Issue 84 May 2020
Mae had discovered why the wands didn’t work anymore. She found the answer in an old leather-bound book deep in the Wizard Tower’s library.
She had the book clutched to her chest and was on the way to the Master Mage’s study when she ran into Lenn and Morph in the west corridor. Lenn was a dark-haired girl with a narrow face and dull eyes. Morph was a sallow boy with a permanent frown. The sight of them made Mae’s stomach clench and her legs turn to jelly.
“It’s the bookworm,” said Lenn. “And look, she has a book. What’s in this one, then?”
Mae had never been able to think of anything to say to counter Lenn and Morph’s frequent taunts. Her mind froze as her muscles tensed. Flight, escape, had always been her only response.
Putting her head down, she tried to dart past, but Morph gave her a shove on the arm while shouting, “Where are you going with that?”
The shove was enough to drive Mae into the stone wall. Pain burst along her left arm as she recoiled and fell to the flagstone floor, the book slipping from her hands. Her wire spectacles slid down her nose, but she caught them just in time.
At first, Kelly could not figure out why a wool mitten was in with her summer clothes. She studied the orphan with its worn ribbon bow as the box of cut-offs, tank tops and bikinis sat in the sunlight outside her storage unit. Clothes unworn since high school. The bikinis alone gave her angst.
She expected pain by opening the overhead door. It was why she took the whole day off without telling Donna to clean out her meager belongings. Donna would have demanded why she paid rent on the unit in the questionable part of town for so long. And Kelly had no answer for that.
She reminded herself that having her bikini days behind her didn’t matter. Donna scoffed at going to the beach. Instead, she played volleyball two nights a week in the cold sand of indoor courts. Sometimes Donna didn’t wash the sand off her feet and stood at the bar barefooted afterwards, but the real beach wasn’t her environment. The bar was. Kelly sat next to her in an oversized T-shirt with the logo of the bar, drinking the beer Donna bought for her and listening to Donna and her friends.
It’s time to clean out what you don’t need. Kel. Just get rid of everything, a voice inside her head told her.