The Books of Magic: Fever of Death, Chapter 3: Master of the Impossible

by CSyphrett and Martin Maenza

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In a flash, Gareth Gallowglass and Rose Psychic materialized in the infirmary, the teleport from the administration building delivering them to the small medical station instantaneously. Rose, however, found the experience disorienting and instinctively clung to the counter to balance herself.

“Don’t worry, the effects of the teleport will soon pass,” Gallowglass reassured her, throwing open the doors to one of the supply cabinets. “Think of it as a mere leap across the campus.”

Easy for him to say, Rose thought, but spoke aloud, “Yes, of course.”

Gallowglass rummaged through various containers until he found a hypodermic syringe. “I’ll need to multiply this to satisfy the amount of doses we’ll need,” he explained, placing the syringe on the counter and focusing intently. In an instant, the small pile of syringes grew so rapidly that counting them became a challenge.

Next, Gallowglass turned his attention to a bottle of antibiotics. Concentrating once more, he caused the bottle to expand dramatically, transforming it from a modest container to one of considerable size.

Rose observed in awe as Gallowglass effortlessly performed such extraordinary multiplication magic. It was a skill she had always found impressive, and he executed it with remarkable ease. Doctor Occult himself could not have accomplished it any quicker. Suddenly, she noticed a look of deep concentration crossing his face.

“A problem, sir?” she inquired.

Gallowglass shook his head. “No, just need to get the right makeup for the desired results,” he replied. As he spoke, the transparent liquid in the bottle began to change color, gradually shifting to a faded tan, then to a washed-out lemon hue. “Almost…” he murmured. Finally, the solution settled on its ideal color. “Yes, that is it.”

“That will do it?” asked Rose, brushing a lock of her dark black hair behind her right ear.

Gallowglass peered at it with his one good eye, his gaze earnest. “The parasitic infection was transmitted by an unknown plant,” he explained. “Somehow, it found its way to the island from an external source. I eradicated the root cause earlier today, but some students had already been exposed and are experiencing delayed reactions. We must inoculate all the students and teachers to prevent any future exposure.”

Gesturing toward the bottle, he said, “This will do the trick. I want everyone, including Adam, to receive five CCs of this in their arms as quickly as possible. Start with Mr. Cantrell and Miss Ambrose while we wait for the others to arrive. The gym class students should go first since they were closest to the initial outbreaks.”

“Understood,” Rose responded calmly. “Anything else?”

Gallowglass filled four syringes, injecting the first one into himself as a precautionary measure. Although he doubted its necessity, considering he had already triumphed over the spores’ invasion of his body, it couldn’t hurt to be cautious.

He then motioned for Rose to roll up her sleeve, and she complied without hesitation. After cleaning her arm with a cotton swab, Gallowglass administered the chemical into her bloodstream. “I’ll be back as soon as I can!” he promised, grabbing the remaining hypodermic and vanishing in an instant.

Where is he going now? Rose couldn’t help but wonder. The answer would have to wait, though. She readied two more needles, preparing to tend to the infected children already present in the infirmary.


Gareth Gallowglass adjusted his brown tie, smoothing it against his vibrant yellow shirt. Stepping into the magnificent three-story Clock Tower, he couldn’t help but marvel at how time had slipped away. It felt like just yesterday when he had received the same brown suit he wore now, back in 1951 when he had built the school for Margo the Magician and the other founding fathers. (*) Where has the time gone? he pondered.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Origins: The Books of Magic: Times Past, 1951: Founding Fathers.]

His thoughts drifted over the past thirty-five years. It slipped away while I protected the world and my students from perilous threats and grave consequences, he thought, answering his own question. A fleeting notion of retirement crossed his mind, allowing others to take on the role of headmaster as they had in the past, but Gallowglass swiftly dismissed it entirely. No. Who could possibly be more qualified for the task than I?

Suddenly, the abrasive Simon Belmont descended the stairs from the tower’s peak. Gareth observed the old man, realizing that despite the toll Grimoire had taken on many, Simon seemed immune to its ravages. He was rude and obnoxious, lacking patience for anyone intruding on his domain.

“What do you want?” Belmont barked, his tone gruff.

