Chapter Two – Black Magic Woman
Buttons were clacking under the aggressive panic of Eldrian’s thumbs and fingers as the plumber jumped and jumped over hordes of terrifying fungus monstrosities. Suspenders weren’t much to wear on the battlefield, but the little man pushed forward. That is, until his life came to an untimely end meeting a sharp-toothed flower protruding from a pipe.
“Aah! Damn it it all. Where’d that thing even come from?” Eldrian cursed as he dropped the controller to his knees.
The two of them sat on the cream-coloured carpet of Kevin’s bedroom. A forty-inch CRT television rested on the stand in front of them, plugged into an old gaming console. The sad words of, “Game Over” were present on the screen at this moment.
“I thought you were a wizard,” muttered Kevin sarcastically.
“First of all, I’m going to turn you into a frog. Second of all, don’t say that out loud. I’m probably already going to pay for what I did last night. Someone somewhere is going to have my butt on a platter, whether that’s the government, or a friend. I’m not sure which is better.”
“Sorry, Eldrian. That whole thing was my fault.”
“No, no. It wasn’t. Don’t start saying that. I jumped in, and not only that, but I admit I kind of over-did it. I could have solved that problem while hiding and they’d never have known. I can’t help but be a little…”
“All wizards are flamboyant.”
“Didn’t you just tell me to stop calling you that in case someone hears?”
Eldrian sighed. “I hate hiding. I’ve done it for a couple decades. Thank goodness there’s others like me or I’d feel really lonely.”
“Hey. I don’t understand any of this in the slightest, but what I saw last night was something outstanding. Lightning from your hands, teleporting, changing clothes on a whim… and don’t forget that I’m your friend, even if I’m just ordinary.”
“Uh. Eldrian? Can you actually turn someone into a frog?”
“Nah. That’s more of a witch or warlock thing. You know, the darker magics. I guess you don’t know. Just take everything I saw as the absolute truth and you’ll be fine.”
“That sounds incredibly not good for me.”
Eldrian pointed to his own chin. “I like the goatee you’re growing though, Kev. It fits. And with your long hair, you look like some kind of tangerine samurai.”
Kevin smiled. Lost for a moment in his own vanity, he looked away and scratched his head. “Thanks! I’ve actually been taking sword-fighting class. Wait. Tangerine samurai? What the hell does that mean?”
But when he looked back, Eldrian had disappeared. His eyes spun around the room to find his wizard companion looking over the shelves besides his bed. They had an assortment of comic books and small figurines. Kevin stood up and clicked off the television.
“Hey! Don’t just wizard away like that.”
“What is this here?” Eldrian placed his fingers over a wooden carving.
It looked like it was made by a child’s hands. The snout of the animal was a little bit shorter than it should be, and one eye was larger than the other. It’s the thought that counts, anyway. If it has love, it can lack in everything else. It was only the head of a creature as well—a moose.
Eldrian looked surprised.
“Careful with that.” He put a hand on the wizard’s shoulder and nudged him away. “Sorry. It’s just that it means a lot to me. My father gave it to me. See, he made it for his own dad once a really long time ago. When my grandpa passed away, he gave this to me. My dad wouldn’t accept it… He said he’d never accept back a gift like that. It was for his dad.”
Kevin continued. “I took an extra woodworking class at school. I thought maybe I could make him one too, just like he did. Maybe he’d accept it instead.”
The other boy pursed his lips. He was quiet. But after a moment he nodded, and he grinned and smiled. “He’ll love it. You know what? Let’s go for a walk, Kev. Get some fresh air, you know? And I’ll try really hard not to use any magic in public this time.”
“Sounds good to me!”
Both of the boys made their way downstairs to begin their day on the town. They were going to paint the town red with their gamer talk and unfunny jokes. As they neared the front door, Kevin’s mother waved them off.
“Don’t forget a coat, honey!” she shouted. “It’s getting chilly.”
“Yes, mom,” Kevin muttered as he slipped on a jacket.
His eyes turned to Eldrian, who was now sporting a trendy black coat out of seemingly nowhere. He decided not to ask this time. The boys pushed open the door to be greeted by a cold sunshine. The air was refreshing despite the brisk winds that occasionally sent a chill down their spines and at the very least, the clear skies made sure their flesh didn’t freeze over—for the time being anyway.
“Let’s walk past campus,” the tangerine samurai suggested. “I can show you where I’m going to school.”
“Sounds good to me. Lead on!”
They followed the sidewalk through the residential district. Homes, unlike they were the night before, now had vibrant coloured flowers illuminated by the day’s new sun. It almost made them forget they basically lived in a desert. Eventually they neared acres of brick buildings and fields—Kevin’s university. Eldrian admired the architecture from a distance while they made their way past.
Somebody was walking a good distance in front of them now. Kevin recognized her as someone from his school, so he leaned towards his friend to whisper.
“I’ve seen her around, but she gives me the creeps. Apparently she doesn’t talk to anybody. She is kind of cute though, but she looks like she’s going to steal my soul.”
