Flash Friday 02/12/2016: Making Magic
Agatha’s Home for Lonely Children wasn’t really a home, per-se. It was originally made to be a home for children of all different worlds and dimensions to stay, should they find themselves with nobody to turn to.
Agatha soon discovered, however, that no matter how magical their new world is, children eventually long to go back. Therefore, it became more of a shelter which lonely children can use whenever they like until they got their feet in life. They would take the time to gain friends and seek magical adventures before heading back to their own worlds, where they’d find that no time has passed since they’d left.
Every child had their own room that they could use as they see fit. Agatha had seen her fair share of lost souls and shy recluses, all of which eventually found their strength. One of the new girls, however, had Agatha completely stumped.
Agatha rapped on the door to Tracy’s room.
“Come in,” came the young voice from within.
Agatha pushed the door open with one hand, the other one holding a small food tray. Tracy was still hunched over her desk, the candle on her desk acting as the only light in the room, peering through her microscope at a magic wand. She was wearing a lab coat that was slightly too big for her.
“Here’s your dinner,” Agatha said, placing the tray on the table beside the microscope. “You know, the other children are asking about you, Tracy. They really miss you.”
“I see,” Tracy said, as if told an interesting piece of trivia. She reached for a pencil, her hand knocking against the side of the food tray. She gently pushed her dinner away, grabbed the pencil, then began to scribble notes on a piece of paper. “I’ll come to dinner one day, I promise.”
Agatha watched awkwardly as Tracy resumed peering through her microscope. “So, uhm,” Agatha said. “Are you feeling less lonely?”
Tracy nodded. “Lots of very good friends here.”
“Do you want to talk about what made you lonely to begin with?”
“I used to have a friend,” Tracy said. “I wasn’t always lonely.”
“Did something bad happen to your friend?”
“Not to her, really. Her cat passed away and she was really sad, because neither she nor her family really knew why.”
“That is sad, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is. That’s why I performed an autopsy and discovered it had a tumour on the cerebellum, which would explain why it looked dizzy sometimes.” Tracy sighed. “I thought my friend would appreciate the effort, but she didn’t want to be my friend after that.”
Agatha swallowed. “Well, let’s change the subject, shall we? Your dinner’s getting cold. Aren’t you hungry?”
Tracy looked up from the microscope, peering into the distance as if asked a tricky question. She nodded. “Yes, I don’t think I’ve eaten for a while. Thank you.”
Then Tracy looked through the microscope again, leaving the dinner be.
“What are you doing to the wand?” Agatha asked.
“I’m studying it to see how it was made and how it works. If I can figure out the mechanisms that drive this wand, I could make millions back home. This wand, the fact time stops back home while I’m here, the portal that takes me there and back…if I crack those, I can bring them back home. As a woman of science, I am blessed with this scenario, and I must make the best of it.”
“But Tracy, it’s all magic.”
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” Tracy noted. “It has to have some sort of logic and method to it. When I crack it, I should therefore be able to reproduce it.”
“You know, the Elf Lord gave you that wand so you could–” Agatha began. She was interrupted by Tracy picking up a small hammer and striking the wand. Agatha flinched. “So you could learn how to utilise magic.”
“I did. It only produced flowers.”
“Yes, that’s the point. It’s supposed to be something nice and easy to lead you into the world of magic.”
“I don’t like it when things are easy,” Tracy said, adjusting the zoom. “I want the advanced stuff.”
“Well…perhaps the Elf Lord will allow you to use better wands when you next meet him.”
“No need. I’ve identified that this wand draws energy from its environment and passes it through a magically-enchanted band set to a specific variable, which defines the element of the spell. Technically, if you change this band, it will change the result that comes out of the end of the wand. All it needs is a tweak, and you’ll be able to set it to produce whatever you’d like. So that’s what I’m trying.”
“I’m sure the Elf Lord will give you all the answers to your questions when you next meet him. For now, how about putting the wand away and eating your dinner? It would be awful if you ended up breaking your wand and–”
In a fluid motion, Tracy stood from her chair, took the wand from under the microscope, and flicked it in the direction of a teddy bear sitting on her bed. The air filled with sparks as a bolt of lightning shot out of the wand and struck the bear in the head. The bear fell backward, a scorch mark left on its forehead which quickly smoldered into a fire.
A grin creeped up on Tracy’s face.
“I did it!” she boasted. “I managed to change the variable in the wand!”
“That was…very intelligent of you,” Agatha said, beating out the small flame with a pillow. “Can you please not do that again?”
“Sure!” Tracy beamed. “It’ll take me a little longer to figure out how to summon demons with it, anyway.”
“That’s…good to hear,” Agatha noted. Perhaps it wasn’t best to introduce the fairies to Tracy tomorrow. That, or make sure to confiscate Tracy’s scalpel first.