Ending up in a room with someone you have absolutely nothing in common with can often be a daunting situation. Doubly so if the aforementioned individual was actually a supernatural entity who had spent the last couple of weeks putting your associates in hospital with various unpleasant problems. Triply so if the physical embodiment of Magic had also just turned up in the room as well, when you consider that Magic and the Hunter don't really get along. And by don't get along I mean in the Hunter keeps trying to erase Magic from this world kind of way. Yeah, Zoe had some weird houseguests today, this was probably worse than the Callis family reunion and that was really bad if you can imagine. Needless to say, Zoe was going to leave it to the other two to break the silence, she certainly had nothing to add to this conversation.
"Magic cannot exist in this world," warned the Hunter, the imposing figure deciding on being the first to speak. "Bound or otherwise. I must still drive you from this plane but you have made my previous work all for nothing. Weeks I have spent ensuring your fragments were bound to useless hosts just for you to abandon them after the fact. I hope this reinforces how magic will only ever bring pain to mortals. Pointless pain."
"Ah, but was it really pointless?" asked Magic, the voice sounding surprisingly light and airy from a powerful otherworldly being. "I am whole once more, I can return to the home that was cruelly snatched from me. You say mortals suffer, I suffered when I dashed into six pieces and hurled into another world. That pain is gone now, there was a point to all this."
"You dismiss the suffering of mortals as secondary to that of your own? Even as one stands in this room? A mortal who was responsible for freeing you in the first place." The Hunter pointed right at Zoe and the girl shrank back against the wall, trying her hardest to go unnoticed. If Magic was impressed by this argument he didn't show it on its strange multifaceted form. Probably because it was a bit rich for the Hunter to play the 'poor mortals' angle when he'd just spent the last month or so terrorising them.
"I did not say my suffering was greater than that of mortals just that once I suffered and now I don't, meaning that this was not entirely pointless," countered Magic. "Though let it not be said that I am not immensely thankful to be whole once more." The indiscernible shape of Magic rotated in Zoe's direction and tilted in what could only be a bow of thanks. "I believe once before you were granted a wish and I think it was appropriate you receive another after all this is sorted out."
"Oh no, that isn't necessary," insisted Zoe in a hurried panic, "I just did to make the Hunter leave me alone and if that's going to happen…" she shot a fearful look at the shadowy figure at the other side of the room, "then I'll be fine with that."
"There is no magic left for you to stir up," observed the Hunter, "attacking you would be pointless at this juncture. Not to say that I won't erase your memories of these events so you cannot impart the knowledge to other Hexagons that still exist." An act Mr Marna had been doing, but strangely no one seemed overly bothered about wiping his memory or even stealing his notes which were in the room right now. "Now, will you willingly leave this world for one where you may exist without disrupting the natural order, Magic? Or must I personally drive you from here?"
"I wish to go back to my old world," said Magic, a strangely wistful quality in its voice, "but I suspect you will have a great many problems with that."
"You are dead in that world!" snapped the Hunter, "returning to place in which you are dead and gone spits on the natural order once more. If you leave for that world know that I will hunt you once more. Know that I will find you and banish you once again."
"You forget that you must remain behind here and clean up the excess of unspent magic," pointed out Magic, "I would get a vast head start on you if I was to go back home right now. Unless of course our young mortal friend here who so kindly put me back together was to burn up that magic with one last wish?" Zoe was silent for a long moment as she processed exactly what Magic wanted her to do right now.
"You want the Hunter to be able to chase after you immediately?" she finally asked incredulously, the nonsense of it all brushing aside her fear. "Wouldn't I help you more by just leaving it as is?"
"I think you'll find I need a great deal less help than you'd think," replied Magic with what could have been a chuckle, "besides, I'd rather the Hunter did not linger here, causing more trouble for the mortals of this world. I think it would be for the best if you made a wish."
"I'll allow this as long as she does not wish for something that does not belong in this world," interrupted the Hunter, sounding like a cracked record. "Or else I'll have to put an end to that too, the natural order cannot be interrupted." Zoe wanted to point out that making it snow in the middle of summer was probably disrupting the natural order but decided against antagonising the entity. Besides, she was starting to realise that the Hunter was a flawed thing, capable of mistakes and confusion just a like a mortal. If magic was a load of nonsense, the things that hunted magic were also pretty nonsensical.
"Very well, I'll um…" Zoe paused as she tried to figure out what she should wish for after all this had happened. There was really only one thing that came to her, fixing every last thing that had gone wrong over the last month, undoing the horrific damage wrought on this town. "Then I'll make the same wish as last time. Fix everything." The room was instantly overwhelmed with a great tidal wave of blinding light as time itself was swept away like autumn leaves. The clock ticked backwards, and everything was undone.
