Prologue-Thursday 25th July 1991

Jo clung onto Maddie's hand tightly. Although it was late in the afternoon, the sun was still warm and the streets were still busy. It was a perfect day for a couple of young entrepreneurs (aged five and 21) to practise their magic tricks and earn a bit of spare cash, for example.

It was tiring work. They had been on their feet since lunchtime and had not stopped. The money they had been bringing in was impressive, but the excitement was wearing off and Jo wanted to go home and bake cookies. They decided to approach one more mark and then call it a day.

A mark is like a slang word for an unsuspecting passerby, whose money will usually end up in your pockets by the end of the encounter.

He wore a top-hat and a red tie and was very tall. It was his eyes that made Jo pick him. They were all gold and shiny, beautiful in fact. Jo thought he must have been an angel in disguise. There was something in her gut telling her that he was special. She gave her sister a nudge and they approached him with cute little smiles. Make the mark feel at ease.

They had no idea what they were letting themselves in for.

The plan was that Jo would ask the mark if she could take a look at an item belonging to the mark, in this case, a red tie. Maddie would then touch the item which would burst into flames and vanish. They would give the mark some ashes and after few seconds of outrage and disbelief, Jo would pull the item from behind her back and the mark would be delighted and offer them money or food.

Up until that point, it had been working brilliantly. With Maddie's talents and Jo's adorable smiles and cute persona, the team had been raking in the rewards.

"Hey mister, your tie is pretty, can I look at it?"

"Stop pestering that man!"

"But-,"

"Don't! I'm so sorry sir, she can be such a handful sometimes,"

"No it's okay. You can look at my tie little girl," The cold emotionless voice should have warned them away, or at least made them think twice. It didn't though.

His eyes focussed upon Jo as he slid the material from his neck and passed it to her. Jo genuinely examined it and rubbed the soft red silk across her cheeks. Maddie snatched it. Jo tugged back. It burst into flames. They were still holding the burning tie. It wouldn't vanish.

"You burnt my tie," he said flatly.

The girls exchanged glances, before spinning and doing a runner, only the man was chasing them. They raced down the high street, zigzagging through the throng of people. He was never far behind them.

Jo flung the smouldering cloth over her shoulder and they dived down a cool alleyway. He caught it, but did not follow. Silk rippled in the wind. Smouldering tie became red ribbon. He tied it around his hat.

Two weeks later, Maddie swerved on her motorbike and managed to avoid a floating ball of lightening in a freak accident. She lost her left leg in the ensuing collision.


A timely note from our dear author: This is it kids. Years later I have finished a story i never thought I would. I was actually surprised how sad I was when I finally managed to kill Maddie off. Funny what you can do once you sit down to it. This goes out to my grandad Peter and my highschool friend sian. I guess it's sad that I don't get to see you guys nowadays, but I still have the memories, and the stories live on xxx