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27 articles in category Mystery / Subscribe

William was a normal teenager, and one day he found a strange pamphlet in his room.

It read:
Come to Medinel’s School of Magic.
We teach all forms of magic and we run the school on an absorbing spell, so the course is free. Learn primary element spells, secondary element spells, and mixers.
This pamphlet is enchanted with a sentience spell, so, if you are able to read it, you have the capability to use magic. Most people receiving this have very little knowledge of magic; here is a quick reference guide.

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Tthe wind howled past the tatty, sodden boots. A soft splatting could be heard as the early-morning rain pelted the sheet of dirty cardboard at the end of the long, thin legs. It could have been a grotesque imitation of a ‘Guy’ – it was early November.

The cardboard jolted, as if pulled by a cord from above. A grubby, broken-nailed hand pulled the cardboard down. Francis M Donnelly, affectionately known as Percy (or Pompous Percy to complete the title) looked out sadly from a filthy, unshaven face, fronted by a broken nose, and highlighted by decaying stubs in a down-turned, pathetic mouth.

As Percy rose unsteadily, a crisp morning sun peeked momentarily through a break in the clouds and pierced his emaciation cruelly. There was no quarter given to a vagrant, (or street-philosopher, as Percy liked to call himself), in Dublin, his home for ten years. He felt like – well, a down-and-out should feel, cold and miserable.
Come on. He wandered, along the side street from the dingy hotel: his ‘home’ and set off, head bowed against the cold and drizzle along the southern reaches of Upper Leeson St.

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Tthe classroom was stuffy. Beads of perspiration clung to faces and dripped down collared necks. Outside no breeze brought relief, and the grass was turning brown and brittle in the hot dry atmosphere. The heat sapped energy levels; frayed tempers.

The sun hung heavy in the sky, watching and waiting, relentless in its vigil over the town and countryside.
“Before we wrap up today’s lesson, I would like you all to turn to the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.”
Simon Radley, scanning his 12th grade class with a predatory eye, had to admit, they were a disappointment, well all except Michelle. There she was, sitting in the middle today, a rose surrounded by thorns. The boys always gathered round the honey pot!
“Michelle would you read Juliet’s part and I’ll be Romeo. Just to give the boys an idea of how it should be read.”

At this the boys groaned and began fidgeting in their seats. It was the last class of the day. Outside the afternoon sun was beckoning and they longed to escape the confines of desks and sweaty bodies; to exchange the discipline of learning for the freedom of leisure. Simon too wanted the afternoon over, finished. Just for a moment he let his concentration slip and looking out of the window and remembered an evening … yes, last summer and a figure with long flowing, straw-coloured hair.

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Mmy father called me the other day talking about a ring his friend found somewhere in Somersworth. At the time I was concentrating on a class of labs and must I must admit I wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation for, how interesting can an old ring be.

My father’s friends name is Nancy Seavey. She contacted my father because she was concerned about how she could get the ring back to the rightful owner. My first thought was why would anyone care? My father described the ring as being an old gold class ring dating back to 1934. He told me it was very small and thus had to be a woman’s ring. Back then as it is today the male ring is much larger than the female.

If I am not being politically correct with this observation I do not care because reality is reality no matter how one wants to change it. There was no stone in the middle like the rings of today. It was all gold. I do not know what carat weight it was but there was no tarnish or wear to give a hint to its age. This one was simply molded to show off the name of the school, that was Somersworth High School and the date of graduation. My father went on to explain how the ring was in impeccable shape as though it was rarely worn or had been lost for a very long time.

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Iit was my first day at the office and Irene was showing me the ropes. She was demonstrating something on the computer when the telephone on my desk rang. “Go on, answer it,” Irene said with a smile.

I grabbed the phone, dropped it, then clamped it to my face. I couldn’t hear a thing. I gave it a tap.
“Christine, you’re holding it upside down,” said Irene grinning.
“I’m sorry,” I said, getting more and more frustrated, I tried turning it round and dropped it again, by now the caller had hung up.
“Ooops! Butterfingers.” I said.
After a while, the boss, Mr Witty, came over and introduced himself.
“Are you settling-in alright?” he asked.
“Yes thank you,” I said nervously.

“Did you have to far to come to work”? He asked and before I knew it Mr. Witty and I were chatting like we’d known each other for years. I was desperate to come across as friendly, which is why I made my next slip. “Right then Christine, I’ll leave you to get on then,” he said.

“Thanks Darling”, I said.

‘Darling.’  What had I said?

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Oour story unfolds in a small Derbyshire village town. The rain had stopped beating down to wash away any grime that had persisted in clinging to the windows, of the quaint looking shops and there was one shop that seemed to stand out from the rest.

