Happy Monday Morning! And for those of you who haven’t been given the day off, you may have forgotten that it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Which is a great holiday. Because not only do I not have to go to work, I am not at work in honor of someone who totally deserves to be celebrated. Unlike that Columbus jerk.
But a Monday is still a Monday, which means it’s time for the latest installment of CYOA. Last week, we discovered that Eli was really our long lost half-brother (EWWWWW) and instead of washing ourselves in bleach, the overwhelming majority of you choose to B. Hit Eli with a truth spell and find out exactly who and what he is?
So let’s hope this truth spell finally gives us some answers. While the truth is too late to prevent us from making out with our half-brother, hopefully we can find out what the hell is really going on here.
Chapter 19: The Truth Will Set You Free
“Hold the phone!” you shout, gripping your wand with both hands and pointing it directly at Eli’s chest. You concentrate all your anger and confusion and shout the strongest truth spell you can muster. Eli is knocked back a few inches and the dazed look in his eye confirms you were successful.
“Tabitha,” your father says, reaching for his wand, “I’m calling the police. You can’t trust a word this monster says. He will try and turn you against your family. He belongs back in Gainschwitz.”
“You know what, Dad?” you say, “I think I’ve had just about enough of your bullshit.” With a quick flick of your wand, ropes begin coiling around your dad’s hands, binding them together. One more flick and duct tape appears over your dad’s mouth.
“There,” you say, “now that’s much better.” You turn back to Eli, whose eyes are still dazed, but a disconcerting grin remains on his face. “First things first Eli, did you really try and kill me?”
His smirk widens as he says one word “yes.” “But why? What had I ever done to you? I was only a child?” “It wasn’t about you” he replies. “At least not really. I knew killing you would hurt dear old dad.”
“But why did you want you want to hurt my- our dad?” you say, still hardly able to believe that Eli is really your brother.
“Because he used my mother. He and several other powerful wizards. They treated her like a toy, a play thing, passing her around like used goods. Young necromancer women have always been a favorite of the male wizarding elite. Most of them never had a choice – these were powerful men with powerful spells at their disposal. And powerful men will always be attracted to what’s taboo.”
“Your ‘Uncle Gus’ as you call him financially supported my mother. For the first few years of my life, I never thought he was my father, not that I hardly ever saw him. Once I started growing a bit older and it became obvious that I wasn’t his, he kicked my mother and I to the streets.”
You feel sick hearing this. You’ve always known necromancers were treated like second-class citizens compared to wizards, but this is all too much. Thinking about Eli’s mother, being used like this – the whole thing makes your stomach curl.
“So my mother got a paternity spell done. Turns out Max Whitley was my father. So my mother asked him for help. Even with the proof of the paternity spell, he wouldn’t do a damn thing. Turned her out in the cold. Here he was, rolling in old money, and he wouldn’t help the mother of his child pay for a place to stay. She even brought me to see him once. He began screaming at us, threatening her. Guess he didn’t want his precious Charlotte finding out about his bastard son. Charlotte had always been his favorite. Turns out he’s even secretly married her, not that anyone in the wizarding community knew about it. She was his dirty little secret. And so were you.”
Hearing this, you feel sick to your stomach. You look over to your dad – his eyes are angry and he’s trying to talk. But you know Eli isn’t lying. He isn’t capable of lying right now.
“A few weeks after meeting my real father, my mother was murdered. It happened while I was at school. Sure, the motel we were staying at was in a terrible area. Prostitution, drugs, crime. She was shot, and what little money she had was taken. The cops thought it was a robbery gone awry. But even at that young age, I knew something wasn’t right. There appeared to be magical traces that regular cops would never be aware of. And wizarding cops couldn’t be shitted to investigate the death of a used up necromancer girl.”
Your jaw drops, “You don’t think it was my – I mean, our dad? He’s not a murderer, he just can’t be.”
“There is a lot you don’t seem to know about our dad, Tabs.” You cringe at his use of your nickname. “I can’t say for sure. I don’t have the proof. I ran away from school and began living on the streets. It took me sixth months of constant practice before I was able to raise my mom. I practiced daily – killing stray cats and dogs, just so I could raise them. I may have been the youngest necromancer to ever fully raise another human being.”
“My mother confirmed what I had already guessed. It was a human low life who shot her – but he was definitely under an enchantment. Whose enchantment we can only guess. Your father had threatened her, but I wouldn’t put it past Augustus or one of the Council wizards to have done it. My mother had learned quite a few secrets during her time. And those men are ruthless. If they think someone is going to talk, they have no qualms about taking them out.”
