This short fiction story was created for @theinkwell community and their 51st contest. The prompt for this week is:
You can find the informational post about this lastest offering Here for the rules and find all the entries as the authors post them in comments. I'm sure you will find some amazing stories to read, and please join us with your own contribution!
A light rap of knuckles against the door followed by receding footsteps down the front porch steps alerted Derrick that the mailman had just delivered THE PACKAGE.
He flung open the door and felt his heartbeat accelerate as he gazed at the shoebox sized cardboard Priority box sitting on the deck. It seemed to vibrate with a life of its own as his hands itched to snatch it up.
“Derrick, who’s at the door?” his mother called from the kitchen.
“Nobody, mom, just the mailman.” He did his best to keep the excitement out of his voice and pretend indifference as he secured the package tight against his chest and headed for his room.
You can find anything for sale on Facebook Marketplace and this was living proof of that fact. An obscure ad for an entire vintage set of Magik cards for a ridiculously low price had caught his eye last week. He couldn’t believe his luck, plus the fact that the price of the cards was exactly the amount of money he had saved from his summer mowing job.
No one played Magik anymore and none of his friends collected the cards but ever since last Christmas Derrick had been consumed with them. His Uncle Josh had given him a battered black notebook full of the cards encased in plastic collector’s sheets - 12 to a sheet and a total of 26 sheets in the book. Derrick spent hours pouring over the cards, reading the lore, and fantasizing about the lives of the characters and their powers.
The cards called to him and when he immersed himself in them he actually felt transported to the world of Magik. But it seemed like something was missing, that he needed more. And when his mother had pointed out the ad on Marketplace for those cards saying “Isn’t this that silly game you’re always holed up in your room playing?” it had felt like a key being turned in his soul. He knew he had to have them.
The carton felt warm to the touch, almost like handling a living creature instead of an inanimate cardboard box. Derrick carefully slit open the tape along the top of the carton and pulled the flaps apart. He peered into the box but it looked like a deep black hole, as if nothing was inside. Panic flooded his brain, this can’t be right, where are the cards? Yet the box had weight (and that strange tingling warmth) so no way could it be empty.
The notebook of Magik cards was laying open on his bed, as it usually was, and now the pages started turning by themselves. Slowly at first, then gaining speed, until they stopped at the 24th page in the book. The third row of cards held The Twisted Magician and that card rose out of the holder and floated above the notebook.
Derrick’s eyes widened like saucers and he flung himself off the edge of the bed and landed with a thud on the floor. He scooted backward by digging his heels into the carpet until his back came to an abrupt stop against the wall.
The Twisted Magician followed him across the room and floated gently to his lap. The card shimmered and Derrick heard a voice in his head. “Don’t be afraid, Derrick. You and I are going to do great things together. Come, let us gather the rest of the troops.”
Derrick got slowly to his feet, feeling slightly nauseous, scared spitless, yet strangely exhilarated. Back on the bed the box of cards was glowing and a low pitched rumbling sound was emitting from both the box and notebook of cards. Derrick felt the unspoken command to drop The Twisted Magician into the open maw of the box.
As soon as The Twisted Magician disappeared into the box the room turned pitch black and suddenly his limbs felt like he weighed as much as a stone statue. Which was what he felt himself to be since he was unable to so much as twitch an eyelid. Panic again threatened to overtake him but he felt a calming presence wash over him. “Be patient, Derrick. It will take a moment to cast the spell.”
Derrick would have asked questions, but he could not. All sounds from the house had faded away and he could now hear strange music that was moving to a crescendo. The very air seemed to be sucked from the room.
Derrick opened his eyes and found himself in the world of Magik. A flowing robe covered his body, a pointed cone-shaped hat sat on his head, and YES, OH YES, a sorcerer's wand was in his hand. All those days of pouring over the cards, imaging himself here in the land of The Gathering, aching to know their secrets.
The Twisted Magician stood beside him in full glory, a broad smile on his face. “You have no idea how long we have searched for the True Believer to unite us and bring us back to our glory. Come, Derrick, you have much to learn, and we have worlds to conquer together.”
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