I meet a friend in a department store to look at dresses. Most are brilliantly colored, gossamer with full skirts and sleeves. Some are hanging from wires from the ceiling and shift softly in the breeze. My friend points to the ones she likes, jewel-colored ones. They're the ones I like too. They must be very expensive. My father, who is the salesman for this department, comes out to talk with me. He tells me to take care of myself. He's afraid that I'm not happy. I tell him that I will.

The scene shifts and I am in a building—maybe a tourist center. We're on the island of Atlantis. I swim in a deep blue pool—relaxing and soothing. I know there are no sharks here. I wander around the building. Here and there I find pieces of shell carved into shapes, and a book in a magical language that I can almost understand if I look at it long enough. I sit at the table and study the book. A man, seeing me studying the book, comes over and invites me to a bin where he picks up a small burlap bag with a label on the front. The bag contains something edible, and the man asks me if I've ever tried it. I look at the label, realizing that this will make everything clear. I'm interrupted by a woman, who I think must be my sister because she looks exactly like me. She asks me to come with her and I follow. She takes me down some stairs and into her room. It's filled with all kinds of strange and wonderful things. She asks to see my pieces of shell. When she sees them, she says they are hers. I'm surprised and angered by this because I found them. She then shows me her pieces of shell carved into other shapes. I realize they are pieces of a set which is very powerful but useless without all the pieces. She says she has been searching for years for all the pieces, but there are still more missing, having been scattered in many places over the ages. I realize that she is very old, perhaps immortal, that if we can find the missing shells, we'll both be complete. I've found the ones on Atlantis, but we must find the others. I ask her if she knows where the other ones are, but she doesn't answer. I ask her about the substance in the burlap bag, thinking it may be just what we need to help us, but she says nothing. She points to a strangely colored object beside her bed which looks like a pagoda. In front of it stands a marvelously made knife. As I look into the pagoda, I can see my other self or perhaps my reflection. She asks me if I want the knife, and I say yes, thinking that it will make a wonderful athame.

We go outside and stand in the road. She says that it's almost time, and I realize that the island will sink soon. I see a dust-colored cloud overhead and the wind is very strong. It batters the dilapidated houses on the beach, pulling at the sheets of plastic covering the roofs. The cloud becomes a funnel and pieces of the houses break away and fly into the cloud. We go back to the tourist building. Everyone is preparing to depart as soon as the final dance has been danced. I will be part of that dance, and I look around for my dress. My father is there, urging me to get my things and go to the boat, but I must stay for the dance. I ask the woman who looks like me how we will get off the island if the boat leaves without us, whether someone will come get us. For my part, I say, I am willing to go down with the island. She laughs at this and says that someone will leave us a personal transportation craft. Still, it gets later and later and the dance has not begun. Water starts flowing onto the island, and I feel a great sense of urgency. I know that the dance is an essential part of the sinking of the island, and if the dance is not done before the island sinks, Atlantis will never come up again. The winds are quite harsh now and everything is flying about, waves crashing further and further onto the land. The woman who looks like me talks to the man with the burlap bag. She turns to me and tells me to go to the boat, that it is very late but she and the man will do the dance. I ask her about the pieces of shell. She tells me to take mine and meet her in Venezuela to look for the rest. I protest, but she pushes me toward the boat and says "See you in Venezuela."

