“bbbzzzzz bbbzzz..I’M A FREAKING WIZARD!”
Julio tried not to stop all at once so his reaction wouldn’t be obvious. The detective slowed his pace, then turned to face the young man he just locked up. He was a 22-year-old known troublemaker. He never participated in any violent crimes. But, Aaron came through the station regularly for trespassing, misconduct, and other annoying crimes. It was the first time Julio arrested him.
“So, if you’re a wizard you can escape any time, right?” Julio asked with a curious tone. He didn’t want Aaron to know he believed him just yet. Julio expected the static buzz of made-up excuses. Instead, he heard Aaron’s reason. The young man shrugged.
“It’s a contemporary server. I can only use magic in designated areas,” Aaron said. “This isn’t one.” Julio laughed, though his mind was racing. He didn’t understand everything Aaron said, but he heard it; it had to be true. The word ‘server’ made Julio think of his son’s online games.
“And Mrs. Whittaker’s pool house is one of those places?” Julio asked. He tried to inject some snark into the sincere question. Aaron shook his head.
“I was looking for a quest item. I usually am whenever you guys pick me up,” Aaron smiled, almost proud. “I get better rewards if I can do it without magic.”
It bothered Julio that he could hear this explanation at all. His almost 20 years on the force helped Julio keep his panic and confusion under wraps. He made a decision.
“Where’s the closest place you can use magic?” Julio asked.
“The Sharp Arena,” Aaron replied with a hopeful smile.
“The one across the street?” Julio asked. Aaron nodded. “It’s right across the street, why can’t you do magic?”
“Very strict boundaries,” Aaron replied.
“Let’s take a walk,” Julio said. “If you can’t prove it, I’ll make sure you spend a lot more time with us,” he added. It was an empty threat. He knew Aaron would be out by morning; he always was.
As far as Julio’s ability could tell, Aaron was telling the truth. Julio hoped it was true. If magic was real, maybe he would have a way to reconnect with his son. The reason the word, ‘server’ only sounded kind of familiar was because he didn’t listen as much as he should have. Julio’s ability was hard on his relationships. Especially when it came to kids that lied for no reason. He was so used to ignoring his son, he started doing it even when he could hear his son’s words. If magic was real; and, it sounded like it was, maybe he could rid himself of his curse.
No one blinked as Julio walked Aaron out of the station in cuffs. Julio was well-respected and Aaron was almost a mascot of sorts. Julio was glad for Aaron’s silence as they crossed the street. He started wondering if it wasn’t too late to reconnect with his ex-wife as well as his son. They never told his son but she knew about his abilities. If he explained he could no longer hear lies, maybe they could start again. Not that she wanted to be lying all the time; but the stress of keeping nothing to herself wore on her over time.
The pair reached the sidewalk on the other side of the street and Julio stopped.
“Okay, magic time,” Julio said. Aaron chuckled.
“I said in the arena,” Aaron said. He gestured at the nearest door.
“Well, we’ve come this far,” Julio said. He was trying to play it cool until he could ask Aaron to teach him magic. Julio escorted Aaron into the building. The second they were in the door, Aaron’s cuffs fell off.
“This is good enough,” Aaron grinned. He held his palm out and produced a small fireball. Then he closed his hand around it and water flowed out of his fist. “See? Magic,” Aaron grinned. Julio’s eyes were wide as saucers while he nodded in awe.
“Magic…,” Julio said. “You’re telling the truth!” Despite his abilities, a faint doubt tugged at Julio’s mind. Magic was real. Julio’s hopes soared. He would be able to retire in a couple of years, and if he spent those two years learning magic, maybe he could have his family back.
“Can I learn?” Julio asked. “I mean, can you teach me, or point me to someone that will?” Aaron put a gentle hand on Julio’s shoulder and shook his head; he wore a somber expression.
“Sorry, man. You’re awesome and I really appreciate you being the first one to listen to me. But, I’m afraid you can’t learn it,” he said.
“What? Why? I’ve got money if that’s the problem,” Julio’s professional demeanor slipped for a moment as he pleaded. He did not have much money, but he would do anything to get his family back.
“It’s not money,” Aaron replied. “You literally cannot learn it,” he said.
“What? Why?” Julio asked.
“bbzzztttt bbbbzzzzz bzzz,” Aaron replied.
“That’s bull and you know it,” Julio said. Aaron was genuinely surprised he was called out. “C’mon man, I’ve been a cop for 18 years.” Aaron nodded and sighed.
“The reason you can’t learn magic…,” Aaron began. Julio heard him crystal clear in the empty hallway. “…is because you’re just an NPC.”