Some people just have a hard time accepting reality. Life would be too boring for them thing them if things made any sort of sense so they have all sorts of conspiracies, aliens, ghosts and psychic powers to amuse themselves with. Tom Callis was one of those people. Nothing mundane interested him in the slightest; he preferred to live his life jumping from one ridiculous delusion to the next. Today he seemed to have decided that Latin was a powerful magic language and believed he could somehow invoke the arcane arts by scrawling poorly translated words across the pages of his notebook. He was supposed to be copying down the notes the teacher was writing on the board but that was far too trivial for him. After writing 'Ego me ipsum stultum existimo' without producing any sort of effect, Tom threw his pen aside in disgust.
"Useless," he muttered to himself, adjusting his mirrored sunglasses to get a better look at the page. "Clearly it isn't working because I'm not using a red pen," as if this somehow made any sense. He rolled up one of his long sleeves and carefully examined the numerous watches running up his arm before shaking his head in disappointment. "Wrong time as well, I should have known." Considering every watch was set to a different time and one was even running backwards, it was unsurprising that he didn't know much about the time. Then again, there was something suspiciously wrong with time today so I'll let him off. It was like Déjà vu only worse because it felt like all of this had happened more than twice. Someone was twisting time around like double-knotted shoelace and it was getting a little ridiculous. I mean seriously, a whole month back in time!?
"Callis!" snapped Mr McKinley from the front of the room before he too paused, unable to shake the feeling he'd done all this before. Nevertheless he continued to berate Tom, "who are you talking to back there?" Tom casually retrieved his pen and began to draw obscure symbols before answering. Symbols that all strangely began to look like hexagons.
"You, I was just saying how interesting I found this subject," he lied blatantly, disregarding the fact he barely even knew what class he was in at the moment. He was sure it was boring anyway. Not to mention the fact he had a feeling that things had been a great deal more interesting sometime in the past.
"Really?" Mr McKinley rapidly strode to the back corner of the room where Tom was sitting and pulled his notebook from the desk. "Because I don't recall ever teaching you to lurk at the back of the room wasting paper, what's this supposed to be?" he asked, holding the book up. This sort of thing was common in the life of Tom Callis, on any other day he would simply offer some stupid reply, people would laugh at him and he'd end up in detention.
"Well if you've made an extensive study of Ley Lines you should quite clearly be able to see that I've managed to sketch out a hexagon of convergence rather nicely. I'd advise finding such a location if you want to recharge your energy." Well there was the stupid reply, looks like this was just any other day for Tom Callis after all.
"Everybody knows that Ley Lines aren't real," interrupted Dawn Kersey in her usual self-important tone, cutting through the resultant laughter after Tom's comment. "It's just some silly druids scribbling all over a map and claiming its magic. Can we get back to work now? I'm almost finished the questions you've outlined but I'm getting stuck with the last few, I really thought I knew this stuff." Funny how memory plays tricks on you like that, looks like repeatedly reversing time can't quite fix everything.
"Thank you for clearing that up Miss Kersey, what would we do without your charming commentary on memory loss and druidic nonsense," drawled Mr McKinley sarcastically, "I'm sure Tom will remember that in future. He should also remember that I'd like him to share his artistic talents with the other students serving detention this lunchtime. Detention Mister Callis, I expect you to finish all the work you've skipped out during this lesson."
"Huh? I don't even know what subject this is, where am I? How am I supposed to do any of this work when I don't even know what this is?" asked Tom rather stupidly, one isn't supposed to admit that they don't even know where they are. Mr McKinley couldn't resist burying his head in his hands in defeat.
"I'm afraid Callis, that if I really have to tell you that then my teaching career has been a waste. Leave the room, get a drink and after you've had time to think and remember what class this is, please come back and tell me so I can validate my existence."
"This is Social Studies," called out Henry Galloway from his corner of the room, feeling strangely honest today, "nothing can validate the existence of this subject. How about we just read out sections of Tom's notebook for amusement instead?"
"The answer is Social Studies!" announced Tom proudly, before Mr McKinley could recover from Henry's sudden interruption. "Can I still get a drink though, I'm kind of thirsty."
"Certainly Mr Callis, far be it from me to interfere with such a momentous event such as you suddenly deciding that you trust the school's water supply again. I thought it was full of mind control drugs?" asked Mr McKinley, "oh well, whatever, don't forget your detention."
"Mind control drugs?" Tom looked extremely puzzled as if the thought had never crossed his mind before, "I don't think so." Shaking his head in a perplexed fashion Tom swiftly exited the room to roam the hallways in search of a drinking fountain. Highly distracted as he tried to make sense of some thoroughly tangled memories. Well they weren't so much tangled as…different as he expected for some reason. The link between the worlds was still severed despite the time swap and now Tom's memories were all his, mostly normal, own rather than those of another world. Still paranoid and interested in strange things, but his own. It seemed that fixing everything hadn't just included rewinding time; other things had been altered too.
