I decided that Katie would be the easiest to crack, but the least likely to actually know what’s going on. I had to move on to my second choice. Timothy had looked annoyed by Drew’s plan of just closing the door, so I thought that he might let some information slip through frustration. I chose him as the one who I’d be grilling for news.
Slowly, one by one, each of the magic mortals would come to see me. I felt like I was on my death bed and they were all saying goodbye. Some of the conversations were awkward as people tried to be chipper and other ones felt genuine. It was clear that no one realized that I had heard the plan to shut me away, but I didn’t let on that I knew. I would have to save that for my discussion with Timothy.
The first person to come see me was Katie. I guess maybe they thought she should go first so that they could do damage control afterwards if need be. Just in case Katie mentioned anything she wasn’t supposed to, the people after her could cover it up.
“Tada!” Katie said, springing into the room. She was wearing a soft pink dress and some of my jewelry. She had clearly been playing with my makeup before coming into the room.
“Well, don’t you just look stunning?” I asked jokingly as she climbed up on the bed.
“I hope you don’t mind. I borrowed a few things.” She admitted, indicating a necklace, some lipstick, blush, and a hair barrette.
“And stole some.” I pointed out, gesturing toward her made up face. “You can’t borrow makeup because you can’t return it.”
“That’s true.” She said, sliding the hair barrette into my hair. “You look pretty.”
“Thank you.” I told her smiling. “What brings you in here?”
“Just came to hang out. Everyone else is getting boring and they’re always moody and arguing.” She said simply and I began to envy her innocence and naivety.
“So you thought you’d come see what little ‘ole me was up to?” I asked her.
“Yeah.” She gently placed her hand on my bandaged abdomen. “Does it still hurt?”
“Everyday.” I admitted sadly. “But I’ll be fine.”
“You will?” She asked and I could tell that she didn’t believe me. I wasn’t sure if I believed myself.
“Absolutely. Just a little time to heal and…” I let my voice trail off as I noticed a tear rolling down Katie’s face. The others had been right to plan for damage control; Katie obviously knew something that I wasn’t being told, but I felt wrong trying to weasel it out of her. Instead, I just asked her what the tears were for.
“I-I d-don’t know.” She said sniffling.
“You don’t know why you’re crying?” I asked her soothingly.
“I’m just sad for you, that’s all.” She told me, stroking my hair affectionately and letting her hand linger on the hair barrette she’d placed there moments ago. She quickly corrected herself. “I mean, I’m sad for you because you got cut. It wasn’t fair.”
“Oh. Yeah, that happens sometimes. Life not being fair and all.” I told her.
Katie gave me a hug and said she’d see me later before she left the room. I was alone again for a little while. I realized that I was starting to be overcome with self-pity. I felt like my friends were providing me with a death sentence instead of trying to help and there wasn’t much I could do about it because I was too weak to even get out of the bed. It took all of my strength to get up and go to the bathroom each day. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just take me to an emergency room. Sure it would look slightly odd that I had a giant slash across my stomach surrounded by fire burns, but it wasn’t anything that wasn’t feasible to do without magic. The doctors at the hospital would be able to help, but no one even seemed to be considering that route as an option.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.