world has come to us.” Alistair said plainly.
“You seriously don’t want to stop in?” Beth asked, as they stopped at Alistair’s house.
“No… I do want to stop, but it will be better if we just go.” Alistair sighed, trying not to look at the house. If he were to see his mom, or dad or Kurt, how could he explain why he had to leave? It would kill him.
His heart began to ache as he felt his old life slipping way, or more accurately, speeding away. Now that this was happening, he wanted to stay so badly. It was time to leave everything he’d known and loved and for what? For some foreign existence he’d only experienced in dreams. Alistair dropped his head against the window and tried to push away the gnawing feeling of regret.
“So how do we get there?” Alistair asked.
“I have some instructions in a letter somewhere.” Beth stated bluntly, “I don’t understand what is happening…”
“Just take a deep breath Beth. Do you want to stop?” Alistair suggested.
“No, I just need to focus on something other than my home being on fire.” Beth dismissed.
“Oh… Well this might help I found out that his name is Ptolemus. He tried to kill me because he thinks I’m trying to take his throne.” Alistair added.
“The red headed asshole? Seriously? You know you’d make a terrible ruler.” Beth teased, “So how were you going to even steal a throne?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll use the power amplifier you gave me.” Alistair said sharply.
“How did you find out about that?” Beth asked.
“This talking shadow with a silver heart took over my body and told me about it.” Alistair explained.
“Dude, I never knew you lived such an exciting life when I wasn’t around. How did he even know you were you?” Beth said turning onto Landsdowne St from Monaghan Rd.
“The evoco. It seems to be a great big target on my back. Literally.” Alistair explained.
“Oooooh, sorry…’ Beth said apologetically.
“It’s all good. It might have been the shot in the arm we needed to finally get this magickal party started.” Alistair said, trying to make it sound like getting attacked was no big deal.
As they pulled up to a red traffic light, Beth wasn’t slowing down. Alistair didn’t want to be a backseat driver, but once the car passed into the crosswalk, another car honked and snapped Beth out of whatever space her mind was in. She slammed on the brakes, the car lurched to a halt and Alistair looked over at Beth.
“You still seem a bit distracted. Where are we going? Should I be driving?” Alistair suggested.
“Who has a driver’s license?” Beth asked angrily, “I’ll be the only one driving this car.”
“Well,” Alistair began, “So where to?”
“I told you, I have a letter. My mother wrote to me and told me there is transportation that’ll take us to her from Toronto.” Beth explained.
“To Toronto then? Umm, do you know how to get there?” Alistair asked.
“Why? Is this not the way?” Beth asked, sounding very confused.
“I can’t believe this. You’ve been to Toronto so many times. You seriously don’t know how to get there?” Alistair asked chuckling.
“First time driving there, yes.” Beth responded indignantly.
“So all the times that you went there with your folks, did you just cover your eyes and hum loudly to avoid learning how to get there?” Alistair asked sarcastically.
“Can you not mention them right now?” Beth said tearing up a little.
“If it makes you feel any better, I bet it’s just your stepfather that was home.” Alistair said, again trying to console her. “Also, turn left here in order to get to Toronto.”
“That helps a lot, actually.” She replied, rolling her eyes as they turned onto the highway.
She turned on the radio to drown out Alistair’s attempts to make her feel better. Music blared out of all the speakers, it wasn’t a song either of them particularly liked, but Alistair came to understand that Beth needed some space. Everything was happening so fast, and he didn’t feel like he had enough time to process what’s happened so far. His magick is awake and they are on the run from some crazed, flame throwing ginger.
As Beth merged onto the highway, Alistair looked into the rearview mirror. He could see his old life trailing behind them. He couldn’t help but feel excitement welling up inside him, competing with his sadness for dominion in his mind. He focused on his breathing as the song on the radio changed to one he actually did like. This was a well needed distraction. Alistair began to sing along in his head, thinking that this was what he wanted, just not at all how he pictured it happening.
‘Beggars can’t be choosers.’ Alistair thought to himself, trying to find his silver lining.