Flashy Magic, Part Eight

Kira Lubahn

Art by Belquis Elhadi
When Jason’s eyes take on a faraway, sleepy look, I can tell it’s time for all of us to head back to bed. Theo doesn’t protest when I make that suggestion; he barely even acknowledges me, he’s so deep in thought. His eyebrows are furrowed and the corners of his mouth have begun to twitch downward.
I promise myself that I’ll ask him what he’s thinking about, but right now I’m more focused on shepherding Jason into my bedroom. It’s only fair that he gets the bed; I can take my chances with the busted sofa.
Tucking him in, I pause before heading back to Theo. There’s something that’s been bothering me.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Jason?” I whisper. “You seem to be taking this too well.”
He blinks up at me, shaking his head. “I’m not worried. I have you.” Turning over, he pulls the blanket up to his chin and yawns. “You’ll get her back. You’re magic.”
Shaken, I make a quick retreat from my room, not sure how to feel. The tired, cynical part of me insists that it isn’t fair for some kid I barely know to trust me with rescuing his mom. My better side, however, feels validated and determined. If Jason thinks I can save his mom, then I won’t disappoint him- even if I am just a magician for hire.
Theo’s leaning up against the wall by the door, the thoughtful expression replaced by a smile on  the verge of smug.
“What?” I give him a look telling him that if he says nothing I’ll kick him out again.
For a second he looks tempted, but then shakes his head a little, as if convincing himself not to. “I was wondering what you’re planning on doing with the kid.”
“His name’s Jason, “ I correct, “and I’m going to get his mom back.”
“Are you sure you’ll be able to do that?”
Narrowing my eyes, I take a step closer to him. “Yeah, I’m sure, and I won’t need any help from you, either.”
Theo’s smile widens. “Really?”
“Really,” I say, annoyed, “and there’s nothing you can do to stop me, so quit trying to convince me otherwise.”
Straightening, he brushes off a few pieces of imaginary dust on his shirt, as if congratulating himself. “Good, because that woman that took Jason’s mom? She’s the necromancer that the family wanted your help with from earlier.”
“No, she isn’t.” I blurt out, my eyes widening as I realize I’ve accidentally walked directly into a trap. “She could have been a pissed off fairy or a disgruntled vampire or-”
“Ollie. Gray eyes? Translucent skin? That’s Necromancer 101.” He pauses, looking me over. “You need to come home more often if you’ve forgotten that.”
Defensive, I try to brush him off. “That was all a long time ago. People like me don’t need to know things like that.”
A familiar sense of shame curls up in my stomach, and memories of spending my weekends trying to force myself to remember mythical warning signs flood my thoughts. I bite my lip, my eyes stuck on the ground, then something else occurs to me. “It might not have been the same necromancer.”
Theo doesn’t say a word, he just pulls a photograph out of his pocket and shows it to me.
“Who’s that?” I ask, but I already know. The man in the photograph is familiar. While his skin is pale to Jason’s light brown and his hair is a straight dishwater blond to Jason’s short dense curls, it’s easy to see the resemblance. Their faces are similar- the noses, the jawline, the shape of the eyes.
Clearing his throat, Theo tucks the photograph away. “It’s the supplier the necromancer killed a few months back.”
No, I think, that’s Jason’s dad.
By Kira Lubahn