A Moment Between Worlds
By Violet Day
Date: December 8, 2017
Ch. 33

Once she had him sitting on her couch, sipping curiously at a mug of tea, Tessa took a moment to assess the situation.
She had let a beautiful, mysterious stranger into her home under the pretense she was going to find him elsewhere to stay for the night. But really –maybe she was just curious. Nothing the least bit interesting had happened to her for a long time, and the events of that day were definitely interesting, in a word.
This had been an impulsive decision. She looked at her cell phone for a few moments, wondering if there was anyone she could call for help figuring out the whole situation.
Her mother and father were in Belize doing something biology related, so they definitely weren’t available. Her younger brother was a freshman in college and likely to be unavailable on a Saturday night. Her best friend, Zoe, lived on an organic farm out in the middle of nowhere without a telephone, so she also couldn’t help.
It looked like she was on her own.
She turned to the man. He was looking through a book of pictures of sunsets she had on her coffee table, a home warming present she had never actually looked at but had faithfully put on the coffee table.
“The pages are marvelously thin,” he said, feeling a page between his slender thumb and forefinger. “And the images smooth and rich. What master of bookmaking created this collection? Perhaps someone with a touch of magical ability?”
Tessa sighed. She had lost her earlier moment of resolve. She sat down on the couch next to the man. She took the book from him, shut it, and put it back on the table.
“What’s your name?” If she couldn’t make sense of the situation, she could at least start asking questions.
“I am Amien Dragonfall, sorcerer of the court of good King Mathus, may his reign last.” As soon as he had finished what seemed like his default introduction, his face fell. “Though,” he said softly. “I believe his reign may be at an end.”
So he thought he was some character from a fantasy novel. Okay. Tessa had never been so close to this particular brand of crazy. Maybe she should call the police. Maybe this guy –Amien –was dangerous.
Some part of her urged her to keep asking questions. Some part of her reminded herself of the strange things she had seen earlier that day.
“You know there’s no King Mathus here, right?”
“I could have guessed as much,” Amien said. “I believe I am very far from my kingdom.”
“I think you are too.” Tessa looked Amien in the eyes. They were a glittering silver, almost unearthly, like the fake colored contacts she saw some people wearing to clubs. “How did you get to San Francisco?”
He uncrossed and re-crossed his legs. They were long and his tight dark pants did nothing to hide their shapeliness. “I…” He looked at his hands. “It is a tale that I am not sure if I should share with you.”
“Why not?”
“You are not of my world, that much is clear. Therefore I would think it correct to keep my kingdom’s troubles to myself.”
“Hey, if it somehow involves Earth, then I’m involved too. I should know.” Tessa found herself slipping into the conversation as if it were a valid one, forgetting that she was trying to figure out if he was the dangerous type of crazy or not.
“I will tell you,” he said. “I would show you a mindplay of the events, but my magic is weak and I am left with nothing but my words.”
“Okay, that’s fine,” Tessa said, a little excited to hear his story.
“I’m not quite sure where to begin. It seems you have no knowledge of my kingdom or my world, so I suppose I’ll go into as much detail as I can.” He set down his mug of tea with an appreciative smile. “In the kingdom I hale from, it is the custom for one sorcerer or sorceress to rise and become the king’s own. The sorcerer who advises the king currently is corrupt and cruel and plans to manipulate our good King Mathus with dark magic and take the kingdom for himself. All those who oppose him, even in passing, have disappeared from court. Only when I spoke against him did I realize their fate. He has been banishing us to a world in which we are completely lost; a fate worse than death.”
The final word –“death” –lingered in the air for a long moment.
“Honestly,” Tessa said quietly. “I really shouldn’t believe you.”
Amien nodded. “I understand.” He didn’t try to argue his case. He simply looked at her, his glittering eyes a little intimidating but not on purpose. His pale hair framed his slim face beautifully.
Thinking that he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen, she decided to play along. She would act as if his story was true and he was actually a banished sorcerer from another world.
Because… on the slim chance that the story was true… Tessa swallowed.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
He looked surprised. “Do you possess any magical powers?”
She shrugged. “No, I don’t believe so. But I… I’d be glad to help.” She imagined a castle towering over a tiny, poor village, and an evil-looking man in a high collar pacing the battlements, fiery magic crackling at his fingertips. If she could see something like that… it would be fulfilling a dream from her childhood.
Boxes and boxes of worn fantasy novels from her childhood still weighed down on the floor of her parent’s attic.
“I really want to help.”
“I don’t believe there’s much that can be done,” Amien said, sighing. He leaned back into the couch.
“Can’t you bring us back to your world or something?”
He sat up again.
“I… I could. It would exhaust my powers though, and I hesitate to do so. The head sorcerer sent a clear message by sending me here. To come back in order to end his tyrannous rule would be incredibly dangerous.”
Tessa’s heart beat faster. Incredibly dangerous. Yeah, and incredibly exciting and life-changing. If it was real. She had to know –and not soon. She wanted to know right now.
“Amien,” she said, liking the way his name left her mouth smoothly. “Could you do some magic right now? So I can know your story might be even a little true?”
“Of course. I can’t do anything very interesting because I am weak from my banishment and I should rest for when we leave for my world, but I will do something.” He looked incredibly serious. “I would love to have an ally in this strange world who believes my story. This day has been trying… Many reactions to my pleas were not as kind as yours.” He smiled.
“Yeah,” Tessa said. “Sure thing.” Inside she couldn’t stop thinking about how much she wanted him to just get on with the doing magic thing.
“Well, I suppose I could do something like this.” He drew threads of white light through the air as if he was pulling them with his fingertips. “It’s a simple trick, it takes very low skill and energy.” The threads glimmered a shade of sliver, then deepened into thin strands of blackness floating before them.

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