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©2017 by Marshall Bruno.

Image of Marshall With Bruises was makeup done by Libby Battista.

She did not punch him. 


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Untitled Mage Novel, Chapter 1

October 9, 2014

I apologize for loss of formatting. This is an early draft of the first chapter of a book I am currently writing. Please feel free to leave comments. If you would like to read this in a format much more easy on the eyes, use the contact form on the Homepage to ask for a link to the Google Doc.


Chapter 1
His grandfather’s funeral was small and quick. Quicker than Jerry expected, at least. Jerry thought that his father would have at least shown up but instead, only Jerry and his girlfriend were there to say goodbye to the old man.
Jerry’s grandfather wasn’t loved by many, but Jerry never had a problem with the old man. In fact, he seemed to be the only one that got along with him in his dying days. As much as Jerry wished his father and his grandfather would make amends that never happened.
Even still; problems and differences aside, his father should have been there.
I can’t believe he didn’t even show up, Jerry thought.
When Jerry was young, Arnold had the best magic tricks. Cooler than all the tricks his older cousins would do. While his cousins were pretending to pull coins out of his ears, Arnold was vanishing things. Right before his eyes too, no covering the item up and pulling it away with the sheet. No, Jerry’s grandfather did real magic. That’s why his father was mad at the old man for all these years. Jerry’s father didn’t like that the old man was doing magic in front of his boy. It was only years later that Jerry found out that his grandfather was a mage.
Arnold, the old man, he was born a mage. Something most thought legend; something most thought fantasy. He had a knack for vanishing things. At a young age, he would make things disappear without realizing it. As a child when he was told to clean up, he’d use his knack to vanish a mess. Over the years, the old man found more knacks that he had.
He kept a diary of his knacks. He was meticulous in his details of what each knack was, how it was performed, and what it did.
Jerry was burying the diary with his grandfather. He never looked inside, and Arnold never once told him what other powers he actually had. As curious as he was, he wouldn’t peek in the book. There was a time when Jerry was younger that he would have read that book front to back. Anything to make himself a better mage. Now, though, after seeing the corruption that the wrong powers can cause, he knew not to touch it. That book scared him.
If his grandfather wanted it kept secret from Jerry, there must have been a good reason. Jerry, his grandfather’s little mage, his favorite person in the world. His grandfather’s hero.
“Goodbye, Old Man,” Jerry said as he stepped up the casket and laid a rose on it. He bent his knees until he was crouched next to the casket and began to mutter under his breath. To anyone around it probably sounded like a prayer.
When he was almost done his spell he stopped, and broke his concentration. He opened the lid to the casket and looked inside. The old man was laying there, still as could be. On his chest, his secret diary.
Jerry closed his eyes, sighed and closed the lid before starting the incantation over again. He mouthed the final words and the lid to the casket sealed shut forever.

