…by sliding down a hill on a car hood
Amnesia & Magic
He reaches out to take the nickel and our hands touch for just a second. A jolt runs through me and for just a second my vision blurs and the sounds of the street sound like they’re being filtered through cotton balls. It passes fast and when it’s over, I know that my Uncle Ted and Aunt Beth live in Astoria, Oregon and my childhood dog was a mutt named Koko. I’m also pretty sure my landlord is an alcoholic.
Mind you, I can’t tell you my aunt & uncle’s last name, where we lived when we had Koko or where the hell I live, but I distinctly remember those other things, which I didn’t ten seconds ago.
I go to ask the Elf kid what’s up and I see him looking at me with wide eyes and a gaping mouth. He’s also looking substantially greener and less sick than he was before we touched. What the hell is going on here?
“Lady,” he says in a hushed voice, “you’ve got Power. A bunch of Power!”
Oh yeah, this is just getting better and better. Somehow, I’m suddenly packing magical juice and I’ve got no idea where I got it. Even worse, this kid knows I’ve got it and if I had my own memory wiped to keep from getting detected, this is only going to make finding me that much easier. I need to get out of here and fast.
“Sorry, kid, but I’ve got to get going.” I toss him a couple of quarters and start walking down the street. A glance over my shoulder tells me the kid is staying put, which slows my heart down to just a near heart attack pace. Up ahead, I turn down an alley and then turn down another as soon as I can. After about five minutes of fast walking, I come out on a residential street and slow down to a normal walking speed, just another citizen going about her business.
A couple more turns and a few more minutes walking and I’m back on Columbus and heading towards Fisherman’s Wharf. Up ahead I see an old codger who looks like he might know his way around, so I ask him if he knows a place called the Big X.
“Sure do, missy,” he says with breath that reeks of early morning boilermakers. “Ain’t never been in it, but I’ve seen it plenty of times. It’s right up there.”
I look where he’s pointing and sure enough, up on a hill to the west of us is a big white building built to look like a big letter X. In the back of my head, something tries to awaken, some memory or other, but it’s no go. This amnesia crap is getting old fast.
I thank the old guy and walk down the street to catch the cable car that’s heading right up the hill to the Big X. As they often are, the car is full of a mix of tourists and working stiffs. I stand near the back and keep my eyes open for…well, I’m not really sure what. I mean, trouble, yeah, but I don’t know what kind of trouble. A carload of thugs? Some palooka with a gun? A spell attack? Beats the hell out of me, so I’ll just look out for anything seems hinky.
We get to the top of the hill and I see I’ve got maybe two blocks to go. I start walking and I’m wondering what I should do when I get to the Big X. Go inside and look around? Wait for somebody to approach me? God damn it, I should have left myself a better note!
I reach the building and see the sign over the door that says “Oliver Sutton Magical Research Institute”. There’s a guard at the door, but he looks and acts more like a glorified doorman that real security. The people going in and out seem to be doctors or something, not mages or wizards. The building itself is about ten stories high and I can see that the white marble it’s made of is covered with runes and symbols that have been carved into it. I’m not an expert on magic, but this looks like some powerful stuff.
I’m about to start heading up the steps when a voice behind me says…
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