October 7th, 1964
On a dark night in the empty streets of Wellington Wells, a familiar tune fills the silence, and a voice.
Well, it’s rather late, isn’t it?” The voice of everyone’s favourite Wellie, Jack Worthing, cuts through the air. “And it’s time for all good citizens should be getting ready to go to bed. Would you like to hear another bed time story?” He chuckles, “of course you would.”
He opens his book at the front page before glancing back at the camera. “Well, why don’t you all cozy up around the telly, grab yourself a lovely cup of tea, and I’ll tell you something that happened.”
How she dispised his telling of this story, it aroused nothing but sorrow in this lady of 36.
In the cozy livingroom of an old, delapidated house, she sat with her husband staring at the television screen, he glared at the man in front of him with equal disdain. This house’s walls had changed many times over the years, yet with her they remained the same, a monument to a time long since past.
“Tonight’s story takes place in our own little village of Hamelyn, the story of a man, who we call, ‘The Sorcerer’... or was it Jack.. no, that’s me haha! John, maybe?” Another hearty laugh, “One tends to forget you know, oh well, but he was certainly Magical!”
She’d had enough, raising from her chair, she reached towards the unit, switching it off with a resounding click, her husband offered no protest. The light and the voice instantly left the room, and they proceeded to turn themselves in for the night.
This lady is Abigail Beaton, it was her who had been brought forward and inherited the title of ‘The Sorceress’, and she remembers.
Her husband is Bennie McLean, a Scottish man, who was once an aspiring actor but now resounds himself to perform alongside his lady. And he remembers.
They remember him.
1946, the ‘Very Bad Day’
She’d met him on the day that the world had feared.
The day the world no longer made sense.
An old man stood on the train terminal, staring towards her direction, briefcase in-hand, a trenchcoat and a top hat, smoking a pipe. His face glum, for this was no happy day.
She stood by her two youngest sisters who were engaged in singing a song with a group of children, patents, and relatives led by their school teacher, Miss Byng, who was currently putting on a weak smile. It seemed today was truly joyless.
Nevertheless, Abigail tried to half-heartedly join in.
She seemed to have noticed the man before the teacher had, as the woman promptly waved him over.
“Oh there you are! Children, meet John, a truly remarkable man!” She chirped, all too happy to be free of her makeshift distraction.
He extended his hand to shake hers, the glum look replaced with that same hesitant smile, a bow in his step as though to greet her.
“Now can we all sit in a semi-circle on the ground? Mr John is our very own, resident Sorcerer and magician!” She circled around the group of children to stand with the parents at the back, leaving him to the proverbial stage.
“Good morning children, so very nice to see you all.” He tipped his hat, the children offered a sing-song ‘good morning’ as rehearsed every day in their school.
“Now tell me...” he paused for a moment to glance around at their faces, “who here likes magic?”
He was met with cries of approval, a chorus of childish “Me!”s arose, one of the older children stuck his hand in the air.
“S-sir?” He stuttered, John turned his attention to the boy.
“Yes?” He asked patiently, the boy removed his hand.
“Do you... do... do you really know mag- magic-“ he was cut off by a smaller boy with thick-framed glasses and a sarcastic voice.
“Of course, he’s a magician!” He was met by several voices of agreement, “he has a top hat, see? And a big long coat!”
“Magicians don’t have long coats!” Another protested, it took john a minute to quiet down the group.
Once there was complete silence, he paced in front of the group, nose to the sky, glancing down at them amused. “To answer your question boy... im not sure myself,” he produced a fake bouquet of flowers from his hand, “why don’t you figure that out for me?”
He was met with another chorus of gasps and giggles, yet Abigail couldn’t help but sigh in her mind. It was such a simple trick, at least the children enjoyed it... that’s all that really mattered right now.
John produced a number of small sleight-of-hand tricks, just enough to pass the time. Abigail found herself lost in thought once more.
The Sorcerer of Wellington Wells indeed... cant say anything has been too impressive
At that moment, she realised one of her younger sisters was stood next to the magician, and his hand was extended out towards her.