“I don’t know. She almost always has a face lacking in any emotion. Most people don’t want to bother trying to talk to her, but the few who have were mostly ignored. She’s not very friendly. Her hair is almost always different, too. She does it up every day, but she looks like one of those gothic lolitas.”
The girl in question, most likely unsuspecting that she was being spoken of, continued on in front of them. Her hair was snow white. It wasn’t as if she was old, but instead, like all colour had been drained from each and every last strand of hair. She had irises that were red, presumably from contact lenses, Kevin thought. Maybe not. They matched the tiny red eyes of the skulls clipped into her hair.
She was noticeable shorter than them as well. Her petite stature was clothed by a white and black plaid skirt and a jet black t-shirt. It had a friendly white bat picture presented on the back. This girl wasn’t heading to the campus, but instead past it, just as the boys were. It made sense, as she had no books in her arms, and no pack on her back.
“One time, I finally worked up the courage to approach her. I asked if she played video games, and she told me to burn in hell. Rejections happen, I get it, but that’s seriously messed up,” Kevin said.
A horrifying, devilish face came to Eldrian.
“What the heck is that expression?” asked Kevin quietly. “You’re freaking me out.”
Trying to look innocent but failing miserably, Eldrian whipped his hand. The air itself was his toy, moving along with his will, and creating a wind to do his bidding. This kind of magic seemed as trivial as walking to him. A breeze moved invisibly until it knocked the girl’s choice of clothing temporarily into an embarrassing position.
“Eldrian!” Kevin nudged him, but he couldn’t help but snicker. He covered his mouth.
“What? We’re like forty feet away. I’m not God. I can’t control the wind.”
The two’s walking came to a gradual halt. Kevin leaned in once more to whisper.
“Didn’t you say you were going to be more discreet?”
“A finger wiggle is pretty discreet.”
The sound of a throat clearing made them jump. At their side stood a short girl—the same girl. She looked incredibly displeased, though she somehow still portrayed this with little to no expression present on her face. She crossed her arms. Ruby eyes pierced the air between them.
“Are you stupid?” the girl asked bluntly. She was looking directly at Eldrian.
The wizard looked shocked. “My mom says I’m smart.”
“Are you stupid, and also in kindergarten?” she asked again. “A university’s campus is one of the most public places I can think of, yet you use magic, just like that?”
Eldrian’s eyes widened. His skin went pale.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” lied the brown-haired boy. “Magic? Are you crazy or something?”
“And of all things you use it for, you use it to do… that?”
“Hah! Magic. I wish that was real. Right, Kev?”
Kevin laughed nervously. “Same here. I’d conjure up a sandwich right about now. I’m starving.”
All came to a halt when the girl grabbed the front of Eldrian’s shirt and yanked him close. She glared daggers into his eyes. With a single finger raised in front of his nose, she gestured to it, and a tiny green flame sprang to life from her nail.
Eldrian tried to speak, but nothing came out. She was actually a wizard as well. Of all times for this to happen, it had to happen now, and like this. Her claw-like grip released him, and she simply looked intently at him like a scolding mother.
Finally a word escaped his lips. “Crap.”
“Crap is right,” she barked. “You’re the most immature, irresponsible person I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Kevin mumbled, “This is the most I’ve ever seen her talk to someone.”
She looked immediately to him. The boy’s heart skipped a beat.
“Both of you. Come with me. Two you know what’s shouldn’t be walking around if they can’t control themselves. I’m going to end up getting caught just by being around you.”
“Where are we going?” asked Kevin.
“My house. I live alone, so we won’t be bothered.”
Powered by both fear and curiosity, they followed the girl away from the campus and between two tall buildings. It was barren and dark—an alley you’d expect to be murdered in. She made sure the coast was clear, and raised her hands up. A door came to be on the wall in front of her—painted pale white. She twisted the knob, and the three stepped quickly inside.
Once they were in the clear, the girl sighed. The door disappeared.
“I’m Deena. A witch.”
“Eldrian, but… a witch? That’s unsettling.”
Kevin looked to him. “Why? Are witches evil or something?”
“Often. Witches and warlocks are wizards that specifically use darker spells, like voodoo, or other spooky things.”
Deena twitched a brow. “This orange-haired guy isn’t a wizard?!”
“Well, no,” Kevin muttered.
“Oh my god. Eldrian, I’ve only known you for about five minutes and I already want to turn you into a frog. Do you have any idea how dangerous it is for a wizard to reveal himself to normal people? What if someone else finds out, and then the spellbreakers find out? Huh? What then?”
“I understand your concern, Deena, but it’s fine. Really. I trust Kevin, and the only thing revealed today was the skull on your underpants.”
Kevin felt the room actually get colder as Deena went quiet. Eldrian tried to open his mouth to speak, but it was magically sealed. He started to make muffled noises behind his own lips. His eyes widened, and he began to tug a futile attempt to free himself from the enchantment.