Meanwhile, Henry Galloway took advantage of the dreary return back to class work to creep over to Tom's desk, strangely determined to read the notebook he'd mentioned previously. Henry turned his cold grey eyes onto the book and began to flick through the pages. Rare pieces of actual classwork were jammed in between the nonsensical rants Tom spent his time writing. There were sentences in ancient languages, long strings of symbols and runes and thrilling theories like 'why aliens control the radio' and ' why you should never go near a black cat'. Henry was close to giving the notebook up as useless when he finally turned to a page that was different from those before it. See, this page was especially useless because it was completely blank. With a sigh of disgust Henry loudly snapped the notebook closed, forgetting where he was right now.
"Mr Galloway!" snapped an irate Mr McKinley, "what are you doing over there!? I thought we'd had enough interruptions for one day for pity sake."
"I was just reading Tom's notebook because I thought I'd find something interesting in there," blurted out Henry, again, strangely honest today. "There was nothing good though so I was just going to sneak back to my desk before you noticed I was gone."
"Well I can see how well that worked out for you," Mr McKinley rolled his eyes in annoyance, "get back to your desk and keep working on the questions I've assigned. I'd accuse you of trying to cheat but I know for a fact you wouldn't find any useful answers in Tom's book."
"Pity, I'd hoped he'd have found the answer to question twenty-five in there," complained Dawn loudly, continuing her trend of speaking when she really wasn't supposed to. "Tom's the only one mad enough to be able to figure it out."
"I taught this stuff to you just last week!" said Mr McKinley in mock outrage, "there's something seriously wrong with this school if you ask me. Something in air just kills all your memories of all the useful, exciting and important stuff I've been teaching you." Yeah, I don't think so.
Tom reached a drinking fountain and paused a short distance away from it, suddenly consumed by the idea that the whole thing was suddenly about to explode. Of course there was no rogue magic on the loose this time so that didn't happen and Tom eventually shook off the strange feeling and had a drink regardless. He'd only just finished when footsteps sounding behind him and he casually turned around to greet the approaching girl.
"Oh hello Zoe, are you trying to escape Social Studies too?" he asked curiously, noticing that Zoe's eyes also flickered over to the drinking fountain as though she expected it to be broken as well.
"Um no, Maths actually," joked Zoe, "I just wanted a drink, I'm really tired today for some reason. I feel like a lot has happened but then I think back and it's just been a pretty ordinary day…" she trailed off realising she was rambling nonsense in front she barely knew. "Sorry, you don't want to hear about that, I'm just being weird, feel free to go back to class." She moved past Tom and took a drink herself, conscious of the fact he hadn't left yet, stuck there thinking about something or other.
"You know what? There is something strange about this day," he announced suddenly after she'd finished her drink. "I think you're right, I feel like there are heaps of things that I'm supposed to have done. Something about Chess keeps nagging me but I don't even know how to play so I don't know why."
"Oh I know how to play," Zoe brightened up noticeably on the subject of Chess, "I can start telling you about it on the way to class if you want. It's not very difficult; I'm surprised you don't know already."
"I know a lot of other things though; did you know that the longest animal in the world is the Shoelace Worm? True story_" and the conversation strolled on from there, stuck in a weird loop between how a worm could possibly be longer than a whale and why Pawns could only attack diagonally. In what was surely nothing more than a great big coincidence they found themselves wandering into the same hallway where Jody Winter, resplendent with blue hair and what appeared to be a seriously bad case of sunburn, was trying to commit various acts of vandalism. Trying being the operative word since at the moment she wasn't doing anything other than staring at the bank of lockers with mild annoyance in her eyes. When Tom spotted this he bounded over to stand beside her, pointedly glaring at the lockers as well. "Are we practicing telekinesis?" he asked her, "I love practising telekinesis."
"Hell no, that sounds too much like physics to me," insisted Jody, "I wouldn't do that if you paid me. I just wanted to come out here and smash lockers but I've completely lost the energy for it now so I think I'll just hang around skipping class."
"They teach telekinesis in physics!?" demanded Tom, "I so picked the wrong subjects!"
"Geez it was just a joke," cut in Jody, peering closely at Tom, "you're kind of unhinged aren't you? Must be a Callis, I think I've seen you hanging around that dingy coffee house near_"
"Don't give away the address!" hissed Tom randomly, "what were you thinking? Who are you anyway?"
"Jody Winter, I live next door to you genius," Jody rolled her eyes and glanced over at Zoe, "are you supposed to be keeping an eye on him? You know he'll just wander the hallways aimlessly if you let him, he gets more detentions than I do."
"What? No I just bumped into him by accident, I thought this was the way back to his class," explained Zoe, "turns out he was coming here to play telekinesis though so I guess I was wrong."
"Yeah, yeah, I've got to get back to class, and serve a detention and then go home and have perfectly ordinary day," grumbled Tom. And that's exactly what he did, why? Because magic is just a load of nonsense after all.
TADA! Hope that wasn't too abrupt of an ending, I'm always rubbish at figuring out endings so yeah, whatever. Thought I'd end it with a bizarre twist straight back to the beginning. Hope it was ok and thanks for reading!