Book Trailer https://youtu.be/vmmgq1MeTBc
“You’re really going to make me do magic, aren’t you?”
“Yes. I can’t believe your story otherwise.”
He reached out to some fresh roses that were in a vase on my desk. “Watch,” he said.
No magical energy came from his fingers, and nothing felt or looked any different. He was just... touching them. But he looked at me as if he’d done something. “...You didn’t do anything,” I said.
“Touch the petals.”
As I reluctantly reached out to the petals he’d been touching, his fingers, drawing away, touched my hand. “C’mon, they won’t bite you,” he said. Then he reached out again, and guided my hand across the petals of the flower.
The roses had been real that morning—I’d put them in fresh water.
But now they were fake flowers, made of silk. “You have nice hands,” he said.
I took back my hand. “What did you do to my flowers?”
“Magic,” he said.
“Slight-of-hand magic, you mean. You could have just distracted me...”
Zach sighed and raised his hand, showing me his palm, the fingers splayed out like he was about to start pointing to it and lecturing me about palm-reading. Then he lowered it down until his hand was laid out flat on my desk. I watched his hand lower, then I watched it sit there, waiting for something to happen. His hand didn’t move... nothing seemed to move... though there was some slight change I couldn’t put my finger on.
After a few seconds, I looked more closely around his hand at the desktop. The top of the desk was transparent.
My desk had been made of wood. Now, however, the entire desk was made of glass.
It was still exactly the same shape. It was at least the same weight, since it didn’t budge when I pushed at it.
I pulled out a drawer. A glass drawer slid out, on metal wheels turning on metal rails screwed into the glass by metal screws. I hadn’t really needed to pull out the drawer—I could already see, somewhat, what was inside: regular-old, boring white envelopes, some staples, paperclips, pens.
All faintly visible through see-through glass, glass with a woody brown tint to it... and a sort of vague wood grain set into it somehow...
“Don’t worry, it’ll only last a few hours, then it’ll change back to wood,” Cutter assured me.
What. In the world.
I stared at him for almost half a minute. He looked at me patiently. It was as if we were trying to “read” each other, trying to figure out... I don’t know. Each other, I guess.
I looked away first. “I’m sorry, Zach, but you’re not a client of mine yet... I can’t... until I get to know you... I don’t just give out sleeping pills... I’m sure other doctors might, but...”
“I don’t want another doctor. I want you, Cynthia.”
Great. The first handsome, smart guy I’d met in a while, and not only did he have to be a potential client, he was some sort of... magician...? “I’m not sure that would be...” I said, “I mean...” On top of everything else, I found that I was blushing.
“What if I told you that...well, uh... I actually... it’s not just sleeping pills... seriously, I do have some real problems...”
“What sort of problems...?”
“Oh? When did that start?”
He smiled weakly. “After Celeste died. The time right before that is very fuzzy. And the time right after that is pretty much lost to me. I lost months... probably a lot more time than that.” He glanced at a clock on the wall and grinned a winning smile. “But I imagine my time’s up for today...”
“Yes, I suppose it is...”
“Unless you’d like to go out to dinner with me...?”
“Mr. Cutter, if you’re to be my client, I can’t... we can’t meet socially...”
“I’ve always liked women who have a bit of an authoritarian side to them...”
I took out my appointment book. “Let’s get you an appointment for next time. I don’t really appreciate walk-ins, and...”
“—Argh, I hate sticking to appointments. Being a magician isn’t exactly a 9-to-5 job...”