Popcorn went up, came down, and smacked Finn just below his right eye. Another piece and another try. His old couch creaked with every slight shift while he entertained himself. The time-wasting activity was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Of course, he had not been expecting this sudden intrusion of sound, resulting in the current kernel hitting his forehead. He never had guests, and it had been days since he had last seen anyone outside of work. Annoyed, he sat his bowl of cold popcorn aside and got up to find a young, sleep-deprived woman at the door.
He shifted the rest of the way into the doorway, blocking the view into his home. He gave a strained smile and said, “Uh, I’m sorry, do I know you?”
It wouldn’t be the first time he’d forgotten someone. Then again, it also wasn’t the first time he’d had strangers show up with ill intentions. Then she flipped her wallet open to show a driver’s license and a badge.
He sucked air through his teeth and looked between the identification and the young woman holding it. Officer Fields. Clad in a hoodie and everyday clothes, she was easy to mistake.
It wasn’t just her clothes that had changed, though. Her shoulders were drawn in. Puffy, tired eyes stared back at him. Black hair hung lank around her pale face. Finn had to do a final double-take just to be confident it was her.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Finn. I was hoping to clarify a few things with you?” she asked, in an almost muffled voice. It was a different tone than before. The accusation and irritability had vanished. Still, there was an edge of irritability. It didn’t explain the slight aura of sleepless uncertainty that accompanied her. Finn realized she was still waiting for an answer.
He reluctantly stepped aside and said, “If it’ll help.”
Officer Fields entered with a smile and thanked him. Heading to the couch with an apologetic smile, he explained, “Sorry, this is about the only place to sit.”
She nodded and looked at the bowl of popcorn, “I’m sorry to interrupt your movie like this.”
“What?” he paused and remembered the popcorn, “Oh, no, you’re not. I was just having a snack. My T.V. is actually busted. Windows, local kids, and street hockey don’t mix well.”
She nodded but didn’t comment. Finn took a deep breath and asked, “So, your questions?”
She pulled out a small notepad and said, “Well, I was wondering about something. I know I spoke to you after the robbery about a week ago. My bodycam showed the strangest thing, though.”
Finn visibly paled as the words ran circles in his head. Bodycam? He forgot the body cam! It sure wouldn’t be grainy and useless! He pulled his worries in, forcing his attention back on her as he asked, “What was it?”
She hesitated, almost looking regretful, but finally said, “It shows me talking with you. Twice.”
Finn took a sharp inhale, and she seized on it, “What do you know?”
He shook his head, “Nothing, I don’t know anything. That’s just, whew, that’s weird.”
She waited, and he squirmed. When it was clear that he wasn’t going to say more, she said, “You know, this could be considered tampering with evidence unless there’s a good explanation.”
Finn felt his gut twisting. At last, he blurted out, “Sunspots!”
She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times until she finally stammered out, “Sunspots? You think sunspots messed up my bodycam?”
He deflated and shook his head and tried again, “Well, not sunspots but like, you know, sunspots. From where the glare and the heat of the sun caused a warp to the, uh, camera lense.”
Officer Fields pinched her mouth and waited as he continued, “Yep, probably more damaged on the inside than out. Am I explaining this well?”
She shook her head and said, “Wow, and you did such an excellent job on your story the other night. Tell you what, I’ll give you one more chance to be honest with me. I came over here on my time off just to clear this up. So, how about some trust? What actually happened that night, and it better not involve my brand new equipment tearing up on my first shift?”
“Honesty, right, I can totally do that,” he said, rocking back and forth in thought. He jumped to his feet and said, “Okay, hang tight for a moment.”
He scrambled off to his bedside, still in view, thanks to his tiny one-room home. He dug through his bedside draw momentarily before hurrying back over and holding something in his fist.
“Okay, so, a couple of things. One, this won’t really help you or the court, but I also don’t want to be arrested. That would be a hassle,” he explained.
She nodded and commented, “That’s one of the intentions of an arrest.”
He chuckled and said, “I guess so, but I meant-you know what, it doesn’t matter. That second thing is: I can only do this a couple more times right now, so please watch closely.”
She watched as he pinched a small metal orb from his left palm. He nodded towards a stockpot sitting on his countertop. In an instant, he had whizzed the object at it with a flash and a small pop. The metal pot arced and clanged across the room and lay dented on the far side.
