The small boy’s eyebrows furrowed as he stared at his fingers. He flicked them once, then again. Still nothing. “Where did magic come from?” Shawn asked. He looked up at his Grandpa, his white hair swayed as he rocked in the old rocking chair. His black top hat sat precariously on his head tipping back and forth.
Grandpa pulled his spectacles down and looked at Shawn for a moment before putting them back. “Well that is a very interesting story indeed. Let me see. How does it go?” He patted his vest and then held up a finger. “Over there in the chest is a book. Get it for me and I’ll tell you the story.”
Shawn walked to the chest and opened it. He struggled with the large wooden lid then pushed old goggles, gloves, hats, and papers away till he came to an old book. The cover was black with silver lettering. Grunting he hefted the book and brought it to his Grandpa.
Grabbing the book he patted his lap and Shawn climbed up.
Grandpa gently opened the worn cover and flipped through a few pages till he came to a a picture of a young man grinning. He had a brown vest over the top of a red shirt. He wore a bowler hat pushed back on his head. There was a silver chain that ran around the front of his vest. A black cat circled the young man’s pinstriped pants.
Shawn pointed at the picture. “Who’s that?”
“That’s Simon. He was probably about your age when he first learned that he was able to create fire by flicking his fingers together.” Grandpa gently stroked the cat in the picture. “He wasn’t any different then the other boys around him. He … he just saw things a little differently.” He turned the page.
“Is that the same boy?” Shawn asked.
“Yes, but when he was younger, before he knew he had magic.”
The boy in the picture didn’t appear to be as confident. He wore a simple shirt with jeans. His smile wasn’t as broad as in the picture before.
“He was always able to see things through a different lens. He would see energy that others could not see.”
“Is that the same energy that I can see sometimes?”
“Yes, it is. But no one taught him about the energy. He discovered it on his own. He learned to concentrate on that energy without the help of a teacher.”
“How did he do that?” Shawn squinted at the picture. “I thought that we could only see it when we are taught to see it.”
Grandpa rubbed his wrinkled forehead. “Well, that’s what made him so special. That’s what makes his story different.” He turned the page.
The boy in the picture was a little older and the black cat was sitting in his lap as he sat on a wooden porch. The boy’s head was bowed.
“Why is he sad?” Shawn asked.
“It was a very sad day for Simon.” The old man’s lips drooped and the wrinkles in his forehead bunched. “You see it was on this day that the boy’s mother and father had died.”
“How did they die?” Shawn’s face fell.
“The family had been attacked by bandits. They came without warning and killed his family. Only the boy survived, by hiding under the hay in the barn.”
Shawn looked up at his Grandpa his eyes wide. “Bandits!”
“Yes… they came from the north before the wall was erected. The boy lost everything that meant anything to him. He wept for many hours when a black cat appeared. The cat comforted him. The boy gained a friend for life.” He looked out the window at the dark clouds that were formed. “It will be raining soon, we better close the windows.”
Shawn jumped down and ran to each of the windows pulling them shut. The storm came quick. He could see flashes of lightning in the distance and heard the crack of thunder. He always loved the smell of rain and the feeling of electricity in the air. He had been told that because he could see the energy that he was more sensitive to the storms that passed by. He looked out at the storm and then turned back to the fireplace. It always had a large stack of firewood next to it. His Grandpa had already stacked some wood inside of it.
Grandpa flicked his fingers and held a stick for a moment over a flame that burned above his fingers.
Shawn watched, his mouth open. It didn’t matter how many times he saw it, he still was amazed at how simple it was for his Grandpa to use the energy around them. He walked to the fireplace.
Grandpa sat back down and picked the book up. “Where were we?”
Shawn jumped up on his lap and flipped the pages. “The boy’s parents had just died and he had a friend that was a cat.”
“Oh yes.” Grandpa smiled and he turned another page in the book. Here the black cat was sitting on a log watching the boy. The boy was holding his hand up in the air a small flame above his fingers.
“Is this the first time he used magic?”
Grandpa laughed. “Well I’m not sure if this was the first time but it was probably close to it. After his family had been attacked and he met his new friend he was taken in by a neighbor. The neighbor always took good care of Simon, but he just never felt like he was home. He would often go to his old home and sit on the porch with the black cat. He named the cat, Nightmare. One day he sat on the porch as a storm moved in. There was a flash of lightning and Nightmare jumped on Simon’s lap. He put his paw up to Simon’s face and pushed it toward the storm. Simon had been very frightened of the lightning and thunder. It was on a stormy day that the bandits had come.” Grandpa looked at the incoming storm. It was growing closer and much louder.
Shawn looked out the window. “Is there something wrong Grandpa?”
He smiled and patted Shawn on the back. “No… just remembering is all.”
“Don’t stop. What happened to Simon?”
“Well the storm kept coming and Nightmare continued holding his face toward the storm. It was almost as if Simon could hear Nightmare telling him to look at the storm.”
“That’s how you taught me to see the energy,” Shawn said excitedly.
“Yes it is. Simon looked at the storm and he saw a blue streak then red… yellow and finally green. He looked at Nightmare in surprise. The storm drew closer. There was a flash…”
Shawn jumped. There was a thunderous noise outside as the room lit up from the lightning.
Grandpa held Shawn close. “It’s ok. You must not fear the storm.”
“Okay, Grandpa.” Shawn closed his eyes tight for a moment longer then looked out at the storm. He saw the reds, blues, greens, yellows and whites. He didn’t really fear it. It was just when he saw the darkness in it as well. When he saw it the first time Grandpa had told him to never draw magic from it because it would corrupt him.
“Grandpa did Simon see the black as well?”
Grandpa turned the page in the book. The boy looked different. His eyes seemed darker and he did not smile. The cat was still there but seemed to be more distant.
“Yes…” he said sadly. “…he drew power from it as well. It was a very dark time for Simon. That is a tale for another day though. After that first storm Simon learned quickly that he was able to see energy that he could then pull into his body. Nightmare spoke to him and taught him how to manipulate that energy. Simon grew in both power and stature. He was able to defeat the bandits that had attacked his family and avenge their wrongs.”
“What happened to Simon?”
“He had many more adventures in which he was able to free the land of the evils that possessed it. The people, though, could never quite understand him. They feared him because of his power. He tried to teach others but they would not listen. Eventually he grew tired of the fight and left the land.”
“But we have magic now.”
“That is true. There were a few that listened but they forgot about the one who saved their land. They no longer remember the boy who had the courage to fight.”
Grandpa turned the page again. The boy was now a man he held a cane with a black cat curled at the top. Shawn touched the cane then looked in the corner next to the fire.
Leaning against the wall was a cane with a small black cat curled at the top.