The Curse of the Magician
By Joseph Logsdon
Leonard Walker was a famous magician. Seemingly, Leonard had the ability to create magic, but secretly, he was a fraud. Despite his secret, Leonard had the ability to fool his audience. He was, at the end of the day, a very powerful man. After many years of practicing magic, Leonard decided that his time in the spotlight had come to an end. One night, after the show had ended, Leonard's only child entered the small dressing room. From the beginning, Leonard knew that his son would be the answer to his problem.
"Norman, I'm glad you could make it," Leonard stated.
"Dad, what's this all about?"
"Well, since you had never seen my show before, I decided to invite you."
"Surely, that isn't the only reason?"
"You're right, that isn't the only reason. Norman, I know that you don't believe in this sort of thing, but after tonight, you will."
"Dad, what are you talking about?"
"Before the night is over, I will be dead," Leonard stated.
"This is some kind of joke, right?"
"Norman, you must listen to me. If you don't listen, you'll never know the story of my life. It's a long and complicated story, one that I've kept inside my mind for many years. Now, you came alone, I trust?"
"Well, I was going to bring my wife, but at the last minute, she decided to stay home. To be perfectly honest, I wish I had stayed home."
"Because you're kind of freaking me out," Norman stated.
"Norman, I know this is hard for you, but I need you to listen. When I was a young man, I wanted to be a magician, but sadly, I didn't have the talent. One night, however, I was visited by a mysterious man. He didn't give me his name, though for some reason, I suspected that he was not of this world. You see, Norman, he was a skeleton. There was no flesh, only bone. I told him to leave me alone, but he wouldn't listen. That night, I made a deal with him."
"What kind of deal, exactly?"
"In exchange for my soul, he would make me a famous magician. Ignorant and clueless, I accepted his offer. Ever since then, I've been living a lie. He didn't give me magical powers, but he did give me talent. Now, you have to understand, I never meant for it to go that far. I thought, given time, that people would realize that I was a fraud, but surprisingly, they never did."
"You're making this up, aren't you?"
"It's true, every word of it," Leonard stated.
"So, why are you telling me this?"
"Because of my success, I know that he will come to collect. No matter how hard I resist, no matter how much I beg him, he won't change his mind. One way or another, he'll kill me, Norman. You, I'm afraid, are the only person who knows the truth. I want it to stay that way, if you don't mind."
"Dad, you're one crazy guy," Norman stated.
"You don't believe me, do you?"
"Well, how can I?"
"It sounds strange, I know. Now, under no circumstances, must you try to prevent my death. Even if you succeed once, he'll simply try again."
"Maybe, if you had a good rest, you'd feel better," Norman stated.
"Norman, I thought I raised you to believe in the supernatural," Leonard stated.
"I did at first, but I soon realized that science was far more interesting than fantasy. From the beginning, I knew you were a fraud. Sure, most people might believe in your magic, but I never did."
"I'm telling the truth, I swear," Leonard stated.
"Just because you thought you saw something, doesn't mean that you did," Norman stated.
"Well, if that's how you feel, then we have nothing further to discuss," Leonard stated.
Norman walked out of the room, leaving his father behind. As the night continued, Leonard started to feel uneasy. The room, though relatively safe, looked like a tomb. Knowing that he was going to die, Leonard waited for the spirit to arrive. An hour went by, then two, then three, and finally, four hours went by. No matter what happened, Leonard intended to remain in the room. Around midnight, something started to happen, something sinister and devious. Suddenly and without warning, a man entered the room. There was no skin on his face, only bone. He was, without a doubt, the man Leonard had feared all his life.
"Hello, Leonard," he stated.
"Why have you returned?"
"Your success, I'm afraid, has come to an end. Now, after years of waiting, you finally belong to me," he hissed.
"Why did you choose me, anyway?"
"If a man has greed in his heart, I'll be there," he laughed.
"Well, I'm ready," Leonard stated.
"You mean, you want to die?"
"I've had a good life, after all," Leonard stated.
"You're a very brave man," he hissed.
Before Leonard could say another word, he was strangled. The following morning, his body was found. Hoping to make things right, Norman kept his father's secret. One morning, Norman was having breakfast with his wife.
"I'm sorry about your father," she stated.
"It's very tragic," he replied.
"You loved him very much, didn't you?"
"With all my heart," Norman replied.
"Norman, can I ask you a question?"
"Why, of course," Norman answered.
"What month is it?"
"January, I believe," Norman laughed.
"Why do you have a skeleton mask in your closet, then? Halloween was three months ago, wasn't it?"
"I thought it looked nice, I guess," Norman stuttered.
"If you ask me, it's kind of strange," she stated.
"Why are you making such a big deal out of this?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you angry," she stated.
"Besides, after I get the money in my father's will, I'll probably sell that mask," Norman laughed.