Gallowglass considered the man before responding, “First, you’ll get a shot.”

Belmont arched an incredulous bushy white eyebrow. “A shot for what?”

“It’s a new, plant-based infection,” Gallowglass explained, revealing one of the last two needles in his possession.

“No needle is going into my hide,” Belmont asserted firmly. “Never has, never will.”

Gallowglass blinked, watching as the fluid inside the hypodermic vanished. Belmont’s face twisted in disgust, seemingly tasting something repulsive. Stubborn old fool, always has to have it his way! the headmaster thought, momentarily irked. Swiftly, Gallowglass transformed the syringe into nothing but air and dust.

Undeterred, Belmont turned his back and began adjusting a few books. “And second…?” he prompted, curious about the reason behind this meeting.

Gallowglass’ expression shifted, revealing his growing concern. “Next, I need to know what you did with Mrs. Cable!”

Belmont continued his mundane task, his response nonchalant. “I let her go home yesterday afternoon. She hasn’t returned to the pick-up point yet.” In truth, Belmont had hardly expected to see her again, given that she’d taken her bags with her. At this point he saw no reason to mention it now, though.

“You let her go home? You know very well we have an agreement with Shazam regarding this since the Crisis!” Gallowglass seethed, his anger simmering. “The terms state no traveling to and from, except for field trips and vacations! That is it!”

“I’m well aware of the terms, but what harm could it have done?” Belmont retorted. “After all, she belongs to this Earth.”

“Rules are rules!” Gallowglass insisted, frustration lacing his voice. “I shouldn’t have to remind you of that! You’ve been here longer than anyone else and should know better!”

A hint of defiance flashed in Simon Belmont’s eyes as he challenged, “So, what are you going to do? Fire me?”

“Oh, I should,” Gallowglass declared, his tone resolute.

Belmont smirked confidently. “You wouldn’t last a week without me.”

The two men ascended to the top of the tower, each lost in their own thoughts. Gallowglass gazed silently over his cherished domain, while Belmont attended to his preparations. “She mentioned staying with a woman named Liz Tremayne,” he said, placing a file on the stand and opening it. “I’ll teleport you right into her living room.”

“You have the exact place at your fingertips, eh?” Gallowglass said, his voice tinged with a mixture of curiosity and anger. “When I get back, we’ll talk about this flagrant abuse of your position.”

Belmont, his hands trembling, shot a warning glance at Gallowglass. “If you make my hands shake any more, you might wind up in a wall,” he warned, trying to steady himself. He spread a blueprint out on the stand, and as if by magic, a room took shape on the circular windows of the four walls. He waited, anticipation coursing through him, until he felt that special tingle that meant a connection had been formed. With a confident nod, he declared, “Anytime you’re ready.”

Gallowglass nodded, a mixture of anticipation and trepidation coursing through his veins, as he took a single step forward, venturing off his secluded island for the first time in nearly forty years. It felt as effortless as crossing into the next room, and nearly as quick.

His eyes drank in the sight of his new surroundings, a modest-looking room adorned in dark hues. “Charming,” he muttered to himself.

Suddenly, a low moan caught his attention from a room behind him. It held no threatening quality, only sheer agony. Gallowglass wasted no time, his feet carrying him to the doorframe in a hurry. A hole, crudely punched into the wooden door, served as an ominous clue. Not a good sign, he thought.

Peering into the room, Gallowglass beheld a scene of devastation. A woman lay against the wall, her body twisted in an unnatural manner, emitting soft and pitiful moans. Her feeble arm stretched out toward the floor, desperately reaching for a telephone that remained agonizingly out of reach. Her back is broken, Gallowglass realized. For how long, though?

Without hesitation, he lowered himself beside the woman, his voice gentle as a balm to her suffering. “It’s okay. What happened?” he inquired, a tender concern lacing every syllable. He softly grazed his fingers against her spine, careful to assess the extent of her injury. Relief washed over him; it was only a broken back, painful indeed, but mendable.

“A-Abby… threw me…” the woman struggled to speak through her agony and tears, the immense strength of her friend-turned-assailant still resonating. “So strong…”

“Just hold on a moment,” Gallowglass soothed, determined to alleviate her pain. “I’ll make it better.” In the blink of an eye, the woman’s broken form was made whole once more. “Here, let me assist you. Take it slowly.” He extended his hand, providing support as she rose from the unforgiving floor.

