Carnival Girl Pt 8

Sharon’s Note: I’ve never liked scenes where the existence of magic is revealed, and the human character flips the heck out, complete with screaming and crying fit, followed by running away from the supernatural, even if they’ve been friends until this point. I’m not saying the person should be stoic, but if the person breaks if their world view shifts, that person if not completely okay, and that need to be acknowledged somewhere else in the story. Warning: Author has been hoping her whole life for someone to tell her that magic is real.

Wendy perched on the corner of the kitchen table as Jim searched through the fridge. 

“So, what do you want to eat?” 

She kicked her bare feet slowly back and forth so that her toes dragged against the old linoleum. “Nothing too heavy. I’m probably going to have to fight later. Barfing on a bad guy can be a good distraction, but it’s not really effective.”

Jim’s hand hesitated over a carton of eggs. He was coming to accept that her whole thing about monsters wasn’t a joke. It was possible she was crazy, even she admitted that she wasn’t normal, but after the funhouse. . . He closed the refrigerator door and turned to face her. “Can you show me something so I know you aren’t crazy?”

Her eyes flicked up from her feet and her eyebrows raised in surprise. “I don’t know that I’m not mad. There’s quite a bit of evidence to say that I am, but if you want to see some magic, I might be able to do that. Um, let me think. Do you have a candle? It has to have been used.”

“Um, yeah. One sec.” Jim searched through the drawer next to the fridge and found what he was looking for. There was a flashlight for power outages, but also a small supply of tea candles. There was one that was only about half burned, so he grabbed it and dropped it into her open palm. “So what now? Are you going to make fire?”

“Make? No. I’m just going, um, remind it how to burn? Return it to entropy? No, not entropy. That’s not the right word. Just watch.” She raised the candle to her lips and blew like she was putting it out. Flame flickered to life and the scent of burning filled the air, more than could be accounted for by a single small candle. Heat washed across the kitchen, then faded. Wendy grinned at him. “Ta da!”

“Well, um, shit.” He stared at the merrily dancing flame. Just that might have been a trick, even if he had no idea how she could have done it, but not the rest of it. Not the subtle feeling of strangeness in his gut, like a kinder version of what he’d experienced in the fun house when he’d smelled the rot. “Magic’s real.”

“Are you okay?” She hesitated, then touched his elbow, other hand still cupping the little candle. The more he stared at it, the more he thought the fire was a little off. The color was wrong. Too dark. “You aren’t afraid of me or anything stupid like that, are you?”

“No.” He shook off his shock to smile at her. “This makes you incredibly badass, the whole existence of magic is just really freaking major.”

“Thank goodness!” She jumped to her feet and wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. Jim’s arms were pinned to his side and he could feel the heat of the candle at his back. 

“Um, don’t set me on fire, please. That would suck.”

“Oh, sorry.” Wendy pulled back and pinched the flame out. “I’m just really glad you aren’t being weird.”

“Nah, it’s fine.” Jim smiled shyly. “You can hug me any time.”

“Okay, I will.” She grinned, and hugged him again, this time leaving his arms free so that he could hug her back. She felt very . . .soft in his arms, and her hair smelled like his shampoo.

“Not that I want to stop, but, um, do you want scrambled eggs before we go fight an evil carnival? It’s one of the few things I know how to make.”

Wendy giggled. “I think I remember loving eggs.”

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