Flashy Magic, Part Five

Kira Lubahn

Art by Belquis Elhadi
Theo doesn’t say anything, but he manages to look everywhere but at me.
“Are you serious?” I say, and snatch the empty bowl out of his hands. Not wanting to look at him, I run away to my kitchen and dump the bowls in the sink. They make a horrendous crash, but don’t break. “You can’t just drop something like that on me.” I yell as I squish some soap onto a sponge and start to violently scrub the dishes.
The sound of his rising from the sofa and walking over makes me tense.
“Come on, Ollie, it’s not that big a deal. It’s just one little favor.” I get the distinct impression that he’s only using my nickname to butter me up.
I spin around and look up at him, my eyes narrowed. “A favor that could get me killed.” Soap bubbles drip off of my hands and onto the linoleum.
He rolls his eyes, as if that isn’t important. “It’s just a necromancer; you’ll be fine. I brought down my first one in when I was seventeen.”
Of course he did, I think. I’m pretty sure I was failing calculus when I was seventeen. We’ve always been on different levels, but this only magnifies the fact.
Poking him in the chest, I can’t help but feel a thrill as I get dishwater and soap on his button down shirt. “I’m perfectly happy with the way my life is going, and I don’t need to or want to endanger myself for the well-being of the family business. Find someone else.”
All the dishes in my cupboards begin to rattle. Theo actually looks a little surprised. “Your magic’s sloppy, but you’d be in no danger and—”
“Didn’t you hear me?” I ask, my teeth grating. “I said find someone else, and I meant it.”
He looks as if he’s going to protest, so I start pushing him out of my apartment. I manage to shove him out into the hall only because he wasn’t expecting it.
“Wait!”
“No.” I say, and close the door in his face, hoping that he’ll a least be polite enough not to transport himself back in. Just in case, I close my eyes and imagine my apartment covered by a basket weave of glowing fibers. The sensation of magic moving about excites me, but I regret doing something so ambitious as I’m hit by the recoil. Like I said, I’m better at flashy things. The big stuff tires me out.
I test the barrier with the back of my hand, and smile when I feel the threads of magic. If Theo really wanted to, he could break it, but I’m hoping he’ll get the message and leave me alone.
He’s not so bad, but if the only reason he came over was for a favor, our sibling relationship might have decayed more than I thought it had.
* * *
Thinking about Theo and the necromancer keeps me awake, making me stay up later than I intended.
So, when a phone call wakes me up around two in the morning, I’m not exactly well rested or in the best of moods. I pick it up anyway because if you get a call that late it’s serious.
“Ollie?”
It takes me a minute to recognize the voice. “Jason? What the-” I stop, and re-think what I’m about to say. “Why are you calling so late? I was asleep.” Internally, I’m cursing the bright idea to give him my business card. Why on earth did I do that?
“I’m scared.”
“Couldn’t you just talk to your mom?” I ask, my eyelids fluttering.
For a moment I can only hear his breathing. “No, someone took her.”
By Kira Lubahn