I am standing with a small boy in front of a shop which deals in the peculiar. The boy is important, royalty perhaps, or some type of spiritual master. He has enemies and needs to be protected against an evil force that seeks to destroy him. He asks me to buy him an amulet for protection. I know this is urgent and go into the shop to see what I can find. The shop is filled with all sorts of unusual and magical-looking things, and I am awed and delighted at the array of fascinating objects on display. I come across a rectangular object made of ivory. It's elaborately carved and decorated, and seems very old. I point to the object and the shopkeeper takes it from the display case to show to me. He explains that this is a powerful amulet of protection. I turn it over in my hand, and there are several inscriptions burnt into the ivory. I realize that this is just what I have been looking for and ask the shopkeeper how much it costs. He says that it was originally $40 but they are having a half-price sale, so he will sell it to me for $20, which I pay. While I'm looking around at other things, I notice an odd ring on top of a display case. I look more closely at it because it seems to draw my attention. It feels very old and powerful. It has a thick gold band, narrowing toward the back of the ring, and a large, dull red stone is set in it. It looks to me as though the stone might open to reveal something beneath it, and some powerful occult secret. I reach out to touch the ring, and the shopkeeper rushes over to stop me. He picks it up so I can see it more closely. It looks quite worn and ill treated. The shopkeeper explains that it's a very old ring and has not always been treated as it should. He says the ring must find the proper owner who will be able to take care of it. I know that it's something I need to have, not so much for the power within it, but to protext it against the evil force that threatens us. I ask the shopkeeper how much it is. He says that he will sell it to me for $50. I had only $50 when I came into the shop and spent $20 of it on the amulet. I ask if he would consider selling it for less, but he refuses. I think briefly about giving back the amulet and buying the ring instead, but think that, right now, the amulet is more important to protect the boy. I tell the shopkeeper that I'll be back to buy the ring as soon as I can get the $50. I leave the shop and go over to where the boy is waiting. The amulet has a piece of burgundy cord attached to it like a necklace, and I slip it over the boy's head. As I do this, I notice that the boy is wearing a smaller version of the ring that I'd seen in the shop, with the same dull red stone. I think there must be some sort of mysterious connection between the rings, and I wonder what that connection is.


Vinnie and I are walking down the empty hallways and through the boiler rooms of a junior high school. The appearance is like that of a derelict space station. We look punky, dressed in black leather all over with boots, gloves, and a jacket that has a high collar folded up behind the head. Like a scene out of Blade Runner, we patrol the darkened catacombs of the school's underbelly. Suddenly there is a flurry of motion and Vinnie is struggling in the shadows with a dark figure, a Vampyre. After barely a second, it is over and he stumbles back into the light, flushed and out of breath, barely able to come to grips with what has just happened. Slowly it dawns on us that there has been an awful transformation and that my friend has become a creature like his attacker.

It is strange, but kind of fun and we really don't know what to do, so we just keep walking. "Does this mean you're undead?" I ask him, smiling. "I dunno!" he shrugs. Soon he tells me that he just has to drink some blood or he will start convulsing in agony. We lie in wait as students from the school pass by, and seize one awkward adolescent off on his own. Vinnie subdues his struggling, holds him down, and drinks his blood. Squirming and hollering, the boy tries vainly to fend him off but, after it is done, he is very still. We are a little worried, but then he revives with a start and stumbles away. We think it all strange, but amusing. Two kids later, we see the first one again, and it is clear that he, too, is now a vampire, and that others are now being made all the time. The new vampires are mean, scheming, and impish, even if they are a little inept. Nonetheless, we have a paternal feeling toward them. After all, we made them (or at least Vinnie did, but I was there), and we know the answers to the questions that they have no doubt been asking themselves.

The new vampires all look up to Vinnie as their King and Maker and none of them will harm me because I am under Vinnie's favor. Well, these new vampires have to have blood too, and since a new one is created every time one feeds, the number of vampires (snarling fourteen-year-old vampires, mind you) is increasing astronomically. They want to get at me too, but they know they can't.

I have some heavy thinking to do. Pretty soon, everyone alive in here is going to be a vampire except me. I desperately do not want to be a vampire, so I plot an escape amongst the shelves of books in the library, off by myself. I pull down huge, ancient tomes of occult lore, full of helpful how-to information that aided the magicians and vampire slayers of old. With so much to learn and no time to learn it, I discover an old TV Batman costume and wonder how something so ridiculous might possibly help with my current dilemma.

The school has now been transformed into an ancient, old mansion, rising up about five or six stories with balconies on each floor looking out into a haunted garden with paths and dead trees in the center. Overhead is a dim plate glass and iron framing like an eighteenth century greenhouse. The air is dank and full of dread, and it is clear that the teenage vampires have won the day. They are everywhere now, peering with fiery ferret eyes out from around corners and from out of the shadows. I am the last human left, and I can feel their bloodlust palpably—an edict from their King that I not be harmed, my only remaining salvation.

I am alone in the hallway when Vinnie walks up to me. He sees what is happening but inside he is the same old poochy bud he's always been. He comes right up to me and kisses me soft and slow. A wet kiss. Totally and completely shocked, I spit in revulsion. The tenderness and intimacy of his kiss startles me but then it shoots through my head that this is his way of turning me into a vampire! I spit again to get all of his saliva out of my mouth. "Pretty goddamn tricky," I think. I am livid and he knows he's been caught. He probably considered that it would be better this way, for it to be him to make me a vampire, rather than leave me to the devouring mass of devil children. I just glare at him, but all he can do is smile his broad, goofy smile. Sure I've found him out, but what the hell can I do about it? "What other cards have you left to play?" his steady glare implies.

