The magician

He thought it was inside his ears, until Kate heard it too. Hushed through the leaves at first, then more obtrusive, slapping thickly upon the forest. Careless, it seemed to Joe. What could have been elegant magic, made vulgar.

He thought them out of it, though it was hard this time. One thing to practice in a steel-bright lab, another entirely stumbling through evening’s grime, tripping on the toes of trees, sorcery raining around you in drops the size of –

But he thought them out. And Kate found herself face-down on soft hillside, the magician’s laughter ringing in her ears.

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