Perhaps not because of its medieval look but because of its interesting nature of trade. The sign above the shop read ‘Peter Harris, Antiques,’ and underneath, ‘For Centuries’.  The bell of the shop door rang and the 62 year-old antique dealer took one step outside, thrust out his hand to test the weather, then made a hasty retreat back into the shop. ‘Not much dealing today’, he told the pet parrot, that he kept on the premises as an excuse for someone to talk to – and to stop himself going insane.

The rain restarted and beat heavier upon the window, this caused Mr Harris to give a deep intake of breath and exclaim, ‘damn it!’ The rumble of thunder could now be heard in the distance, then as if from nowhere, a blinding flash of lightening disturbed the air and made the lights dip. You could tell that the parrot didn’t like it, by the dreadful noise that it made and Mr Harris hoped that the noise wouldn’t be heard next door.

He tinkered about with small objects, dusting some by rubbing them on his waistcoat and moving others to make a better display. His true love in the antique business was his fascination for old goblets and wineglasses, and his collection was varied. He knew that some were only worth a pound or two but he also knew that at the extreme end of the market a real rarity could be worth £5000 or more.

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Tthe windscreen wipers beat a restless tattoo and Mark increased the volume on the car stereo to compensate for the sound: he had turned onto the moorland road two miles back, and there were at least three more mind-numbingly dull and deserted miles to go before he reached anything even approaching civilisation again.

Still, anything was preferable to staying at that weird dinner party, he reflected with a twinge of unease. He had made his excuses early on, and as soon after dinner as etiquette, and his conscience, allowed, he had begun the long drive back across the moors. And what a night for it! He squinted out of the windscreen at the rolling black hills and dense woodlands. Damn these parties! – it wasn’t even as if he enjoyed them anymore; since the divorce he was forever being trotted out as the good cause, as in; ‘I’d like you to meet Mark Gregory, you’ll cheer him up, won’t you?’

As if, the pain was still there after all this time …

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Hhis prison was small, smelly and very dark. He hated it and, at the top of his voice, he begged someone to come and let him out. He shouted and yelled all day but no-one heard him. He howled and cried all night but no-one heeded.

The next day it rained, at first, he licked thirstily at the water oozing under the door, but the puddle rapidly spread until it covered the floor. His frantic efforts to escape churned it into a thick, soupy mud, which filled his eyes and ears and plastered itself all over his starving body. He dug at the floor under the door-sill, biting at the wood in desperation, and the thick mess filled his mouth and made him choke and retch.
His pleas that night were hoarse and despairing as the cold night filled the sky outside, he gave up. Sprawled in the mud, he pressed his face against the door and closed his clouded eyes. The weary day wore on, and the breath lifting his little chest became ever more faint. An occasional shudder shook him. Remorselessly, quietly death drew near.

The old tramp paced angrily on the counter of the police station. “I tell you, there is someone in there,” he insisted. “I heard them the night before last, it made my blood run cold.” The policeman leaned towards him, suddenly realised why the old tramp was called Mucky Mick and hastily stepped back. “I tell you I personally checked the place after we ejected those squatters last week. There’s no one there!”

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Tthere was no moon and the garden was dark. The security-light hadn’t come on, but it should have, because there was someone out there.   In the gloom, all I could see was the beam of a torch.

Burglars! I thought and melted back into the shadows. That’s all I need. The house is full of antiques. I’ve warned her often enough. But will she listen? The light was coming nearer and now I heard the crunch of feet on the gravel outside. The sash-window wasn’t properly closed. My fault. I was certainly making it easy for burglars.

Then came the sound of the window being raised and more slight noises as the intruder climbed over the sill. His flashlight played around the room, stopping every now and then on some old picture or piece of silver – valuable legacies, from rich relatives – Elaine’s relatives, of course.
How was I going to get out of this?

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Aa searing heat. Blackness! His suit was no match for the extreme pressure, and he could feel his body being tested to its limits then, as the ship arced high in the sky, he felt himself break. His mind was enveloped by a darkness, and he fought at it, ultimately losing.

He was sucked back into consciousness by piercing alarms. Warning lights flashed their brilliance before him, he glanced to the left and saw his friend, and fellow traveler, pass out. The ground was rushing up before him at an incredible rate, the shuttle was now like a runaway missile, targeting some unknown enemy. He tried to save them; tried to prevent a horrid finish, but in the end his attempts proved futile. The earth erupted and the darkness once again entered his thoughts. This time he welcomed it, giving in to the night.

Hhis senses were shocked into reality, his nostrils awakening to the smell of breakfast. Bacon! His eyes remained shut, not wanting the sleep to be over. He could hear his mother calling up to him.
“Vincent honey. Wake up! Vincent. Vincent.”
The voice became distorted and took on a whole new sound.
“Vincent. Yo, Vinny! Wake up man!”

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