The Begining of His End
This was the third location of the day. If he didn’t find anyone soon—he stopped that train of thought real quick. He was going to find someone. He had to.
The shelves flanked him on either side, rising up to the industrial ceiling and temperamental lights, each one laden to overflowing with volume after volume of books. Miller was trying his best to not get distracted, but still, titles jumped out at him, beckoning with sweet stories or new knowledge, every book an opportunity. But he focused on the cat’s eye marble in his hand. It hardly moved, only revealing that it was under a projection by its little vibrations. Miller was hoping, waiting for it to nudge a significant amount in his palm, to point him towards another one. Point him towards someone else who could call on the things not of this world.
A person turned down the aisle he was on, eyes turned up to the spines of the books. Despite the newcomer’s attention being elsewhere, Miller instinctively pulled his hat a little lower, bringing the brim over his face. The last thing he needed was to be noticed or remembered and his face was not something people were likely to forget. Millier hurried on, making his way into the section on forestry. In his haste, that familiar pain in his chest spasmed, twisting around his lungs, constricting suddenly. Miller winced. It was always there now, a low ache he couldn’t ever completely forget, but there was no ignoring that it was getting worse. At Least it wouldn’t bother him for too much longer.
He kept his gaze on the marble in his hand, and he almost ran into the boy at the end of the aisle. Surprised, he looked up to find a face of confusion framed by a gray hoodie. Miller was about to mumble an apology and move on, sure that it was his own appearance that caused the unsure expression.
“Did you just throw a marble at me?” the boy asked.
Miller’s palm was empty. He saw that the marble was sticking to the boy’s hoodie, right in the middle of his chest, thrumming there with a low excitement. Miller felt his breath catch. This was it. This was the one. He had found it, the marble had found another one. He felt a sweet bubble of hope bloom in his chest, momentarily drowning out the ever-present pain in his lungs.
“What?” the boy asked, “why is it doing that?” He seemed absolutely befuddled.
“Well…” Miller began but didn’t know how to continue. How was he going to explain everything, how to make this kid believe. The boy poked at the glass and tried to get it off, but as soon as he pulled it a few inches away, it flew back and stuck to the same spot again.
“Did you put glue on it or something?” he asked, fully aware that there was no glue.
“No, no glue,” Miller said. The boy searched Miller’s eyes for answers.
“Is it magnets?” he asked a tremor in his voice revealing he also knew there were no magnets involved.
Miller shook his head.
“Is it magic?” the boy asked.
“Yes,” Miller said, “that’s probably the best word for it.” The boy said nothing for a moment, but pulled the marble away again, only for it to return to his chest, shaking slightly against the fabric.
“Prove it,” he said, his expression a dare, “make it stop.”
Millier whispered softly and released the permission. The marble dropped to the floor, landing on the carpet with a dull thunk. The boy chuckled and bent over, retrieving the thing. He handed Miller his marble. Miller took it.
The boy bit his lip, thinking for a moment.
“Teach me,” he said, determination obvious. Even if that wasn’t Miller’s intention, this boy was not going to let him walk away, not now.
“Teach me magic.”