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.
 Weisz held on to her as the world went dark.

Chapter Four: In Klaus’ Kitchen

Tabitha woke, shooting up into bed the moment she remembered what had happened. She was still dressed in her frock and leggings, but her coat hung over a chair nearby and her boots at its feet. A window to the left of the bed she lay in indicated that the sun shone brightly outside.

How long had she slept?

Tabitha grabbed her bag, and slipped on her coat and her boots. How on earth was she going to get out of this place? And back home? Was she still even in Rennes at all? She slipped out of the bedroom, and began walking down a corridor, only to have Weisz bump into her when she tried to turn a corner. She jumped again.

“Calm down, duckling,” he said. “You’re at Klaus’ home just outside of the Black Forest.”

“In Germany?” she asked.

“Yes, of course. You passed out because you’ve used magic, very powerful magic, twice in two days, not to mention your intuition was running high due to the immortality seekers, you went through a magical pawn shop and you were automatically translating other languages, or at least French. It’s not a wonder you were exhausted.”

“How long was I asleep?”

“About fourteen hours. Klaus has just finished breakfast if you would like to eat something. You probably should. You have not had anything since your dinner yesterday and—”

“I was passed out when I would normally have dinner,” Tabitha told him. “But if you mean the noon meal, I didn’t have that either. I wasn’t hungry, so I gave it to Tiberius as a trade.” Weisz scowled.

“That scoundrel! He’s been around long enough to know what missing a meal will do to a young magician. Come on, then, we must get some food into you.”

“What exactly does missing a meal do to a young magician?” asked Tabitha as she followed along after Weisz.

“Well, duckling, magic is like any other energy you produce—kinetic energy for instance—you must have fuel for that energy. If you go for a five mile run without enough fuel in your body, you collapse.” As he talked Weisz led her down a set of stairs into a large foyer, and then into another hallway to a panel in the wall. He released a latch and opened the panel into reveal a kitchen. Klaus stood before a stove, pulling eggs from a boiling pot.

“Good morning!” he greeted when he saw them. “And how is our duckling feeling this morning? Hungry no doubt?”

“Now that you mention it,” she replied. Klaus motioned toward a set of chairs at a counter, and Tabitha took a seat next to Weisz. “You both can call me Tabitha, by the way. There’s no need for animal nick names.”
“Well, up until now, Tabitha, we did not know your name,” Klaus reasoned, setting two poached eggs before her in a small bowl. “By the way, if you have a love of fried things, I would advise you stop eating them.”
“Not a particular love,” she said, digging into the white of the egg. Klaus continued to lay things out before her—cold cuts of ham, turkey, chicken, some cuts of fish, grainy rolls, all colors of fruits but many green vegetables.
“Eat something of everything,” Klaus told her. “And before I forget…” He then set a large glass of water in front of her. “Drink that down as well.”
“You have an accent,” Tabitha noticed. “Did you have that last night?’
“Well, not really. Last night I was speaking French to you, and this morning I am speaking English,” Klaus said.
“It’s like I said, duckling, you were automatically translating everything you heard,” Weisz said, cutting up fruits and taking them out of their skins, always leaving half before her. Before she knew it, Tabitha was inundated with pomegranate seeds, orange slices, apple quarters, a peach half, a plum half, half of a banana and more. Klaus also served up green beans, snap peas, spinach and kale, as well as one serving of each meat.
“And you both expect me to eat all of that?” she asked.
“Some of everything,” Klaus told her. “It will help you regain your strength.”

