Short Story: The Voice

One of the secrets that both literature and films would have us believe is that magic is a matter of knowing and speaking ancient languages. An extra corollary of this is that any such magical curses or writings will mysteriously be able to be translated perfectly into a modern day idiom and set of rhymes even though all language drifts and warps in tone and usage by way of slang and cultural references.

The secret is that such ancient forms of language are a key for the reader’s brain to process and operate in a correct fashion so as to manifest the expected results. By forcing the brain to process concepts in a given way, shortcuts can be taken in exercising will. Most people reading from grimoires and crumbling texts are therefore effectively using a fixed “off the shelf” means of creating an effect.

This is where the concept of the classics enters – your fireballs and magical missiles, spells of invisibility and illusionary faces, and the summoning and banishment of ghosts, ghoulies, and other things that go bump in the night.

With familiarity comes assumption and, dare I say it, laziness. Everyone ‘knows’ you use dead languages like Latin to make things happen. They rarely stop to wonder why Ancient Rome wasn’t consumed in fire or by demonic forces during the course of day to day conversation in the average marketplace.

Here’s where the second part of the puzzle clicks into place. Rome didn’t implode because there was no intent behind the words to create magic effects. Well, largely because they thought you had to read from the secret texts of the Egyptians, Sumerians or Scythians. Are you spotting a trend yet?

So that’s what brings me back to the look of surprise on the mugger’s face when he found himself instantly obeying my command to “Drop it!” His knife was already falling from suddenly splayed and arthritic fingers before the pain registered. Magic gave the push to the voice of command.

He may have even dropped it in surprise without the curse’s bite. That’s one of the fun things about applying some common-sense assertiveness training and attitude. The hours spent practicing the mental gymnastics so that I could invoke the curse just add the sting and make it easier.

It’s one of the reasons that people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m a wizard, and I will never tire of being underestimated. Magic, as I keep telling people, is the art of lying – and I’m very good at it.

Short Story: Sunrise Shenanigans

“So, let me get this straight, you’re telling me that we’re actually living in a magical construct designed to make us think that there’s no such thing as magic.”

“That’s right.”

“You’re also trying to tell me that the sun comes up each morning as a result of a series of spells enacted by wizards that involve a sacrifice; and that you know where the people who run it all are going to be this morning? Have I missed anything?”

“No, that pretty much covers it.”

“You’re mad.”

“Maybe; but don’t you want to know what’s really going on?”

“No.”

“Oh.”

“What were you expecting? Look, if you want me to come running off on one of your hare-brained urban exploration schemes, ask properly. Don’t spin me a line.”

“Well, I just thought -”

“What? How many times have I told you I’m not listening to your bullshit stories any more?”

“But that’s why -”

“Why what?”

“I’m not lying to you. Not this time.”

“So you admit you were lying before?”

“I…Look I know I’ve stretched the truth a bit, exaggerated stuff, but honestly, you really won’t believe what’s going on down there. Don’t you want to be a hero? Stand for something?”

“What on earth are you going on about? And sacrifice? Just what have you been smoking? That’s rank, even for you.”

“It’s what I heard. That the magic needs a special kind of person for it to work – someone who doesn’t believe in spite of everything.”

“Well given it isn’t real, that’s hardly going to be a challenge is it?”

“What if I could prove magic is real?”

“But, it isn’t.”

“What’s this then?”

“Okay, you’re going with a flame out of your thumb? I’ve seen special effects guys do that in how many shows? Forget it. I’m going down the pub. You go play with your new friends and try freaking out some students or something.”

“I really am sorry about this.”

“…”

“The sun must rise.”