The Magician's Hand

                                                                   Prologue
                
               It was summer vacation, for some. Most children would play and rejoice at being out of school, but not him. He was still being put to toil, his name was Josiah. He was 12 years old at this time, and had little (if any) education, and yet, he was the smartest on the street. Coming from a poor family, he did not have a school to go to, but yet he could do mathematics just as well as a senior in college. Also, he could bedazzle anyone with a flick of the hand, for with a flick of the hand, anything small could appear. Not only did he do this naturally, as he did, but once this ability was realized, he started studying it. And after studying extensively the art of magic tricks, he began to invent his own.
               He had 2 siblings: an older sister, Mary-Ann, who was 15, and a younger brother, Brian who was 7. As much as he loved his family, He isolated himself from them to study magic. He would soon come to regret this. The next year, the year of 1997, Josiah was 13, and his family perished in a house fire.
               He was sent to the orphanage, for he had no close relatives. He never quite grew comfortable at the orphanage, even with how kind the other children could be. With no family, still no education, and now, no friends, magic became his only love.
               And so it became an addiction, like a drug he could never stop taking. Every day there was a new trick to be made. By the age of 14, he knew over 500 tricks. Each one was sleek, there was not a single one that anyone could figure out.
               This fact made him many enemies in the orphanage, even with how tough the others could be, Josiah would always outsmart them using tricks, especially a trick he called "Teleportation." How this trick worked was, and never can be, revealed, but the effect was shocking. He would throw a blanket over the offender, and by the count of 3, they could be on the complete other side of the building. It was not long before people started to cease to believe him a trickster, and start to believe him, not only a trick magician, but a true magician, with true power...



                                                                      Ch. 1

                Tyler. That was his name, the name of the biggest bully at the orphanage. His persecution of Josiah earned him rather many punishments, most of which came from Josiah himself. Punishments could range anywhere from something odoriferous planted in Tyler's bed to his hand being changed into a chicken's head for the rest of the day (which was quite a shock.) All this could be done with a simple wave of the hand. But instead of relenting from his bullying, Tyler's hatred of Josiah only grew...
                And so Josiah began to work on a new trick, this he called "Duplication." As the name suggests, this trick would "duplicate" the targeted object. But, obviously enough, by doing the reverse process, you would get the opposite of the desired effect, eradication. Which is why this trick had to be done by a very punctilious person, otherwise the result could go very wrong. It was for this reason that Josiah never performed this trick on human beings.
                But it just so happened that one day, Tyler was trying to mess with Josiah's paraphernalia, and, after catching him in the act, Josiah resorted to the trick he had never intended to use: "Duplication." But, in his anger, Josiah forgot his tendencies of carefulness, and so brought about a horrifying result. Tyler had disappeared, and was never found...

               This situation reminded him of the house fire those years ago that had destroyed his family when he was 13. Soon after this incident he felt grievance for the boy which he had despised. The reason for this sadness was no less than remorseful nostalgia, he was suddenly filled up with it no more than 5 minutes after the death. This feeling didn't last, by the next morning, his feelings of remorse were gone. In its place, that old feeling of isolation returned and filled him to the brim. He was a cup, the feeling was the drink, and the cup tipped over due to overfilling. Josiah fell into a rage, a rampaging beast, a juggernaut, anything that stood in the way of this animal was obliterated. There were a few more disappearances, but Josiah was swift, and few of the adults suspected him. But Josiah's rage became uncontrollable, and he left the orphanage, he headed home. He knew not the way, he probably wouldn't even know if he was heading the complete opposite direction. It was a lonely road, a long and winding trail that seemed to lead nowhere.
                But soon enough, he came across a town, he went to the nearest building and asked for directions. It was here that he was finally told that he was in a completely different state. As soon as he was outside range of the town, he curled into a ball and wept. He pulled out a blanket to keep himself warm, and the idea suddenly hit him. A light flickered from a street light in the town as he pulled the blanket over himself, and that was the last he ever saw of the town.
                His plan worked, his calculations were correct. By the count of 3, he was lying in the ashes of his old home. Here he slept. The night passed slowly and painfully, he was back in a populated and noisy zone. The next morning he was awoken by a prodding with a club, the sun was bright enough in his eyes that he at first could not see who it was, but it was obvious enough that it was a policeman.
                He was taken to a jailhouse, the officers disputed over what to do with him until it was finally concluded that (since Josiah spoke so strongly about returning to the orphanage) he would work at a mining camp at the outskirts of the city.
                He was content at not being locked up, but was he? He was greatly perturbed that over the years, none of his old friends came to retrieve him. It made him wonder if he had ever really been loved at all. But, strangely enough, he found more friendship at the mining camp with the me much older than he, than anywhere else with boys his age.There, at the mining camp, there was one man he grew to be close friends with, his name was Mike. He was tall, ambitious, and hardly ever slouched. Since his house had much extra space, he welcomed Josiah in to live with him. Since Josiah was living with him, Mike also took the liberty so as to drive him to work each morning.
                  Josiah's day was long and schedule tight, he worked from 6:00 am. to 6:45 pm. and hardly had any time for other activities. But one day it just so happened that Mike left near halfway through the day to do another side-hand job. He said he would only be gone a few hours, but 7:00 came and went and there was still no sign of Mike. So Josiah started walking home, expecting to find Mike on the couch asleep, and he would have forgiven Mike for forgetting him, but something much different happened. On the walk home, he found a car crashed into a ditch, one that looked suspiciously like Mike's, and sure enough, when he walked closer, there was Mike in the driver's seat, dead. Josiah would have proclaimed this an accident had it not been for the bullet hole through his chest, now arose the question. Who killed Mike?

