“Sit down across from me.”

“Okay.” She sat down, almost on her hip, her legs sticking out to one side.

He frowned. “No. Cross-legged. Sit up straight. Face me directly.”

She complied with his instructions. Her body language spoke of confusion. And curiosity. Mirroring his posture, she stared expectantly.

“Now. Hold out your right hand.”

She held her hand out, palm up. He took it – firmly but not roughly – and turned it, bending the wrist so that the palm faced him, fingers pointing up.

“Close your eyes. Focus your attention on your hand. Narrow it to your palm – just the surface of you hand. Feel the air pressing on your skin. Keep your focus there.”

He watched her, looking for indications that she wasn’t concentrating. Her body slowly relaxed, muscles releasing their tension. Her hand, however, grew rigid. When he was satisfied, he closed his eyes and held out his left hand, inches from hers. It was safer for him to use his left hand, ever since…

Those thoughts needed to be pushed aside. They would only interfere. He let them go and sank into his palm.

At once, he began to feel the charge in the air. Currents that were normally imperceptible flowed over his skin. They teased and tugged and moved away if he tried to grab them. When he called, though, they came and let him direct them. He took a few of the threads and sent them to her hand, to play across its surface.

Even with his eyes closed, he knew she jumped a little. “You felt that.” It wasn’t a question.

“Yes. What was it?”

In response, he sent a few more over and had them trace out a star pattern over her skin.

“A star?”


“What is it, though? How are you doing that?”

He opened his eyes and found her staring at him again. The lines of power receded from his awareness. He blinked once, twice… as the mundane world asserted itself once more.

“Really? What was that?” Discomfort was evident in her voice. She wanted an answer.

Surprising her, he grabbed her hand and drew close to her face. “Listen. This is important. Magic. Is. Real. It is all around us. You just have to know how to look. Don’t forget. Don’t ever forget.”

He stood without saying another word, pulled his coat tight, and walked away, disappearing into the night.

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