by CSyphrett, Martin Maenza and Doc Quantum
Timothy Hunter sat alone on a worn park bench in the middle of Memorial Park, the sun casting a golden hue over the tranquil atmosphere. Surrounded by a half-ring of seven stone statues, their expressions seemingly fixed upon him with an unnerving intensity, he fiddled absentmindedly with his yo-yo.
His mind was consumed by a burning question: What truly unlocked the secret to magic? The world of Grimoire Academy seemed to be replete with enchantments and extraordinary feats, and yet he remained an ordinary boy in search of extraordinary power. His fingers wove deftly and diligently through the ardent maze of string, his mind spinning webs of possibility.
Perhaps, he pondered, it was as simple as believing. A smile tugged at the corners of his lips as the realization unfolded like a blossoming flower within his mind. Could belief alone awaken the dormant magic within him? His ordinary yo-yo glistened in the fading daylight, tantalizing and teasing his imagination.
For a few breathless moments, Timothy held his yo-yo aloft, his eyes fixated on its familiar form. But alas, nothing happened. Moments stretched into eternity as he willed the magic into existence, silently beseeching the universe to grant him the extraordinary.
Frustration clawed at his chest, threatening to overwhelm him. Was this all for nothing? Was he doomed to remain an ordinary boy forever, ensnared in a world of mere tricks and deceits? Fear of failure crept through his veins like a venomous serpent, whispering doubts into his ears.
Resolute, he shook off the shadow of uncertainty and rekindled the spark of determination within. In that pivotal moment, something shifted within him. A flicker of excitement ignited his eyes, as if he had unlocked a hidden door within himself.
And then, with a brilliant burst of magic, the yo-yo transformed into an exquisite owl. Its wings unfurled with grace and power, casting a spell in motion that would forever change Timothy’s destiny. He gasped, scarcely believing the iridescent beauty before him.
Leaping from the bench with unbridled joy, his heart bursting with newfound enchantment, Timothy watched as the owl soared into the cerulean sky. His voice rang out, unfettered by the shackles of quietude. “I did it! I finally did it! Magic!”
His triumphant declaration resonated through the park, echoing off the melancholic stone statues that had witnessed this extraordinary transformation. The wind whispered his name, carrying with it the promise of adventure and wonder.
Timothy Hunter, the ordinary boy who dared to believe, had taken his first step into the magical world that awaited him. From that day forward, nothing would ever be the same.
After the defeat of the diabolical Vlad Tepes, the Clock Room, which had been distorted and twisted, finally returned to its normal dimensions. Abby Cable took the rest of the day to recover from the harrowing experience, while Simon Belmont used the time to meticulously clean up the remnants of the battle.
The next day, before classes started, Abby couldn’t help but pay a visit to the old man after everything they had been through. Wordlessly, she entered the room, her eyes scanning every corner for signs of distress. When she saw Belmont standing tall, his demeanor exuding his usual arrogant confidence, a wave of relief washed over her. However, her concern persisted. She couldn’t help but voice her worry. “Are you okay?” she asked, her voice laced with genuine care.
Belmont, his bushy white brows furrowing, regarded her with his usual coldness. “Why wouldn’t I be?” he replied with an air of unsinkable confidence. It was as if the events of the previous day had been nothing more than a mere inconvenience to him.
Abby sighed softly, her voice heavy with understanding. “Of course,” she said, her tone tinged with resignation and disappointment. Deep down, she had hoped that Belmont might have changed, that the near brushes with death could have humbled him even just a little. But it seemed that he was back to his old, abrasive ways.
Just as Abby was about to walk away, Belmont grabbed her hand gently, preventing her from leaving. His eyes gleamed mischievously. “Yesterday, before all the commotion, you were about to ask me about your husband,” he said, his voice taking on a mysterious undertone.
Abby’s eyes widened with surprise and uncertainty. “Yes,” she admitted, her voice quivering just a touch. “I wanted to know if he is still alive, and if so, do you have any idea where he might be?”
Belmont nodded solemnly, his gaze fixed on a specific spot in the room. Crossing the room purposefully, he reached out to a weathered book resting on one of the old shelves. Carefully flipping open the yellowed pages, he revealed a faded image that gradually came into focus — an image of the Swamp Thing. It was none other than Alec Holland, Abby’s beloved husband. “He seems to be recuperating from some effort or injury,” Belmont supplied, his voice revealing traces of empathy.
Relief flooded Abby’s being, her eyes bright with hope as a radiant smile graced her face. “He is alive!” she exclaimed, unable to contain her joy. “Is there any possible way we can talk to him?”
Belmont’s expression turned grave, and he shook his head slowly. “No,” he replied, his voice tinged with a hint of sadness. “But we can pass him a message.” With that, a flicker of resolve danced in his eyes.
Determined to make contact with her husband, Abby eagerly asked, “What do we need to do?”
A sly grin tugged at the corners of Belmont’s lips. “All we need is something to write on and a pen,” he explained cryptically.
Excitement bubbling within her, Abby rummaged through the pack containing her teaching supplies. Finally, her hand closed around a postcard, and she held it up triumphantly. “I have a postcard,” she declared, feeling a mix of anticipation and hope welling up within her. Abby quickly wrote a brief but heartfelt message on the back of the postcard before presenting it to Belmont. “Will this do?”
Belmont accepted the postcard, his gaze falling onto the words written with a sense of purpose. “Yes, this will do nicely,” he confirmed, his voice low and steady. Without hesitation, he flung the postcard toward the face of the grand clock, a gateway to a far-off place.
“Of course, if you breathe a word of this to anyone, I will deny it,” he warned sternly as he closed the book and the portal, his voice carrying the weight of secrecy and caution.
Abby nodded fervently, her eyes never leaving the scene unfolding before her. “I understand. Thank you!” Overwhelmed with gratitude and hope, Abby could no longer contain herself as she threw her arms around Belmont. Her embrace conveyed her gratitude, her relief, and her appreciation for all he had done.
Belmont, caught off guard by the sudden display of affection, allowed her a few precious seconds before pushing her away slightly. “That’s quite enough,” he muttered, attempting to regain his composure and brush off any hint of sentimentality. “And no more of that in the future, either!” he added gruffly, though his eyes twinkled with a warmth that betrayed his unspoken fondness for the determined young woman.
Abby beamed at him, her eyes sparkling. With her pack securely on her back and an invigorated spirit, she headed out of the room, ready to teach her class with renewed optimism and purpose. The possibilities that awaited her and the potential of reuniting with her beloved husband fueled her every step.