The Elusive Enchantment

A short story, just for fun, inspired by a random prompt and strongly influenced by a particular inept wizard:

“What could possibly go wrong!” He exclaimed. “Right? No, that wasn’t it. Shit! Shit!” Randy went on and on as he was half-running, half-falling down the damp alley, trying to jump over puddles and piles of thrash and failing miserably. His head would swivel to the side but his eyes would not look over his shoulder. Instead, they’d screw up painfully in the exact opposite direction, his brain trying to convince him it’s for the best.
“You just wait and see!” He tried again. “Go big or go home!” Another miscalculated jump caused sewage water to spray him all the way to the thigh. As he jerked instinctively his eyes slipped back and noticed the shadow chasing after him.
The large uneven shape of writhing threads was careening down the cobbled alley, its ever-changing silhouette morphing constantly but always keeping true. Randy tensed even more, if that was at all possible without ligaments snapping. Almost unwittingly, he stretched out his right hand, hooking it on a gutter, changing direction so suddenly his legs swung off the ground.
As he landed around the corner, his worn shoes skidded on the wet cobble stones and he crashed into a big burly guy engaged in a conversation in front of the dark and definitely dangerous pub there. The place looked especially unhealthy if you’re a scrawny beardless sorcerer. Randy bounced back from the wide leather-clad back and landed on his ass, almost spilling the man’s drink. The “almost” part didn’t matter much to the angry-looking man, whose furry eyebrows were practically overflowing around his eyes and into his beard.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Randy looked hastily from the huge biker in front of him to the ominously vacant corner behind him, trying to decide which fate would be worse. Or at least which would be swifter, so he could just have this whole trudge over with. Before he could make up his mind, he heard the rumbling of supernatural on cobble stones and his spindly legs pushed him forward. He guessed going for the unnaturally large but still of this realm would at the very least render him unconscious when the other guy came along, so that was better than peeing in his pants, again.
As he was scrambling up first to his knees then on to his feet, and trying to figure out how one made fists, he presented such an entertaining sight that the men were practically doubling over in laugher. Then the assailed, who bellowed the heartiest laugh, turned to one of his companions.
“Hold my beer!” he said.
Suddenly, Randy’s eyes grew as large as the pints’ bottoms and he threw himself onto the man’s leg.
“What the…” the now twice ridiculously attacked tried to say but the words wilted in his throat as a great big pitch of black loomed behind the corner. It could only be described as wiggling nothingness with eyes, although where exactly the eyes were and what they were like, nobody could later recall. The thing halted for only a second, just so that it could charge like a bull from the mouth of the alley. Which turned out to be just the amount of time Randy needed to raise one hand, the other still inappropriately squeezing the large man’s thigh, and repeat the elusive enchantment:
“Hold my beer!” he cried and as the small gathering in front of the pub turned their eyes quizzically towards him, a misshapen bubble of purplish light speckled with sickly green expanded from the level of the biker’s crotch. It started slowly and then it burst outward like a soap balloon popping, the motley spray rushing outward in all directions, clearing up the air around them if only for a moment.
When Randy finally dared to open his eyes, there were actual sun rays prying into the back street. Murky, hesitant rays, but still coming from the sun. As they slowly backed away, after tasting the passageway’s fragrance of stale beer, urine and cheap cigarettes, Randy lifted his gaze upward to where a pair of stone grey eyes were peering at him from within a lush beard streaked tastefully with grey. His hands unclenched and he slid down onto the cobbles. A large hand with several heavy rings on it appeared into view, closing in. The unfortunate sorcerer flinched, but all the hand did was grab him by the back of his jacket like a kitten by its neck and lift him onto his trembling legs.
His eyes were now levelled with the man’s chest. Tentatively, they slid up to his face where the grey eyes were now glistening and lips seemed to be quivering underneath the ample growth. Then the actual mouth appeared approximately where it was supposed to be and a huge thundering laugh came out.
“Hold… my beer!” the man was stammering in-between bouts of belly-shaking laughter and the rest of the group joined in, their guffaws echoing down between the crammed buildings.
Randy’s mouth twitched unsure on one side and his shoulders relaxed little by little. Then a pint was thrusted in his hands with the phrase of the day repeated through tears and, finally, he joined in.

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About Yoanna Novakova

Yoanna is a reader, writer, traveller, concert goer, hiker, drinker, thinker and, of late... a blogger. She's currently doing a lot of travel writing (obviously), but fiction, fantasy and life-writing all have a representative in her portfolio. A reader of varied tastes, she's even been called "strange" for enjoying Stephen King and Terry Pratchett alike. In her pre-teen years, she used to be the kid who'd re-read her favourite books over and over again. Now she knows life is just too short for that. Always reading more than one book at a time, always writing more than one project at a time, she is yet to find her perfect pace. But she's working on it!
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