"Just...leave...me...alone!" I say deliberately, and bolt down the hall, my brain on fire with panic and the stinging kiss of the Judas vampire. Hoards of snotty thirteen-year-old demons roar towards me, gnashing and shrieking. I am fair game now, and they can descend upon me and rip me to shreds to feed their hunger for blood. I race toward the library where I put on my gray and black TV Batman outfit and leap off the balcony. I discover that I can fly, and soar above the dead formal gardens where I alight upon another balcony on the other side of the haunted courtyard. But my respite is short lived in that they quickly race up the stairs and speed down the halls, crowding in from both directions. I leap and fly again to another floor, another ledge, but it is a matter of a short while before they will come yet again. They howl for my blood and thrash at the air. I can't land anywhere. I am trapped! Suddenly, it occurs to me that the way out is to go up, breaking up through the dirty plate glass roof out into the open air.

My costume is shredded as I burst up through the glass, only to find myself under water, beating against the broken plate glass and the Batman cape. I haul myself out of what I recognize to be a swimming pool, gasping for breath, barely able to stand. I look around to see a group of wealthy people lounging around the pool, some in shock, some laughing uproariously at my outfit. I look up to see a huge luxury high-rise hotel rising up behind the pool and realize I have just scared their patrons silly by having emerged from another world by means of a magic Batman costume. I am too far gone to care that they are laughing. I just stand there and gasp, dripping, and knowing that there is no possible way to explain this. I then spread my cape and fly right out of there, the Batman costume shreds flapping in the warm Florida breeze. The dream comes to a close with me pondering my adventure, flying low and slow along the shore of the ocean by the resort. I am all alone with the palm trees, the rollerbladers, the sand, the waves, and the amber light of the afternoon sun coming in low over the ocean.



I have been studying the occult since I was young. I liked the spooky books, and the thought of having some control over the world. These are not the reasons why I am a magician today, but as I said I was young. The event that changed my view of magic and the world as a whole, happened when I was sixteen years old, and this is the subject of my story.

I had a dream one spring evening that was so vivid, it was more like I was remembering something. I normally did not have very vivid dreams, but I thought very little of it at the time. In the dream, I am talking to this man as we sit over lunch. It is a friend of mine, and he is complaining about a mentally handicapped person. A man in a blue shirt walks by the glass wall to my left, and I stare at a metallic pin on his blue cap. After only a few very choice words, the person he is speaking about comes around a corner and apparently overhears him. The man looks very upset and starts to cry. After a few limping steps towards us, he changes direction and starts running for the door. As he passes a large table filled with bowls of food on the top, he throws the red trays he is carrying through the glass top that is suspended from the ceiling. Running out the door, he looks to his right as he hears the large blue blazer squeal its tires. He has no time to react and is crushed as the vehicle ends his life. The dream was disturbing, but in a short time it was forgotten.

I was working at a fast food restaurant during the summer, and it was a very busy day. I finally got a break after six hours, so I went to eat with my friend Kevin in the dining area. Kevin also worked at the restaurant, and had worked as long as I did. We where tired, and Kevin was complaining that they should not have hired a handicapped man that worked on our shift. Just then a man walked by the glass wall that separated the dining area and the entrance, and as I stared at the metallic pin on his uniform cap, the memory of the dream flooded back to my memory. I was consumed by this feeling, as if I was being pulled down a rapid river. "Stop!" I screamed. The river stopped and Kevin looked at me as if I had gone mad. I thought I had lost my mind, then I heard the squeal of tires as a blue blazer sped away from the drive-thru window by the side door to the dining area. Joe came around a corner to collect the red serving trays from this new thing they called a salad bar. I turned to Kevin as Joe left the room and told him that he should watch what he said, but lacked the conviction to say anymore.

I have seen much more amazing things over the years, and I have had events that would have definitely convinced me that magic was real, if I had any doubt. This was the event that changed my life, and proved to me that magic was real. I am sure there are more amazing stories of magic, but there are none more true.


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