There are things it is easy to forget if you’ve been a magician long enough. I imagine the police have this problem as well: you become something, you take up a mantle to help others, and you spend much of your time seeing the worst that the world has to offer. Magic can be like that: sometimes the only solution to a maze is to burn it down to ashes and walk through the result. Nevermind that the maze could be a home, an entire life, a way of seeing the world. You do what has to be done, and if you’re smart about it you learn to never mourn afterwards.
I spent many years in bars. I haven’t as much since a creature from Outside the universe bound himself to me. As such entities go, Jay is low-maintenance: give him a phone, tablet and internet connection, access to games and he’s happier than creatures that need sacrifices of puppies or banking executives. I’ve left him playing games and just gone out to walk, listening to the world, letting the magic out. I fix a few cars, shore up a sewer line, ease the atmosphere in one home a little to prevent another fight the kids will hear. I’ve done some terrible and impressive magic in my time, but this is what I enjoy: the small things, the little nudges toward making lives a little better.
A magician stands between the world and awful things beyond it seeking entrance. Using magic is just a small part of my nature, but the magic is why I became a magician. Sometimes one just gets so tired of being a wall. I slip out of side streets and into fields left fallow, waiting for a new season or perhaps to be host to some music festival or rally. The grass will remain. Sometimes what is able to bend is stronger than what which won’t. It’s hard to remember that. I met an exorcist once who explained his nature to me as, “I am an exorcist; we break before we bend” and being a magician is often the same: if we bend, something from Outside can enter the universe, can damage it, can hurt people.
But if we never bend –. I don’t know. Magicians don’t last, as a rule. The magic eats us up from the inside out, or we die trying to stop something or the last finally catches up with us. There has to be a balance between breaking and bending, between being river and rock. I haven’t found it. I don’t even know how to find it. I walk over grass that will survive me and wonder if perhaps magicians make the universe weak. Would the universe be strong against such things if we were not a wall against them? It’s one thing to think, but not something we can just decide to test. Not something I can risk the lives some Entities might destroy on.
So I turn back, halfway down the field, and walk back to pavement and deep into the town, touch the world with a few more small magics, focusing on that. Losing myself in it until I reach the hotel. Jay is sitting on his bed and offers up a huge grin when he sees me and begins burbling about a computer game he’s loving. I let the words wash over me, let his sheer enthusiasm ease my worries a little. There are creatures from Outside the universe like Jay, who see the universe as the best place to visit, who see it like a haven or tourist destination all rolled into one.
I think the world needs more of them. I suspect – I know – I need to meet more. I’ve met a few before, made deals with them, but far more I’ve bound or banished because it seemed necessary at the time. For now I just sit, and listen, and hope that Jay being bound to me makes me able to bend a little more than I think I can. I give him more money to buy some new games with, and Jay is wise enough not to ask me any questions at all.
Exhaling Catalysts Weekly Prompt:“a walk through the field is more about life than the walk itself, for the blades of grass that give way, hold the greater strength”