|An old man and an owl stood in a room. The walls were made of stone, and were lined with bookshelves filled with books of various sizes and colors. The old man’s beard was white, and big enough that you couldn’t see his mouth. He wore a monocle in his right eye, and his other blue eye stared intently. He was dressed in an odd way, wearing a long purple robe with red trimming and gold stars all over it. He carried a staff made of wood, with gold on top. |
The owl had glasses, placed on its beak in a very humanlike way. It wore a purple hat and sash, and its yellow eyes’ piercing gaze rested on a crystal ball, placed between the two. Mist swirled inside, past its glassy surface. After staring for several minutes, the old man spoke up.
“A-ha! The spell is working! Look, Gamma! Finally we have found one!”
“Whoooo?” The owl, Gamma, could talk! Its voice was soft and hooting, but the sound was obviously a question and not just a call.
“A young wizard! A student with amazing potential… enough, perhaps, to save Wizard City!”
“Oh really? Where?”
“A very, very distant realm… my goodness!” The old man peered more carefully into the ball, leaning in slightly. “On a world that does not even believe in magic! I wonder what manner of wizard they might become. Perhaps we should consult the Book of Secrets…”
At this, he turned around. Behind him was an old book on a pedestal, with a candle on either side. The writing on the book was unintelligible, lit with a soft golden glow. The old man went to turn a page, and on it, instead of words, was a picture. The girl in it was fast asleep on a bed, her long black hair on the pillow and the blankets tangled around her body. The picture moved as she slowly rolled over…
Sarai sat bolt upright in her bed, her eyes flying open. Her heart was racing from her dream. As she realized where she was, she took several deep breaths and her heart rate slowed. ‘Just a dream, just a dream,’ she told herself. They were getting clearer. Every time, they were more realistic. And this one was creepy, too, the whole part about her seeing herself in that book. “Overactive imagination” was all that the therapists had said when her aunt took her in, after they’d begun to get really bad. This one wasn’t nearly as scary as the ones with the weirdo trying to take over the world… the imaginary world, she reminded herself.
A glance at the digital clock next to her bed told her that it was 7:15, time to get ready for school. As she pulled on a simple shirt and jeans, she couldn’t help thinking about her dream again.
Sarai was bored, as usual. Science has been boring. English had been boring. History had been boring. Now, math was boring. Why couldn’t they teach something interesting at school for once? She zoned out on the lecture about exponents and the Pythagorean Theorem, and stared at the clock. Nine minutes until the end of the day… Nine torturous minutes…
“And so, class, you see that a2 plus b2 must equal c2, and that is why the Pythagorean Theorem shows us how to calculate the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle.” Just as the teacher was about to say the homework, the bell rang, and he was drowned out by the chatter of students talking about what they were going to do that weekend. Sarai picked up her heavy math book and walked, not slowly or quickly, to her locker. She had nobody to talk to, nothing that she was going to do this weekend.
So she opened her locker, collected everything she would need for homework, and began the short walk home. When she got to the smallish house, she pulled a key from under the doormat, unlocked the door, and swung her backpack down onto the kitchen table.
“Aunt Emma, I’m going for a walk!” Sarai called up the staircase.
“Okay, Sarai, just be back before dinner please!”
As soon as she got out of the house, Sarai headed straight for her favorite relaxing place- the graveyard. She knew this was weird, but when she was there, she felt like she was the most… in her element. And the voices talked to her sometimes there. She didn’t know whose voices they were, but they spoke to her, told her stories of the past.
But that day, when she got to the graveyard, something was different. She didn’t feel the peace she usually did, instead tension hung in the air. As she took her first step onto the soil of the paths between the graves, she was assaulted by whispers in her mind. ‘Watch out…’ ‘They’re coming to get you…’ ‘Run…’ ‘You can’t escape…’ ‘The wizards…’ ‘They’re coming…’
“What? What’s going on?” Sarai felt like she should whisper. Her hesitant voice cut through the silence of the graveyard.
“Who’s coming to get me? What do I need to run from?”
‘The wizards…’ ‘They want you…’
Sarai was getting a little panicky now. Wizards? These guys were acting like her dreams were real! But they weren’t… were they?
She took another step into the graveyard. Nothing happened, except the whispers got louder and more insistent. Another step… and another… still nothing. And then, she took a fifth step.
As soon as her foot touched the ground in front of her, white, semi-transparent skulls began to float around her. They looked like they were 2-D drawings. As they appeared and disappeared, the familiar graveyard scene around her began to fade. Replacing it, and getting stronger and stronger, was a tower in front of her. The old man and owl from her dream were there, and she stood on a stone sidewalk with strange circular designs on it. Even her clothes were changing- instead of a black t-shirt and dark jeans, she was wearing a dress-like black thing, a robe, and a hat. As the graveyard faded to nothing, so did the floating skulls, and the old man spoke.
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