“I don’t understand what the big deal is.” I told my friend Drew at the coffee counter six hours later. In reality, Drew isn’t so much a friend as an acquaintance from my stops at the Coffee Shack. Actually, he’s more just a fellow practitioner of magic. I don’t know anything about Drew aside from the fact that he too practices magic as a mere mortal. I only know that much because I witnessed him using his magic out back in the alley to save a cat that was about to be hit by the garbage truck. Afterwards, he cussed at the cat and told it to get away, but he saved it.
“There is no big deal. It’s just what he does. As the demonlord of mortal magic, he can get away with it. Just don’t use your magic.” Shrugging, Drew prepared my usual – a Mocha Latte.
“But I’ve only ever used my magic to help people.” I protested a little too loudly and Drew put his forefinger to his lips, indicating that I should be quieter.
“Do you want to expose us both?” He demanded harshly.
“I’m sorry.” I said taking my drink and placing money on the counter. “I’m just freaking out here. What will I do if –”
“You will do what you always do because nothing is going to happen.” Grabbing my hand, Drew turns it over in his and replaces my money in my fist. “Not today you don’t.”
Sighing dejectedly, I shrugged and made my way through the crowded building. Successfully avoiding any mishaps involving spilt coffee, I exited the Coffee Shack and continued down the street toward my less than mediocre job. I couldn’t even remember how I had started working as a telemarketer. I hated having to call and harass people and they explicitly displayed their hatred at receiving my calls. At least it was a job though and it paid the bills.
At work, I redirected my yearning to use magic toward making phone calls. That day, I made more phone calls than I typically make in a week. There I was, minding my own business and trying to keep myself distracted and, because of my unusual productivity, my boss thought I was sick and sent me home. I could’ve sworn I was doomed to lose my soul.
By the time I had gotten home, I only had three and a half hours left. I made a couple stops on the way home to avoid being all alone with myself and the temptation of magic. I opened my apartment door and stood face to face with Sikal.
“I haven’t used my magic at all.” I immediately began defending myself.
“Not yet.” He arrogantly retorted, “But you will.”
“In the next three hours?” I challenged. “Not likely.”
Smirking, I slid past him into my apartment and turned on the lights. Demonlords might be able to see through pitch blackness, but my mortal eyes could not. Sikal followed me around my apartment, snickering and grunting at my actions. Standing there, feeling superior he breathed down my neck as I rinsed dishes and prepared to load the dishwasher.
“Can I help you?” I asked spinning around to face him. His five inch height advantage had me looking up to meet his stare.
“I’m just waiting.” He said with a completely blank face and then flashed an instantaneous smile.
“Waiting for what?” I demanded, suspecting that he was up to no good.
“Nothing in particular.” He informed me scrunching his nose as one side of his mouth pulled up into a twisted grin.
“Fine. Then stay out of my way.” I pushed past him and into the living room.
Plopping down on my couch, I flipped one of the pillows and stuck it behind me for support. With a lumpy couch, I found it was best to use the pillows to provide padding where it originally would have been. Stabbing the remote button, I turned on the television which hissed and snapped before a small puff of smoke flew up behind it. Cursing, I crossed the cold bare floor of the room and looked behind the set. Whatever had gone wrong with the electronic was probably an internal breakdown resulting from age; there were no visible signs of ruin. Resolved to my own despair, I journeyed down the hallway into the one bedroom. I sank onto the cool bed and prayed that the books continued to prop up the bottom left corner. Lifting and kicking the blanket straight, I laid back onto the flat pillow. Pulling the remaining cotton shreds up and over my body, my legs curled in toward my heaving chest. Sobbing, I let the flood begin and knew I’d lost the battle. I would give in to temptation and I would end up selling my soul to a demonlord.
“I’m winning.” He said, feeling my weakness.
“Bite me.” I snapped.
His deep thunderous laugh echoed through my apartment and I shivered. It wasn’t just the cold air chilling my bones, I was scared now. More scared than I had been in years. Drew had warned me about all of this when I told him I had started using magic. He hadn’t told me it would be this addicting though.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.