He made his way to the back of the store to the small coffee shop, surrounded by big oversized couches and chairs and a long counter with several barstools in front. Magus plopped down at the first stool and smiled at the jovial man sitting a few spaces down. “Hey, Mr. Wilson, what’s up?”
The old man swiveled around, folded his newspaper and wiped his hands on a small apron tied around his robust waist. He smiled at Magus and then reached up to tip the plaid hat that matched his plaid sweater. “That’s Master Wilson to you, young Magus. How many times must I tell you that?” Master Wilson picked up the newspaper and opened it back and resumed reading.
Magus smiled. “Until you tell me why they call you Master instead of Mister.”
The old man didn’t look back at Magus. He reached up with one hand and scratched his salt-and-pepper head, just behind his right ear. “You know, they say that an egg can stand on its end by itself today…” Master Wilson said, not looking up from his paper. “…How do you suppose that works?”
Magus drummed his fingers on the countertop. “I think it has something to do with the equinox, but I’m not sure. What I am sure about…” Magus said as he wiped his hand across his forehead, “… is that I hate this horrible heat. It seems to be one of the hottest days so far.” He wiped his hand on his blue jeans. “I’ve been sweating all day. What does your newspaper say about that?”
Master Wilson slid a small plate containing a bagel and two peanut butter cookies toward him. “I don’t put too much stock into what the papers say about the weather, but I have a feeling that the heat is just beginning for you today. Have you read the new comic that just came in?” Master Wilson glanced up from his paper.
With a mouthful of peanut butter cookie, Magus replied, “Nope, but give me a few minutes and I will… the usual place?”
“Yes,” replied Master Wilson, as he slid a cup of mocha caramel latte across the counter.
Magus took a sip to wash down his cookie. “Thanks,” he mumbled as small crumbs fell from his lips.
“By the way,” Master Wilson said as he dropped his newspaper and peered directly into Magus’ eyes, “Happy Birthday.”
Magus nearly choked on his cookies and coffee. “How did you know it was my birthday?” Magus asked curiously, as he wiped the frothy foam of the latte from his upper lip on the sleeve of his tee shirt.
“The same way you sometimes know things about people. I also remembered what it felt like on my thirteenth birthday and thought you might like some help on yours.” Master Wilson rubbed his silver-bearded chin. “It’s an amazing day, but it can be a little scary too.”
“I don’t understand,” Magus said, as he stared at Master Wilson.
“Of course you don’t. Nobody would have told you, that’s my job. I know I haven’t been around as much. But now that I’m here, I’ll help you understand who and what you are. I’ve been waiting for this day all month.”
Magus leaned away from Master Wilson as if he had a contagious disease. “What do you mean?”
“I was sent to befriend you, so I can help you understand the mysterious world of the Necromancer,” Master Wilson said with a huge smile plastered on his face. He took a sip of his black coffee keeping eye contact.
“The world of what?” Magus asked with a furrowed brow.
“Necromancer, it’s the only name we’ve come up with. We’re really not sure of what we are, but we know what we’re not.” Master Wilson looked around the busy bookstore and then leaned a little closer to Magus. “We know we’re not wizards, aliens or mutants, but we are different, yet… we are very similar to one another.” Picking up his newspaper, he whispered. “You’ll learn all about the history of the Necromancers at Avesta, but for now you need to understand the change that’s taking place.”
“The change… what change?” Magus rubbed the back of his neck as the stinging grew in intensity.
“Every Necromancer goes through a change on their thirteenth birthday, and for you, that day is today.” Master Wilson tapped the top of his newspaper that displayed the date in big, bold type in the top right corner. “By the time the sun sets on this day, you will feel vastly different from how you felt yesterday, because you will have come into your power.” He looked around the store again and then turned the page on his newspaper. “It takes a lot of time for the transformation to be complete, and that’s why this day is the longest day of the year.”
“You’re starting to freak me out,” Magus squeaked. I wonder if that’s why I’ve been seeing weird stuff all day.
As he stared at the old man, the noise in the store faded, except for the soft voice of Master Wilson, which amplified. Magus watched as his friend’s eyes glowed with excitement.
“Well, to start off with, you will be hot all day, and that has nothing to do with the weather. A Necromancer could live on the North Pole, but on his thirteenth birthday he’ll be drenched in sweat.”
Magus reached up and wiped another drop of perspiration that slowly trickled down the side of his face. I have been awfully hot today, but so has everyone else.
“That’s part of the physical transformation. Your senses will become keener, sounds will become clearer and it will seem that gravity has lost its hold over you.” Master Wilson leaned in close to Magus. “But the scary part is the voices that will fill your head. If you’re not expecting it, you might think you’ve gone a little insane. But, you’ll soon learn how to turn those voices off until you need them. Understand?”
They both sat in utter silence, staring at one another for several seconds without blinking, which to Magus felt like several minutes. Just as Magus’ eyes started to water, he saw it. Master Wilson’s blue eyes flinched.
A big grin spread across Magus’ face and he busted out laughing. “I think you’re absolutely nuts, but it makes for a great story, and you know how I love a good story.” Magus patted Master Wilson on the back. “You had me going for a minute there, Mister Wilson.
Magus pushed his empty plate, containing only a few crumbs back toward his old friend and slid off his stool. Backing away, he bumped into the square bin of discounted books. “I still can’t figure out how you knew it was my birthday, I must have somehow let it slip. I think I’ll go read the comics now, but good luck with your Necro… whatever you called them,” Magus said as he rounded the corner toward the comic books.
“That’s Master Wilson to you, and it’s Necromancers!” Master Wilson swished his newspaper in the air. “Go, read your comic books, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon enough.”