“I’m not sure I’ve got the time. I really need to get home. I was out all night, and I have only some idea of how angry my dad and step-mom are going to be.”
“To take a trip across the water is not a simple thing,” Klaus said. “Only those who concentrate on developing such a skill will be able to take us so far, and one is being looked for. We will take you home when we are able, Tabitha I promise. In the meantime, break your fast.” Tabitha dug into her eggs once again, and once she started eating, she found it rather easy to continue. 
“Now you have the book in a safe place, right?” Weisz asked. “I won’t ask you to produce it for me. Really, it’s only for the Great Magician, or the Great Magician’s apprentice to see. I just want to know that it’s safe. You didn’t leave it back home did you?”
“No,” Tabitha replied. “It’s safe. What was that you mentioned last night about you teaching me?”
“Well, normally one Great Magician will teach the next,” Weisz said. “But Elba asked me to teach you in the event of her untimely demise. She taught me a great many things, so I suppose it’s really rather fitting. But you must also study the book.”
“Will I still be able to go to school?” Tabitha asked. “I realize that becoming the Great Wizard is important, but I would rather not neglect my other education.”
“I don’t see why it would be impossible to work around,” Klaus said. “Do you, Weisz?”
“No. You attend a secondary school?”
“Well, and I take some classes at the university,” she said. “Some are online, but some I do in person. I only have one night class once a week, though so I should be able to work with you after three most days. But what about my parents? What do I tell them?”
“The truth,” Klaus said.
“That’s funny,” Tabitha said, taking a bite of avocado over a piece of salmon. When she swallowed she asked, “What do I really tell them?”
“Why can you not say you are getting magic lessons for a very important cause?” Weisz asked.
“Weisz, how old are you?” she asked.
“One hundred thirty-seven,” Weisz replied.
“And if you told your parents one hundred twenty-two years ago that you were getting magic lessons for a good cause, what might their reaction have been?” Tabitha asked.
“But that was a century and a quarter ago!” Weisz exclaimed. “Surely they cannot be that close minded to these ideals.”
“You need to get out more often,” Tabitha suggested.
“For now, Tabitha, say nothing too particular,” Klaus said. “If you truly fear retribution from your parents, when you attend lessons with Weisz, tell them that you are going to class or you are working a job. Both are technically true.” Hearing the word job made Tabitha wince.
“That reminds me—I volunteer four times a week at the library. We’ll need to work around that as well.”
“You certain demand not uproot your life,” Weisz observed. “Are you that afraid of change?”
“Well, it certainly would not be good if someone noticed something off about my routine,” Tabitha said. “My parents I might be able to fool with something, but my co-workers won’t be so easily taken. They have my schedule pretty well memorized. Plus what about these immortality seekers we’ve all be so concerned about? Won’t they notice something if I change my routine too radically? I mean, going missing yesterday can be explained with the arrival of the book. They could think I went someone where to study it for a time. But if they notice my magic lessons with Weisz, and they will be watching me, if yesterday is any indication, it would be best to maintain a routine, so they do not think anything too suspicious.”
“Most unfortunately, you have a point,” Weisz said. “It would be best if they did not notice you so much. After all, you barely know anything about magic, so it would not be a good thing if they caught you.”
“Agreed,” Klaus said. “It is not to my favoring, but it is a sound idea.”
“What would be to your favoring?” Tabitha asked.

“That you stay here, let us teach you magic,” Klaus said. “But the world no longer works that way. People would notice you were missing and send out word. It would reach us even here in the Black Forest if they were to suspect.”
“It might not for some time,” Tabitha said. “Even so, I’m not sure I would want to go missing from my family. They may not understand me at times, and they might have some cruel things to say about me being a magician, but they are still my family, and I know they love me.”
“We won’t pull you away, Tabitha,” Weisz said. “But it is imperative that I be able to teach you.”
“I know,” Tabitha replied. “I’m not sure I understand all of it, but I know that this is my duty or destiny—in any case I do have to do it. I almost…I almost feel it. Like how some people say they can feel the rain coming in their bones. I can feel this.”
“That is good,” Klaus remarked.
“Is it?” Tabitha asked.
“Yes; it means Elba definitely chose the right person.” Klaus smiled at her, and nudged the food closer. “Keep eating.”

They talked for another half hour as Tabitha ate more food than she probably ever had in one sitting. When she finished her water, though, Klaus gave her a delicious cup of hot chocolate, with a touch of mint. He said that it would help her digest, but Tabitha was just glad for the sweet treat. When breakfast was finished, Weisz and Klaus dismissed her, saying that they needed to wait on transportation a bit, and she needed to digest her meal.
“If you do before she gets here, we’ll start your first magic lesson,” Weisz promised. While she was digesting, though, Tabitha explored Klaus’ home a bit as Weisz and Klaus talked elsewhere. Eventually she found what she guessed must have been a drawing or sitting room when Klaus had used the house more. She moved back musty curtains to receive a cloud of dust in her face and a load of sunshine. It must have been past nine now which meant that it was close to four in the morning at home. Tabitha hoped they could get her home within the next few hours, and that her parents would not be too disappointed that she did not get home last night.
Tabitha sat down at one of the tables and pulled out her journal. When she reached for though, her hand brushed past the typewriter, and so she pulled it out, converting it to its regular size on the table.
“If only you could type on my journal without having to rip out the pages,” she said, converting it to the small size which would type on one of her journal pages if she ripped it out. Running her hand along the opposite side, she found another series of buttons. Pressing the one closest to the front of the typewriter, she found that the typewriter expanded in width, but now also had a set of braces to hold something up against the back of it, one on each side of the typewriter. It is the right size for her journal, so she fits it into the slots, and hits a key.
It ends up placing a random h on a page she’s already written on, though thankfully not over any actual writing. She fiddles with the type writer, trying to manually make it move so that it will type on the right page, and littering the left page with random letters as she goes. Finally, she gets something on the top right, and begins typing as fast as she can on the typewriter. The pressure under the keys feels different from that of a computer keyboard.



January 2017

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