My Life As A Magician is a novella that I am releasing in chapters. I expect to release chapters every week or so. It’s currently free, but at some point future chapters may require payment. Patrons will receive a complete e-book at the end. If you notice any typos, please point them out to me!
I come from a magical time. A place and time of magic and mystique. Where things that may seem out of the ordinary to you happened as regular everyday occurrences.
Back then I was a magician. I could conjure up all sorts of things. If you wanted it to rain so your crops could grow, I could make it happen. If you wanted to learn new languages so you could travel, I could add them to your tongue. If you wanted to have more food on your plate, I could expand what you’ve got.
Back then magicians all had their own specialties, and only practised within their scope.
My specialty? Reading people’s minds.
One could say I was a black magician. Reading people’s minds is not a noble trick. It was my belief that our minds are sacred and not for the free reading of others. This was, however, my specialty. My gift. My talent. The magic ability that came most naturally to me. It was my burden. My demise.
And so it was. I, Arcadia Guzmata, was a black magician who read people’s minds.
I’d like to share with you the story of my apprenticeship.
I was pretty young – just a girl, really. As young as a girl with two pigtails and a little red dress could be.
I was apprenticing with Mr Bishop. He worked out of his shed making all sorts of boxes and sticks and tricks. Mr Bishop’s speciality was making people disappear. He spent a lot of time creating props so that his magic was very theatrical. I think you would like it, as it is much like the magic you know today.
One day when the air was still and the light was golden, the birds had suddenly gone quiet. I was lying on the grass by Mr Bishop’s shed that looked out over the hills of beyond. I was thinking about all sorts of things, as you do when you peer into other people’s minds. When the birds went quiet I sat up. I looked around, heightening the senses of my eyes, amplifying the senses of my ears, and I saw that nothing was moving and nothing was creating any noise. Everything was unusually and remarkably still.
I got up and head towards the shed.
“Mr Bishop!” I called out, “Mr Bishop! Are you still in here?”
He was at the back of the shed rummaging around some wooden boxes and old material. I couldn’t see exactly what he was doing, but I could tell he was not quite right.
“Pass me a spanner, would you,” he said, and I quickly pulled one off the wall mount and ran it over to him, careful not trip over anything.
“What’s going on, Mr Bishop? Everything’s quiet outside. The birds have gone!”
And that’s what happened. That’s why he was stressed. That’s why he was out of sorts.
“What have you done, Mr Bishop?”
He turned to face me, a rare bead of sweat dripped down his brow, and in his old man voice said, “Arca, let this be a lesson to you. You must use your talents for good, do you hear me? You can only use your powers for good. Because if you do something like this – if you do the equivalent of make the birds disappear – people will be onto you. They’ll know that you’ve done something wrong.”
Now I could see what he was doing. He was putting his clothes into boxes. I looked into his eyes. He had to leave town. Immediately. It was not just that the birds were no more. The town councillor would be after him. He did this in an act of revenge, and he had to leave before things got worse. Before he made more things disappear.
“Arca, you can come with me if you like, or you can stay. You’ve got until I’m packed to decide.”
I was just a girl with two pigtails and a little red dress. I had nowhere else to go. There were no other magicians in Abbotsford that I could apprentice with, and few people were sympathetic to young magician girls.
So it was then that I gathered my belongings into a small cotton bag, and decided to leave my pastoral hometown.
My Life As A Magician is also being published on Wattpad, Substack, and Royal Road.