Table of Contents
appeared in issue 273.
Lynda, a college freshman, passes her last test to earn the title of junior wizard by casting a complicated spell on an unsuspecting victim: Jason. She expects to turn him into a servant, but the spell backfires and they fall in love.
Lynda discovers that another junior wizard has designs on capturing the Mayor’s office. Lynda fears he will try to take over the city and thereby cause extensive problems for the other wizards. The master wizards tell her that they can’t help her stop him unless he sets foot on their property. With only the assistance of the man who was first her victim and now her lover, she sets out to confront the evil wizard.
The smell of gyros covered the sidewalk, and so did the lunch line. My stomach growled and argued with the rest of me, but we stopped behind the last guy and waited. The walk seemed to have done Jason some good, because his head was up and he was busy taking in the sights. Like he’d never see cars before, or maybe it was the brown brick wall which circled the campus on the other side of the street that fascinated him. Something wasn’t right.
I inched forward with the line and my brain turned on the instant replay from four weeks back. I paused in mid step and looked around at him. Jason didn’t notice. He was too busy staring up at the clock tower. I hadn’t looked at the clock tower since my first day on campus, so I did the same.
Nothing special. A clock, in the top of a tower, with pigeons perched on the ledges. The line moved again and I went with it. Jason didn’t. His attention had left the tower and was riveted to the back of a too-short skirt swishing around the hips of a girl strutting her stuff down the sidewalk.
“Jason.” He jerked his head around and scooted up behind me. I ran my eyes up and down his six feet of height and considered the facts. Three week old garbage in the hot summer sun didn’t stink as bad. I promised myself to have words with Kathy. Soon. Like around midnight. In a dark alley.
“When did you say you were supposed to start classes?” Jason’s eyes met mine for less than a second and my suspicions got a nudge toward confirmation.
He squirmed. “I... said summer semester.”
Funny thing about truth spells. They don’t actually stop you from lying. You just have to word the answers right. I gave him a mental thumbs-up for creative wriggling and tried again. “When are your classes scheduled to start?” He squirmed harder. I turned my back on him and took a few more steps with the line. We were almost to the door and I could see the massive neon clock on the wall inside. I let my eyes rest on the second hand and started counting.
Ten seconds. He had a lot of will power but it didn’t do him a bit of good. “When did you register for the summer semester?” The guy ahead of me stepped into Uncle Nick’s. I moved up to the door and turned around. Jason’s eyes were squeezed shut and his face pinched tighter than if he’d bitten into a sour lemon. I was tired of fighting with him. “Answer me.”
He pried open an eye and shook his head. “I didn’t.”
I thought as much. I spun around and stepped through the door. Uncle Nick and his boys distracted me for all of five minutes while I talked them into two gyros and glasses of lemonade. I stuck Jason with the job of carrying the food and hunted down a table.
The place was packed and we wound up in the back corner next to a dirty window. I perched on the edge of a round metal chair and unwrapped my gyro. Jason sat opposite me and stared at his.
“Your appetite get left outside?” I took a bite and chewed, enjoying the flavor of cucumbers and beef.
Jason scrunched his face, making it obvious he wasn’t happy with my choice for lunch. He poked at his gyro, frowned at an olive and bit the tiniest piece possible from the bread.
I swallowed, wondering how rapidly he might devour the thing if I stuck him back in the terrarium. He heard me, because his eyes went wide and he stopped fooling around. He finished eating before I did.
I swallowed the last bit of gyro, dropped my napkin on my plate and stood. Jason was on his feet immediately and I allowed myself a grin. He didn’t say anything but since he wasn’t turning green, I assumed the gyro hadn’t poisoned him regardless of his private expectations. I led the way through the crowd and stepped back outside.
The clock chose that moment to chime and reminded me of a more irritating problem than getting Jason to eat unfamiliar food. I glanced both ways and dashed across the street, hit the opposite sidewalk and spun around to watch. Jason skidded to a halt on the other side and waited for a break in the traffic. He joined me almost a minute later and bent over, panting. “Out of shape or scared of the cars?”
“Not used to crossing in the middle of the street. How come you didn’t use the crosswalk?” He straightened and combed his hair with his fingers.
I peered at him through one eye and decided a month of sleeping on moist potting soil in a humid terrarium had been a bad thing. “The second we get home, you are taking a shower.” He stopped combing his hair and stared at me. “You’re filthy.”
He examined his hands, brushed potting soil from his shirt and gave me a look that would have withered a red-wood tree. “You just noticed?”
“I just decided I cared.” That knocked the knees out from under him and he got nervous. I rolled my eyes. “You’d rather I didn’t care?” He shook his head. I snickered and watched his face slither through several expressions before settling on one of defeat. He studied my shoes for a bit and I waited until he figured out they weren’t all that interesting and raised his head again. “You’ve got some explaining to do. But not here. Come on.”
I turned around without bothering to make sure he understood and headed down the sidewalk toward the park. He followed. So close he almost stepped on my heels. “Jason, either drop back a foot or walk next to me. I’m tired of you breathing down my neck.” I whirled around and flattened him against the wall with my gaze. “Unless you’d rather make the trip in my pocket?”
He slid to the side and tried to pretend he’d been standing there all along. I let him fidget for a few seconds and started for the park again.
Copyright © 2006 by Crystalwizard