Officer Fields scrambled closer to see the side completely caved in as though a bat had been taken to it. In the center of the damage was a faint burn mark. She looked back over to see him holding the second orb up for inspection.
“On a human, it resembles a bruise more than a burn. Still, it’s more than enough to knock even a strong man out,” Finn explained. Officer Fields got back to her feet, careful to keep the counter between them.
“What is that?” she demanded more than asked. Finn gave an apologetic smile and said, “This is something I made. It’s a quick discharge energy chamber. I put my energy into one of these, and I have a reliable but straightforward means to defend myself.”
“Magic?” she asked with a snort. Her face displayed her disbelief as she laughed, a nervous and awkward sound. Finn nodded and answered, “Actually, yes. Magic. The general term for me is a wizard. Now that I’ve told you-“
Officer Fields backed away and pulled mace from her hoodie pocket. Finn looked at the little canister in nervous confusion. She held it tighter and said, “Now that you’ve told me your crazy delusions, what?”
Understanding dawned in his eyes as he chuckled and said, “I was going to say I’d have to jump town. Not allowed to talk to normies about this. We do have our own rules and all.”
She still held it high and said, “I can’t let you do that. If you leave, this will be the end of my career. Being an officer is all I’ve ever wanted!”
“I’m very sorry to hear that, but not being wanted or incarcerated is pretty high up on my own wish list. Plus, I was honest in the end. You now know what actually happened,” he pointed out.
“You’re not going anywhere without giving me something real to work with! Surely there’s something; you can’t just screw up my life like this!” she insisted. Finn shook his head, but she pushed forward, “There has to be something!”
Finn visibly stressed as he nodded and said, “Okay, either way, I’ve got to go now, and I do mean now. Why not tag along and get your answers for a day or two. If you’re coming, then let me grab a few things. Then we have to leave.”
She nodded and lowered the can of mace as he grabbed a stuffed backpack from under his bed. She stared at the already prepared bag but kept quiet. The last thing he grabbed was his keys and wallet from the counter. He opened the door and lead the way out.
Once on the tiny front porch, he said, “Let me lock up. I might could come back someday.”
A distinct smell of burning metal came from the lock when he pushed a silver key into the brass handle. Officer Fields caught on too slow as he shoved the door back open and tumbled through. She barely caught sight of a wide-open field on the other side before it slammed shut on its own.
She fumbled to reopen it and barged through, dropping onto floors of the home she had just left. Sitting on the cold laminate, reality set in as her dream career began to die. She cursed and slammed her palms against the floor in frustration.
When her temper had calmed down, and her hip was aching from the uncomfortable position, she stood with a drawn-out groan of frustration.
“I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more, ma’am,” a deep voice said from behind. She spun to see a tall man with dark skin. He was dressed professionally for the rough area: black slacks, grey button-down, maroon vest, and shoes so shined they were nearly reflective.
“Who are you?” she asked shakily. The stranger held out a hand and offered a smile, “Timothy Velvet. For time and efficiency’s sake, I’m like the gentleman that so rudely stranded you. That is to say, I’m a magic-user, a sorcerer, to be specific. Your turn.”
“I’m Violet Fields, um, I’m human and very recently unemployed,” she answered in awe. Timothy nodded and seemed to think for a moment. At last, he said, “I’m in a quandary, Miss Fields. You see, I need to go after him, but I also need to be sure that you don’t talk to everyone about all of this, but that takes time. Would you like to make any suggestions?”
Her eyes lit up, and she seized the opportunity, “Take me with you, I’ll help you find him. This could get me back on the force.”
He nodded and guided her back outside, where he shut the door. He stood still, head bowed, and muttered under his breath for a minute. A shadow stretched out from under the door. It danced and weaved across the wooden surface until it met Timothy’s hand on the knob. He looked up and opened the door to reveal the field she had glimpsed. He turned back with another grin and said, “Let’s go.”
Keep your eyes out for Part 3! If you want to go back to Part 1 check the link below
Magic Vs. Morals Pt. I
About the Author: I’m from a little town in middle Tennessee. It didn’t offer much in entertainment when I was a kid so I took up reading, thanks to my grandmother, and videogames, courtesy of myself. My love for most things creative and fantasy related took off from there, with writing leading the pack.
More Links of Interest below
The Girl In The Water another short story
Jimmy Anderson on Amazon this will take you to the author’s published books available for purchase.
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