The Subtle Mage

Three things I knew for certain:

First, that my captors had gone to great lengths to make me comfortable.
Second, that my stay was going to be a long one.
Third, that I may possibly have some superpowers.


5. Day One

Lazing about in a luxury apartment has its perks, but when your only source of entertainment is a stack of weights you have no intention to use, it can get pretty boring.


I’d already tried the Tv. It switched on, but there was no reception, so every time I tried it I was greeted with static and white noise. Nursing a mug of coffee in my hands (and bloody good coffee at that, I might add,) I paced the floor. There was not a single clock in either the living room, nor the bedroom. The heat had started to get to me, so I’d rolled the sleeves up on my hoodie as I wandered aimlessly.


So. Bored.


I knew I had to look on the bright side though, as any non-cynic will tell you. I suppose the conditions I were in could’ve been much worse, and at least there was food in the fridge and coffee in the pot. I hadn’t even bothered to try for a nap. Insomnia and napping do not go together in the same sentence unless the words ‘stops you from’ are between them.


Minutes passed.


If I had a clock, I could tell you that the minutes turned into hours, but they didn’t it was minute after minute after minute.












The door slid open.


I whirled around, ready form whatever was going to come through the door.


It was another masked man in a white lab coat. Holding some sort of pistol.


I was expecting what happened next. There was a blur, a sharp sting in my neck, and my legs gave way beneath me. Just before I lost consciousness I plucked a dart from my neck. It was slim, sharp, and fluffy at one end.


Fluffy or not, it still put me out like a light.




These awakenings I’ve been having seem to vary from hard surface to soft, I concluded, as I felt myself lying on my side against ceramic tiling. The patch my cheek was resting on was warm but as I stirred, I moved onto a patch so cold that I sat bolt upright and promptly hit my head on the corner of something.


I won’t regale you with the string of profanities that escaped me.


When my pain-induced rant had reached its end my eyes had adjusted and I took in whatever environment I had been placed in.


The room was the size of a gymnasium at least, tiled exclusively in white. The room was split into various levels: pillars and columns of texture-less white protruded from the floor, various heights, various thicknesses. Not a spot of colour was present in this strange place. Stranger still was that it smelt of nothing. Not the sterile smell of the interrogation room, nor the crisp clean smell of my bedroom. Just… nothing.


A strip of mirror ran along the wall, close to the ceiling which was far above me, taller than a cathedral. One way, I presumed, because what advantage did a mirror that high up pose? I pictured dozens of scientists studying me behind the glass, scrawling on clipboards.


They must’ve known I was awake by now, but they made no attempt to tell me why I was in this room.


“Hello?” I called out, cautiously.


“I’m awake! Why am I here?”


My only answer was silence.


Deciding to keep my cool, I explored the room.


I felt like an insect in the snow, disturbing some sacred peace; the sound of my footsteps clattering across the white tiles was unsettlingly loud in this room.


Perhaps I needed to ascend? I climbed a level, hopping somewhat daintily from pillar to pillar. I continued in this style for some time before I came to the realisation that it was getting me nowhere, so I went higher; I’d spied a few jutting formations that looked as though I could stand at eye level with the mirrors.


I climbed.


Climbing was one of the few sports that I actually enjoyed. I was told I had the build for it: skinny and tall. Naturally, I found it no problem to scale the pillars, until I found my confidence and began to take risks. I’d leap to a pillar I would’ve avoided earlier, or I’d climb a little higher than I would’ve thought safe.


It was a matter of seconds before I was at the topmost part of the room. The roof was only a couple of metres from my head, and the lowest level was scarily far down. Disregarding that, I stood up from my crouched position and glared through the mirror, turning both my head and my body to gaze into every part of it.


“Well?” I called out to nobody in particular. I wasn’t even sure if anybody was actually there. I felt animalistic, like a monkey in a cage. Left to his own devices, the monkey climbs, and shrieks a the silence around him. Nonetheless, it felt like the right thing to do. I turned on my heel and examined the rest of the room. From this height the formations seemed more natural, like rocky outcrops. From down there, it felt like pillars and blocks: more man made.


In sudden realisation of the futility of my actions, I sat down. If they were going to do anything but observe me they’d have done something by now. Sat cross legged, I laid my head in my hands.


I’ve no idea how ling I sat up there. Heights being a certain calm to me, but from where I was I felt nothing but stressed. Maybe it was the uncertainty of being watched, or maybe it was the entire situation I found myself in, but I stood up and, arching my back, screamed at the ceiling.


The sound echoed through the room: all of my pent up stress and energy let out in one sound. Feeling particularly drained, I went to sit down again when I lost my balance and tottered precariously on the edge.


The fall would probably kill me.


Scratch probably, it would definitely kill me.


I windmilled my arms around and regained my balance. Heart beating, I went to climb down when the pillar lurched.


I fell.


In the few seconds of falling there was no life-before-my-eyes phenomenon. Just the blood pulsing though my ears and my clothes whipping about me. I closed my eyes.


And landed softly on my back.


My breath caught in my throat, and in an instant, I was up, brushing myself down.


“Jesus Ch-…” I gasped, breathing raggedly. I craned my neck to gaze upon not the tower from which I fell, but a completely different part of the room. I whipped my head around, casting about for the tower…


There it was.


At least fifty metres away.


And here I was.


Safe and sound. Essentially. Not a scratch.


Jesus Christ.


Did I just freaking teleport?




Memories of that night in the park came flooding back. Nathan tried to slug me in the guts, and his hand passed right through me. And now, thirty seconds ago, I just fell from a height that should’ve killed me and walked away with nothing more than a minor fright and a racing heart.


Warily, I prodded myself in the chest. I felt pretty solid to me.


One question filled my mind, the others were numbed by shock: What happens now?


The answer came quicker than I would’ve liked.


The sound of a door sliding open, followed by a familiar hiss.


This dart had green feathers instead of blue.

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