Liz Tremayne, startled by the sudden relief from excruciating pain, stared at Gallowglass in awe. It was as if a weight had been lifted off her, not just physically, but emotionally as well. “Who are you?” she asked, her voice filled with wonder and newfound confidence. “How did you do that?”

Gallowglass gently guided her toward the nearby bed. “You need to rest,” he insisted, concern etched on his face.

Her surprise deepened as she questioned him further. “Are you some kind of doctor or something?”

Gallowglass shook his head, a hint of a smile tugging at his lips. “No,” he replied cryptically. “I know of Mrs. Cable from the school where she was working. Do you know where she went?”

Liz shook her head, uncertainty clouding her features. “No, I don’t.”

Examining the damage in the room, Gallowglass’ sharp observation skills kicked in. He realized that her trail would not be difficult to follow. Determination fueled his words as he declared, “I’ll find her,” before swiftly leaving the house.

Standing on the porch, Gallowglass’ eye scanned the surroundings, taking note of the broken door. With a wave of his hand, the door was magically restored to its rightful place. Simultaneously, his gaze fell upon burn marks in the grass, and a trail of footprints laid out before him, leading him in the right direction.

Just like Miss Ambrose and Mr. Cantrell, he thought grimly as he set off in pursuit. I hope no one has been killed yet!


Downtown Houma lay in ruins, resembling the aftermath of a merciless tornado. The streets were marked by scorching footprints, a visible reminder of the catastrophe that had befallen the small town. Gallowglass scowled, taking in the destruction before him.

The damage will have to wait, he realized, knowing there were more pressing matters at hand. First, I must find Mrs. Cable. She has to be the cause of all this!

In a moment of focus, Gallowglass opened his mind’s eye and scoured the town for his missing faculty member. It didn’t take long for his senses to guide him to her whereabouts. Ah, there she is! In a blink, he materialized by her side.

Abby Cable had a portly man — a local school principal — in a vise-like grip, choking the life out of him. “Die, you bastard!” she howled.

Gallowglass wasted no time in giving orders. “Release him now, Mrs. Cable!” he commanded firmly.

Startled, she turned toward him, her eyes blazing with fury. “You?!” Abby glanced down at her victim in confusion, then back at Gallowglass, before dropping the man to the ground in disgust.

“You are Gallowglass, not he! So you are the one who will die!” she spat, her face contorted with rage. Smoke and steam seemed to emanate from her, as if she were boiling from within. She lunged at him, her hands reaching out for the one-eyed man.

Gallowglass maintained his composure. “Sleep,” he ordered calmly.

Abby collapsed into his arms, still radiating heat even in her slumber. Gallowglass swiftly administered the last of the antidote through the syringe, allowing its healing powers to take effect. Gradually, her face regained a sense of tranquility that he had come to know so well. He gently laid her down on the ground.

But his task was far from over.

Gareth Gallowglass was known as a Master of the Impossible, a title befitting those who possessed the ability to accomplish nearly anything they envisioned, as easily as breathing. Imagination and determination were their only limitations — two qualities the one-eyed man possessed in abundance.

Closing his eyes, the headmaster of Grimoire Academy concentrated. With sheer mental force, he reached out to Houma, sensing its pain and torment. Focusing his power, he visualized the town returning to its former state.

“Be as you were!” he quietly commanded.

And just like that, everything reverted back to the state they had been before Abby Cable’s rampage. While some injuries were severe, thankfully, there had been no fatalities. Gallowglass had the power to resurrect the dead, but they were never quite the same — that he had learned the hard way.

Having repaired the physical and mental damage inflicted, he directed his attention to the minds of the townsfolk. A small community like this would have been deeply affected by such a cataclysmic event. It was best that the memory be wiped clean. No one needs to recall that an ordinary woman became a living nightmare for a few hours, he thought, erasing the recollection from everyone’s minds.

Except for Abby Cable’s.

He left her memory intact, leaving her to decide whether she wanted to remember or not, in due time.

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