Two things: One, when I am finished, I totally need to reformat this as chapters, and two, because I am writing single spaced in word, this is a b to reformat to something readable here.

 She slid them onto a plate and handed it to her father, who collected his eggs and bacon. At which point, Tabitha’s stomach decided to growl.

“I thought you said you ate,” her dad said.

“I did, eat, that is. I guess I’m just hungry again,” she replied. Tabitha surveyed the fried food and decided to reach for an apple in the hanging fruit basket. “Do we have any water bottles in the house?”
 
“What? First you can do magic, now you’re on a health kick?” her dad asked.
 
“The two are not mutually exclusive,” Tabitha replied.
 
“I hate to say it, Tabby’s right,” Chelsea said over the breakfast table. “I mean, we all need to think about what we eat, right? And dad weren’t you just saying a little while ago that the doctor told you that you needed not to eat so much fattening stuff so that your arteries don’t get clogged?”
 
“There are worse ways to die,” he remarked.
 
“Heart attack symptoms can appear for hours before the actual event, and the actual attack can last up to thirty minutes which causes severe pain in the chest, and if you should survive, it sucks,” Tabitha said.
 
“Thank you Dr. Tabitha,” Carol said. “Look, your father and I both know the risks, and I admit, we could eat a little healthier. But it’s not like we want one of those British ladies from the TV knocking down the door and forcing it down our throats. Okay, girls? Baby steps. Tabitha, eat your apple.” 
 
After she finished the apple, Tabitha ventured back upstairs to prepare for school. She would have to leave early so that she could get her assignment from the day before. That meant she would be walking to school, as Reiss never went early, unless his life depended on it. Fortunately, it was only about a twenty minute walk, much less than what she did yesterday. She packed her bag with its usual products and then looked at her newer, magical items.
 
The boots were not a problem; she could wear them and almost look normal. A quick check of the forecast revealed it was not going to get above fifty degrees, and might rain, so she could definitely take her coat as well. As for the book, Weisz had advised her to never leave it alone, which mean it had to come with her. The safest option for that was do leave it in the pocket in the back of her coat. Much to her loathing, Tabitha left the typewriter at home, just to give herself one less temptation.
 
Tabitha reviewed all assignments which were due for that day, and before the clock could think of striking seven, she set out for school.
Arriving forty minutes before the bell rang in a small town was a little unusual, but the security guards knew her well enough as the mild-mannered sister of Reiss McLane, so they barely shrugged as she walked into the school early. She had not missed her morning classes, so she skipped the visits to her history, computer and calculus teachers, and never felt more grateful to have fourth hour study period. Fifth period was basic art, and the teacher reported that they only had in class work, so she might want to come in during lunch to work on her drawing. Her physics teacher handed her a packet filled will problems, and suggested that she come in during lunch if she needed help. When she reached English was when she ran into trouble.
 
It turned out that her English teacher, Ms. Grant, had been sick yesterday and today and subbing in was one of the assistant principals. The assistant principal who took care of all of the students from S to Z, meaning he was Tabitha’s assistant principal.
 
He was sitting at Ms. Grant’s desk looking over a lesson plan when she entered, and noticed her before she could walk right back out.
 
“Tabitha!” he called. “Came for your assignment?”
 
“Yes sir,” she replied.
 
“Good. I thought you might. It will give us a chance to talk about your truancy yesterday and this way you won’t have to be called to the office. Take a seat.” Tabitha felt that her stride became slower and stuck together the closer she got to the room. The feeling of being in trouble was wholly unfamiliar to her as the last time it had happened in school, she punched Sarah Jones after having a rock thrown at her head. Not to mention, she had skipped school for a good reason, she could not exactly tell Mr. White that. “So,” he said, pulling out a chair from one the desks and sitting right in front of her, “do you want to tell me why you skipped school yesterday? Because I think we both know that your parents didn’t pull you out.”
 
“I…didn’t…feel well,” she said slowly, trying to work out a reasonable excuse.
 
“If you didn’t feel well, why didn’t you go to the office or the nurse, and ask to be sent home?” he asked. “I’m sure Reiss wouldn’t have minded driving you.”

“It wasn’t a physical unwellness,” she said. “I just…I needed to get out of the school.”
 
“Why?” he asked. “You’re such a good kid, Tabitha, I can’t even begin to wonder why you would do something wrong like that. Did someone put you up to it or…what happened that made you feel like you wanted to leave?”
 
“I felt like I was being watched,” she retorted. “And no offense, Mr. White, but you can’t exactly tell the office every sneaking suspicion you have. That’s what gets kids sent to an institute.”
 
“You felt like you were being watched in the school?” Mr. White asked. “Watched by whom?”
 
“I don’t know. I just felt so anxious and at ease, it’s like I had to leave or I was going it…I don’t pass out or freak out on someone, okay? I just needed three periods for my mental health. Considering the fact that I consistently do not need to fill a period and already take two classes at the university, I don’t think this should be that big of a deal.”
 