Daisy suspected a lot of things when it came to Jerry, but she would never have guessed he was a mage. To her, that was all fantasy. To Daisy, Jerry was just an eccentric boyfriend to whom a lot of strange things happen to. She saw him kneeling next to his grandfather’s casket and then watched as he wrenched the lid open. So odd he was, and this time, borderlining on disrespectful. He closed the lid and began mumbling under his breath again.
She blinked.
In that fraction of a second the seam between the lid and the rest of the casket disappeared. Vanished.
Are my eyes messing with me? She thought. She gave them a little rub, expecting the seam to reappear.
The odd boy with the odd things around him. That was her boyfriend. Did that make her odd too? Probably. Was it worth worrying about? Probably not. She was happy with him, as strange as he was.
The seam disappearing though… that seemed more than odd. It wasn’t possible. Where was the crease? What happened to it?
Jerry stood up and stepped back, glancing at Daisy. She bent her head low and stepped forward. She too knelt down and placed her rose on the casket lid. Her rose sat alone, though, because Jerry knocked his into the grave when he opened the door. While she was kneeling next to the casket, she gave the rail a little tug. Nope, no seam.
This is going to be one of his secrets, I know it, she thought. Daisy has long since noticed that the ‘odd’ things Jerry did were his secrets and she was getting kind of tired of hearing that. This one, the impossible thing she just witnessed, she wouldn’t let it go. But now isn’t the time to bring it up.
She stood up and stepped back. She took Jerry’s hand and smiled. They walked back to his car together. As they walked she looked back at the funeral they were leaving.
Two people… not much of a funeral… kind of… pathetic. Daisy couldn’t help but feel bad for Arnold that no one seemed to care.
Jerry squeezed her hand. “He will be missed, even by my father whether he’ll admit it or not.” Jerry had a habit of answering Daisy when she hadn’t even spoken yet. She even tried to catch him doing it one time.
He was in the kitchen of his house one day when she was watching TV in the other room. She started thinking, Help! Jerry, help! Come quick! Not only did he not come running, but when he finally came back into the room he smiled at her and called her stupid.
But actually, that’s kind of like he was responding….
She caught herself thinking about the fact that she wondered if he could read her mind and changed the subject in her head.
Just in case.
They’d be at their destination soon so she pulled out makeup from her purse and pulled down the sun visor to use the mirror.
Jerry pulled the car into a spot and shut down the car. They got out and walked hand in hand to the doors. Jerry chose a quaint little deli at the edge of town, nearer to the city. This shop was near Arnold’s house. Daisy was sure that she’d heard a story of Jerry and his grandfather coming to this deli before.
The entire ride from the graveyard was silent. Neither said a word, and now sitting together in the booth, they hadn’t said a word still. Daisy let her mind wander and she was brought back to the moment the seam disappeared. Almost like it simply vanished, and in the blink of her eyes.
Her curiosity piqued, she began, “Jerry…” but hesitated when she realized that asking about vanishing seems were kind of crazy. So she changed her mind and instead continued with, “Why did you open your grandfather’s casket back there?”
“Making sure he was still there.”
Daisy opened her mouth and hesitated. She thought, then said, “God you’re strange.”
He just smiled at her.
The waiter walked up and asked them for their drink orders and smiled as he walked off. Only finally did it seem like Jerry was breaking out of the shell he seemed to be in.
Anytime he’s angry, he always washes it away with a simple smile. So she smiled back at him and put her hand on the table for him to hold.
Every time he took her hand she felt better, felt stronger. It was almost as if he was giving her strength and encouragement just through their touch. It was one of the things that she loved about him. Noticing herself dote over him like this made her blush so she looked down at the table. When she blushed she had the habit of grabbing the charm on the necklace Jerry bought her last year on their anniversary.
“What’s happening with the house?” Arnold’s house, she meant; here in town it still had all of his belongings.
“Well, my dad owns it now and I am going to buy it from him.”
“Do you think he’ll sell?”
“Yeah. I think he’ll sell it to me. It’s not like I’m making him a bogus offer, I’m buying it proper. Also, he knows how much it means to me and how I feel about that house leaving our family. He’ll sell it. I’m sure.”
The waiter came back with their drinks and took their orders. He walked off and disappeared behind the counter. Jerry and Daisy’s hands were still together on the table. Jerry’s hand jolted, as though something just scared him and his whole body jumped in the momentary fright.
That feeling Daisy got from his touch started to fade. Replacing it was dread and fear. She pulled her hand away and didn’t know what to make of that feeling.
“Wait here,” he said. He stood up and walked out the front doors leading to the street.
Why does he have to be so weird? She thought.
She sat alone for a couple minutes, debating whether to go follow him or not. The waiter came back with their sandwiches and went back to his counter. As he went back behind the counter all the glass in the store shattered and a thunderous sound came in with such force that Daisy’s hair was blown about.
She screamed and jumped under the table. She sat there, holding onto the leg of the table that was bolted to the ground, which was now shaking.
A large man suddenly flew into the shop as through thrown. He came in where the windows used to be. He thudded onto the ground and laid there unmoving, the sound of crunching glass audible as he landed. Walking in very nonchalantly through the same broken window was Jerry, a gold and green aura shimmering around him.
“Jerry!” Daisy yelled.
“Daisy, stay hidden!”
Luckily, that was her plan.
The green shimmer separated from the gold as it shot towards the man lying on the ground.
The shimmer hovered over the man that was still lying on the ground, unmoving. The green light bathed the man, covering him completely. Jerry walked up to the man and held his hand out towards him. A red light extended from his hand down to the ground where the man was. It touched the green shimmer and danced along it. Daisy heard a buzzing sound emanating from the places the red touched green. Bright flashes began to erupt from the colors meeting around the man’s body.
Suddenly the man’s arm jerked forward and grabbed Jerry’s pant leg.
“No! Let—“ Jerry started. But he didn’t get to finish his sentence because they both vanished.

