“Hey kid,” I looked in his eyes as his parents veered their gaze in my general direction, not sure where the voice was coming from. When all three eyes were on me I let a smile spread across my face. “Wanna see a magic trick?” I glanced at his name tag- Kagan. Very distinct, memorable. Just like mine; Camelot.
The kid, roughly five, sat strapped into a stroller. I noticed Caucasian families do this a lot in Manhattan which aide in overcrowding trains. This train was moderately packed for a Saturday, however. With Kagan’s full attention on me I flicked my wrist around the other, twirled a finger, snapped, and out popped a coin seemingly from thin air. This is a necessary tactic to gain the trust of the audience in setting up the main event.
The child laughed as I handed him the shiny quarter while the parents clapped in mild amusement. Another series of snaps and twirling fingers produced a paper dollar. This drew the parents curiosity even further as Kagan pocketed his newfound riches.
This time, I placed a finger lightly on his forehead. This allows the next trick to be the targets obsession until their eighteenth birthday when they will seek out the one who showed them how it was done, wanting an explanation to the power that seemed to grow after every birthday.
With a few wrist flickers the tips of my fingers produced a small, controllable flame. The parents gasped, the mother hurriedly covered Kagan’s eyes with a hand. Gasps escaped straphangers’ throats. But what made someone pull the emergency brake came when Kagan produced his own flame, flawlessly mimicking my movements while his vision was concealed.
Before the train conductor could be summoned I whisked away through the dark tunnel in a puff of smoke. I can still see the open mouths of those who witnessed the impossible, just as I had seen on the bus that day when I was given this gift. A gift that had made headline news but produced no face. It’s hard to find what you don’t know you’re looking for.
I waited patiently for Kagan to seek me out. Thirteen years later as a broad shouldered, clean shaven young man, he knocked on my door, finding where I was using the signal embedded in his brain when I touched his forehead.
“I’ve been expecting you, Kagan.”
“All will be revealed in time.” I closed the door behind him, led him through the sparse apartment to the living room where, on the TV, a loop of various broadcasts played. They were all of Kagan getting to know his powers.
“You’ve been busy the last few years. I’m impressed by the speedy understanding of your gifts.”
“Those were accidents.”
“Were they, Kagan? Or were they the product of a desire.”
Kagan stammered. “Why has this happened to me?”
“You don’t recall the magic trick on the train when you were a small boy?”
Instant recognition fell on his face. From setting his teddy bear on fire to causing friction between his parents that led to their divorce, it all finally contained an answer. But there were still questions that needed to be asked.
“Why me?” Kagan asked, expressionless.
“We’re all drawn to those who have the potential to carry on this ability. It wasn’t fate that put us on that train together but the magnetic calling of this gift.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Plenty of time to learn all you need to.”
“But I don’t want lessons, I want answers.”
“In order to get that which you seek, you must first give.”
“You mean, like, my time?”
“And your life. To a higher calling.”
“This is spiritual?”
“Not exactly, but you did feel there was something special about you every time you caused those…anomalies, correct?”
Kagan nodded. “They scared the hell out of me. The ability to manipulate the weather like that is just…wait; that day on the train- you turned into mist. How’d you do that?”
“All in due time.”
In obvious distress, Kagan produced a large circular fireball in the palm of his hand and proceeded to hurl it at me. But I countered it easily with a blast of cold air. Kagan tried again with the same result.
“Your powers are good, but they lack discipline. Let me help you mature. You’ll need these powers for the fight ahead.” That got his full attention.
“Are you ready to give up all that is necessary to learn what is your destiny?”
A hesitant glance away but Kagan quickly composed himself, much like he’s done regarding all aspects of his life since the age of ten. I knew he was ready.
“When do we begin?”