Thursday, September 24, 2015

Practical Magic: Gifted and Others (Practical Magic #14)

Aska was hanging out with her friend Kayla listening to music and pretending to do homework. Kayla and Aska had made friends a few years ago after The Joining. One of the first places The Gifted and The Others integrated was in the schools. Aska’s Aunt Jocelyn was one of the first teachers of a blended class of Gifted and Others. And as is usually the case the children were the first to make friends. Playing together the children of The Gifted and The Others shared stories about what it was like to live in their worlds. The Others were fascinated with stories about magic, things they had always thought to be make believe. The children of The Gifted liked to hear stories about how different a world without magic was. As stories were shared common ground was found. What Aska liked about the most about her friend Kayla was that she always said what was on her mind. She didn’t have much of a filter. If she thought something she said it. What Kayla liked most about Aska is that nothing was off limits. She could ask her anything and they would talk about it. They had figured out most of the world’s problems and solutions over the past two years. They just needed everyone else to do what they did and it would all work out fine.

“My mom thinks your mom is kind of scary.”

“Yeah? I can see that.”

“Doesn’t that bug you?”

Aska laughed, “A lot of people think my mom is kind of scary. It’s sort of in her job description.”

“Is it true that she killed the man that killed your dad?”

“Yeah, I mean she didn’t like hunt him down and do some sort of movie revenge thing, but when he received the death sentence she was the executioner.”

Kayla made a face, “I don’t think I could do that.”

Aska thought about it for a second, “I couldn’t either. I wanted him dead. I won’t lie about that. I’m glad he was found and punished. But I couldn’t have done it myself. But I’m not my mom.”

“Cause that’s her gift right? To be able to kill someone?”

Aska laughed, “Well no, killing someone isn’t really her gift. She’s a Warrior. There are a lot of parts to it, part is that she is protective. She’s part of the group that watches over everyone else. The ones that make sure everyone is safe. Sometimes that means doing things other people couldn’t. So being mentally strong is part of it. And it takes a sort of mental strength to do what is right even if it’s not easy.”

“Do you think it was hard for her to kill him?”

“Well, no. I don’t think so. I know she’s had to fight other people that she didn’t want to though. I know that she killed someone once that she didn’t want to. I remember hearing her telling my dad about it. It was a young guy. Like 20 or something? He went crazy and started shooting people. Mom was working and had to kill him so he would stop killing other people. They couldn’t make him stop any other way. They had tried using a Healer and a Prophet to calm his mind, but nothing was working. So Mom shot him. I know that was harder for her than killing Shakel.”

“Did they ever find out why he went crazy?”

“Not really. He was dead, right? He couldn’t say. There were a lot of people who had theories but no one really knew.”

“That’s scary.”

“Yeah, you guys have had that too right? People just going crazy and hurting other people?”

“Yeah and then every one argues about how he did it instead of why he did it and then they forget it until the next time. It always makes my dad really angry. But nothing changes.”

“My Uncle Aric always says that there are more things alike between us than not. It’s really too bad that we share so much of the crap.”

“So what’s it like? To be you? You know? Gifted?”

“I don’t know, normal? What’s it like to be you? You know, a redhead?”

Kayla laughed, “That’s just hair, you could always dye your hair red, but I can’t really do what you do. I mean I know what you’ve told me about it, but what does it feel like?”

“Here, do this” Aska started rubbing the palms of her hands together really fast, “Now hold out your hand.” Aska put her hand above Kayla’s hovering just a breath away from touching it, “Do you feel that? The tingle and the warmth?”


“That’s sort of what it feels like. When Uncle Aric and I work together to learn a new spell I can feel that coming from him and from the air around me and it’s like I can sort of grab it in my mind, hold on to it? Does that make sense?”

“Sort of. So you feel it all the time?”

“Yeah, kind of, it’s always there. I’m always aware that there is more out there than just me. It’s stronger outside than inside. It’s really strong for me near the water. Some people it’s stronger in the desert or the mountains. It’s like we all have a line of magic that is ours. And it’s always strongest when we are using it to do something.”

“And is it the same for all of your family? Like are you all water people?”

Aska started to laugh, “Water people? Like we’re mermaids?”

Kayla stuck her tongue out, “Don’t make fun of me, I’m trying to understand!”

“Okay, sorry, no, umm… my Grandfather, my dad’s dad, is a mountain person. He goes camping a few times a year to sort of recharge. I don’t know if mom has a place she likes best, she’s never said. I think she would feel like it showed a weakness to admit that some places her magic was stronger than in others.”

“I can’t imagine your mom ever showing weakness. I think I agree with my mom, she’s kind of scary.”

“She can be. But not to me. She’s like any other mom. Mostly. I mean she would read me stories and tuck me in at night when I was little. She worries about me being safe, just like your mom, she makes sure I eat right. But she’s not ever going to be you know, that mom. The one that bakes and always knows the right thing to say and has all of the neighborhood kids over for movie night. Her mom is like that. Aunt Joy is like that. But Mom? Not so much.”

“Does it bug you?”

“No, why would it? That’s who she is. I’m really proud of my mom. She’s one of the youngest people ever to lead in The Guard. Even after taking two years off to teach when Dad died she stepped right back in and was given her own company. Yeah, she’s intimidating, but for all the right reasons. And I know she loves me. And I get to see her when she’s not being Warrior Springwater, just Mom. And she’s really good at it.”

Kayla flipped through her math book, “I am going to have a slumber party next week. I want to invite both you and Brianna, would you come if I do?”

“She hates me. You know she won’t come if I’m there.”

“That’s not what I asked, I asked if you would come.”

Aska remembered the last time she had seen Brianna. She had stopped by Kayla’s house to see if she wanted to hang out and Brianna was there working on a school project. “Oh look it’s a gifted one.” She had put as much venom as she could in that one word. This was the first time Aska understood how nervous Uncle Aric had been about them using Gifted to describe themselves, and the only time she had wished his idea to not do it had stuck. She’s never thought of it as a bad name before that day. But after a talk with Aunt Joy she had realized Brianna’s feelings about her had nothing to really do with Aska herself.

“Yeah, I would come.”

“Does it bug you that she doesn’t like you?”

“Sure. I mean we all want people to like us right? But not everyone is going to. She doesn’t even know me or want to get to know me and has made up her mind not to like me. I can’t do anything about that. I can only worry about the people I like, not the ones I don’t.”

“I think she’s scared of you.”

“Of me? Why?”

“Because she knows you could read her mind if you wanted to. She thinks you would tell everyone what she is thinking.”

“Why aren’t you scared then?”

“Because I always tell everyone what I’m thinking anyway. What could you say?”

The girls laughed together

“Besides, I trust you when you say you won’t do it. That’s what friends do.”

“Thank you. And I really can’t. Not yet anyway. I might not ever be able to. Not every Prophet can. My Aunt Dot though? Forget it. She can read anyone at anytime.”

The girls went back to pretending to do homework for a few more minutes.
“Does it bug you that Brianna is worried I would tell you what she really thinks?”

Kayla smiled at her friend, “Yeah, it does. What does she really feel about all of us if she’s so worried you can tell? But like you said, I can’t change that. But I can keep an eye on her.”

Aska smiled wickedly, “Do you want me to invite my Aunt Dot over?”

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