Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Anthromagic ~ Chapter 9

The following week, Drew started me on a high protein diet to build muscle. We also added in extra trips to the gym for weight training in addition to the cardio we were still doing from the previous week. Again, I met two people who had been tested by Sikal a few years ago.

Sandra was thirty two and started using magic when she was twenty five. On her twenty sixth birthday, Sikal had tested her to see her commitment to the secret of magic. The test for her was a real challenge as she tried to balance a job, family, and magic without mixing any of the three. During her test, Sikal displayed an illusion in a mirror. Sandra saw herself standing there with blood dripping from her eyes like teardrops. She was just about to cast a healing spell when her husband walked into the room and complimented her on how beautiful she looked that night; Sandra put her hand up to her eye and realized Sikal’s trick because she didn’t feel wetness. She had defeated Sikal through the grace of her husband’s love.

Freddie was thirty and Sikal tested him when he was twenty eight. Freddie lived alone and was currently unemployed when Sikal decided to test him. Sikal created an audio illusion of voices that continuously told Freddie that something horrible was going to happen. Consoling himself with junk food, Freddie told the voices to ‘bring it on’ because he couldn’t fall much from where he was. Freddie’s terrible place in life saved his soul. He had defeated Sikal through his own self-pity.

I felt bad for Freddie when he told me his story, but he assured me that a lot had changed in his life. He had joined a gym and was engaged. According to him, being able to get through Sikal’s test had given him a new perspective on life. It had made him want to live again.

We were well into week three and I still didn’t feel prepared to even talk to Sikal again. How did Drew expect me to be ready to fight him? I had grown accustomed to meeting others who had been challenged by Sikal. During my cardio, weight, and strength training, I met two more. When I say ‘during,’ I mean that it was literally during my training. I was doing advanced aerobics when I met Paula.

Paula was forty two and Drew informed me that she was one of the first people who had ever been tested by Sikal. I figured her story would be pretty relaxed because I thought maybe Sikal hadn’t been as powerful or skilled when he tested her. That was not the case; if anything, Sikal had eased up over the years. During Paula’s test, the hated demonlord made her think she was loosing her mind. Within twenty-four hours, Paula had checked into a mental institution where she would spend the next year of her life. The only reason that Paula passed the test from Sikal was because she didn’t know that she was being challenged. When Sikal came to Paula, she thought he was an illusion or trickster; she had never been told that she would have to prove her dedication to keeping magic a secret from other mortals.

As I was boxing with Drew, a shorter man with blonde hair entered the ring. After squaring off with him for about an hour, I took a water break and learned that he had encountered Sikal as well. Timothy had accidentally started using magic when he was nineteen. Goofing off with some of his friends, he checked out a spells book from the library. While most spell books from public libraries don’t actually contain magic, Timothy had found one that did. When his friends and he casted a spell, they summoned a mythical dragon from a fairy tale. Quickly, speedy Timothy thought to look up antidotes in the same spell book and had copied down a general antidote. Swiftly reading the second spell, Timothy sent the dragon back to its legendary home, but also managed to alienate all of his friends who started to think of him as ‘the freaky man-witch.’ At that point, after only two spells, Timothy swore off magic forever. The following year, Sikal showed up and tried to tempt Timothy with his challenge. To no avail, Sikal went home empty-handed; Timothy had been magic-sober for eleven months. He didn’t even consider magic again until after Sikal had left without the desired soul.

Creative Commons License
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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