[personal profile] drownedinlight
 I am dog tired. I know I could have written earlier today, but first I made potato salad and then I had to read a book that needs to go back to the library tomorrow. Then it was time for dinner, then I did a little writing and then we went to a fire works display. So here's a bit from the Next Great Magician and something from an essay story i might do for inkpop.


Tabitha stared so long at Elba’s photograph that she did not notice the man sidle up beside her until he asked,
“How did you know her?” She glanced at him, revealing he looked to be in his early forties, greying red hair and a full beard.
“I didn’t really,” Tabitha confessed. “We only had a short correspondence.” Short was an overstatement, but Elba and Tiberius’ warnings were ringing in her ears, especially after being transported to a place she did not know.
“Sometimes those deaths are the most difficult to process, you hardly know where you stand,” he said.
“The most difficult are when you didn’t like the person,” Tabitha said. “There was a boy in one of my classes. He…made things difficult for a lot of people…bullied them. Rumor was he hanged himself, with a strip of electrical cord. I had no idea how to feel about that because he was asshole, and then he was just dead.”
“And what do you feel about Elba’s death?” he asked.
“Longing,” Tabitha replied. “Like something isn’t right.” She did not quite realize the feeling behind her words until she spoke them. Because when she spoke the words, she realized that the whole room was casting its eyes on her, and she also had the strangest feeling as if they were advancing in on her. She should not have walked so easily into a trap, not after what Elba wrote to her, and Tiberius told her about being too good. A hand fell on her shoulder.
Tabitha did not think she reacted. Her elbow went back into someone’s face, while her boot slammed on a foot, and when she was able to turn, her knee met a soft stomach. When she came back from defending herself, Tabitha noticed the room had gone completely still, save for the man who had fallen to the floor clutching his stomach and groaning.
“Weisz, are you all right?” asked the red haired man.
“Fine, that’s just…fine. I wasn’t really using my stomach at the moment anyway,” replied the man on the floor.
“Child you don’t need to be afraid,” said the red head. “We don’t mean to hurt you.” But then he stared at her and took up the watch that lay against her breast. “Where did you get this?”
“In a pawn shop,” she replied. “Let me go now.”
“This does not belong to you!” said the red head.
“Klaus,” Weisz said gently.
“It does not belong to her, Weisz! I would know!”
“Let go!” Tabitha commanded, only to watch the man fly back into the wall. She covered her mouth with her hand, turning back and forth between Weisz and Klaus attempting to stutter out, “I didn’t mean to!”
“Oh, I think you meant to,” Weisz replied, though there was a great deal of cheer in his voice. “Otherwise, I don’t believe a magician as untrained as you could have done something like that. Just like you made the gun turn into a toy.”
“How did you know that?” Tabitha asked.
“I was with Elba yesterday, as she studied you,” Weisz replied. “She asked that I be one of the ones to teach you in mage craft. Klaus, are you all right?” The red headed man had begun to stand using the wall and those around him as support.
“I suppose we should have explained ourselves first. I am Nikolaus Flammenhaar, the man beside you is Henry Weisz, and we were good friends with Elba before she…went off with Death. That watch you wear around your neck is a gift I gave her when she was declared the Great Magician.”
“And now that you are the Great Magician, little duck, it is our privilege and duty to look after you,” Weisz added.
“How do I know I can trust you?” Tabitha asked. “You say that you were friends of Elba, but you could just be saying that to get me to let my guard down.”
“She has a point there, Klaus,” Weisz said. “Would you care to field that one?”
“My dear, I do know that this day must have been an interesting one, at the very least, and that we have not made the best first impressions. The only one you can trust here is yourself. Ask of your instinct, are we or are we not your friends?” Tabitha examined herself, and found that she did not feel anxious like she had earlier in the day or even scared. In fact, she felt quite calm and at peace, like something was watching over her, but not like she was being watched. “Are you confident in us?’
“For now,” Tabitha replied.
“Good, and have you the book?” Klaus asked.
“It’s in a safe place,” Tabitha replied.
“My, aren’t you already a fountain of secrecy,” Weisz said. “Yes, you’ll be a perfect—duckling, are you all right?”
“I feel dizzy,” she replied. She grabbed on to Weisz and he gripped her tightly holding her up as he body tried to sway out from underneath her.

Every so often the pile of books on my desk haunts me enough to look at the List. Seventy-two books, complied by fifteen women, all with only a singular university in common, comprise this list. A summer reading list, because as collegiate participants (and graduates) we decided we missed it, or something. Actually the whole thing started with E. This is a true story, so of course you don’t get to know her real name.

One morning, E and I were the only ones left at the breakfast table and she turns to me and says, “Hey, can I share an idea?” Well, most of my friends participate in some kind of writing activity, so there are a lot of ideas that float around between us, bouncing from person to person. I had bounced more than a few to my friends before so I said, “Sure, what are you thinking?”

E’s thought was quite brilliant really. She had noticed that there seemed to be certain favorite books of hers that none of her friends had read. And there were certain books that others favored that she, nor the other members of the group, had read. And so, she thought that perhaps during the summer, when none of us would be inundated with homework, and we would have enough time that our side projects would not come over our reading time, that maybe it could be done.

So, I requested permission to begin a Facebook page. Permission granted and page begun, I explained E’s concept to our others friends who were delighted and in some cases a little sad. “Are you sure we can only add five books to the List? Can’t we do like, seven?” requested one friend, who is notorious among us for wanting all the books. “No,” said another friend, which was echoed by E and I. E even gave the summer reading list a name she professes she ripped off from NaNoWriMo: National Novel Reading Summer (NaNoReSu, for short).

Back at the beginning of all of this (which was about one month, one week and some change ago), I looked at the list with a sure sense of anticipation. I had a good library system at home, and through checking, I have found that we have all but about five books on the list. I’m an avid reader, and had already promised myself to read fifty pages a day earlier in the year. I thought I had it in the bag. But in the past forty-three days I’ve only read sixteen books. I mean, it should not seem like that big of a deal; that means I have read 5026 pages and that I have fifty-six books left to read, which I have two months left to do. Still it leaves me going, “Unf…” every time I look at the stack of books.

It’s not like I have anything to do. After all, my job search has been, insofar, unsuccessful, and my daily writing only takes up so much of my time. Plus I know I can read a book in a day. I did so today. I have done so in the past when I feel able to concentrate.


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drownedinlight

January 2017

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