“But even with my mother back, I wanted revenge. It’s all I could think about. I broke into Charlotte’s home and I killed you. Stabbed you several times. I lost count, to be honest. Your mother was able to bring you back, killing herself in the process. Soon after, our dad and the police showed up. Your father must have had a magical security alarm – I hadn’t realized they would be there so quickly. So I was caught. But I was young, barely 7 at the time. And they couldn’t exactly convict me of your murder…because you weren’t dead. But our dad’s lawyers were ruthless and he still managed to get me locked up in Gainschwitz for a long, long time.”
“So, Eli,” you ask, “is that…your real name?”
“No.” He smiles. “My birth name was Augustus Fleming, Jr. My mother used to call me Gus-Gus for short. But I abandoned that name a long time ago.”
“But in the future, you came to me to help stop The Order from creating wizard-necromancer hybrids? Why did you do that?” you ask.
“Why would I want wizards to get our power? The one thing they cannot do is raise the dead. And yet, they want that power too. They are insatiable. I had hoped in getting close to you that I would get close to The Order. I was planning on killing our dad, Augustus, anyone I could get my hands on.”
You turn to your dad and with a quick move remove the tape from his mouth. “Did you know about The Order’s plan? For the hybrids?”
“Yes!” You father says, “But I was opposed to it! I’ve seen how dark necromancers could be. They can’t help but do terrible things. The others in The Order…they haven’t taken too kindly to my dissent. But listen my Tabitha, those things that young man is telling you. You don’t understand. It was a different time and men, men are weak- “
“I think I’ve heard just about enough from you” you say, giving your wand another swish. This time a cloth gag appears around your father’s head. “All necromancers are dark? Am I dark? Was my mother dark? And perhaps, just perhaps, do you think Eli or Gus-Gus or whatever his name is, would have turned out different if he hadn’t had the life he had?”
You turn back to Eli. You have one more question you need to ask, but it pains you to do it. “Why, Eli…why did you kiss me? I’m your sister.” At least you hope it was just kissing. You keep remembering that flash of memory – the one from the volcano. A bit of bile rises to the back of your throat. But that doesn’t make any sense…a volcano? It must, it HAS to have been a dream.
His wicked grin returns. “What better way to get back at our father. If he had just been honest. If he had told you about me, that never would have happened.”
You put your hands to your head – your brain feels like it’s about to explode. Everything you ever knew about your life was a lie. You were betrayed by your father, by Eli. All of a sudden, Dace is starting to look like the best person you know, which is clearly a bad sign. Neither Eli nor your Dad seems capable of redemption. Neither of them seems worth saving.
You pull a blue glowing orb out of your pocket. It’s a wizarding recorder. And you cast a spell for it to secretly record the conversation ever since you gave Eli a truth spell. You grab your wand and cast another spell, binding Eli’s arms and legs. You cast a distress spell. The wizarding police should be here any minute. You place the blue orb in the middle of the room, where the police are sure to find it. There is enough information on there to put Eli, your Dad, and most of The Order behind bars in Gainschwitz for a very, very long time.
“Eli…Dad?” you say. “You two seriously deserve each other. Fuck you guys. I am so out of here.” And with an audible pop, you apparate out of your bedroom.
SIX MONTHS LATER
The two women are standing outside of your trailer. One of smacking her gum loudly while the other lights her second cigarette in a row. “Seriously!” the one says. “I just don’t understand how her show is so popular. Like, nothing happens. At all. It’s just her, going out on boring dates, shopping and bitching about her friends.” “I know,” the other says. “But the ratings are just killer. She’s like, America’s sweetheart.”
The first one turns to the other, “Do you want to know a secret? She never has acne. Like, never. And I’ve been doing makeup on television shows for years now. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not a single blemish. Just flawless.” “Well,” the other says, taking another drag. “If I tell you this, you have to promise not to call me crazy. Whenever I’m styling her hair, I never need to use any hairspray. Like, if I put in some curls, they just set like that. And they don’t go away. Not until I brush it straight again. I have no idea how it’s possible.” The door of the trailer opens and both young women gasp.
You walk out of the trailer and smile. You’ve heard everything they’ve said, of course. No matter, you can’t win ’em all. Well, actually you can, but not without a little magic on your side. A quick spell and both women’s eyes glass over and smiles appear of their face. You can hear them whisper and giggle “oh I LOVE her! We’re so lucky to work for her.” “I know! She’s just so beautiful. She’s my idol!”
After leaving the wizarding world behind, you ended up in Hollywood. You used a bit of magic to get you into the right parties and meet the right people. It wasn’t long before Seacrest was calling, offering you your own reality show. You don’t go by Tabitha anymore, hell – you don’t even look like Tabitha anymore. Hollywood is full of so many inexplicably famous people that no one is the wizarding world would ever even guess that you once were Tabitha Whitley. And that’s just fine with you. You don’t want anything to do with those people ever again. And after the corruption and drama of the wizarding community, Hollywood is practically child’s play in comparison.