Fiction: ‘The Magician – Part 2’

46 - The Magician Part 2
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Follow the link to read ‘The Magician Part 1’:

She sits on the cool tiled floor of her apartment, watching the sunrise paint the walls with splashes of fire. Silver birds skim across the section of sky in the window. A pale moon glistens on the horizon before slowly dissolving with the coming dawn.

The gloves lie in her lap.

She runs her fingers over the fabric, feeling the intricate embroidery which forms entire forests and gardens in subtle black thread.

She tries to recall what the old man looked like, but her memory feels as though it’s been taken apart and patched back together without certain segments of the cloth. It began from the moment the old man vanished into the horizon with the setting sun. All of a sudden she was in her car driving home, and feeling inexplicably exhausted.

She couldn’t remember leaving the beach.

Nor could she recall getting into her car and starting the engine.

She knows that she stopped suddenly on the highway, but she can no longer remember why she had to slam on her brakes. She parked on the street outside her apartment. After fumbling with the lock on the front door, she stumbled inside and fell asleep on the couch.

When she woke up she could feel the gloves tucked inside her coat pocket.

They felt surprisingly heavy; much heavier than they should have been.

She got up from the couch and sat down on the floor by the light spilling in from the balcony. The clock ticked on the counter, gradually becoming slower and slower. She looked up at it just as the seconds hand stopped. Frowning she thinks back to when she last changed the battery, which must have only been a month or so ago.

She looks back down at the gloves, and pulls them on.

They fit her strangely well, especially given how slender her hands are and how big the gloves looked when they were empty. Her fingers feel cosy under the fabric. She places her hands down on the floor on each side of her.

The white tiles seem to quiver. They ripple as if they were liquid and someone had just thrown a pebble into the room, and then suddenly they’re saturated with green. The colour runs from the tips of her fingers, outwards until it spreads across the floor like paint spilling from an overturned bucket.

Blades of grass spring from the tiles. Stems rise and blossom into sweet-smelling violets that turn their cheerful faces to the window. She can hear her heartbeat pulsing in her ears. She snatches her hands from the floor and the greenery vanishes with a puff of smoke, leaving nothing but the firm blank tiles.

She rises slowly, careful not to touch anything.

Her legs shake beneath her as she walks over to the egg-shell coloured wall and gently places the palm of her gloved hand against it. The paint swirls and darkens. It transforms into knotted wood as a branch extends out from the wall. Great big maple leaves, fresh and green with life, turn upwards to the fluorescent light in the ceiling as if it’s the sun.

She can feel the pulse of life beneath the coarse bark of the tree.

When she removes her hand, the tree vanishes as quickly as it materialised.

She looks down at the gloves and brings her hands together.

She feels her heart throbbing within her as a wave of memories rises from the depths of her mind. Her first job after university in the little office on Lonsdale Street, next door to the Chinese restaurant filled with paper balloons. Her first High School love, when her fingers shook in his sweaty hand. Childhood friends dashing after a soccer ball as it skims across the oval. Ducking through corridors as they ran from their teacher. Picking wild blackberries with her grandma, their thorns snagging on her sleeve. Unwrapping the paper covered in balloons to reveal the soft toy koala that would grow ragged with age and affection. Being tucked into her cot. The nurse wrapping her with soft pink blankets in the hospital. She remembers being born. She can feel the spark of life stirring as she is formed deep inside the womb.

When she pulls her hands apart, she’s back in her apartment.

The clock is ticking again and she can hear her neighbours moving about in the hall.

The daylight outside has grown strong and the white tiles are cold beneath her bare feet. She feels the same, yet different. She looks down at the bud of a yellow rose sleeping in the palm of her gloved hand and smiles at the precious gift.

 ~ Ekaterina


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