“A round of applause for our two volunteers” he offered, a slight nod towards her, he could tell she hadn’t been paying attention. His audience obayed with a polite yet brief applause, Abigail stepped forward slowly to reach his arm, allowing herself to be led by him.
He stood her on his right-hand side, passing her a paper and pen. He then handed two chalkboards to her younger sister and a stick of chalk.
“Now my young dear, could you stick that piece of chalk between those two boards, make sure one if facing the opposite way as not to crush it.” He instructed the child, who placed the chalk on the front of one of the boards, placing the other board on top of it, ensuring that the wooden border prevented it from crushing the utensil.
He then turned his head to face Abigail who had her eyebrow cocked at him.
“And you dear, would you mind writing a word for me, any word on that piece of paper, I ask that you do not show me it but please do make it difficult.” He instructed, facing away from her.
“All done?” He questioned as he heard the dranite cease to glide along the paper, she quipped back a quiet “Yes” after cradling the pper closer to her chest, to ensure that he definitely could not see its contents.
His head snapped back towards his audience, his foot stepping slightly forward. He addressed the child. “Can you tell me, my young lady, have you felt or heard the chalk rolling at all inside that box?”
She tipped it from side to side, no clicks were heard from inside, she concluded with a solid “No sir!”
“Would you mind opening it up and taking the chalk out for me?”
She obliged, lifting the lid, she gasped, stepping back slightly with wide eyes and a rapidly spreading smile. She laughed.
“What? Whatever is the matter?” He chuckled at her, feigning an exaggerated annoyance as he began leaning towards her slightly.
“It’s gone!” She exclaimed gesturing at the empty board.
“Care to show us?” He asked, gesturing to the group, she held it up so all could see, the chalk was, in fact, gone.
“No it isnt” he quipped back amusedly, “it’s right here!” He reached behind her ear to produce another stick of chalk, placing it back on the whiteboard, causing the class to laugh.
Abigail found herself smiling.
“My! You have a lot back there, don’t you?”
He performed the same trick a few times until there were 8 stucks of chalk sitting on the board, earning hilarity through the group of children. “Have you been stealing this from your classroom girl?”
She screeched a laugh, letting out a wailing “No sir!” as she bounced on her heels.
He faked a huff, “Oh alright you, let’s try that again and- Ah ah,” he wagged his finger at her, “No stealing!”
She placed the board over the other once again, concealing the chalk.
“Can you feel it rolling now?” She tilted it once more, this time resulting in a few clicks as it hit the wooden border. She nodded enthusiastically.
“Keep rolling it.” He commanded, and she obayed, tilting the box from side to side until the clicks grew quieter and eventually stopped. Her mouth formed the shape of an O, while a chorus of ‘Ooh’s escaped the crowd.
“Have you stolen my chalk again?” He asked, ahe shook her head furiously.
“Well then, let me see! Open it up!”
She removed the top board, revealing the chalk to be missing, but a word was etched onto it.
He took the board from the amazed girl’s arms, holding it in front of him he glanced around the amazed faces. “Popinjay?” He questioned.
He turned to Abigail annoyed, “My dear girl, you got it wrong!” She stood, taken aback.
“Show them your word” he told her, she held the paper out which said “Popinjay” in messy writing. The children loved it, screeching about how amazing it had been.
“I am terribly sorry children, she seems to have gotten it wrong, it was rather supposed to go like this.” He removed a hankerchief from his pocket, lacing it through his thumb and forefinger, he flipped it quickly to revea a dove, flapping its wings frantically in front of the widened eyes.
He quickly opened his briefcase, pulling from it a make-shift birdcage in which he put the dove, allowing it to hang from his finger. He dismissed his two assistants with another round of applause and a bow before Miss Byng approached him happily.
“Did you enjoy that, children? Because i did too!” She laughed, the voice grew more distant as Abigail observed John, making his hasty escape, and once he was out of the sight of the children his face fell once more into that ghastly glum look.
He didn’t dare turn back to face them, before he disappeared from sight.