“What happened to you?” Abby pointed at the bandages on David’s arms. She had been coming by his shop every week or so over the last several months since the religious protest. David had been explaining bits of magic to her with the hope that it would help humanize himself and other mages. She had even stopped bringing up Satan.
“An accident. Nothing too serious.”
“Was it magic?” As she grew more comfortable around him, her natural curiosity became increasingly evident.
“Yes, but not mine. Someone else’s spell got out of hand.”
“A mage from your house?”
While he was careful not reveal any details that might jeopardize the others, he explained what he could about his life as a mage. Abby seemed trustworthy enough, but he didn’t know what she might inadvertently tell her religious family.
“Not from my house. A friend of a friend, I suppose.”
“Did you fight?”
“Abby, it makes me nervous when you get excited about the violent aspects of magic.”
She sat back with a huff. “I just want to know about everything. There’s so much I still don’t understand.”
“Magic can be dangerous. That’s what these bandages mean. I don’t use it to fight. I just want to help others. That’s how I was trained.”
“I know, I know.”
Maybe it was because she had been sheltered from the world for most of her life, but it was hard not to see her as a child. In reality, she was an adult only a few years younger than he was.
“Have you practiced what I showed you last time?”
“Yes, I managed to . . .”
“Abigail Dawson! Get out of there!” A male voice was yelling outside the shop.
“Shit.” Abby was visibly distressed.
“Who is that?”
“My father. I should go.”
“Are you okay?” David wanted to say more, to tell her to stay, but he stopped himself.
“It’ll be fine. He’ll yell. A lot. Tell me I’m grounded. Then the next day it will be like nothing happened.”
“If you’re sure . . .”
“Don’t worry. I’ll see you later.”
David followed her to the door and watched as she walked up to a middle-aged man whose face was red from yelling.
“I told you not to come here! You’re going to wind up in hell, and there’ll be nothing I can do. Your mother and I raised you better than this. She’s beside herself with worry.”
“Dad . . .”
“We’ll talk when we get home. Get in the car!”
Abby trudged to a car parked on the street, an older woman sitting in the front. Before Abby climbed into the back, she turned and gave David a small wave.
The man turned to look at him. “Stay away from my daughter, you devil! I won’t let you take her!”
David watched them drive away. He wasn’t worried for himself, but he couldn’t shake the apprehension he felt for Abby.