She kept moving deeper into the home without saying a word. Kevin followed, and though Eldrian wanted to speak, he was still unable.
The house itself was unexpected in appearance. It looked like a cave that was refurbished into a home, which may have been the real history of the place. It was lit by ceiling lights that had to have been magical in nature. Any decorations were macabre—paintings of misty swamps or tiny, somewhat adorable, figurines of skulls. It was like a dungeon.
Her body flopped down against the couch with a relieved sigh.
“Float your phone over here. Both of you.”
Eldrian acknowledged her request. Both his and Kevin’s phones lifted from this pockets, and he directed them easily over towards her. She snatched them up and began to fumble around with both them and her own.
“W-Wait. What is she doing?” Kevin asked.
“Mmmm. Mm. Mmm.” Eldrian’s lips were still sealed.
Deena rolled her eyes and dispelled the magic. The boy opened his mouth wide—relieved to be free.
“Probably linking us together. Enchanted phones are used by wizards to text or call each other. They work magically, so they can’t be traced, and a special link occurs during a phone call that allows one to open a portal to the other,” Eldrian explained.
“All right,” he replied. “As long as she doesn’t start snooping around at my browser history.”
She looked up. With a wave of her hand, the phones maneuvered back to their hands.
“I don’t need to snoop at your phone to see naked girls,” she said with a blank expression.
Kevin paused for a moment. “I’m not sure how to respond to that.”
“Well, first of all, Kevin, witches aren’t always evil. I just like demons. And black magic.”
“That sounds a tiny bit evil still…” Kevin said quietly in response.
“Second of all, it’s you both that need to do some explaining. What’s your end game? Goofing around until you get caught? No… There’s no way you could have survived this long as dumb as you are, Eldrian. Stay there.”
Deena got up without another word and disappeared from the room.
“She’s cold,” Kevin whispered.
“Be careful. Witches are dangerous. The most frightening talent a witch can have is voo—“
He cringed. Pain shot through his body as he stood up straight and clenched his teeth.
“Voodoo. And I’m not deaf,” the witch said as she strolled back into the room.
She stood confidently—the kind of confidence you expect from a woman holding a great power in her hands. Tight in her grip was doll made of straw. It looked like nobody specifically, but thread into its heart was a strand of brown hair. Her unbroken glare spoke her seriousness. It confused poor Eldrian. She was cold before, but now she was truly a witch.
A thick, heavy tome was also tucked between her underarm and side.
“Both of you. Stay still,” she barked as she flipped open the book.
“What’s that?” Eldrian asked curiously. “And what’s wrong?”
“The Nekonomicon. An encyclopedia of information on demons, and also cats. Now shut up. Hmm.” She thought deeply as her ruby gaze scanned over the pages.
Her fingers moved up and danced in a rhythmic melody. Words came, but they sounded foreign, and frankly terrifying. It was something not of their world. She cast a spell, and an aura fell over both Eldrian and Kevin. Nothing happened next. They both stood silently.
“Not demons. Good,” Deena bluntly stated before putting the tome back down.
“I could have told you that!” Eldrian said.
“Sure, but demons aren’t known for being truthful. I study them. I should know. Sometimes, I hunt them, but I usually just read. They’re fascinating, you know. Of course you don’t know. Nobody thinks demons are neat.”
“I do. You asked for my end game? I’m Eldrian, and my goal is to be the most skilled wizard in the world. And I also hunt demons in my spare time. I’ve met with a few.”
“That sounds like something from an anime… Wait. You’ve met with demons?”
“I didn’t know that was weird. They can be nice sometimes. Just, usually not.”
Kevin looked to him. “Of course it’s weird!”
Ring. Ring. Eldrian’s cellphone began to chime at an incoming call. He lifted it from his pocket, and slid a finger across the screen before holding it to his ear. His mouth opened to speak though he seemed cut off by the other’s speaking.
“Yes. Mhm. I got it. Really? Geeze. That does sound dangerous. Nobody was hurt, though, right? Good. Yeah, I’ll check it out right away. I have an anchor near there. I’ll be fine. I have a new friend, and she’s a demon expert. Yeah! All right. Bye bye.” He hung up.
“Who was that?” Kevin asked.
“A friend. Apparently there’s a demon lurking back in Grand Prairie. She wants me to check it out, and hopefully catch him, before someone sees. Or worse.”
From behind, Deena squeezed the voodoo doll in her frustrated grip. Eldrian choked. “You can’t just volunteer me in something like that. You need to ask first.”
“S-Sorry,” Eldrian muttered. “Do you want to come help me hunt a demon? You can both come if you want.”
A sigh escaped her lips. “Fine… I’ll go.”
“That sounds frightening, but I am curious of what a demon looks like,” Kevin said.
Eldrian let out a sharp laugh. “Awesome! Let’s go then, team. It’s time to hunt a demon. What could go wrong?”
Stay tuned for Chapter Three – The Devil Went Down to Alberta!