Here we are, my friends. We’re at the end of our tale. Matticus and I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read our words. Hopefully, you enjoyed them.
Jake couldn’t take his eyes off his father’s spirit, which had shot out of his body and was flying at the demon Mocregork. It was still hard for him to focus those eyes of his because of the bump he took to the head, but he saw the two supernatural entities clearly. He watched as his father’s spirit disappeared into the demon. He watched as Mocregork began flailing around. He brought his hands back up over his ears as the demon let loose another unearthly howl of pain.
“Jake,” said a voice inside his head. “This is your father. You’re probably wondering why you’re still hearing my voice even though I’m not with you anymore. Well, the simple answer is that if you’re hearing this, it means we’re no longer sharing a body. The spell I used to communicate this message would only be activated if I split us up before the demon was dead. The only reason I would do that is if I had no choice. The last resort plan has been put into place.
“I took some of your magic with me when I left. All you need to do is say the trigger word, which is your mother’s name, and that magic will destroy me. Destroying me will also destroy the body that I’m in, which will be the demon’s. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but it’s the only way I can think of to ensure your safety.
“Since my time with you is being taken away again, I’m doing what I can to let you know me. I’ve implanted all of my knowledge, including all of my memories, in your mind. It will all unlock once Mocregork is back in Hell where he belongs.
“Goodbye, Jake. I’m proud of you, and I know that you will do great things in your life.”
Jake couldn’t believe his eyes or his ears. This couldn’t be happening. He half-winced, expecting his father’s voice to berate him for his thoughts. But his father’s voice was gone.
Mocregork growled and writhed, catching Jake’s attention and bringing him out of his reverie. Jake assumed it was doing everything it could to free itself of his father and understood that he should hurry. He should say his Mother’s name and be done with this nightmare. He couldn’t bring himself to do it though.
The nightmare would end but he would lose his father too. If only there was some way he could get access to his father’s parting gift before sending Mocregork back to hell, perhaps he could see a solution that didn’t involve losing his father at the same time. It was a silly thought. Jake could hear his father chiding him for it. If his father hadn’t seen another way with all his experience and wisdom, what was the likelihood Jake would? Zero.
A tear dropped from Jake’s left eye. The heat of it burned as it slid down his cheek to drip from his chin. He’d lost his mother. He was about to lose his father, a father he hadn’t realized how desperately he wanted in his life until he had suddenly entered it to save his life.
And I’m going to be the one to end his life, Jake thought then immediately shook his head, half smiling, half sobbing. No, you big dummy, he’s already dead. He died before you were born.
With that thought fracturing his heart, Jake looked at the demon and said, “Victoria.”
Mocregork kept writhing and growling, but not as much as before. From the sound of it, the demon was beginning to win. Jake was confused. Why didn’t it work?? He had said his mother’s name, just like his father had told him. Then, a small smile worked its way onto his face. Just like his father…
His father didn’t call her by her given name, Victoria. He called her Vicki, a name she hated. “Vicki,” he said in a voice filled with both power and sadness.
Suddenly, Mocregork began his unearthly howl again. It didn’t last long, however. Jake hadn’t even had time to cover his ears before it was over. It was replaced by a humming sound. As the humming grew louder, a light was forming in the demon’s stomach. Like the sound, the light grew too. It grew brighter. Soon, it was so bright that it was hurting Jake’s eyes, but he didn’t want to look away. When he finally did, he would’ve sworn that the last things he saw before he turned were the smiling faces of his parents within the light.
He wasn’t sure how long it took for his vision to return to normal after the blinding light, but when it did, Mocregork was gone. All that remained was a path of destruction leading back to his house.
Had he not been somewhere else, some other plane of existence? Had he been on his street, feet from his home, the whole time he’d been battling Mocregork? Had the battle been in his head? Had it even been real? Had any of it been real?
Before further questions could plague him, the full weight of his father’s knowledge and experience flooded his mind and Jake stumbled to his knees. It wasn’t pain that drove him to the ground but the sensation of suddenly knowing so many things he hadn’t known before was dizzying and he couldn’t keep his feet. His head swam. Closing his eyes did nothing to steady his mind or body. The whole of him seemed to spin outward in larger and larger circles.
Then the sensation was gone and his vision cleared. He looked at the scarred and torn scene around him and knew exactly which spell to cast to clean it up. His vision drifted towards his front door as regained his feet and could see clearly the words to more spells he could cast that would allow him to continue to live there if he wanted to, to fool his neighbors that his mom was still around, to keep the utilities on, until he finished school. He wasn’t sure he would want to stay there much beyond that. Even if he never saw another ghost, the place would be haunted.
First things first, he had to make everything go back to normal. Physically, at least. No matter how good this spell worked to make his house return to the way it was before all this started, it could never take away the memories he now possessed of the Hell he’d endured over that time. Or, the Hell he was enduring at that moment as his father’s memories continued to creep into his head. As much as he tried to push it away, he couldn’t stop himself from seeing the moment of his conception.
With a prayer to whoever was listening that this was the last torture he’d have to face for a long time, Jake recited the spell.
In the weeks that followed, the house was visited by many ghosts. None of them were malicious, though. They were drawn there either by curiosity or the overwhelming amount of magic that had been expended that night. Once the magic had dissipated, and word spread throughout the ghost community about what happened, the spirits began leaving Jake alone.
Now it was six months after that night and he hadn’t seen a ghost during the last four of them. Those four months of freedom had given him the opportunity to really comb through his father’s knowledge. He had taken the time to catalog which spells were helpful in the present and which he could wait a while to work on. There was one spell in particular, one that he was under the effects of at that moment, that was proving more useful than any of the others so far. It was an illusion spell and he’d been using it to make people see him as his mother in order to sell the house, something that he’d just signed the papers for.
It was a relief to finally have the paperwork done. The lack of actual ghosts in the house hadn’t kept him from seeing his father crossing the lawn or seeing his mother shooting black flames from her hands in the kitchen. Those visions wouldn’t stop until he no longer lived in the house. And, if everything went smoothly, he’d be out before escrow closed in 45 days.
And then? College. Money wouldn’t be a problem. He’d discovered that there was always work for someone with his knowledge and it was work that paid well because of the nature of the problems and the desire to be discreet. He hadn’t taken more than a couple jobs in the last six months, just enough to get a taste for what it meant to work as a magician.
He understood he didn’t need to go to school any more if he didn’t want to. But, he knew it had been important to his mother. While she hadn’t turned out to be the greatest person, she had loved him and always tried to do right by him. Plus, he understood that it would give him different opportunities later in life. That piece of paper after four years of work was worth a lot in unidentified possibilities. And, he expected he’d have some fun at the same time. Work and play.
That’s sort of how the magic was beginning to feel too. He had a lot to learn. It would be hard work to become as a great magician as his father had been. But it would be fun getting there all the same. He was excited. Who wouldn’t be?