                                                                 Ch. 2

                     Who killed Mike? A rumor arose throughout the city that a drunkard committed suicide while driving and was found in a ditch, but Josiah knew better, no gun was found in the car, nor any trace of alcohol. On the other hand, a bullet-hole was found in the windshield.
                    The death of Mike made Josiah's life much harder, not only did he have no ride to work in the mornings and had to walk, but he also took to investigating the murder. For the first time, he paid no attention to magic. This made a noticeable change in his personality and physical appearance, as no longer studying magic, he did not have the silent and menacing personality, nor the tired and stretched appearance.
                    He continually made trips to the police department for any update on Mike's murder. He probably came across as a nuisance to the police at the department, but he didn't care, the only thing in the world he cared about was finding Mike's murderer. Only one thing did not occur to him, he may have had to use magic to find the killer. He continually pestered the police for any information, but since they had none to give, he was continually disappointed. Although, one day, they found something interesting. Mike had left a will. As Mike had no family, and had left everything to Josiah, his house, his money, everything in his possession became Josiah's. Josiah progressed from a lonely, lost boy with nothing to a man with everything.
But even this did not lighten his spirits. But suddenly a thought occurred to him, he hoped upon hopes that he would find what he needed.
                    And so he began his magic once more.

                   Josiah ran to his room, breathing hard. He snatched a sheet of paper from his desk, made what would look like random scribbles on it, crumpled of the paper, grabbed another, and started again. His thoughts, at first all jumbled and confused, slowly all came together. If he could find something in Mike's possessions about the killer, threatening cards, bribes, anything of that sort, he would be one step closer to finding him. His magic was perfected, his plan, on the other hand, was not. He tried his little trick, it didn't work. He despaired. If his trick didn't work, what would, he racked his brains searching for something that would help him. Then he remembered the last thing Mike had said to him. He had said he was going to do a side-hand job. He ran to the mining camp and asked the manager where Mike had been offered a job and what it was. The manager told him the job had been simple and of no consequence. But after much persuasion, he eventually told Josiah Mike had gone to work for a rich couple, and gave him the directions to the mansion. Although how he expected Josiah to get there, we still don't know.
                   Josiah thanked him, and said he was heading home. But, of course, he never made it home, he stopped near the ditch where Mike was found, threw his coat over himself, and whala! He was there. He climbed out from under his coat, and saw he was at the mansion. He snuck around the house and peered through windows and such.
                   Finally he heard what he was listening for, chatter and laughter. If his theory was correct, Josiah had found Mike's killer.