Jerry’s father, Nick, was in his yard raking leaves when Daisy pulled up in Jerry’s car. He could see she was shaking in the drivers seat. She shut the car off and instead of getting out, she broke down and put her head on the steering wheel.
“You ok?” Nick said when he got to the car, knocking lightly with his knuckles on the window.
Daisy jumped and screamed again, her voice hoarse. She turned her head and looked at Nick. She jumped again, even though she knew he was there.
Clearly something was wrong, but Nick had no idea what happened. He opened the car door and grabbed hold of Daisy’s shoulders.
“What happened? Where’s Jerry?”
Daisy was hyperventilating trying to talk. “He – It just – I don’t know – they vanished – “ She said.
“Vanished? Did you say Jerry vanished?” Nick screamed back at her?
He stood up
“I’m sorry! I don’t know what happened. He just got up and then he was glowing and then they vanished!”
Nick bent down again. “Just relax. Take a deep breath. Relax, Daisy. Come on, let’s get you inside where you can tell me what happened.”
Inside Nick was trying to calm down Daisy. She was still hyperventilating so he handed her a paper bag and for a moment wondered if that actually works. A whistling started as water on the stove in the kettle started to boil. Nick was making Daisy some tea.
Sure enough though, she came to her senses soon and her breathing calmed enough she could talk. Whatever she was about to say, Nick knew she thought he wouldn’t believe her, but she didn’t know that Nick already knew much more than her.
“Nick, I don’t know what happened. We were at the deli waiting for our food and I got this feeling…” she trailed off. She grabbed her necklace charm. That little golden horn that Jerry gave her. “He just got up out of nowhere,” she continued. “The next thing I know, the windows are breaking and some man is flying through the store. Then Jerry comes in and he was glowing! These colors came off of him to the guy that flew through the store and started making this nasty sound as they touched him. Then the guy reached out and grabbed him and they… vanished.”
Her final word hung in the air like the lump hung in Nick’s throat. Vanished.
Damn it, Jerry. Nick thought. What have you gotten this poor girl into?
Daisy was muttering to herself, and Nick ignored her for the most part. He’d heard what he needed. He didn’t need to hear her complain about it over and over. And the way she held onto the damn charm like a blanket.
The charm.
“Daisy, what’s in your hand?”
“What?” She looked up at him, tears and fright in her eyes.
“Your necklace charm, let me see it.”
Nick pulled a hand across his face. This isn’t twenty questions, just give me the damn charm.
“Daisy, normally I’d say you wouldn’t understand, but after what you just saw I have no doubt this won’t surprise you. If you’re holding a little golden horn, than Jerry has been reading your thoughts.”
He saw her tighten her grip on it. “Why would you say that, Nick?”
“I would say that because it’s true. That stupid bastard old man give it to him.”
“Why? Why—how can he read my mind with it?”
Nick stepped towards her, pulled out a chair and sat down. He held out his fist with the back of his hand facing down. He sighed and opened his hand to reveal a green horn. Daisy opened her hand and saw it was identical to the golden one she wore, except for it’s color.
“Nick, I really have no idea what’s going on right now.” She began to hyperventilate, not for the first time that day.
Of course Nick had to be theatrical about this. He could have sat down and started explaining bit by bit. That would take a while. This was quicker. Show her magic again. Let her know it isn’t just in him. She needs to understand that magic is around her now.
“Daisy, I’m going to give you a new charm to go along with your golden one.”
“What does it do?” Nick could hear the shakiness of her voice more than he could see it in her hands.
“That green one improves it. He’ll be able to read your whole thoughts. But as a drawback to him, you can control which he hears and doesn’t hear. And are you ready for the perk you get? You can hear some of his thoughts now. You’re probably only going to get results as good as he was getting before. Nothing I can do about that.”
Daisy sat there, turning the golden horn charm in her hand.
“Nick. I’m going to ask you two questions right now. I need you to answer them as honestly as you can.”
She waited. Oh, she wants me to respond. He thought.
“Ok. Hit me.”
“First, what the hell is happening? Second, why am I just learning about all this right now?”
“Well first, you’re about to hate your boyfriend for lying to you about being a human.”
“Stop. Stop right there. Why do you keep acting talking as though you and Jerry aren’t human?”
Nick hesitated. Technically they were human, but pretty different from normal humans. “Daisy, I’m not too good at explaining things, especially about what I am and what Jerry is. Maybe if you ask more questions I can answer better. But we are human, just different from you. We have abilities that most people don’t have.”

