Illusions begin, p.8
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       Illusions Begin, p.8

           N.L. Greene

  Chapter Five

  When the show was over, Becky couldn’t help but to spring to her feet and give the magician a standing ovation. He was spectacular. She knew she would be spending months solving the mysteries behind his amazing tricks. Her hands had been itching during the performance to take notes or even pull out her phone to record the show so she wouldn’t forget any of the details but she knew better. She actually gave into the cravings before. The first time had been to take pictures, and when she did she was almost immediately asked to turn her camera over so security could delete the footage. The second time was when she pulled out a notepad and pen to take notes; she didn’t miss the many odd looks she was given by those near her. Both instances were extremely embarrassing and she had no desire to go through that again. So instead, she paid close attention to everything, committing it all to memory so she could write down as many details as possible when she got home. Which she was anxious to do now.

  Once the lights were back on in the theater, she grabbed her things and swiftly made her way toward the exit. Just as she was approaching the doorway, she was jostled from behind. “Jesus!” she exclaimed involuntarily. She couldn’t help the slip. Today apparently wasn’t her day. She had been almost raped by her ex, assaulted by a thief on the subway, jabbed in the rib here at the show and now she was being pushed from behind. Would her day of abuse never end?

  Strong arms gripped her shoulders to steady her. Given her day and evening, she just wanted to get away from the crowd. She wanted to be safe and sound in her apartment where she could reflect on the one good thing that came out of her day. She wanted to curl up in bed and think about nothing but the amazing show she had just seen and work out the mysteries and puzzles the magician had presented. So she didn’t even bother to turn for an apology or thank the person for keeping her from falling. Instead she shrugged her body out from under his grip and made her way quickly through the crowd, without even looking back. She didn’t need apologies or questions; she definitely didn’t need anger or frustration. What she needed was to get home and put this day behind her.

  She took a much needed deep breath when she finally made it outside of the theater and broke away from the crowd. Given the late hour, she chose hailing a cab over dealing with the possible shady characters on the subways. She didn’t relish the idea of being mugged twice in one day and with the way things were going, she wouldn’t doubt it may happen again. Thankfully, she had no problem hailing a cab right away and it was a short, incident free ride. Before she knew it, she was safe and sound in her apartment. Slipping off her coat and shoes at the door, she let out a soft sigh as she felt herself truly relax for the first time all day. It was nice to be home for the night.

  Not wanting to waste any time or forget any important details, she grabbed her pen and a pad of paper before making her way to the master bath which held her amazing soaking tub. Originally she thought she would be content to crawl right into bed, but now that she was home, she had second thoughts. Tonight called for a bath while writing down everything she could remember from the tricks she saw. Her excitement began to surge all over again as she turned on the warm water and began to strip her clothes off. Nothing could deter her from her goal she thought to herself, but apparently she would be delayed because when she picked her jeans up off the floor and began to fold them over, something dropped out of them.

  She blinked a couple of times at what appeared to be a business card resting on the floor, just in front of the tips of her toes. She didn’t recall having been given any business cards today; she hadn’t even met anyone new that would give her one. Confused, she bent down and picked it up. It was face down, so all she saw was a black rectangle. When she touched it she knew it was indeed a business card by the weight of the paper and quickly flipped it over to see whose it was. She blinked again when she did so.

  The front of the card was all black, just like the back, with only one word in the center, embossed and typed in a deep blue script. ‘MysticSeeker’.

  Utterly confused now, she flipped the card over to look at the back once again, just in case she missed something. But she hadn’t. It was completely black with no words. She flipped it back over again and let out a small breath. She could have sworn the one word was the only thing on the front of the card. But now there was a website printed at the bottom edge of the card. It was very small and the same deep blue as the embossed word. She shook her head in confusion, but then rationalized that she must have just over looked it because it was so small and blended in with the card itself.

  In fact, the website was so small she had to bring the card closer to her face to actually read it. “Huh?” she said out loud when she scanned the web address. Not only was it a site she had never heard of before, but the URL was different from the usual ones. It only began with two of the three traditional ‘w’s’ and it also ended in an unfamiliar domain. Although she wasn’t an expert by any means on the internet, she found it odd. Figuring the card must have been slipped to her by someone on the subway; she tossed in on the counter and turned to her awaiting bath.

  She could see the tendrils of steam rising from the water and knew it would be warm enough to turn her skin a pretty pink color, but also knew it would turn cold much too fast if she didn’t do that. She intended to soak for a while. Becky placed her pen and paper in the tray that lay across her tub. It held all the essentials for her baths. An iPod with soothing music she only listened to at times like this, her lavender scented candle and lighter, bath salts, a hand towel to wipe her wet fingers on, and a couple of romance books (just in case). Once her music was on and all of her items were placed just so, she pulled her unruly hair up into a messy bun before dipping her toes gingerly into the water. It was a bit hotter than she intended but she forged ahead, knowing the warm water would relax her muscles. It took a few moments, but she finally got her whole body in and the water was now almost touching her chin. Even though she was sweating from the heat, and knowing she would have to take a cool shower after her bath, her body felt so good at that moment that she didn’t care.

  Blocking absolutely everything out of her head, she began scribbling notes and thoughts of the magic show. She noted the magicians hand movements, distraction techniques, and the outcome of all the tricks. Most of those things were obvious to anyone that paid even a little bit of attention. She then made note of the other small things that no one else in the audience would have noticed. Specific things that were so much easier for her to spot since she had been studying and watching magic shows for so long; those things that the audience wasn’t supposed to see.

  When Becky first started doing her research, she was surprised to find out just how much went into performing a magic trick. Not only did the magician have to research and practice his trick, but he also had to prepare occurrences, like staged audience members that were meant to draw your eye from the magician, if only for a second, to ensure the trick would be flawless. There were also props on the stage that the magician used, but that nobody actually saw. They were designed to blend in so well, only a keen eye or knowing they were there would reveal them to you. Then of course there is the genuine skill of the magician; his ability to distract from noticing how quickly he moves his hand to hide elements of his trick from his entire audience. All of those factors play a role in a show and each one of them is equally as important as the other. Being a successful magician requires not only a high level of talent, but also a lot of hard work and determination.

  Taking all of those things into consideration as she wrote, Becky could barely keep up with her thoughts. She scribbled as fast as she could until her hand finally started to hurt. Only then did she put her pen down and reconnect with her surroundings. The first thing she noticed was that her bath water was cold, just as she knew it would be, and then she noticed the time. She jumped out of the bath tub, almost spilling the contents of her tub tray into the water. It was ne
arly midnight. Becky already struggled as it was to get up in the morning, staying up all hours of the night for her magical mystery solving wasn’t something she needed to make a habit of.

  She quickly jumped in the shower and washed her hair and body, then just as quickly jumped out and got ready for bed. She towel dried her hair as she put her things away and then crawled into bed falling asleep almost instantly. She wouldn’t remember until morning that she never did check the rest of her e-mails nor did she do something with the odd business card.


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