                   Josiah peeked through the window, not even breathing. The chatter he heard came from a man on the phone. He heard the words: "Okay, Mike's out of the way, what's next?" Silence. "The boy? where do I find him?" More silence. "Okay, consider him gone." The man hung up the phone, and waited 3 seconds. 3, 2, 1. He was gone. Josiah gasped. He walked through the wall and searched the room for any information. Fortunately, the man on the phone had left his wallet on the table. Josiah looked through it. The man's name was Jackson Forest. Josiah felt a small wave and ducked under the table. Feet appeared out of nowhere. Josiah threw his coat over himself and disappeared. Josiah looked through the window again, as he had appeared at the window. The man picked up his open wallet and stared at it a couple seconds. Josiah waited.
           Quick as lightning, the man spun around with his hand outstretched. Although Josiah had tried to disappear, it was impossible. Jackson, stared directly into Josiah's eyes with a strange light in his own. With a wave of his other arm, Jackson teleported Josiah into the room. Josiah found himself bound in a chair with Jackson Forest looking straight at him arm still outstretched. He whispered a few words Josiah didn't understand, then lowered his arm. He then said, quite clearly, "Good luck." And disappeared.

         Josiah awoke to find himself in the same chair, this time unbound, and in a completely different room. It was as large as a football stadium, yet void of life. The entire room was made of some strange metal Josiah had never seen before, and the whole room was completely closed off. There was no exit save a single door on the complete other side of the room. Yet as Josiah stood, the door disappeared, as did the chair he was sitting in not a moment ago. He heard a sound like the flapping of bats' wings, felt a whoosh of air, and saw Mr. Forest appear 20 feet in front of him. Mr. Forest laughed, and disappeared again. Josiah tried to teleport home, but was unsuccessful. Mr. Forest appeared directly in front of him and lifted him off of his feet. Josiah felt himself disappear with the man. He appeared again, where the door was before. Mr. Forest let go of him and disappeared again, leaving Josiah to fall to the ground. Josiah clambered to his feet as he saw Mr. Forest appear at the opposite side of the stadium. Mr. Forest laughed again a cruel, heartless laugh, and raised his arms in a lordly fashion. Josiah shook his arms, braced himself, and raced towards Mike's killer.
             Josiah hurled himself towards Mr. Forest as the man ducked to a pre-jump position. Mr. Forest launched himself upwards, did a double kick in mid-air and landed it perfectly into Josiah's chest. Josiah felt himself knocked backwards, but quickly recovered by doing a backwards roll into a crouch. He attempted to reach the man a second time, but was again repelled by a perfectly executed trick that left Josiah out of breath. He fell to the ground, gasping for breath, and saw Mr. Forest walk towards him. Josiah quickly reacted by rolling over, disappearing, appearing behind Mr. Forest, and spinning his leg to trip him. Although Mr. Forest fell, he never hit the ground. He re-appeared directly behind Josiah, grabbed him by the neck, and tossed him to the ground. Again, Josiah saw the strange glint in the man's eyes. Mr. Forest walked to Josiah, mumbling the same strange words Josiah had heard him say before. Josiah couldn't move. Mr. Forest reached him, and kicked him over multiple times. Josiah felt his rage. At last, the man relented. But worse was yet to come. Josiah was allowed to move again. But wished he wasn't. He hopped to his feet, a new sense of power inside. The man had killed Mike. He wasn't about to let the same thing happen to him. He charged towards Mr. Forest, jumped, and performed the perfect jump-kick into Mr. Forest's chest. Josiah landed on top of him. He banged Jackson's head against the floor and whispered one word. "Why?"
Mr. Forest laughed and said, "you wouldn't understand, young one. You and your little tricks. You think there's nothing above you, but you're WRONG!" his laugh turned into a yell as he threw Josiah off of himself, jumped to his feet, and brushed off his coat.
"You may think you're smarter, stronger, and more mature than anybody else because of what you've done. Don't fool yourself. If you want to grow up. Face loss. Face pain. Look it in the eye and say 'hit me again'. When you've done that, let me know. Oh, wait. Never mind, I was told to kill you." Josiah snarled and jumped to his feet. He attacked Mr. Forest, but the words he'd just heard had affected him somehow. He felt small. The hands that were trying so hard to bring down this man in front of him had somehow lost their worth. He let his hands fall limp. He stared into Mr. Forest's eyes, and felt himself fall to his knees. He bowed his head as he felt Mr. Forest's hands close around his head.


He felt a sharp twist, then felt nothing