Queen of Hearts Part 1

A continuation of the 30 day writing challenge.

Day 17: A magic trick involving cards has gone horribly wrong. What are the consequences?

There’s an unwritten rule among the kids where I lived and I’m sure it still exists. Merely stating be careful what you wish for. While the rule may seem tedious, the origins of this is slightly more interesting, the story behind it exceeds all scientific possibility. The town I grew up in was riddled in mystery, surrounded by stories. One lore states that if a person pure of heart believes anything strong enough, it will come true. Almost like a wish. I tempted fate once when I was a boy.

In my youth, I was particularly fond of magic. It inspires an odd sense of hope. There’s such a childlike wonder to it. One trick especially was the disappearing act. I never saw a trapdoor or cheap tricks; it was simple as someone was there and the next second by some divine miracle, they no longer were. Magic.

My best friend at the time, probably the best friend I’ve ever had. A better friend than any I’ve made even into my adult years. A girl named Reina. That wasn’t her real name however, again there is another story. This story like all others entwine into each other so I must bore you with some details.

Her real name was Olivia but she hated being called that. I remember I called her Reina once and immediately got shy. She looked at me confused and I felt such a strong urge to explain myself. “My mum read me a story about a strong princess who ran away with a knight. Her name was Reina which meant queen. So even if she wasn’t the queen of that kingdom she was a queen by name. That’s what my mum said at least. It just reminds me of you. You’re Reina.” She looked sad when I told her because there were tears in her eyes. She put her hands on my face and looked at me in the eyes. “You truly are an Angel.” Now would be a good time to mention that my eccentric parents named me Angel. She kissed my forehead and we proceeded to play like we always did.  Shortly after that event the name stuck and everyone called her Reina.

We were pretty much inseparable. Other kids in our class would laugh at me when I expressed such high praise for the magical arts, but not her. She would encourage it and frequently reinforce it. Remind me why I loved it. She made sure no one laughed at me.

At that age, I never knew why she would never want to go home. Or why she had bruises on her body. I never understood why sometimes she would flinch when anyone came close to her. At that age, all I thought was that her life was cool because she never had a curfew so she could spend all day playing with me. She would spend days on end at my house. I understand it now. But it’s too late.

She was my partner in crime and on occasion my lovely assistant. The most notable case, and the last time she ever was, was the winter of 2000. We were 11 and we were prepared for the school’s talent show. I remember being so nervous. My friend sensed my nerved and had a knack for soothing me. Reina said, “I believe in you.” With that my nerves calmed. “Believe in me but the magic is trick. We’ve gone over it.” She simply smiled. “Remember the story that if you believe strong enough anything can come true. Like Peter Pan and fairies. Believe in the magic.”

The show started. It was a mashup of offkey singers and out of time dancers. We were the last kids to go on, not for our talent but because we were the only act that was different. It went as practised, we did our card tricks without a hitch. Pulled a coin out from behind unsuspecting audience members ears. Turned water into ice immediately. Made a ring defy gravity by going up a string. Finally, time for my big finish: make a person disappear.

We had it planned. There was a small space directly underneath the stage where Reina could hide, almost like a trapdoor where we could put the box with a false bottom. She walked in the box with a large smile on her face. Her face shone every time the audience would clap. She whispered to me just as I closed the door, “this is the happiest day of my life. Thank you for being my best friend.”

Upon hearing those words, I shouted, “Reina is my best friend and I love her.” The door was closed but I was sure she could hear me. The big reveal to the audience which showed she had disappeared resulted in a massive round of applause. I just imagined how happy she would be to hear it. The finale should have shown Reina reappear. Should have. “Now ladies and gentlemen. I need some help to get Reina back. Reina. Reina.” I made motions to encourage them to chant. Now everyone was chanting Reina’s name. Kids that would ridicule us and even the teachers who knew of the trick. I saw my parents. However, there was no sign of Reina’s parents. I opened the door to reveal Reina. But she wasn’t there.

I dropped to the floor and removed the false bottom. The space was empty. There was no sign of Reina. She had truly disappeared.

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