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Fiction Fantasy

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

  March 17th

           Blackrock Penitentiary for Magic Users

“Any last words?” asks the officer, roughly pushing Aster Ralin toward the guillotine. 

Aster nods and begins to speak.

***

My name is Aster Ralin. I am twenty-two years old. 

I am going to die.

I know you’re confused. How could I, the man who made countless people smile with his parlor tricks, be killed by the guillotine? All will be revealed. 

Listen well. What you are about to hear will change your life.

If you’ve ever hosted a party before, then you’ve most likely invited a magician to do some tricks, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat or guessing someone’s card, basic stuff like that. You’ve probably marveled at how the rabbit seemed to come out of thin air or wondered how the magician knew about a card they didn’t even see.

You’ve probably wondered why any magician you invited to entertain you mysteriously moved to another city a day later. I’ll tell you why.

Anyone caught doing magic is taken to the Blackrock Penitentiary, where they are later killed.

That’s right. Killed. 

You may be wondering, “That might be a little much! Why would someone be killed just for doing simple tricks?”

The answer is, it’s all real.

Every single magic trick you’ve ever seen is real. Magic exists, and magicians are dying because of it. People hate what they don’t understand, after all.

Where did this all begin? 

Long ago, society convinced itself that anything beyond its normal perception of reality didn’t exist, like magic, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Most people didn’t want to believe that magic was real, so they pretended that the people using it were simply employing easy-to-explain mind tricks. Magic was only a thing in storybooks. There was no way it could actually exist.

Other enlightened people knew that magic was real and risked their lives to make others happy and give struggling magicians a little money to live off of. 

Before I rose to fame, I didn’t have much money. I had been evicted from my apartment because I couldn’t pay rent. I could only provide for myself by performing magic tricks. 

Eventually, my prowess allowed me to become the most famous magician in Prosperia. People hired me to attend their secret parties and paid me handsomely to entertain them. In return, I cured their illnesses, located their missing pets, and got revenge against anyone who hurt them. I did all this under the nose of the magic-hating government.

I had taken up residence in a sewer. As smelly and disgusting as it was, no one thought to look for me there. Besides, I could always use a simple spell to remove the gunk from my clothes.

Because I was rather attractive (people loved my stylishly messy blond hair and pretty face, and my figure wasn’t so bad either), many people wanted my attention, but there was only one person whose feelings I reciprocated.

Her name was Sera. She was a year younger than me and had waist-length brown hair and beautiful blue eyes. She would always come to visit me in the sewer, and we would talk about whose parties we had entertained at and what tricks we had used. We would spend time together for hours before one or both of us had to leave to attend another secret celebration.

I was deeply in love with her. She complemented me so perfectly, it was like we were soulmates. I loved everything about her: her smile, her laugh, her magic… everything.

So I was shocked when she betrayed me.

It happened one autumn day when she was coming to visit me. We sat against the slimy brick wall of the sewer. She wrapped her arms around me, and I leaned in to kiss her. Then, she used a summoning spell to produce a knife out of thin air and stab me in the back.

I tried to use a spell to remove the knife and heal my wound, but the weapon remained firmly lodged inside me. As I suspected, the blade was magic-resistant.

As I keeled over in pain, officers from Blackrock Penitentiary climbed down the ladder into the tunnel and surrounded me. The last thing I saw before the officers injected me with magic-numbing serum was Sera taking off her shirt and revealing a vest with the Blackrock Penitentiary logo emblazoned on it.

When I came to, my feet and hands were shackled to the floor of a cell made from dark stone just like the rest of the prison. I tried to use my magic but couldn’t; the prison was made from a special magic-numbing stone. 

I could hear the cries of other magicians in the cells near me, begging to be released. I could hear the clang of doors being opened and closed as magic users were led screaming to their deaths. All of these innocent people were being killed just because they engaged in a practice that people assumed was evil. 

These magicians were making people smile and helping their lives be a little bit better. The government of Prosperia and most regular people were too blind to see that magic users were the backbone of society. Without them, there would be more crime, more pain, more grief. No magic-haters know how much more difficult their lives will be without the people they loathe the most.

I’m done allowing these evil people to persecute and kill harmless magicians.

That’s why I’ve been using a spell to suppress my magical energy. These fools don’t know how powerful I truly am! They don’t know that I’ve been using a spell this whole time to broadcast my words to the nation! They don’t call me the greatest magician of all time for nothing!

*** 

The guards push Aster into the guillotine.

The magician grins. “And now, for my final trick, I will disappear!”

Aster’s body glows with golden light and explodes. The prison is shattered and debris begins to rain down, killing the guards that weren’t already defeated by the explosion. The magicians break free from their shackles and use flying spells to fly across the wilderness where the prison was and reach the capital city of Prosperia.

The magic users storm the government building, fighting back against the officials who try to subdue them. Magicians hidden in the city reveal themselves as the military appears with tanks and fighter jets. As missiles fly through the air toward the magic users, the magicians deflect them, sending them right back at the military.

Ordinary civilians join the battle, either helping the magicians or fighting against them. The city shakes with the force of the magic users’ spells. 

The magicians gain the upper hand against their opponents, blasting them with spells. 

Finally, the conflict ends. The government building has been reduced to rubble. Bodies litter the ground along with overturned tanks and downed fighter jets. Plumes of smoke from the destroyed military machines float into the air. A few small fires burn around the magic users and are quickly extinguished.

A magician with black hair, a blue T-shirt, and black sweatpants stands on top of the rubble of the government building. Other magic users join him. The civilians stand around them. 

The magicians look up toward the blue sky, the new future unfurling right before their eyes. 

July 21, 2023 02:52

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4 comments

Amelia P
15:12 Aug 29, 2023

I love your writing!

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Naomi P
23:40 Aug 31, 2023

Thank you!

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Susan Catucci
21:49 Jul 26, 2023

I enjoyed this, Naomi, what a great idea! Of course magic is suspect, along with everything else not understood. And governments tend to be threatened by what they either can't explain or control. These concepts are well presented. If I had a suggestion - and if you read my tales, you'll see tons of dialogue. That's one window into a character. You have a worthy narrative and you lay things out nicely. I would have enjoyed hearing more detail - time, place, sensory description is fun - smell, feel, sound. This is a worthwhile exampl...

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Naomi P
00:16 Jul 27, 2023

Thank you for the feedback!

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