Hours later, Daisy had shed the last tear she could and let Nick drive her home. During the drive, she thought back to some of their conversation.
“Nothing we can do for him, Dase.”
“Why can’t you go after him? Aren’t you a mage too?” She had asked him.
“Not like him. I was never taught. I just know tricks. I can make stuff disappear and replace it with other small objects. It’s silly. It’s almost like a form of vanishing, which you saw Jerry do earlier. Our family is good at vanishing.”
“Like the seam.” Daisy had said that by accident, not that it mattered at this point. All her crazy suspicions about Jerry were being confirmed, and she didn’t like it. She liked thinking he was just really quirky. Knowing that he’s been using magic around her like it was a joke made her sick.
“The seam?” Nick asked.
“To the casket. Jerry opened the lid before we left, and then when I blinked my eyes, it was closed and there was no lid, it was just one piece of wood. He said it was to check if the old man was still in there.” She laughed when she said that.
Nick didn’t know what to make of that last part, which almost worried Daisy.
She walked inside, up the stairs and straight into her room. She lay on her bed staring at the ceiling. Nothing she could do, she remembered.
“Where did they go?” she had asked Nick.
“I wish I knew. I really have no idea whether they went to a specific place, or just kind of went to Nowhere. Only time will tell for now.”
While Nick wasn’t good for nothing, Daisy couldn’t seem to feel grateful for the details he provided her.
Couldn’t even tell me about his son’s powers or his own father’s powers. All he could do was simple tricks.
She pulled the necklace out of her purse and put it on, both charms attached to the chain.
Jerry if you can hear me, I swear to god when I find you I’m going to kill you.
She felt confusion. Not her own though. To feel someone else’s emotions, it felt off. It wasn’t easy to tell she was feeling someone else’s emotions because no one could ever possibly feel exactly how someone else does at any given moment. She must have been feeling what he was feeling, she realized.
Blackness. That’s what he sent next. He didn’t know he was sending it, of course.
He was sending his unfiltered sights and emotions.

Jerry was still. It’s not as though he had a choice, though. He was stuck. His captor had him bound to a chair in a pitch black room. He wasn’t really convinced they could hold him there, but he didn’t know who might be outside the room waiting for him. So he waited.
Jerry if you can hear me, I swear to god when I find you I’m going to kill you.
The words rang clear as day in his head. Jerry even lifted his head and looked around expecting to see Daisy in the darkness.
Well how the hell did she do that? He thought.
His eyes still open, he strained as hard as he could to find some small source of light. But there was absolutely nothing to see.
The word ran through his mind and then a small ball of light appeared in the room.
Jerry wished immediately he didn’t do that.
He wasn’t alone in the room and he didn’t like what he was in there with.

Nick lost no sleep over Jerry disappearing. He may have felt a little bad for Daisy, because now that she’s been exposed to whatever Jerry’s gotten himself into, he knew she wouldn’t be able to get away from it.
Too bad, he figured, as long as it isn’t him. He never wanted to be a mage. Nick liked his little tricks, but to be a mage meant you had responsibilities and obligations to fulfill. He never wanted that.
Jerry did. Such a stupid desire, Nick would think to himself.
With Nick’s father dead now, his protégé was sure to be the next one sought. So naturally, Nick was skipped.
Sure, Nick had a mage’s sense and abilities, but he was no mage. He could perform no incantations. He knew no spells and could conjure no more than a hand sized object. He could barely vanish himself to a different location.
Tomorrow, while Jerry sorted out his mess, Nick would go about his business. He knew he wouldn’t feel bad about what happened. It was the life Jerry chose. A protector, a guardian.
The day Jerry chose to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps was the day Nick began to preparing to lose him entirely.

Catching glimpses of the captors through Jerry’s visions proved too frightful for her to bear, so she took the necklace off as soon as she saw the monster’s face and kept it a safe distance from her. She tried sleeping, but every time she’d fall asleep a flash in her mind of what happened earlier in the day would wake her up frightened.
By the time the sun rose, Daisy had already gotten out of bed and poured herself multiple cups of coffee. Sleeping was proving tough, so she decided to just wake up and stay awake. She sat in her kitchen in silence holding onto the mug full of coffee with both hands. The clock on the microwave said 7:34. If she was going to work today, she’d have to start getting ready soon, but she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to go. How could she concentrate when she couldn’t stop picturing Jerry glowing and shooting light from his hands? And the image that she had gotten a glimpse of through Jerry’s thoughts was just as, if not even more haunting than him vanishing into thin air.
Daisy jumped in her seat as she heard her front door opening and then closing. Standing up and walking to the doorway to see who it could be. She assumed it would be Nick.
Instead, it was Jerry.

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