“That’s why it is such a big deal, Tabitha,” he said. “Because I don’t want to see such a promising student like you get involved into anything terrible, okay? I’ll let it go this time, but if you ever feel uncomfortable in the school, just come and see me during a passing period and we’ll talk about it, or if you really need to, I’ll let you go home. Just get the absences excused and we won’t have any problems.”
 
“All right,” she agreed, though the words stuck in her throat, and she felt like a coward for speaking them. What had made it so easy to tell the truth to her family, but then she could not say the exact same thing to a school official? Was another problem being a magician would bring her? Always having to hide certain activities and reasons from people she should have been able to trust?
 
“Okay, then, your assignment for yesterday was to begin reading Odyssey, introduction and up to page seventy-five. We’ll be discussing it today and class and you need to consider a possible essay topic, and write up a proposal for the end of the week.” He handed her a worn paperback copy of the book, and waited for her to fill out the card in the front. When she handed it back to him, he said, “That’s all for now. You can go and try to catch up on your work.”
 
She still had almost a half-hour before school began, so she sequestered herself in the library skimming her history book, and taking down notes that would have to be discussed in class. Thankfully, she had a fully written essay done much ahead of time, and she was also ahead in her computer skills class, which meant she would have a second study hall that morning, during which she could work on calculus problems. Her real study hall would be spent getting into her physics packet and reading the first one hundred or so pages of the Odyssey.
 
“Life could get worse,” she muttered to herself.
 
“You could have killer magicians after you.” Tabitha jumped and looked to see Weisz sitting across from her.
 
“Did you have to do that?”
 
“Have to?” he inquired, a grin spreading across his face. “Not strictly speaking but it was quite amusing, so…In any case, I just came to tell you where I’ve taken up residence and ask when you will be free for your first magic lesson.”
 
“About that,” she said, making Weisz frown. “Don’t make that face! I was just going to say, I told my family the truth, so I need to discuss curfews with my dad and my stepmom.”
 
“And how late will that and…advanced placement physics take you?” he asked, reading her packet upside down.
 
“I’m not sure,” she admitted.
 
“Tabitha, I loathe to inform you of this, but there are people who will be attempting to kill you,” Weisz replied.
 
“Well, I hate to tell you this, but my dad will be on that list if I don’t obey his rules,” Tabitha replied. “Look, I know this is not going to be easy for either of us, all right? But I am a good student. I always do my homework when it gets handed to me, and I learn quickly. Don’t worry so much about what you will be able to teach me. It just can’t be tonight.”
 
“They know where you are Tabitha,” he said.
 
“Yeah, I know.”
 
“I don’t think you do.”
 
“I don’t think you were here yesterday when I skipped school because I could feel them watching me,” she hissed. Weisz eyes grew wide.
 
“And can you feel them now?”
 
“Can you?”
 
“Not necessarily,” he replied, ducking his head to look out a window. “Answer me honestly, do you think you will be able to devote enough of your time to become the Great Magician?”
 
“I will give you whatever time I have left. Whether or not it will be enough is for you to decide after our first magic lesson.” Weisz stared her down, but then snorted and leaned back in his chair.

“Very well. I trust you’ll be in contact?” He held out a small manila card to her, which had an address, phone number and surprisingly an email and fax.
 
“Good to know we don’t use pigeons for mail,” she muttered. “And that I can email you my schedule. By the way, my weekends are almost completely open.”
 
“And in the old days you would have trained from before dawn until well after dusk, every day of the week, no matter how tired you were,” Weisz cheerily informed her. “I begin to think Klaus was right in wanting to keep you hidden away in Germany.”
 
“Times change,” she retorted.
 
“And thankfully for you, I change with them.” The bell rang, and Tabitha began stacking her papers and things, sliding them neatly into her bag. “Well, then, I won’t keep you.”
 
“I wouldn’t let you anyway,” she replied. That actually made Weisz smile.
 
“So much like Elba. It actually hurts a little. Off to class with you, then, we would not want you to be late, now would we?”
 
“Actually, I think you might get a little joy out of it,” she replied, and began to walk off. She heard him laugh, but then nothing. When she turned back to check, Weisz was gone.
 

History went smoothly enough, because the teacher almost never called on her, due to the fact that Tabitha usually had all of the answers. As she predicted, they had not moved on to their next lesson in computer skills, so she used it to do calculus homework. Calculus was all right too, it was only after that Tabitha hit a snag in her day. Brian d’Ambrosio stood next to her locker as she approached.
 
“Can we talk?” he asked.
 
“Talk,” she replied.
 
“No, about the other day, about what you did to the, uh…” he lowered his voice. “Gun.”
 
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.

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drownedinlight

January 2017

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