At sixty I was not moving as fast or as nimbly as when I was younger. At least my mind was still sharp and clear which a lot of others could not say. I had been and done a lot over the years. I was a farmer and a rancher, a carpenter and an electrician, a soldier and a mechanic. I have been a clerk and a cook, hell I was even a fireman for awhile.
What I was now was late and walking through an alley. I stopped in the shadows when I heard the roar and crashing explosion. There was a flash of light or maybe lightning and a long white breaded ancient staggered out of the night and into me. He clutched me as he started to fall and I caught him and helped him down, "hey!"
His eyes focused and he smiled, "well if it is not a youngster."
He caught both my hands in his which seemed way to strong to belong to an old man like him. He began to chant and I was frozen and unable to move. A wind blew up and around us like some dust devil. There was the sound of bells and sparks of light that seemed to flicker as they flew into me from him.
Time seemed to stop and the darkness beyond us grew as the old man began to glow. His chanting blended with the sound of the wind and the earth began to shake. Suddenly the old man was consumed in flames that wrapped around me. When they vanished the wind died and the old man's body was only fine ash.
I sagged on my knees and looked around. The night seemed different like I was able to look into the darkness or see through it. I glanced down at the ash before slowly standing. I knew what the cops would say if I told them what I thought happened. I shook myself before I started to walk again.
The soft echo of the chant seemed to follow but it was only in my mind. The bright lights of the senior center seemed to beckon and I moved a little faster. The bus was still there and waiting for the last few people heading to Atlantic City. I found an empty seat in back and set the shoulder bag up in the overhead.
I sat against the window and leaned back and closed my eyes. I woke several times, each time from dreams of texts and tomes and scrolls. Either that or strange and sometimes frightening creatures. When the bus finally got to the resort I got off. I was feeling more alive and moved easier as I went to check in.
I checked the room before I undressed and went to bed. It was going to be a long day tomorrow. I wanted to watch all the horse races and maybe try my luck with the slots. It seemed like as soon as I closed my eyes the chanting was back. Only somehow it was different, like there were people just out of sight repeating it.
I woke quickly and sat up, I knew what the old man had done. He had transferred his power and all his knowledge to me. I got up and went to the bathroom and took a shower. I dressed and looked at myself in the mirror. I could almost see the vitality coursing into me. I went to eat and thought about what had happened.
When I walked through the gaming floor I looked at the slot machines and thought. I stopped at one and put in a bill before murmuring and then maxing the bet and pulling the handle. Bells went off and then the light at the top of the machine. I hit the button for the payout ticket and stood to go to the sports book.
I maxed the bet for a fourteen race parley and went to sit in the back to watch the races. When I walked out at the end of the days I had won a lot of money. I had spent the day thinking and as soon as I reached the room I grabbed my bag and left. I had a few places to go and several things to find or make.
Crushed rock salt was one and powered charcoal was another. There was also plants and herbs and silver. After I was done I carried the bag with everything and started walking. It was hours before I reached the woods and a couple more spent hiking into them. I stopped in a clearing and looked at it very carefully before deciding it would do.
I stripped and laid down and relaxed and closed my eyes. I pictured the ancient scroll that had been in my thoughts and studied it carefully. It was afternoon of the next day when I got up and moved into the clearing and began moving rocks and debris. Mostly the ground was solid rock but I did have to pull up some of the grass.
I looked at the area before I began to use the things I had brought. Around the outside was a huge six pointed star with ancient symbols. The symbols were around the outside and inside of the charcoal line. Inside of that was the circle with glyphs around the inside and outside. Inside of the circle was a pentagram with runes on the inside and outside.
I placed five white candles at each point of the pentagram. With salt and charcoal and the herbs I carefully drew symbols, glyphs and runes all over my body. From the start to the finish I had remained inside my work. Now I took the tiny solid silver knife and nicked the fingers and thumb of my left hand.
I let a single drop of blood fall on each of the candles and then went to my knees and sat back to wait. There was the grumble of a storm but it was in the distance. Day turned to night and I stilled the chills that tried to seep into my old body. Just at the mid point in the night everything became calm and the world around me went silent.
The clouds parted and the outer symbols burst into red flames. Wind began to blow as pain lanced into my body as if it were on fire. The star exploded in a tall orange wall of fire and another wave of pain surged into me. The stars above shimmered as rain began to fall and the inner symbols ignited.
Yellow flames races around the inside of the star as my blood felt like it was boiling. I held still and gritted my teeth as the earth shook and the outer glyphs began to glow a pearl color. Icy cold swept through me, making the fire and the pain from it sting. The circle erupted in a wall of white that seemed to reach into the sky and beyond.
I stilled the shaking as it felt like my muscles were slowly freezing solid. The inner glyphs bloomed into glaring light that blinded and seemed to stab into my eyes. Through the pain and agony the outer set of runes blazes with bluish white fire. It felt like my body was being torn apart, muscle by muscle.
A line of light blue fire raced around the pentagram and with it a sharp pain in my guts. My heart was pounding as if I were running as fast as I could and I began to breath hard. The inner runes seemed to pulse before they flared up in bright blue fire. My bones felt like they were melting and my blood was pounding in my ears.
The five candle wicks ignited and I came to my feet with a scream. I stiffened as everything went white and I saw a lady walk towards me. She wore a long flowing white gown and smiled as she looked at me before bowing her head. The white vanished and the world returned as I crashed to the ground.
I had summoned a goddess to infuse me with all the elemental powers granted to wizards. It was hours before I slowly tried to move. Everything I had done was gone as if it had never been. I stood on shaky feet and walked to my shoulder bag and got dressed. I looked around before turning to walk into the forest as a mist swirled up.
When I stepped out of it I was in my small apartment. I sighed as I dropped the bag and went to shower and then slept for ten hours. When I woke I felt like a new person and when I looked into the bathroom mirror it looked that way. It looked like I was maybe twenty. I glanced at the sex toy by the shower and felt how realistic it was and grinned.
I dressed before leaving and stopping to get breakfast. That was something I had not done in ten years. I opened my shop and walked through all the cement statues. Most were a meter to a meter and a half tall. There were trolls and gnomes and satyrs and nymphs and a lot more. I got the bank out for the register and set up.
I looked at the statues and the few fountains before I thought of the texts, scrolls and books in my head. I sat back and I guess I was bored and stood to walk through the shop. I stopped to look at a wood nymph and the sex toy at home made me grin. I went to the back and murmured and it appeared on the back workbench.
I felt the rubbery realistic texture before I used chalk to make a pentagram. I carefully drew runes around the inside and outside. I looked at it before I started speaking a language that had been dead a thousand years. Slowly from the ground up a substance like the toy appeared. When it stopped I had a few customers and sold two statues before I returned to the pentagram.
I looked at the material before going out front and sitting on a bench. Normally there were a lot of people that crowded the walk but it was slow today. Finally I saw a woman with strawberry colored hair. I whispered and drew a symbol and she hesitated before crossing the street. I stood as she approached and murmured and a small lock of hair dropped into my hand.
She smiled at me as she continued to walk and I went back inside. I set the lock on my workbench and had to go help another customer. I was busy for awhile before things slowed down again. I moved a cement wood nymph to the back and made another pentagram beside the first and around the statue.
I added the lock of hair in with the material and thought of the scrolls before going to close the doors. When I came back I took a breath and began to murmur and speak and chant. The statue glowed and the mass of realistic material shimmered before its shape began to change. When I stopped a wood nymph with long red hair stood where the material had been.
A young woman cleared her throat and I spun and looked at her. She grinned, "that was ... interesting."
.... There is more of this story ...